From theater to the world wide web--a new online era for surgical education

J Surg Educ. 2012 Jul-Aug;69(4):483-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 May 1.


Introduction: Traditionally, surgical education has been confined to operating and lecture theaters. Access to the World Wide Web and services, such as YouTube and iTunes has expanded enormously. Each week throughout Ireland, nonconsultant hospital doctors work hard to create presentations for surgical teaching. Once presented, these valuable presentations are often never used again.

Aims: We aimed to compile surgical presentations online and establish a new online surgical education tool. We also sought to measure the effect of this educational tool on surgical presentation quality.

Methods: Surgical presentations from Cork University Hospital and Beaumont Hospital presented between January 2010 and April 2011 were uploaded to A YouTube channel and iTunes application were created. Web site hits were monitored. Quality of presentations was assessed by 4 independent senior surgical judges using a validated PowerPoint assessment form. Judges were randomly given 6 presentations; 3 presentations were pre-web site setup and 3 were post-web site setup. Once uploading commenced, presenters were informed.

Results: A total of 89 presentations have been uploaded to date. This includes 55 cases, 17 journal club, and 17 short bullet presentations. This has been associated with 46,037 web site page views. Establishment of the web site was associated with a significant improvement in the quality of presentations. Mean scores for pre- and post-web site group were 6.2 vs 7.7 out of 9 respectively, p = 0.037.

Conclusions: This novel educational tool provides a unique method to enable surgical education become more accessible to trainees, while also improving the overall quality of surgical teaching PowerPoint presentations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / trends*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / methods
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / trends
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Operating Rooms
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods
  • Problem-Based Learning / trends
  • Quality Control
  • Safety Management