Introducing dental students to e-learning at a South African University

30 Jan 2013

This article serves to report on the introduction of an innovative ‘blended learning’ approach in the Paediatric Dentistry Department at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Cape Town, South Africa. This intervention was the first of its kind to be introduced at UWC’s dentistry faculty. Methods Educational resources were placed online to supplement didactic and clinical teaching and in so-doing, compensate for the lack of chair side teaching. An online learning platform was thus provided for students to engage with. Results Forty-seven percent of students accessed the site. The evaluation of the course by these 4th and 5th year students was mostly positive. Students who did not access the site provided a variety of reasons for not doing so, with the main reasons being the ‘lack of time’ (40%) and ‘lack of IT resources’ (41%). Conclusion This intervention highlighted the fact that ‘blended learning’ definitely has its place in the dentistry curriculum, especially if minor issues like access to resources can be addressed. The Paediatric Dentistry department at the University of Western Cape is continually pursuing current trends in teaching to provide an education that is on par with global standards.