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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62-67

Views of medical students about online classes started during the COVID-19 pandemic: An online exploratory survey from India

1 Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Punjab, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, SPS Hospitals, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
3 Department of Critical Care, SPS Hospitals, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_43_21

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Aim of the Study: To evaluate the views of medical students about online classes started in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Methodology: An online survey was conducted using Survey monkey platform®. A survey link which was sent through the WhatsApp platform® to the MBBS/BDS students across the country. The survey questionnaire evaluated the views about the various aspects of the online classes. Results: A total of 1059 students completed the survey, of which 1033 entries were analyzed. The participants' mean age was 20.8 years with nearly equal male-to-female ratio, majority being MBBS students who were taking part in online classes mostly from home (95.4%), by using smart phones (85%). When asked to compare the experience of online classes with regular in-person classes, a majority of the participants reported having poor attention and concentration, poor retention of knowledge, poor learning of theoretical aspects of subject, poor learning of practical aspects of the subject, poor questions/answers sessions, and only 38.9% and 10.6% rated online theory and online practical classes as 'good' or 'very good,' respectively. The most common advantages of online classes reported by the students were that they do not have to travel (69%) and do not have to dress up (69.9%), while the most commonly reported disadvantages included poor learning of practical aspects (75%), followed by strain on eyes (73.4%) and difficulties with internet connectivity (64.8%). A small proportion of students 'occasionally' or more often indulged in surfing Internet, Chatting on WhatsApp/Telegram/FB Messenger, and using Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, We Chat, Snap Chat, and Telegram) while attending online classes. Conclusions: This study suggests that although various colleges are running online classes, as a substitute for the regular in person classes in view of the need for social distancing, these classes are not well received by the students and are possibly does not fulfilling the desired needs of the students. Further, the present study suggests that students still prefer in-person classes.

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