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J Otolaryngol. 2002 Aug;31(4):197-201.

Internet-based otolaryngology case discussions for medical students.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Centre for Research in Education, Faculty of Medicine, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.



A computer-supported interactive learning environment provides a mechanism whereby medical students at different locations can collaborate to develop an understanding of common otolaryngologic problems as exemplified by cases developed according to the University of Toronto's problem-based learning case guidelines.


To see if content knowledge can be acquired as quickly and effectively by computer conferencing as by seminar instruction.


Seventy students were involved in a study comparing the efficacy of learning about two otolaryngology topics, vertigo and tonsils, by traditional seminar methods or computer conferencing used for illustrative case discussions.


A key features examination on these topics showed that both groups gained knowledge during their rotation, but the computer conferencing group showed an increased gain on both topics. Most students enjoyed their computer conferencing experience and found the software easy to navigate.


Case discussions by computer conferencing result in better acquisition of content knowledge than traditional seminar teaching.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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