First-year students' preparedness for an online dental curriculum.J Dent Educ. 2021 Aug; 85(8):1325-1328.JD
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dental schools to rapidly adapt complex curricula for distance learning. In order to design high-quality and effective online educational interventions and adapt dental curricula to the postpandemic "new normal," it is crucial to understand students' preparedness for and attitudes toward this rapid and unanticipated pedagogical shift. This survey study (58% response rate) explored entering first-year dental students' attitudes and beliefs regarding online learning and their prior experiences with various online activities. Students' experiences varied widely, but concern about the impact of personal or life stressors on their academic performance and fear of cheating on online exams were common. Students in academic programs immediately preceding dental school were significantly more confident in their computer-based learning skills. Additional interventions may be needed that prepare students for success in future online courses and to lessen potential disparities among students from diverse social and educational backgrounds.