Massive open online courses in dental education: Two viewpoints viewpoint 1: Massive open online courses offer transformative technology for dental education

Rachel C. Kearney, Sundaralingam Premaraj, Becky M. Smith, Gregory W. Olson, Anne E. Williamson, Georgios Romanos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This point/counterpoint article discusses the strengths and weaknesses of incorporating Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) into dental education, focusing on whether this relatively new educational modality could impact traditional dental curricula. Viewpoint 1 asserts that MOOCs can be useful in dental education because they offer an opportunity for students to learn through content and assessment that is delivered online. While specific research on MOOCs is limited, some evidence shows that online courses may produce similar learning outcomes to those in face-to-face courses. Given that MOOCs are intended to be open source, there could be opportunities for dental schools with faculty shortages and financial constraints to incorporate these courses into their curricula. In addition to saving money, dental schools could use MOOCs as revenue sources in areas such as continuing education. Viewpoint 2 argues that the hype over MOOCs is subsiding due in part to weaker than expected evidence about their value. Because direct contact between students, instructors, and patients is essential to the dental curriculum, MOOCs have yet to demonstrate their usefulness in replacing more than a subset of didactic courses. Additionally, learning professionalism, a key component of health professions education, is best supported by mentorship that provides significant interpersonal interaction. In spite of the potential of early MOOC ideology, MOOCs in their current form require either further development or altered expectations to significantly impact dental education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental education
Volume80
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

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Keywords

  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Dental education
  • Distance education
  • Educational technology
  • MOOCs
  • Massive open online course
  • Online learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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