eISSN: 2299-551X
ISSN: 0011-4553
Journal of Stomatology
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2/2021
vol. 74
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Dental students’ perceptions of distance learning in terms of various variables during a transition due to COVID-19

Duygu Recen
1
,
Aysel Başer
2
,
Bengisu Yıldırım
3

1.
Department of Restorative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Izmir Democracy University, Turkey
2.
Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Izmir Democracy University, Turkey
3.
Department of Prostodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Usak University, Turkey
J Stoma 2021; 74, 2: 116-123
Online publish date: 2021/06/14
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Introduction
Coronavirus disease was declared as pandemic on February 11, 2020, with high mortality rates. It has caused public health concerns and affected social lifestyle of people, healthcare systems, and educational system. Objectives: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate students’ perceptions of distance learning in pre-clinic (first- and second-year) classes.

Material and methods
This study was conducted during the spring of 2020 on 125 pre-clinic dental students using a web-based questionnaire, with 40 close-ended and two open-ended questions developed based on existing literature about distance learning. Responses were analyzed using Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, independent t-test, c2 test, and Mann-Whitney U test.

Results
No significant differences were observed among all the scales (p > 0.05). However, when the scales were evaluated according to gender and grade, the preference scale showed statistically significant difference in gender (p = 0.029). Most of the students (47.9% strongly agree and 60.9% agree) thought that distance learning was a supportive factor for traditional teaching methods. Quantitative analyses revealed that although many students perceived the positive features of distance learning, including accessibility and flexible time management, some suffered from inequality in accessing the Internet.

Conclusions
These findings suggest that even though distance learning is a valuable and preferable method for theoretical lessons, it can only be a supportive factor for formal education, as dental clinic skill lessons require face-to-face education. Dental schools should consider an alternate plan with appropriate policies for future pandemics.

keywords:

distance learning, face-to-face, learning, dental students, COVID-19

 
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