Assessing outcomes of an academic computing initiative.

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Abstract

Academic computing initiatives rank high on the list of priorities of many dental schools. However, outcomes of academic computing initiatives have not been presented. The objectives of this program evaluation were to: 1) document a strategic initiative for academic computing over a five-year period; 2) assess outcomes; and 3) demonstrate how outcomes assessment changed strategic goals for the future. In 1992, Temple University School of Dentistry developed an academic computing plan. The plan proposed to develop the computer literacy of faculty, teach students the computer skills they need to be successful in their careers, and introduce computer-aided instruction as a new teaching tool. Before a new five-year plan was developed in 1997, the original plan's outcomes were summarily assessed. Assessment instruments included faculty and student surveys, budgets, inventory records, and utilization statistics. The school has reached two of three goals of the 1992 plan. Eighty percent of all full-time faculty have computers, are computer literate, and use computers for a variety of purposes. The school has implemented a comprehensive predoctoral dental informatics curriculum. However, the implementation of computer-aided instruction has not met expectations. Goals of the 1998-2003 plan include establishing an online learning infrastructure, improving student access, implementing computer-based oral health records, and further improving the computer literacy of faculty and students. Planning and supporting academic computing initiatives is a substantial challenge. Factors such as institutional culture, capital investment, ongoing support, and technological change influence plans and their success. While process and structure can be assessed relatively easily, measures for changed educational outcomes are still lacking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-440
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Volume62
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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