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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 188-197

Medical education at the time of COVID-19: A national multi-institutional experiences in undergraduate education in Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
3 Department Medical Education, College of Medicine, Umm Alqura University, Makka Almukarama, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of clinical biochemistry, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia
6 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
7 Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Saudi Arabia
8 Family Medicine and Medical Education, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
9 Department of Medical Education, Dean, College of Medicine, Qassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia
10 Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
11 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Kind Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
12 Medical Education and Physiology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Mona M Soliman
Department of Physiology and Medical Education, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_50_21

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Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted medical education worldwide. This study investigates how Saudi medical colleges face the pandemic and proceed with teaching and assessment plans. The study also highlights the best practices employed by Saudi medical colleges during the time of COVID-19 crisis and proposes a contingency plan in the event of future outbreaks necessitating similar containment measures. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among medical colleges in Saudi Arabia between June and August 2020. A convenience sampling method was applied. An online questionnaire was designed. The questionnaire consisted of six main parts: basic demographic data, curriculum, teaching and learning, learning management systems (LMS), assessment, and lessons learned. The questions targeting the educational process focused on what was happening before and what was done during the pandemic. Data were collected using Google Forms. The data was analyzed using SPSS. Results: A variety of teaching modalities were used before the pandemic, including class lectures (95.46%), problem-based learning (70%), case-based learning (47.25%), team-based learning (43.67%), videos/online interaction (24.58%), and flipped classroom (18.13%). During the pandemic, 97.87% of the participants used video lectures. During the pandemic, PBL and tutorial usage were reduced to 40.09% and 48.44% compared to 71.59% and 64.91% before the pandemic, respectively. Most faculty members (65.39%) reported no problems (nor did they encounter any obstacles) during online classes. Fully 96.18% of participants used Blackboard LMS during the pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 50.83% of participants reported utilizing continuous assessment, and 50.35% reported that the summative (final) assessment they performed was an online assessment. Most participants reported (85.68%) use online multiple-choice questions, followed by students' projects (34.84%), online SAQs (25.53%), and online objective structured clinical examinations (21.47%) if the pandemic were to continue. Conclusions: This study's value lies in the large sample of faculty and nationwide distribution of responses. Study results enable an understanding of early heuristic responses to online education, which may be used as a guide for mitigation efforts and to identify success stories, obstacles, key issues, and solutions.

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