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Modern Education technologies

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 10:57

The current state of social development, one of the features of which is multiple increasing of data flows, is forcing us to formulate fundamentally new priorities in training of high school specialists, including medical. Modern society is characterized by the following features (Morse NV, 2008):

  • The amount of knowledge that generates in the global community is doubling every two-three years;
  • The amount of information that is sent via satellites within two weeks is enough to fill 19 million volumes
  • In industrialized countries, pupils after graduating from secondary school know more information than their grandparents gain during lifetime.
  • During  the next three decades will be as much changes as they were for the last three hundred decades.

The information society during training of competitive specialists requires from education not only new skills and knowledge, but also restructuring of strategic activity aimed at taking to consideration these features.

That's why one of the most important tasks of the state level and education in general is informatization of society and training of specialists, possessing modern information and communication technologies.

The use of modern information technologies in the educational process of institute of higher education requires changes in methods of teaching all disciplines

It is connected with the fact that the teacher ceases to be the only source of knowledge for the student.

Nowadays a lot of information can be found on the Internet.

Focusing on the formation of reproductive skills such as memorization and reproduction, replaces by the development of skills of comparison, synthesis, analysis and evaluation of the links, planning, group interaction using ICT.

In such circumstances, changes should affect methods of holding classes and independent work organization. ICT enhance the role of methods of active learning and distance learning.

According to the requirements of the Bologna process the proportion of independent work of students in training programs in all disciplines increases.

ICT and distant technologies of learning allow providing students with electronic educational resources for self-study, tasks for independent performance, realize an individual approach to each student and others.

The use of distant technologies in circumstances of credit-modular system enables (Batsurovska І.V., 2011):
a) students - to choose a convenient time for study and mastering of subjects, perform module control distantly and independently, to analyze their training activities.

b) teachers - systematically manage the academic work of students, to control and analyze their activities per each module of educational discipline. All mentioned above encourages students qualitatively master the content of higher education.

Nowadays the most widely spread distant technologies of the learning process support in higher school are (Tolochko V.M., 2009):

• Case-technologies;

• Television-satellite technology;

• Network ICT (information and communication technologies).

In higher medical education television-satellite and network ICT are used the most often.

Among the latter the most common are specialized information systems, called learning management system (LMS) or, sometimes, software-pedagogical systems.

At present there is quite a wide range of developed learning management systems that distribute both commercially (WebCT, Blackboard, Microsoft Learning Gateway, etc.) and for free (ATutor, OLAT, Sakai, MOODLE).

For providing students, doctors (pharmacists) interns and medical students with the electronic training materials, organization and management of independent work, automated testing, the model of integration of full time studying with networked information and communication technologies of studying based on LMS «MOODLE» is used in BSMU.

MOODLE (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) - the system of the management of studying or virtual training environment.

This is a free (distributes under the GNU GPL) web application that allows to create sites for online studying.

The given system implements the philosophy of "pedagogy of social constructivism" and is focused primarily on the organization of interaction between teacher and students,is suitable for organization of  traditional distance learning courses and support of full-time study.

MOODLE is translated into dozens of languages, including Ukrainian language. The system is used in 50 thousand institutions in more than 200 countries worldwide.

The implementation of this system into the learning process of BSMU started in May 2010,when the working group, aimed at the development of measures of introduction of distance technologies into the educational process was established.

Working Group studied the legal, organizational and methodical, scientific and technical bases of the using of distance learning technologies, on the basis of which an appropriate action plan was developed.

According to the worked out plan technical possibility for university students to use an online learning environment «MOODLE» has been studied and therefore corresponding survey by questionnaire was held.

The survey found that almost 70% of students who were studying at that time at BSMU, had a personal computer (laptop) and an access to the Internet (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The results of students survey concerning the possibility of usage of educational online environment (September 2010).

Note: Results are presented as a percentage, the total number of respondents -1151 persons.

A - "Do you have your own computer or laptop?"

B - "Do you have an access to the «Internet»?"

Such a poll results permitted to conclude that most students will have the technical ability to use educational web content. The rest of the students that time could use 17 computer classes of BSMU.

The server of Distance Learning (moodle.bsmu.edu.ua) was launched In October 2010.

The navigation map in terms of departments, speciality (direction), courses and educational disciplines in accordance with curricula was established on it.(Fig. 2)

Fig. 2 Homepage of the server of distance learning BSMU.

In November 2010 by the Academic Council of the University the "Temporary Regulations on electronic educational course among MOODLE environment on the server of distance learning of BSMU" were developed and approved.

The given regulations were determined that an electronic training course (ETC) - is a complex of teaching materials and educational services created for organization of individual and group learning with the using of ICT.

Electronic training course consists of the following sections:
General information - section, which contains information about the department, and other reference materials for students. This section describes the purpose and objectives of learning discipline, curriculum content, thematic plans of lectures and workshops, evaluation criteria, etc..

Thematic sections that are created according to the thematic plan of practical training in a particular discipline, and also topics for individual study.

Each topical module contains an actual educational and methodological resources (guidelines, outline, visual materials, materials for self-assessment and others).

The structure of sections of electronic learning course

The section "General Information" contains the following obligatory components:

• the link to the web page of the Department;

• schedule of reworks and consultations;

• guide for the student in the relevant discipline;

• glossary (dictionary) in the discipline.

Each "Thematic Section" should contain the following obligatory components:

• guidelines for students' independent studying during the preparation to workshops, which shall include:

1. topicality

2. duration of the class

3. educational object (to know, to be able to, to master)

4. review Questions

5. literature (basic, additional)

• conspectus - structured electronic learning material, content of which provides students with theoretical information on the topic of practical training.

• visual materials (pictures - training tables, micrographs, roentgenograms, video, animation, audio, presentations, etc.)

• tests for self-assessment, that enable students to be tested in real-time (on-line)

Schematic structure of an electronic course is shown in Fig. 3.

The next step was to train teaching staff of the University to work among «MOODLE». Within two months (December 2010 - January 2011) in the university computer labs were held training seminars "Development and operation of e-learning courses in environment" Moodle ", which has trained about 120 teachers. Besides that, similar workshops were held with the students of  the "School of  young teacher". During the spring semester of 2010/2011 academic year employees of the university filled the server of distance learning with electronic educational and methodical materials. Creation and improvement of the existing e-learning courses is ongoing. Today, e-learning server operated more than 1,500 e-learning courses, the total volume of which is about 500 GB of information.

It should be noted apart that in addition to Ukrainian language resources there are e-learning courses in English on the server, as more than 700 foreign students are studying at the university.

At the present time more than 5,000 students, doctors (pharmacists) interns and medical students are registered at the server of distance learning. All of them by means of authorization have twenty-four-hour and free access to electronic teaching materials over the Internet. 

Figure 4. General view of an electronic course on learning BSMU server.

Note: At the top in the middle of the page the section  "General Information" is located, below - thematic sections : "The main symptoms of hematologic pathology", "Acute Leukemia", "Chronic Leukemia", etc.

Figure 5. Guidance for students.

Figure 6. «Conspectus» - structured electronic learning material, content of which provides students with theoretical information on the topic of practical training.

Teachers have an opportunity to present visual materials in the form of training tables (Fig. 7), presentations of lectures (Fig. 8), video (Fig. 9, 10)  on the server of distance education.

It gives a possibility to improve the students' interest to educational material, to  enhance  the process of mastering the material, and to use the workshop's time more optimal.

Moreover, the multimedia resources allow students to get acquainted with 3D anatomical models in video mode, to see the methods of clinical or laboratory and instrumental examination of the patient, the progress of the experiment, to listen to audio lectures at the phase of preparation to the lesson.

Figure 7. Visual materials in the form of the training table.

Figure 8. Visual materials in the form of the lecture presentation.

Figure 9. Visual materials in the form of the videos (methods of clinical examination of the patient).

Figure 10. Visual materials in the form of the animations (3D-model of the cell nucleus).

An important step in students’ preparing to a practical training is self-testing.

The element "Tests for self-assessment" that allows students to be tested in real-time (on-line) is created at the end of each thematic section.

Testing is possible in the training and assessment modes (Fig. 11, 12). After testing the student has the opportunity to see his own assessment and accuracy of his answers (Fig. 13).

Figure. 11. Test control in the learning mode.

Figure. 12. Test control in the supervisory mode.

Figure. 13. Test results, which a student sees.

The teacher is able to check the test results of students (Fig. 14), to see the number of attempts and time spent to determine the  "lightest" and "problem" test assignments for students. The latter enables the instructor to draw up a plan of conducting a practical class correctly on its eve, namely to determine correctly the emphasis both in the context of a group and in the context of a particular student, allowing to individualize the teaching procedure.    

Figure. 14. Test results, which a teacher envisages. 

 

Various forms of a feedback are widely used on the  server of:

• forum;

• chat;

• a system of private messages.

On the main forum the questions of the use of exploiting e-learning courses are discussed, instructors share their experience in creating multimedia or interactive resources etc. Students have the opportunity to make comments and suggestions on the quality and completeness of the training materials. In exchange (course) forums teachers and students  discuss current issues of theoretical and clinical medicine.

A chart allows in the mofe of real-time to  chat (communicate) of an  unlimited number of users (students and teachers) on current topics.

A powerful arsenal of educational-methodological resources, interactive features, a flexible and interesting feedback system turned the distance learning server from an educational web platform into a peculiar social network of the university community.  The evidence of this may be served as a visiting server statistics, according to which it is visited by an average of 2,500 users a day. Even on days off the number of visits is at least one thousand!

The popularity of e-learning server contributed to BSMU positions in the ranking «Webometrics Ranking of World's Universities», which defines the place of universities in the world in terms of their presence on the Internet. In July 2012 BSMU was reckoned among 5000 world's best universities, taking the 2nd place among the top medical schools.

The testing elements of the e-learning server are actively used in preparation for the integrated licensing examination "KROK", which is a set of standardized diagnostic level of professional competence, that  is a component part of the  state certification of students in the fields of training areas "Medicine" and "Pharmacy" and medical interns who undergo the primary specialization (internship). Licensing examinations are conducted in the form of testing by an  independent structure – the Testing Center attached to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. The special e-learning courses are created to prepare students  for the licensing exam, at which students who will be certified in the current academic year, work up the profile database tests and exam booklets from the previous years. These courses are administered by specially trained responsible persons who monitor the state of students’ preparation  for licensing exams, update the banks of tests in time, analyze a successful solution of test problems in terms of subjects. According to the monitoring results it became possible to detect students under the threat of failing in licensing exam (“the risk group”);  an individual plan is drawn up for them to prepare for the exam. Such an approach enables to improve substantially the results of passing the licensing exams by students and medical interns of BSMU. This is evidenced by comparing the average percentage of correct answers of the students of BSMU in 2011 with the national results (percentage of correct answers of all students in higher education) (Table 1).

Table 1

Comparison of the results of  licensing examinations "KROK" in 2011 of BSMU students  with the national indicator


The name of the licensing examination

The national indicator

BSMU

KROK 1. General Medical Training

68,6

72,4

 KROK 1. Stomatology

67,7

69,3

 KROK 2. General Medical Training

91,8

90,1

KROK 2. Stomatology

79,1

78,0

KROK 2. Pharmacy

86,2

90,3

 KROK 3. General Medical Training

78,6

79,4

As is evident from data table. 1 the results of  the licensing examinations "KROK" in 2011of students and medical interns of BSMU, in most cases dominated over the national rate, which is indicative of the effecacy  of using informational - communicative technologies when preparing students for the state examination (certification). In addition, an analysis  establised direct strong correlations between the results of students’ work on the distant learning server and the result of passing the licensing exam (r = +0,76 ... +0,93). A comparison of the results of the licensing exams and testing results on the  distant learning server are presented in Table. 2.

Table 2

Comparison of the results of passing the licensing examinations "KROK" in 2011 of BSMU students  with the results of working the distant learning server (DLS)

Назва ліцензійного іспиту

Результат

складання іспиту

Результат на СДН БДМУ

Крок 1. Стоматологія

69,3

69,7

Крок 1. Загальна лікарська підготовка

72,4

78,7

Крок 2. Загальна лікарська підготовка

90,0

87,1

Крок 2. Стоматологія

78,0

77,6

Крок 2. Фармація

90,3

78,6

Крок 3. Загальна лікарська підготовка

79,4

81,9

 

Informational - communicative training means are also used in the process of preparing into higher schools of Ukraine. “The Center of training BSMU entrants for External Independent Testing (EIT)” is created on the “MOODLE” (zno.bsmu.ua) 

Figure. 15.  The "Center of training  for External Independent Testing » (zno.bsmu.edu.ua).

On this web resource the school-leaves of the 11 forms have the opportunity to prepare for taking the external independent testing completely free of charge in the following disciplines:

• Biology;

• Chemistry;

• Ukrainian Language and Literature.

Electronic training courses are made up according to the programs of EIT and include complete and current database of tests of different formats. Training school-leaves of schools providing general education headed by experienced teachers at departments. This form of teaching entrants is unique among medical higher schools and enjoys great popularity. As of 01.03.2012, the remote control preparation for the testing involved nearly 350 graduates of the 11th  forms, including not only residents of the Western region, but also of the Kiev, Odessa, Cherkassy, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Lugansk regions  and also the Autonomic Republic Krym. The effectiveness of these virtual learning environment is evidenced by the following figures: 100% of users of zno.bsmu.edu.ua successfully passed EIT in 2011, of which over 80% became students of the 1st course BSMU.

Yet another form of using information and communication technologies in the educational process of BSMU is conducting online conferences (webinars). Webinar (from the English. Web + seminar, webinar) – is a technology that ensures the implementation of interactive learning activities in a synchronous mode and provides tools for remote collaborative (joint) work  of the participants.  BSMU on the basis of the open by developed product BigBlueBotton  the  organization and training of educational webinars was created (webinar.bsmu.edu.ua).

A presentation is usually prepared for a webinar, on the basis of which  communication is built. Each webinar participant performs a particular role that defines the interface of virtual classroom and the rights to use certain functions  that can be transmitted to other members. Three roles are usually envisages at a webinar: facilitator (the one who organizes and manages webinars), host (usually a teacher) and a student (a pupil).

Currently webinars are fully introduced into  the educational process in the preparation of citizens of Ukraine to enter a higer school on the basis BSMU. Teachers of the Preparatory Department regularly conduct webinars in Biology and  Chemistry, where, after a joint discussion of the webinar type, all participants of the online conference (presenter and the audience)  thematic test tasks envisages by EIT program are solved (Fig. 16).

From the 2011/2012 academic year an approval of using the technology of webinars at postgraduate stage training  doctors , was initiated namely during the cycles of thematic improvement (Fig. 17). The working training programs of such 20week cycles envisage conducting lecture classes in the form of webinar during the 1st week of training, whereas practical classes and seminars during the 2nd week. This approach helps to save time and costs of medical students to go from the place of residence to the appropriate department. This form of conducting cycles of thematic improvement was received with interest and support by doctors who attended the Postgraduate Faculty of  BSMU.  Besides, webinars on topical issues of cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, family medicine were attended free of charge on the job by  doctors of medical-prophylactic  institutions of the region, who at that time were not students of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education.

Figure 16. Webinar in Biology conducted by a  teacher of the Preparatory department BSMU.

 

Figure 16. Webinar for medical students of the Faculty of Postgraduate Education BSMU.

Thus, the learning process in  Bukovina State Medical University is successfully implemented and appropriate higher medical education modern e-learning tools and information resources are used, to improve the preparation of students at the undergraduate stage and medical students for postgraduate preparation.