An Eight Year Study of Online Lecture Use in a Medical Gross Anatomy and Embryology Course

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Online lectures have been used in lieu of live lectures in our gross anatomy and embryology course for the past eight years. We examined patterns of online lecture use by our students and related that use to academic entry measures, gender and examination performance. Detailed access records identified by student were available from server logs. Total views per page of lecture material increased over the first six years, then decreased markedly between years seven and eight, possibly due to the recent availability of alternate forms of lecture audio. Lecture use peaked in midafternoon and again in the evening, although some use was seen at all hours. Usage was highest at midweek and lowest on Fridays as might be expected. Individual student's use varied widely from rates equivalent to less than one viewing/page to more than three viewings per page. Overall use by male students was greater than that of females and gender-specific differences in the daily pattern were seen. Lecture use was correlated to the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) Verbal Reasoning and Physical Sciences scores but not to composite MCAT scores or undergraduate grade point average. Overall use appeared to be driven by scheduled team-based learning (TBL) sessions and major examinations. Specific subsets of lecture material were most often viewed before related TBL sessions and again during review for examinations. A small but significant correlation between lecture use and examination and course performance was seen, specifically in the male student population. These findings, along with earlier observations, suggest that varied use of online lectures is attributable to multiple factors. Anat Sci Educ 5: 311-320. © 2012 American Association of Anatomists.



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