Can the internet widen participation in reproductive medicine education for professionals?

  • Whittington K
  • Cook J
  • Barratt C
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Traditional campus-based models of education are unsuitable to many, particularly if in full-time employment supporting families, whereas the Internet now permits new models of education. Following an iterative process of development and evaluation in 2001, the University of Bristol launched a masters programme covering reproduction and development delivered principally over the Internet.

METHODS: Students attend short biannual residential workshops and the rest of the course is delivered online. In 2003, the 20 active students were invited to complete a structured online questionnaire.

RESULTS: The 18 students completing the questionnaire identified distance learning as the key factor in their course selection. Most students felt that residential workshops aided subsequent electronic communication. Discussion of ideas is an essential component of postgraduate courses and web-based discussion forums appeared to provide an acceptable medium for this. The use of web-based audio lectures and computer-assisted assessments was well received. Also these systems may reduce disadvantages overseas students encounter when completing assessments in their non-native language.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall positive response from students (and their tutors) to using the Internet for multiprofessional reproductive medicine education is encouraging and has wider potential in the future.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Education
  • Internet
  • Postgraduate
  • Reproductive medicine

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  • Kate Whittington

  • Julian Cook

  • Chris Barratt

  • Julian Jenkins

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