INFLUENCE OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON DENTAL EDUCATION IN CYPRUS: PRECLINICAL AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS WITH E-LEARNING STRATEGIES
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity of social isolation led education to be distance- and online instead of face-to-face (F2F). Education strategies became more challenging for the educationalists at dentistry faculties, since dental education is based on mostly practical tutorials. All over the world, the faculties tried to develop policies to protect the health of students and academic staff, as well as to ensure the continuity and quality of education. In our faculty (Near East University Faculty of Dentistry), online education was held for the spring semester with the aid of distance learning and the information technology centre of the university. In this study, it was aimed to examine the background of the virus, the proactive measures in the dental setting to combat COVID-19 outburst, and information technology-based educational measures adopted in Cyprus to ensure the continuation of dental education. The strategies used for online education in our faculty, the difficulties that were encountered, and future recommendations for e-learning were declared. Moreover, students’ perception and satisfaction regarding online education model both for theoretical (120 students, response rate 78%) and practical lectures (220 students, response rate 82%) were investigated. With this regard, students were asked to answer reflective questions. Descriptive data were presented. A considerable number of the students stated that practical implementations should have been conducted F2F. Most of the students emphasised that online theoretical courses are more advantageous than F2F ones.
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