Evaluation of Program
Table 2 presents students’ satisfaction with the Web-based approach to teaching and with the course as whole.
A total of 121 students completed the anonymous satisfaction questionnaire: 40 students from Universite Laval (20 in 2000 and 20 in 2001) and 81 from Universite de Montreal (31 in 2000 and 50 in 2001); this represented an average response rate among students enrolled of 85%. A significantly higher proportion of students were satisfied with the Web-based component of the course if their career orientation had to do with hospital practice (93% versus 75% for all other orientations), if they had home access to a PC (90% versus 50%), if they had a positive attitude toward the use of chat rooms (93% versus 75%), and if they had a positive attitude toward Web-based teaching in general (92% versus 74%). The rate of satisfaction was also higher among those who felt that the 60-min basic WebCT training was adequate (96% versus 63%; p = 0.007).
A significantly higher proportion of students were satisfied with the course as a whole if they had a self-perceived higher level of ability in the use of information technology and computers, if they had home access to a PC, if they were in favour of Web-based pharmacy practice (e.g., use of the Internet to provide pharmacy dispensing or clinical services), and if they were in favour of Web-based teaching in general (Table 2).
Fifty-four percent of the respondents (65/121) had a positive attitude toward Web-based pharmacy practice (defined as either dispensing or advising patients through the Web), 67% (81/121) had a positive attitude toward Web-based teaching approaches (defined as part or all of the course given via the Web), and 69% (83/121) had a positive attitude toward tele-health. Ninety-four percent (114/121) of the respondents trusted the confidentiality of online teaching.
Table 2. Evaluation of Student Satisfaction with Trial of a Hospital Pharmacy Management Course
The questionnaire included a few open-ended questions to gather students’ comments. About 75% of the respondents felt that the course should maintain the traditional classroom component in light of students’ limited exposure to management before beginning the course. The students indicated that the discussion forums should be more focused, specifically by shortening the messages, reducing the number of messages, and reducing the duration of discussion. Students indicated a preference not to be evaluated on the basis of the quantity of their contribution to forum discussions; they felt that this form of evaluation encouraged some students to participate even when their input added little to the discussions.
The students found it somewhat difficult to acquire an understanding of the pharmacy department as a whole while focusing on a specific aspect of the pharmacy’s operation (i.e., the assigned pharmacy issue). This integration appeared easier for the master’s level students, as they had more previous exposure to hospital pharmacy practice. Also, a virtual business case has its limitations. Information on every aspect of the case could not be provided, and there were some situations in which data were limited. The students sometimes had to make assumptions and validate them with the professor before going on. Some respondents noted that many students who usually did not participate in class in other pharmacy courses took a very active role in the forum.