Background: COVID-19 has had unprecedented effects in all disciplines of life, across the world. Nationwide shutdowns and uncertainty of reopening educational institutes have raised concerns about the smooth continuity of the education system. Sudden and abrupt shifts to online learning poses significant challenges for dental and medical schools everywhere.
Aim: This cross-sectional study explores the challenges faces by students and faculty of Undergraduate Dentistry in clinical years.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from 6th April to 5th May 2020. Two structured questionnaires (for faculty and third, final year BDS students respectively) were designed and validated. Data analysis was performed using SPSS 21, descriptive statistics were applied and frequencies were calculated for various responses
Results : Thirty-three (94.3%) faculty members and 161 (95.3%) students expressed that COVID-19 was disrupting the teaching and learning of the clinical years of dentistry, while 16 (45.7%) said clinical teaching had been disturbed more than knowledge-based teaching. According to the students and faculty members, applications like WhatsApp and Zoom were inadequate for developing clinical skills.
Conclusion: Clinical teaching and learning of Dentistry have been considerably disrupted by the Corona Virus. Social media applications such as WhatsApp and Zoom are the most commonly used mode for knowledge transfer but are not adequate platforms for clinical skills needed to gain competence in clinical dentistry. The ability of teaching and accessing mandatory clinical skills using online forums is a major concern and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Keywords: E-learning, COVID-19 and dental teaching, social media teaching