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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 175

Online Faculty Development for Medical Educators: Experience of a South Asian Program

1 MGIMS, Sevagram, India
2 MUHS, Aundh, Pune, India
3 University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Sao Paulo, Brazil
4 FAIMER, Philadelphia, USA
5 CMCL-FAIMER Regional Institute, Ludhiana, India

Correspondence Address:
Professor of pathology, MGIMS,Sewagram
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19967638

Context: India has the highest number of medical schools in the world. Teacher shortages and inadequate training of existing faculty are a major problem. On-line faculty development and learning is a plausible component of developing medical teachers in the essentials of pedagogy. Methods: An on-line faculty development learning process utilized by Regional Institute Fellows of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) is described. This faculty development program begins with a face-to-face meeting followed by an 11-month intersession on-line experience, then another face-to-face meeting and a second 11-month intersession on-line experience. During each on-line session, Fellows participate in discussions on topics which they identify based on their learning needs. The on-line program is highly interactive and Fellows and faculty serve as moderators. Discussions have a conversational tone and a semi-structured format which Fellows develop along with the faculty moderator. The participants share their personal and professional experiences and the moderator 'wraps up' with a summary of the learning posted at the end of the month. Faculty facilitate the discussion, sharing appropriate resources and clarifying issues when necessary. Conclusions: More than the content exchanged, the interpersonal learning environment facilitated effective learning, and rejuvenated the learning experiences and network established during the face-to-face sessions. In view of its cost-effectiveness and the flexible choices it offers, focused, moderated, interactive on-line faculty development and learning needs to be considered seriously as a medium offering opportunities to medical educators and other professionals.

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