Article Text

  1. P. G. McBurney*,
  2. C. M. Bowman*,
  3. A. V. Blueà,
  4. M. Mauldin§,
  5. P. M. Darden*
  1. *Department of Pediatrics
  2. àCollege of Medicine
  3. §Education Tech Lab, Medical, University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC


Purpose To examine pediatric clerkship students' perspectives on a clerkship Web site designed to provide structure and increase interactions and to determine if cycle 1 (inexperienced) students' needs are different from cycle 6 (experienced) students' needs.

Methods Web site created through the course management system, WebCT, for clerkship in 2004. Components included student schedules, resident schedule links, helpful Web site links, clerkship syllabus, small group cases/questions, and any lecture/case discussion materials provided by faculty. Two focus groups were held by nonpediatric faculty/staff not involved directly in clerkship. Participation was voluntary and the focus groups were held at the end of the 8-week clerkships for cycles 1 and 6. Focus group questions were based on Chickering and Gamson's principles.1

Results Eleven students participated in each focus group (n = 22). Prominent themes were as follows: (a) Students liked the logistical information available and felt this central access better prepared them. (b) Students felt the Web site was a positive learning experience; however, they did not feel that the Web site increased learning interactions between students or between students and faculty. (c) There were no substantive differences in the themes from cycle 1 and cycle 6.

Conclusions There appears to be no need to create specific Web site features for students with different levels of experience (eg, cycle 1 versus cycle 6). A Web site is valuable to clerkship students. However, having a Web site available for clerkship materials does not necessarily increase interaction between learners or learners and faculty.

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