Beggars can be choosers: Use of a method combining online digital media and videoconferencing to enrich a postgraduate curriculum in the Social Determinants of Health - or any subject of interest
Abstract: In assembling any new course, a challenge can arise in finding, from the faculty of one’s university, qualified specialists for all needed topics. Even a large university may not have teachers with experience in all specialized areas wanted. To address this challenge in a new course (on pathologies of the pediatric age group from social determinants of health), a trial run combined two resources. For one specialized subject area (mentoring economically disadvantaged children), a set of recognized specialty experts was contacted and requested, as volunteers, to connect by videoconference for an arranged 15 minute live class interaction to follow moments after the students’ in-class viewing of a lengthy video of a presentation already made by the speaker at a past venue elsewhere. Sufficient numbers of contacted experts volunteered for the effort. The novel resultant sessions, comprising ten percent of class sessions for the new course, were well received by attending students: Subsequent poll data found most students considered the quality of these novel sessions to be “about the same as those with teachers (physically located) in the classroom” or better. In addition to the noted student satisfaction rates in receiving teaching this way from prominent experts in the field, the benefits of this successful hybrid method of presentation also include the small time commitment from the contacted expert faculty, namely 15 minutes from the comfort of their own home or campus office.