JICDRO is a UGC approved journal (Journal no. 63927)

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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 82-84

Computers and internet in dental education system of Kerala, South India: A multicentre study


1 Department of Periodontics, Govt. Dental College, Medical College Campus, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
2 Department of Periodontics, KMCT Dental College, Manassery, Mukkom, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
3 Department of Periodontics, Sree Anjaneya Institute of Dental Sciences, Modakallur, Atholi, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
4 Department of Public Health Dentisrty, Government Dental College, Gandhinagar, Kottayam, Kerala, India
5 Department of Periodontics, Govt. Dental College, Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication18-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kanakath Harikumar
Associate Professor, Department of Periodontics, Government Dental College, Medical College Campus, Kozhikode, 673 008, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2231-0754.153507

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   Abstract 

Computers and internet have exerted a tremendous effect on dental education programs all over the world. A multicenter study was done to assess trends in computer and internet usage among the dental students and faculty members across the South Indian state, Kerala. A total of 347 subjects participated in the study. All participants were highly competent with the use of computers and internet. 72.3% of the study subjects preferred hard copy textbooks to PDF format books. 81.3% of the study subjects thought that internet was a useful adjunct to dental education. 73.8% of the study subjects opined that computers and internet could never be a replacement to conventional classroom teaching. Efforts should be made to provide greater infrastructure with regard to computers and internet such as Wi-Fi, free, unlimited internet access to all students and faculty members.

Keywords: Computer, dental education, Kerala, internet, South India


How to cite this article:
Harikumar K, Gopinath S, Raghunath A, Narayan V, Sukumar S, Vadakkekuttikal RJ. Computers and internet in dental education system of Kerala, South India: A multicentre study. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 2015;7:82-4

How to cite this URL:
Harikumar K, Gopinath S, Raghunath A, Narayan V, Sukumar S, Vadakkekuttikal RJ. Computers and internet in dental education system of Kerala, South India: A multicentre study. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Sep 21];7:82-4. Available from: http://www.jicdro.org/text.asp?2015/7/1/82/153507


   Introduction Top


Computers and internet have revolutionized every aspect of day-to-day life. Patient and practice management softwares, web-based learning programs, etc., have influenced the art and science of dentistry in recent times. Computers and internet have exerted a tremendous effect on the current undergraduate and postgraduate dental education programs all over the world.

The standard for the dental education system in the state of Kerala is set by the three state-owned dental colleges, which are the oldest colleges of the state and have produced the most number of graduate and postgraduates in the state. No study has been done in any of these colleges to assess the computer and internet use among students and faculty members. Though there are studies [1],[2],[3] reporting on internet use in various dental colleges across the world; to the best of our knowledge there are no multicentre studies assessing computer and internet use among dental students as well as faculty members. Thus, a multicentre study including these three colleges was done to assess trends in computer and internet usage among the dental students and faculty members across the state-owned three dental colleges of Kerala.


   Materials and Methods Top


A total of 347 subjects; 3 rd and 4 th year undergraduate students, interns, residents, and faculty members; from the three colleges participated in this study. The study subjects were divided into three groups; undergraduate students, residents, and faculty members. Data was collected by means of a structured questionnaire. Participation in this study was voluntary and all participants remained anonymous. All responses were numerically coded and entered into a database and statistical analysis was done (Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17).

Observations and results

Out of the total 347 subjects, there were 233 undergraduate students, 47 residents, and 67 faculty members. Computer and internet usage among the participants is given in [Table 1]. The usage of computers and internet for dental education is depicted in [Table 2]. 72.3% of the study subjects thought that reading a text book/journal in a PDF format was not as good as reading from a book, 19% of subjects thought that it was as good as reading from a book, whereas, 8.6% felt that it was actually better than reading from a book. When study subjects were divided into undergraduate students, residents, and faculty members it was observed that 51.1% of undergraduate students used internet for preparation of seminars, while 57.4% of residents and 32.8% of faculty members used internet mainly for searching articles in scientific journals and this difference in use was statistically significant (P = 0.00) between under graduates, residents, and faculty members.
Table 1: Computer and internet use in dental education

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Table 2: Scope for internet in dental education

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73.8% disagreed, saying computers and internet could be a replacement to conventional classroom teaching and 19.6% agreed to it. 6.3% of study subjects had no clear opinion in this regard. There was no statistically significant difference between the undergraduate students, residents, and faculty members in this regard.

When study subjects were subdivided into undergraduates, residents, and faculty members it was observed that while 71.7% of the undergraduates had never heard of any patient management softwares, 44.7% of the residents and 68.7% of the faculty members were aware of such softwares. This difference in frequencies was statistically significant (P = 0.00) between undergraduates, residents, and faculty members.

The scope for computers and internet facility in dental education system was asked [Table 2].


   Discussion Top


The results of this multicenter study to assess the overall trend across the state regarding computer/internet use in dental education as teaching methods and learning approaches may vary across these institutions situated in three different parts of Kerala indicate that all participants were highly competent with the use of computers and internet. This also probably indicates the inadequate common facilities in these colleges.

The results of our study are comparable to those from other parts of the world reporting high use of computers and internet among dental students and residents and from institutions which provide free unlimited internet access to all students. [4],[5],[6] None of the three institutions studied in our survey provided free internet access to students. But still the internet usage remained high. Overall, use of computers and internet has a positive impact on dental education. Thus, it may be inferred that computers and internet was mainly seen as a medium for learning latest advances in the field of dentistry and to learn new clinical techniques. In the current era of evidence-based medicine, computers and internet has become a chief source of searching for scientific literatures.

All study subjects thought that computers and internet had tremendous scope for application in the day-to-day professional life. Further use of patient management softwares, video conferencing for case discussions probably involving members of different institutions and different disciplines, and online continuing dental education programs could be some of the various possibilities with internet which could be imparted into dental education in the immediate future.


   Conclusions and Future Directions Top


Students should be encouraged to use internet for more academic purposes. Getting accustomed to reading books and articles in PDF format would be beneficial to our student community and faculty, as the trend is focused towards soft copy reading in other parts of the world. Efforts should be made to provide greater infrastructure with regard to computers and internet. Faculty members should take initiative in propagating teaching methods with audiovisual aids, at the same time conventional blackboard teaching should not be overlooked as students still look up to it with considerable interest.

 
   References Top

1.
Marya CM, Marya KM. Internet availability and e-education in north Indian dental colleges: A distant dream? J Dent Educ 2007;71:445-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
von Troschke J, Epe H. "Other study programs" at university medical schools in Germany. Gesundheitsschutz 2009;52:845-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Linjawi AI, Walmsley AD, Hill KB. Online discussion boards in dental education: Potential and challenges. Eur J Dent Educ 2012;16:e3-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ayatollahi J, Ayatollahi F, Bahrololoomi R. Using the internet among dental students in Yazd. Dent Res J (Isfahan) 2010;7:7-11.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Butali A, Adeyemo WL, Akinshipo AO, Fashina A, Savage KO. Use of information and communication technology among dental students and registrars at the faculty of dental sciences, University of Lagos. Niger J Clin Pract 2011;14:467-72.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
6.
Rajab LD, Baqain ZH. Use of information and communication technology among dental students at the University of Jordan. J Dent Educ 2005;69:387-98.  Back to cited text no. 6
    



 
 
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