1887

Impact of Online Learning Modules on Medical Student Microbiology Examination Scores

    Author: Mary T. Johnson1,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 17 May 2008
    • *Corresponding Author. Mailing address: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809. Phone: (812) 237-3409. Fax: (812) 237-7646. E-mail: johnsomt@iupui.edu
    • Copyright © 2008, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2008 vol. 9 no. 1 25-29. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v9.91
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    Abstract:

    Medical students have a limited amount of time in which to acquire working knowledge of an enormous amount of information, and this is especially relevant for microbiology. One large midwestern medical school is unique in having medical microbiology taught at nine regional campuses using a single core curriculum. A committee of statewide course directors writes a licensure board-style final examination that is referenced to the core and used at all campuses. To prepare for the final examination, students traditionally utilize print-based board examination review books. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether students who train using web-based quizzes score differently as a group on this statewide examination than students who do not utilize the materials online for exam preparation. The study included 71 learners from two different campuses who were taught by the same instructor and were admitted to medical school with similar exemplary credentials. Results were aggregated for three consecutive years. A standard medical microbiology textbook was used to assign the same suggested readings for all students and similar laboratory sessions were provided for all learners. The independent variable was use of the web-based quizzes to prepare before examinations, as indicated by student web usage logs. The dependent variable was score on the statewide final examination. Results support the hypothesis that students who use preparation modules online score higher on the final examination than students who do not. Moreover, students who prepared online scored higher on questions designed to test synthesis of knowledge and analysis of data. The significant difference in final examination outcome ( < 0.002 using a two-tailed unpaired test) indicates that online preparation for high-stakes examinations could improve student performance in medical microbiology.

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References & Citations

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v9.91
2008-05-17
2017-11-19

Abstract:

Medical students have a limited amount of time in which to acquire working knowledge of an enormous amount of information, and this is especially relevant for microbiology. One large midwestern medical school is unique in having medical microbiology taught at nine regional campuses using a single core curriculum. A committee of statewide course directors writes a licensure board-style final examination that is referenced to the core and used at all campuses. To prepare for the final examination, students traditionally utilize print-based board examination review books. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether students who train using web-based quizzes score differently as a group on this statewide examination than students who do not utilize the materials online for exam preparation. The study included 71 learners from two different campuses who were taught by the same instructor and were admitted to medical school with similar exemplary credentials. Results were aggregated for three consecutive years. A standard medical microbiology textbook was used to assign the same suggested readings for all students and similar laboratory sessions were provided for all learners. The independent variable was use of the web-based quizzes to prepare before examinations, as indicated by student web usage logs. The dependent variable was score on the statewide final examination. Results support the hypothesis that students who use preparation modules online score higher on the final examination than students who do not. Moreover, students who prepared online scored higher on questions designed to test synthesis of knowledge and analysis of data. The significant difference in final examination outcome ( < 0.002 using a two-tailed unpaired test) indicates that online preparation for high-stakes examinations could improve student performance in medical microbiology.

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FIG. 1

Web log analysis for online learning in microbiology. The ANGEL LMS allows students to take quizzes online and receive feedback on their performance through automatic electronic grading. Students are provided with correct answers and explanations of microbiology concepts. The ANGEL LMS reports feature allows analysis of student time spent utilizing online resources. Student time spent for online quizzes is shown in Fig. 1A , grouped according to comprehensive exam outcome. This comparison was significant using a two-tailed, unpaired t test at < 0.005. Students with lower online quiz scores spent less time overall utilizing online learning materials in the days leading up to examinations during the semester (an example time log is shown in Fig. 1B ).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2008 vol. 9 no. 1 25-29. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v9.91
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FIG. 2

Final examination score correlated with online quiz utilization. Students self-selected into two groups based on utilization of online instructional materials. Students with low quiz scores also scored lower on a comprehensive final examination. The mean final exam score for the high quiz score group was significantly higher than the mean score for the low quiz score group, as measured by a two-tailed unpaired t test, < 0.0001.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2008 vol. 9 no. 1 25-29. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v9.91
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FIG. 3

Final examination item level of complexity correlated with online quiz scores. Students who achieved the highest online quiz scores also performed better on questions testing analytical thinking skill (* < 0.003). Categories were developed based on Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive domain.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2008 vol. 9 no. 1 25-29. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v9.91
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