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vol.75 número7The 'Digital Access Divide' at a South African Dental School- A cross-sectional study - Part 1Dental enamel índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
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South African Dental Journal

versión On-line ISSN 0375-1562
versión impresa ISSN 0011-8516


SYKES, LM et al. Dental students' self-perceived competency and usage of the internet for learning and evaluation purposes - Part 2. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2020, vol.75, n.7, pp.377-381. ISSN 0375-1562.

Many dental lecturers are moving away from providing hand-out notes to their students and are rather opting for posting lecture material and tutorials on the internet using the various university platforms such as clickUP. At the same time a number of students have queried the need to purchase the prescribed text books due to their high costs, and dated content. The presumption is that all students have unrestricted and equal access to this material, and are competent using digital technology for learning and assessment, however there has been no formal investigation into whether this is so. Student access and usage was reported on in Part I of this study. The present paper investigated students' preferences with regards to the mode of learning material, and their self-perceived competencies in using the internet for various academic purposes. The project took the form of an anonymous, structured questionnaire that was given to all dental students from the second to the fifth year of study. Results revealed that over 90% of the students feel competent to access and use internet search engines for research and assignments, to connect with friends, and to download or watch videos. Slightly less (between 7090%) were confident using it for independent research, learning from lecture material, using e-dictionary, carrying out searches to learn extra material, completing short quizzes and assignments, or undertaking independent learning and reading. Almost all students needed to access the internet on a daily or weekly basis for work related issues, yet at least 40% reported to not being able to do so at times or in venues that suited their programs. Lecturers need to be aware of this to ensure these students are not disadvantaged in comparison to their peers if they do not submit requisite material on time. The university has pledged their commitment towards changing traditional teaching methods and embracing more blended learning platforms, as well as to helping students make up for the lost time due to the Corona virus pandemic. However, now more than ever they need to work together to ensure that all students have the necessary skills and technology needed to use the online platforms, and to provide the necessary tuition and changes if they wish to be truly committed to the well-being and education of their students.

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