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BMC Medical Education

, 6:34

First Online: 19 June 2006Received: 02 March 2006Accepted: 19 June 2006


BackgroundAt the Medical University of Vienna, most information for students is available only online. In 2005, an e-learning project was initiated and there are plans to introduce a learning management system. In this study, we estimate the level of students- computer skills, the number of students having difficulty with e-learning, and the number of students opposed to e-learning.

MethodsThe study was conducted in an introductory course on computer-based and web-based training CBT-WBT. Students were asked to fill out a questionnaire online that covered a wide range of relevant attitudes and experiences.

ResultsWhile the great majority of students possess sufficient computer skills and acknowledge the advantages of interactive and multimedia-enhanced learning material, a small percentage lacks basic computer skills and-or is very skeptical about e-learning. There is also a consistently significant albeit weak gender difference in available computer infrastructure and Internet access. As for student attitudes toward e-learning, we found that age, computer use, and previous exposure to computers are more important than gender. A sizable number of students, 12% of the total, make little or no use of existing e-learning offerings.

ConclusionMany students would benefit from a basic introduction to computers and to the relevant computer-based resources of the university. Given to the wide range of computer skills among students, a single computer course for all students would not be useful nor would it be accepted. Special measures should be taken to prevent students who lack computer skills from being disadvantaged or from developing computer-hostile attitudes.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6920-6-34 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Thomas Michael Link and Richard Marz contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Thomas Michael Link - Richard Marz


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