Pre-Clinical Remote Undergraduate Medical Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey Study 

Res Sq. 2020 Jun 10; doi: 10.21203/ Preprint


Background : The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a sudden transition to remote learning in medical schools. We aimed to assess student perceptions of remote learning during the pre-clinical curricular training phase. Methods: A survey was distributed to first- and second-year medical students enrolled at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in March 2020. Frequencies of responses to structured multiple-choice questions were compared regarding impacts of remote learning on quality of instruction and ability to participate, value of various remote learning resources, living environment, and preparedness for subsequent stages of training. Responses to open-ended questions about strengths and weaknesses of the remote curriculum and overall reflections were coded for thematic content. Results: Of 268 students enrolled, 104 responded (53.7% of first-year students and 23.9% of second-year students). Overall, students felt the quality of instruction and their ability to participate had been negatively affected. Most (64.1%) preferred the flexibility of learning material at their own pace. Only 25.5% of respondents still felt connected to the medical school or classmates. Most second-year students (56.7%) felt their preparation for the USMLE Step 1 exam was negatively affected and 43.3% felt unprepared to begin clerkships. In narrative responses, most appreciated the increased flexibility of remote learning but recognized that digital fatigue, decreased ability to participate, and lack of clinical skills and hands-on lab learning were notable deficits. Conclusions: Videocasted lectures uploaded in advance, electronic health record and telehealth training for students, and training for teaching faculty to increase technological fluency may be considered to optimize remote learning curricula.

Publication types

  • Preprint