Interaction in online interprofessional education case discussions
This study investigated online interaction within a curriculum unit at the University of Toronto, Canada that included an interprofessional case study discussion in a mixed-mode (face-to-face and online) format. Nine of the 81 teams that completed the four-day curriculum were selected for detailed review based on the attitudes students expressed on a survey about the value of collaborating online for enhancing their appreciation of other health care professions. Five of the teams selected were 'positive' and four were 'negative'. The responses to other survey items by members of these teams were then compared, as well as their message posting patterns and the content of their online discussions. Differences between the two sets were situated within a theoretical framework drawn from the contact theory, social interdependence theory, and the Community of Inquiry model. Institutional support in the form of facilitator involvement, individual predispositions to online and group learning, the group composition, the learning materials, task and assignment, and technical factors all affected the levels of participation online. Discourse and organizational techniques were identified that related to interactivity within the online discussions. These findings can help curriculum planners design interprofessional case studies that encourage the interactivity required for successful online discussions.
PubMed URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21688952