Center for Biomedical Informatics, State University of Campinas, Brazil.
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:
Recently educators began to challenge the adequacy of tradicional model
for learning. With Internet, new paradigms have appeared and its
staggering possibilities are capturing the interest of educators around
the world, leading them to rethink the nature of medical teaching and
learning . Recent technological developments in Internet services,
such as video-conferencing, streaming media, distributed and
database systems, etc., have made possible the partial or integral
substitution of many activities and functions of conventional courses
by its network based counterparts . The aim of the present
work is to develop an online continued education course on human
behavioral neurobiology, geared toward the practicing clinician
(neurologists, psychiatrists, etc.), using advanced concepts and
technologies for delivery and interaction via the World Wide Web. The
aim of the course is to provide the learner with a review of the basic
structure and function of the brain, as well as updated information on its clinical implications.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The course is implemented in the form of a set of hypertext pages available on the World Wide Web, which gives access to its internal structure and sequencing of modules. Each module has a number of on-line resources, such as papers, lecture notes, electronic journals and multimedia books, lists of WWW sites, slide shows (with and without RealAudio narration), videoclips, downloadable software, Java-based interactive simulations and quizzes. In addition, a module has also a set of general and educational objectives, a list of mandatory and elective assignments and a description of the best steps, activities and resources the learner is recommended to follow when studying for the module. Interaction with the tutors is provided in asynchronous mode via e-mail links and a discussion list or newsgroup; and a WWW-based interactive virtual classroom interface, using a Java applet. Academic control is achieved via a mixture of server-side and client-side programs (using CGI and Java applets and servlets), which gives password-protected access to the course and its modules, maintains a database of the learner's progress and assignment completion, grades, etc.
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