In the UK, dental schools have been forced to incorporate online teaching into their course.
Whilst this has been difficult for both the programme coordinators and students, it also has its positives.
Due to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we are forced to stay adaptable as the timetables are constantly changing.
Lectures are mostly pre-recorded which means students are free to study on their own schedule.
Tutorials are live and after overcoming technical difficulties, they mimic the same face-to-face teaching obtained on campus. Clinics are still on campus but with strict protocols.
Moving to online teaching will most likely lead to a more online-focussed course in the future.
It’s become apparent that face-to-face lectures are not as effective and a waste of resources.
However, more focus should be put on in-person tutorials to cover material effectively as pre-recorded lectures do not present the option to ask questions and provide an all-rounded learning experience.
Clinical exposure is vital as a dental student.
Students in the older years have had to catch up on clinical practise due to its cessation earlier in the year. Because of the setup of most dental teaching clinics, the spread of aerosols is more likely.
A positive outcome has been that there is much more focus on infection control in universities and also practices.
In general, first-year students have had a difficult time integrating into university.
Students living on campus have been faced with the difficulty of isolation in a vital time of their university life.
Living away from home for the first time and having to isolate can have a huge impact on their mental wellbeing. As a biomedicine graduate living at home, it has its own challenges.
However, dental schools are making a conscious effort to provide support.
There has been a huge development in the way dental schools operate. The decision to move online has been monumental and the potential of academic development in the future is vast.
Dana Afshar – Student at King’s college London Faculty of Dentistry
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