About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5692-5697
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.0364

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

CREATING VIRTUAL, SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING COMMUNITIES FROM A DISTANCE

R. Palmer1, J. Checa2, J. Taylor2

1Oregon Health & Science University (UNITED STATES)
2American University of the Carribean (UNITED STATES)
Medical education is increasingly moving off-campus, with more learners doing their clinical education in remote or distant sites for longer spans of time. Institutions with significant off-campus student learning often struggle with how to create a sense of community with a spatially dispersed student body, many of whom do not return to campus for months, or even years, at a time. In short, how does an institution create an effective sense of community with a student’s home institution's faculty and peers when that student is at a distance for a prolonged period of time?

This presentation will describe the innovative approach taken by American University of the Caribbean (AUC), an international medical school with clinical sites located across two continents. AUC created interactive, longitudinal virtual peer groups for a student body that does all of its third- and fourth-year clinical rotations off-campus. Students at AUC spend their first two years of medical school on a geographically contained campus and report high levels of camaraderie and sense of community with peers and faculty during this time. Upon entering their clinical rotations, these same students are dispersed for the next two years on clinical rotations that take place in varying locations across the US, Canada and the United Kingdom. This transition can be jarring for students who are used to seeing their peers every day, and many students report feeling “lost” and “on their own” as a result. To reconcile feelings of isolation, the institution implemented virtual student cohorts that persist with a student throughout their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations.

The presenters will describe how they utilized inexpensive, cloud-based videoconferencing technology that is easily accessible on laptops, tablets and smartphones to enable these groups to meet. Audience members will hear and see how the presenters created both a virtual Transition to Clerkship and Continuity curriculum where the virtual groups meet at scheduled times facilitated by recent medical school graduates participating in a year-long teaching fellowship. Additionally, the audience will learn how the curricular activities of these group meetings are deliberately designed to foster a sense of virtual community. The research behind these activities will be presented, as will evaluative data for the first two years of virtual groups which has included 10 full-time Clinical Fellows and more than 500 students.

This curriculum and technology, which are being used as clinical sites across two continents and multiple time zones, can also be used effectively at other institutions for learners in close proximity.
@InProceedings{PALMER2016CRE,
author = {Palmer, R. and Checa, J. and Taylor, J.},
title = {CREATING VIRTUAL, SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING COMMUNITIES FROM A DISTANCE},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.0364},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.0364},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {5692-5697}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Palmer AU - J. Checa AU - J. Taylor
TI - CREATING VIRTUAL, SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING COMMUNITIES FROM A DISTANCE
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.0364
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 5692
EP - 5697
ER -
R. Palmer, J. Checa, J. Taylor (2016) CREATING VIRTUAL, SYNCHRONOUS LEARNING COMMUNITIES FROM A DISTANCE, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 5692-5697.
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