Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Augmenting the clinical clerkship curriculum of a physician assistant training program with distance education technology: Educational outcomes and student perceptions
by Brugna, Robert A., Ph.D., Capella University, 2008, 95; 3311299
Abstract (Summary)

This ex post facto study analyzed the effects of the augmentation of the clinical clerkship phase of a physician assistant training program with distance education technology upon educational outcomes. The research also evaluated student perceptions of the intervention. The independent variable was student participation in an online asynchronous discussion component while attending clinical clerkships. The dependent variables included student performance on multiple-choice, discipline specific End-of-Rotation examinations and the multiple-choice summative Physician Assistant Clinical Rating Assessment Tool (PACKRAT) examination.

Asynchronous online discussions were mandated of clinical phase students attending the Physician Assistant Program at York College of the City University of New York in the fall semester of 2007. This cohort's performance on the selected examinations while receiving the treatment was compared to the preceding cohort's performance (pretreatment group) which did not participate in any online component. Independent samples t-tests and ANCOVA were used to analyze the data. It was hypothesized that the treatment group would have a statistically significant increase on both written examinations. The ninety-five percent confidence level (P<0.05) was used to determine statistical significance. The pretreatment group had a mean end-of-rotation examination score of 81.6%, while the treatment group had a mean end-of-rotation examination score of 86.5%. There is a statistically significant difference, t = -2.727, p = .005 for a one-tailed independent samples t test. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was calculated to control for group differences in didactic year GPA. There is a statistically significant difference, F-test = 25.2, p < .001, when controlling for didactic GPA. </p>

The pretreatment group had a mean PACKRAT score of 62.0%, while the treatment group had a mean PACKRAT score of 66.2%. There is a statistically significant difference, t = 1.944, p = .0305 for a one-tailed independent samples t test. Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was calculated to control for differences in didactic year GPA. There is a statistically significant difference, F-test = 25.2, p<.001, when controlling for didactic GPA. </p>

Improvement in written examination scores after the augmentation of clinical fieldwork experiences with asynchronous discussions is a positive indicator for continued use and further investigation of this technology.

Students expressed satisfaction with the augmentation of rotations with the learning management system. They reported that the component was worthwhile and helped improve preparation and subsequent performance on examinations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bourque, Thomas
Commitee: Auten, Anne, DiMaggio, Charles
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational software, Higher education
Keywords: Allied health, Allied health education, Clinical clerkship curriculum, Distance education, Educational technology, Medical education, Physician assistant education
Publication Number: 3311299
ISBN: 9780549615453
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