1.) How did you come about deciding to pursue e-learning for residents?

When ECQ was announced and social distancing was advised, we had to cancel a few of the scheduled conferences and subspecialty RTDs. We got worried that our residents, as well as our medical students, will be missing a lot of learning opportunities during the entire duration of the ECQ. On March 20, 2020, we decided to try our 1st online Cataract Service RTD via Zoom and this was attended by 29 residents and consultants! After that 1st session, consultants were eager to schedule e-meetings with the residents. From March 20 to April 18, 2020, we already had SLMC-EI-organized 36 online meetings! One advantage of having e-sessions during ECQ is that more consultants from different subspecialties attend the meetings (maybe their way also of keeping themselves busy and coping up with the quarantine), hence, discussions are wider in scope. We even had sessions attended by consultants from Canada and USA.

2.) What are the platforms  you use? Can you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using these platforms? 

I learned about Zoom from the millennials! Since I am also one of the St. Luke’s College of Medicine Clinical Faculty, I asked about the e-learning activities of the clerks and interns. On March 20, 2020, that was the day they introduced me to Zoom! 

I tried other platforms but personally, I prefer Zoom for our online lectures because of the following reasons: a) Easy to use; b) Affordable; c) Clarity of the sound with minimal lag; 4) Video gallery can accommodate 25 participants at a time; 5) With polling option; and  6) With chat option 

Main disadvantage of Zoom is the issue about security and privacy due to the sudden surge in its user base.

For any platform, there’s an issue about choppy sound or poor video streaming which may be related to the internet speed in our country.  

3.) How do you evaluate residents? How can you gauge the effectivity of e-learning? 

– We objectively evaluate the residents through the following:

  • Question and answer with the residents during the e-lectures: We advise the lecturers to make their sessions more interactive
  • We give the residents quizzes via Google Classroom. We discuss the answers after each quiz via Zoom.

4) How do the lecturers find this setup?

–  Lecturers have mixed opinions about having virtual sessions. One issue is not seeing the audience face to face, hence, you won’t see their reactions, whether they understood or not, whether they’re with you or trailing off. Everyone agrees that actual patient encounter is still the most effective way of teaching Ophthalmology but e-learning activity is the next best thing during this unfortunate COVID health crisis. Having regular sessions with the residents and consultants keep us busy at home during the ECQ.  Academically, we are more productive by teaching our residents and we learn as well from our colleagues. And for me, more importantly, the e-sessions in a way help us cope with the ECQ better by maintaining connection with people whom we consider our family.

5) How do you deal with security issues

– Follow the recommendations of Zoom

a) Frequent Zoom software updates

b) Require meeting password

c) Make use of the “waiting room” option so I can control the participants joining the meeting

6) What are your tips and reminders when transitioning to an e-learning platform?

– Small group meetings (less than 40 may be ideal) to maintain more interaction with the residents 

– Make the lectures more interactive (Q and A, poll questions) to keep the attention of the audience/residents

– Determine the most conducive time when scheduling the online lectures (avoid siesta time ☺)

– Schedule the meetings when most of the consultant staff are available for better exchanges of experiences and ideas

– Very good internet connection is a must

– For the presentations: 

– Try to avoid or limit animations

– For videos, we had better experience with mp4 format