Exodus From the Classroom: Student Perceptions, Lecture Capture Technology, and the Inception of On-Demand Preclinical Medical Education

Uzoma Ikonne, PhD; Anna M. Campbell, PhD; Kate E. Whelihan, MPH, CPH; Ralph C. Bay, PhD; and Joy H. Lewis, DO, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 26, 2018

Accepted: April 17, 2018

Published: December 1, 2018

J Osteopath Med; 118(12): 813-823

Context: Some medical educators have noted a decline in classroom attendance. Understanding student preferences for content delivery and the relationship between student attendance and learning outcomes may enhance curricular design and best practices for technology-supported learning.

Objectives: To measure the attendance of first-year osteopathic medical students, evaluate the relationship between classroom attendance and aggregate mean course grades, and characterize factors that influence attendance decisions when recorded lectures are available.

Methods: In nonmandatory class sessions during the 2015-2016 academic year, student attendance data were collected using audience response technology and were linked to course grades. Pearson product moment and partial correlations, controlling for Medical College Admissions Test scores, were calculated to quantify the relationship between classroom attendance and aggregate mean course grades. Students were surveyed to characterize factors influencing attendance decisions and compare the perceived convenience, efficiency, and effectiveness of classroom attendance vs lecture capture technology. The preferred modality for receiving didactic content was assessed, and open-ended questions were included about the advantages or disadvantages of lecture capture, classroom attendance, and podcasts. Responses were analyzed using open and axial coding.

Results: A 78% reduction in first-year student classroom attendance was measured from the beginning to the end of the academic year (P<.001). The correlation between classroom attendance and aggregate mean course grades (r=0.17; P=.29) and the partial correlation between them after controlling for admission test scores (r=0.18; P=.08) were not significant, except in the Neuromusculoskeletal A course (r=0.22; P=.027). Students regarded lecture capture recordings as more convenient, efficient, and effective than classroom attendance, and podcasting was the preferred method of content delivery. Major themes associated with the open-ended questions were effective or ineffective time management, enhanced interaction, learning advantages or challenges, and positive or negative content characteristics.

Conclusions: First-year classroom attendance decreased significantly during the academic year, but the authors found no significant relationship between attendance and aggregate mean course grades. Students regarded lecture capture recordings as a practical alternative to attending class; however, podcasts were the preferred modality for receiving didactic content. These findings may help in developing learning-centered curricula at colleges of osteopathic medicine.

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