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S14: Factors Affecting Dental Students’ Comfort with Online Synchronous Learning
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many universities to expand the use of videoconferencing technology to continue academic coursework. This study examines dental students’ experience with videoconferencing technology, comfort levels, and perceptions of using videoconferencing technology.
Methods: 54 out of 100 second-year dental students enrolled in a course on local anesthesia, 54 completed a survey following an online synchronous lecture given in September 2020. Survey questions asked about prior experience with videoconferencing, comfort levels, and reasons for not turning on their video (showing their face).
Results: Overall, 48.2% had little or no prior experience with videoconferencing prior to March 2020. The Regression analyses showed there were significant positive associations between ratings of experience and comfort with answering questions and interacting in breakouts (r=.55, p=.04 and r=.54, p=0.03, respectively). Students were significantly more comfortable interacting with each other more during in-person than on-line breakout sessions than on-line breakout sessions (p=0.003). Although not significant, students were more comfortable in-person than on-line for all other classroom parameters. The main reasons students did not turn on their for not using the video feature were that they did not want to dress up (48.1%), others were not using their video (46.3%), and feeling that they did not look good (35.5%).
Conclusion: Students who had prior experience with videoconferencing technology were more comfortable actively participating in online synchronous lectures. Students reported feeling more comfortable interacting during in-person breakout groups than in online breakout groups. The most significant reasons for students not using the video feature (showing their face) relate to inconvenience, peers not using the video feature, and self-consciousness.