Research

Undergraduate dental students’ perspectives on teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from an online survey conducted at a South African university using a mixed-methods approach

R Moodley, S Singh, I Moodley

Abstract


Background. Many institutions of higher education transitioned from classroom-based settings to remote settings as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is unclear how undergraduate dental therapy and oral hygiene students responded to this transition in the learning environment.

Objectives. To explore undergraduate dental students’ knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and practices related to clinical and theory-based learning at a South African university. Methods. A mixed-methods approach comprising a concurrent dominant status design (QUAN/qual) was used. Therefore, the study was a crosssectional quantitative survey with descriptive qualitative data. An online, self-administered questionnaire with open- and closed-ended questions was developed to gain insights into students’ knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and learning practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results. Most respondents (n=86; 80.4%) agreed that they had the necessary skills to engage with online learning (p=0.04). Respondents in the first year (n=25; 76%), second year (n=24; 73%) and third year (n=32; 28%) were either unsure or did not agree that they understood online platform-based lectures better than classroom-based lectures. The major emergent themes included external (internet connectivity) and internal (students’ coping skills) barriers to online learning. Conclusions. This study highlighted dental student challenges in embracing the blended approach of teaching and learning. While this may be a new norm for curriculum delivery, it is important to include student input in curriculum-related decision-making processes.

Authors' affiliations

R Moodley, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

S Singh, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

I Moodley, Discipline of Dentistry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2022;14(1):26.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-03-18
Date published: 2022-03-18

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