CAN THE NEW INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES IMPROVE ATTENDANCE OF PHARMACY UNIVERSITY STUDENTS?

Introduction:
The remarkable integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in all fields is causing changes in teaching-learning methodologies. However, in the context of learning at university, lectures are still being held and the introduction of innovative tools is less common than in other levels of education. Use of digital tools makes classes more attractive and innovative for students, being able to influence class attendance. In this work, different methods and tools were used and tested at university level. Moreover, it was evaluated the effect of ICT implementation on student attendance and its relationship with the academic achievement.

Methods:
The study was conducted in a reduced group of students enrolled in the high academic performance group (bilingual teaching). The chosen subject was Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics, a compulsory subject worth 10.5 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) that is taught in the 3rd year of the degree in Pharmacy at the University of Valencia. The subject includes 5 hours of tutorials. The innovative teaching-learning methodology was based on two open sources and free programs: "Educaplay" and "Kahoot!". Anonymous surveys were used at the end of the sessions in order to assess student satisfaction. In addition, attendance was checked by a signature sheet.

Results:
No differences were observed in class attendance when ICT were used or not. In fact, only a 34.8 % of students took into account the type of session to plan their attendance. However, the number of ‘pass’ students who attended tutorial sessions was higher than that ‘pass’ students who did not attend (93.1 % vs. 75 %, respectively). Related to the innovative tools employed, more than 90 % of students perceived them as attractive, interesting, appropriate and useful for their learning process and, therefore, 82.6 % recommended them for tutorial sessions of other subjects. According to the survey, 62.2 % of students preferred “Kahoot!” than “Educaplay”. However, results obtained by “Educaplay” predicted better the pass rate of this subject.

Conclusion:
According to our results, ICT do not promote class attendance. However, students perceive this new teaching-learning strategy as adequate and useful for their education. Moreover, a positive relationship between class attendance and subsequent academic performance has been observed.