|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 4 | Page : 265-270
Faculty survey about online teaching during early lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic in a medical college in central India
Anil Kapoor1, Anju Kapoor2, Kailash Charokar3, Anil Mishra4, Manjunath V Motagi5, Sahebrao K Sadawarte6
1 Department of Medicine, FAIMER Fellow from CMCL-FRI, Ludhiana, Punjab; People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; Department of Pediatrics, FAIMER Fellow from GSMC-FRI, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh; Department of Surgery, FAIMER Fellow from CMCL-FRI, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
4 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
5 Department of Anatomy, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
6 Department of Physiology, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
|Date of Submission||16-Aug-2020|
|Date of Decision||22-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||29-Nov-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||8-Apr-2021|
HIG, C/10, PCMS Campus, Bhanpur, Bhopal - 462 037, Madhya Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruption of onsite teaching of medical students, necessitating faculty to start online teaching at a short notice. This faculty survey was conducted with an aim to identify their perceptions, preparations, and participation in online teaching-learning activities during early lockdown period in our medical college. Materials and Methods: A Google form for online survey using a peer-reviewed 27 item questionnaire was designed and the link was shared with all faculty from Dean's office through WhatsApp group and E-mail. Data gathered were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively to identify the perceptions, challenges faced, and need for corrective actions. Results: Out of 136 faculty, 108 (79.4%) responded. Majority (93; 88.89%) had put efforts to develop their skills for online teaching after lockdown was imposed. Eighty faculty (74.07%) had taken online classes using online platforms, mainly WhatsApp (77.5%), Zoom (56.25%), and Google classroom (25%). Flexibility and convenience for students and teachers were perceived as most common advantages while missing eye contacts and in-depth discussions were perceived as the most common disadvantages. Teaching and assessing cognitive skills was perceived as most feasible and psychomotor skills as least feasible using online platform. Need for faculty training for online-teaching methodology was strongly expressed; a faculty development program for the same was designed and conducted. Conclusions: Majority of the faculty had put efforts to develop skills for online teaching and started taking online classes, mainly on WhatsApp and Zoom. They strongly perceived need for faculty-development for online teaching methodology; teaching and assessment of cognitive skills was perceived as most feasible as compared to other skills.
Keywords: E-learning, faculty perception, medical education, medical undergraduate
|How to cite this article:|
Kapoor A, Kapoor A, Charokar K, Mishra A, Motagi MV, Sadawarte SK. Faculty survey about online teaching during early lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic in a medical college in central India. CHRISMED J Health Res 2020;7:265-70
|How to cite this URL:|
Kapoor A, Kapoor A, Charokar K, Mishra A, Motagi MV, Sadawarte SK. Faculty survey about online teaching during early lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic in a medical college in central India. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 12];7:265-70. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2020/7/4/265/313171
| Introduction|| |
Nationwide lockdown in India from midnight March 24, 2020, due to COVID-19 pandemic has led to disruption of theory lectures and clinical postings of medical undergraduate students (UGs) in all the medical colleges across the country. All institutions were ordered to close down and send students back to their homes for safety purpose. Our university also complied and issued an order to start online teaching of our UGs and postgraduate students (PGs) at a short notice.
The Medical Council of India (MCI), the regulatory body of medical education in India, had emphasized on adoption of contemporary education technologies such as e-learning, literature search through electronic means, skills laboratory, and simulation., Proper use of “e-learning” can help to achieve the goal of continuous professional development and support medical students to become self-directed life-long learner. The use of smartphones and social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube for communication, exchange of resources, teaching and learning (T/L) activities among medical students have been reported earlier.
Accordingly, faculty are also required to learn and practice “e-learning”, and use various online platforms for T/L and assessment activities. To achieve this, sessions on “Improving self-directed learning (SDL) through technology” and “Educational networking for growth” were added in the 3 days revised basic course of the medical education technology (MET), a faculty development program (FDP) conducted by medical education units (MEUs) under supervision of MCI from 2015. Although the use of technology is fairly common for theory classes, regular use of e-learning, flipped classroom, and social media for teaching medical students is not a routine practice. Some studies have reported use of WhatsApp for teaching UGs and PGs.,
Although our institutional MEU has been conduting MET training since the past 12 years, all faculty are not yet trained in MET and majority of them are not used to systematic online teaching-“learning (T/L) activities. However, in response to the ongoing crisis and situational demand, they started teaching students using various online platforms during lockdown without much formal training. Looking into the current situation, our MEU had conducted this faculty survey with objectives to determine their perceptions, preparations, and participation in online T/L activities during early lockdown period due to COVID-19 pandemic in our medical college, as a part of internal quality assurance.
| Materials and Methods|| |
This was a questionnaire-based study using Google form. A 27-item questionnaire was designed by the members of MEU, peer-reviewed and revised, to identify the preparations, perceptions and experiences of our faculty on online T/L activities from March 24th to May 15th, 2020 during early lockdown period due to COVID-19 pandemic. The link of the questionnaire was posted from Dean's office to all Head of Departments through E-mail and WhatsApp group with the instruction to share it with all the departmental faculty members. Participation in the survey was voluntary and responding to questionnaire was considered as implied consent with an assurance that confidentiality will be maintained at each level.
The data gathered were compiled and analyzed quantitatively along with qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis of responses to open-ended questions. Since online T/L is the need of the hour and this survey (noninterventional) being a part of internal quality assurance, a request for waiver from IEC Review was made and the same was granted as per ICMR guidelines.
| Results|| |
One hundred and eight out of 136 faculty on roll responded to the questionnaire from 20 basic and clinical departments (response rate 79.4%). Their details are given in [Figure 1].
Out of 108 faculty who responded, the “MET workshop” designed by MCI was attended by 48 (44.44%) faculty; basic MET by 21 (19.44%), revised basic MET by 11 (10.19%), and 16 (14.81%) had attended both basic and revised basic MET. Another 4 (3.7%) faculty had attended non-MCI MET workshop. Remaining 56 (51.86%) have not attended any training course on MET. There are 13 (12.04%) faculty in our MEU and/or Curriculum Committee; out of which 3 have undergone both Advance Course in Medical Education (ACME) and FAIMER fellowship, and 2 more faculty have done either ACME or FAIMER fellowship.
A summary of the perceptions, preparations, and participation in online T/L activities by the faculty is shown in [Table 1]. [Figure 2] and [Figure 3] depict the faculty perceptions regarding feasibility of teaching and assessment of different skills using online platforms.
|Table 1: Perceptions, preparations, and participation in online teaching-learning activities by the faculty (n=108)|
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|Figure 2: Faculty perceptions regarding feasibility of online teaching of various domains/clinical skills (n = 108)|
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|Figure 3: Faculty perceptions regarding feasibility of online assessment of various domains/clinical skills (n = 108)|
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A Chi-square test of independence showed that there was no significant association between MET training undergone by faculty and the online classes taken by them (P = 0.82). Out of 108 faculty who responded, a total of 80 (74.04%) took online classes; 71 (65.74%) for UGs, 46 (42.59%) for PGs, while 37 (34.26%) took classes for both UGs and PGs. Among them, majority had taken 1-“5 online classes.
Out of 80 faculty who had taken online classes, 52 (65%) had never used online teaching tools while 28 (35%) had used it before lockdown. Learning material and content was delivered mostly through PowerPoint presentation (79; 96.3%). Faculty also used videos (25; 31.3%) and case scenarios (21; 26.3%) to enrich the content. Resources such as articles from journals (13; 16.3%) and book chapters (11; 13.8%) were also shared to students for self-study. Formative assessment was tried by asking short answer questions (16; 20%) and multiple choice questions (26; 32.5%). Thirty-eight (47.5%) faculty accepted that some other faculty attended/joined their class to get the experience of the same. Two (2.5%) faculty had spent money to buy online teaching platform -“ G-suite. Out of 28 faculty who had not taken any online class, 22 (79.6%) had never used online teaching tools while only 6 (21.4%) had used them before.
Efforts made by the faculty to develop skills for online teaching
Many faculty members had googled and searched for relevant tutorials and videos including YouTube; some had also attended webinars from professional bodies such as Academy of Health Professions Educators and FAIMER Regional Institutes (CMCL-FRI, MAHE-FAIMER-FRI) to learn the technical aspects of online teaching. Many of them expressed that they got valuable help from colleagues, seniors, PG students, and even family members. They made their power point presentations more comprehensive and easy to be followed by students. One faculty commented “As such all the e-learning tools are user friendly and have interface to support and solve the challenges and problems encountered during the hands-on practice with these tools. It is the desire, motivation, and commitment for the cause which propels an individual on the interesting learning path. Basically it is SDL, and learning by “doing” which is iterative and the only limitation is passion for learning.”
Advantages of online teaching perceived by faculty members
Flexibility and convenience, both for the students and for the teachers, emerged as the most commonly cited advantage. It suited the learning style of students and engaged the tech-savvy learners on the smart-phones and personal computers. The reproducibility of the learning resources and revisit the recorded sessions were added benefits. The students could access them any number of times, at their convenience from anywhere. One faculty remarked “It can be asynchronous; can catch the students wherever they are; can inculcate SDL in students.” It is a good alternative for the current unavoidable circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic. Concentration appeared to be much better as one student alone was focusing on the interface, eliminating lot of other distractions that operate in a physical classroom. Students could ask questions without hesitating, especially on interactive platforms.
Disadvantages of online teaching perceived by faculty members
Majority of teachers reported that they missed the face to face interactions, eye contacts, personal attention and freedom of in-depth discussions. In this context, one faculty responded “A teacher can easily judge the level of understanding of a student through his/her expressions, body language, and thus can identify those who require further simplified explanation of a topic.” Few also faced difficulty in maintaining discipline in the virtual classes. Sizable number expressed that imparting psychomotor skills was difficult. Online teaching was perceived as cost-intensive, being dependent on the need of smart-phones or computers and internet. Dependence on technology and uninterrupted internet connectivity was some other areas of concern. In addition to restriction of teaching only 99 students at a time for 45 min only and need to start a fresh meeting to continue class with free version, potential cyber-security issue was raised by a few with use of “Zoom” platform. Challenges faced by the faculty who took online classes are shown in [Figure 4].
|Figure 4: Various challenges faced by the faculty members during online teaching (n = 80)|
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Institutional support required for improving the skills for online teaching
The faculty strongly expressed the need for faculty training on the online teaching methodology and for improving their computer literacy. They also expressed the need to have an official virtual platform to generate a closed virtual learning environment along with technical support in terms of software expertise, data management, data privacy, and data confidentiality.
| Discussion|| |
This online survey was done as a part of internal quality assurance with an aim to determine preparedness, perceptions of our faculty for online teaching activities and the status of online teaching during early lockdown period; total response rate from faculty was 79.4%. Majority of faculty (87.96%) agreed for the need to have online mode of teaching during lockdown period, and nearly half (46.3%) agreed to continue it as regular activity for delivering a part of curriculum even after lockdown is over.
Fifty-six (51.86%) faculty had not attended any MET training program in their teaching career. Though less than half (46; 42.60%) of faculty have learned something about online teaching platforms before lockdown, majority (93; 86.11%) had put efforts to develop their skills for online teaching after lockdown was imposed. However, 4 (3.7%) faculty members put no efforts at all for the same. This trend shows the willingness of faculty members to “change” as per the need and expectations and it had no association with undergoing the MET training.
Most of the faculty perceived that they could teach and assess “Knowledge” domain much more comfortably than “Communication” and “Attitude” domains; while teaching and assessing “Psychomotor” domain using online platforms was perceived as most difficult. Case-based discussion using WhatsApp has been tried and shown to be effective in increasing knowledge, problem-solving skill, and motivation for self-study among UGs. Dhir et al. (2017) opined that psychomotor skills also can be augmented by technology up to “knows how” level through audio-visual demonstration of procedures which later on can be practiced in clinical postings or skill laboratories. In their opinion, affective domain can also be taught by showing videos of case scenarios and role-plays of counseling sessions showing good and bad communication-skills. We suggest to prepare videos of postgraduate students eliciting history and various physical signs during clinical examination on patients (with consent) to teach psychomotor skills and share with UGs in addition to the links of videos already available online, for example, YouTube. Students after watching these videos can practice clinical examination skills on their family members, make their own videos and share with their teachers for review, feedback, and formative assessment.
WhatsApp was most commonly used platform followed by Zoom and Google classroom. Some of the faculty had used more than one platform; one faculty had even developed his own app “Academy of Medical Education!” Online formative assessment was tried by less than one-fourth of faculty who took online classes.
Advantages of online teaching such as flexibility and convenience for students and teachers, its suitability to learning style of students and reproducibility of the learning resources found in present survey had been reported earlier also. Most common reported disadvantage of missing the face to face interactions, eye contacts, personal attention, and in-depth discussions as observed in present survey is reported by other educationist too. The integration of e-learning in medical education is the need of the hour, more so with the current pandemic. Recognizing the importance of information technology for the doctor of today, the General Medical Council in the UK has recommended that medical graduates should be able to “make effective use of computers and other information systems, including storing and retrieving information.”
It is important that medical faculty need to move on from a simple “disseminator of content” to “facilitators for learning;” and e-learning tools can help to achieve this goal with the advantage of sharing variety of online resources.
Eleven (10.19%) faculty reported to be uncomfortable in online teaching, this emphasizes the need to introduce FDP for the same. Many faculty took the challenge to start online teaching and developed required skills as “self-directed learners” by searching online resources, attending webinars and seeking help from others. About one-third (35.18%) faculty accepted that some other faculty attended their class to get the experience of the same. Tagging untrained faculty with other colleagues who already possess these skills has been suggested to inculcate a positive attitude among them.
Few barriers such as lack of institutional support, lack of technical skills, and inadequate infrastructure (poor internet connectivity and lack of institutional learning management system) that have prevented our faculty to contribute effectively on online teaching is also reported earlier. To address these issues, faculty should be provided support from administrators, protected time, resources, incentives, training on use of computer and internet, and workshops for the use of new technology. Support from administrators to all stakeholders as per their needs and to develop a work culture with positive attitude, collaboration, and team work to break the “resistance to change” around e-learning is very important. There is a need to increase faculty's awareness regarding availability of e-learning resources and how to incorporate them to improve student-centric T/L activities. We need to develop policy for integrating digital technology with traditional teaching for improving the delivery of medical curriculum and provide deep and authentic learning experiences to students. Both faculty and students need to develop competence in use of digital technology in medical education.
Impact of the study
Based on the feedback from faculty, an online FDP on the use of e-learning mode for teaching and assessment was planned and a series of five webinars was conducted from June 15, 2020 to June 19, 2020. Hands on activities for creating Google classroom and using Google form for assessment were also conducted both online as well as onsite. A separate online survey with medical UGs regarding their satisfaction about online T/L is underway.
Limitation of the study
It was a single-center study, therefore, generalizability of observations is limited. Feedback from faculty on the online FDP was not collected.
| Conclusions|| |
Though some faculty members were hesitant in taking online classes, majority had put individual efforts to learn and started taking online classes using various platforms. They demonstrated readiness to change as per need, irrespective of attending the MET trainings. With the exception of a few, majority were using free online platforms; most commonly used were WhatsApp, Zoom, and Google classroom. Teaching and assessing cognitive skills were perceived as most feasible and psychomotor skills as least feasible using online platform. While flexibility and convenience, both for the students and for the teachers were perceived as the most common advantages, lack of face to face interactions, eye contacts, personal attention, and freedom of in-depth discussions were perceived as the most common disadvantages. Online teaching was perceived as cost-intensive along with potential risk of cyber-security. Faculty strongly expressed the need for training on the online teaching methodology and improving their computer literacy. Challenges faced by them as identified by this survey were addressed by designing a FDP on the use of e-learning mode and online platforms for teaching and assessment and implemented online and onsite using webinars and hands on workshop. Looking at the changes made in the duration of academic sessions, we suggest to have some part of Competency-based medical education (CBME) curriculum to be delivered as e-learning in a structured manner.
There is a need to develop policy for integrating digital technology with traditional teaching of medical students and implementation of the same using online platforms.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]