This article describes a Web-based collaborative learning experience implemented by the MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program at the University of Washington.
Seventy-three students and 8 faculty moderators across 3 geographically separated sites were assigned to small groups. Each group participated in 5 on-line discussions of ethical concerns pertinent to the PA profession.
Student contributions were generally positive, and ranged from brief comments to longer, well-considered arguments. A few individuals new to the chat format experienced minor difficulties with the unfamiliar Web-based structure. Overall, the level (quantity) of student participation was high.
Web-based discussions are a useful tool to integrate students and faculty from geographically diverse training sites into virtual communities. In future applications, consideration should be given to group composition, training for students unfamiliar with on-line chat protocol, and moderator training.
Correspondence should be addressed to:
Keren H. Wick, PhD
Research Coordinator & Editor
MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Program
School of Medicine, University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98105
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