@FISIOFARMA_US OUTREACH ACTIVITY: A NOVEL WAY TO LEARN PHYSIOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SEVILLE

Introduction:
Social networks (SN) have become routine in our lives and are an important dissemination mechanism in topics related to health issues. In addition, creating adequate publications that englobe enough information in restrictive conditions of time and typing is a challenge that requires great communication skills. Interactive SN such as Instagram or Facebook provide a global idea about the impact of the posts on the viewers, allowing us to know if the material is being well-accepted. All these points led us to set up a corporate Instagram account where undergraduate health sciences students could regularly publish posts on specific health topics. The objective of this project was for students to acquire Physiology competencies and communicative skills using SN, as they developed curiosity and a growing interest in Physiology subjects taught in our Department of Physiology.

Methodology:
The activity was addressed to students of Physiology subjects taught in either Pharmacy, Optics-Optometry or dual Pharmacy&Optics-Optometry degrees during the first semester of 2021-2022 academic course (Human Physiology, Pathophysiology and Cellular Biology and Histology). Student participation was voluntary, and they could get an extra 5% on their final scores. Professors explained all the activity details on the first day of lectures and would supervise all the steps until the eventual publication of the posts. Students would select a topic on Physiology and prepare short videos that were published on a weekly basis on the Instagram account (@fisiofarma_us). The number of interactions and reviews of the posts by the students’ peers and other users were recorded and a survey was conducted among all participants.

Results:
Among the 700 potential students, a total of 114 actively enrolled on this innovative educational project and 80 posts were published. In March 2022, the Instagram account reached more than 28.000 visualizations and 50 interactions per post on average. Over 65% of the students rated the project as outstanding, 98% considered that it encouraged them to follow Physiology-related courses, and 85% thought that it also promoted lecture attendance. All the participants considered that this activity improved their communication skills and the quality of teaching. On the other hand, an online question launched at the end of the first semester revealed that 93% of surveyed students considered that Instagram content helped them to pass Physiology subjects. Furthermore, from the point of view of professors, this project also enhanced their active interaction with the students, which was especially rewarding.

Conclusion:
We conclude that outreach activities highly encourage health sciences students to follow Physiology courses and to attend lectures regularly. In addition, this activity provided them with communication skills that are very important for them as future health professionals. This project warrants the use of SN as an effective educational tool at the university.