April 2000 Bulletin

Class begins at online ‘campus’

A picture-perfect, virtual Orthopaedic Campus—home to a library, technology center and auditorium so far—is now online on the Academy’s web site. The colorful campus—complete with trees, shrubbery, domed halls and a parking lot—is an engaging, interactive tool designed to simplify the process of taking continuing medical education courses online. The new campus can be found under the "Medical Education" section of the AAOS home page, under "Online CME Courses and Features."

After arriving "on campus," a quick mouse-click on the "Auditorium" allows Academy members to register for a course online, learn about faculty, or go directly to a course "in session" by clicking on the appropriate link. The "Technology Center" provides Fellows with helpful tutorials on using the Internet as well as reference materials and access to software. Finally, a quick browse through the Orthopaedic Campus "Library" will reveal links to medical libraries, federal government agencies and clinical and business journals and references.

While the addition of a football stadium may have to wait, further "growth and development" on campus is expected soon. For now, the most notable feature on campus is the Academy’s first interactive online CME course, "‘Post-Operative ACL Rehabilitation." The course has been up and running since the campus went online on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

William A. Grana, MD, chairman of the course and a member of the Academy’s Educational Programming Committee, says of the online course, "With the changing economics of medicine, physicians have less and less discretionary time. We believe that an online approach to CME will allow them to continue their education without being away from their practice."

The highly interactive course consists of three modules—"literature," "expert opinions" and "case studies." The student is able to choose which module to complete first. Each module follows the same format: the problem to be solved is presented, assistance is offered and the users are "turned loose" to solve the problem on their own.

The "literature" module requires the user to perform a literature search and requires completion of three assignments. Related links are embedded within the document for the student to refer to when completing assignments.

Four prominent surgeons with differing approaches to ACL rehabilitation present their approaches in the "expert opinions" modules. Students see a photograph of each surgeon, hear the expert summarizing his/her approach, and "interview" the surgeon of his choice. The student is presented with a list of questions to "ask," and may choose to hear all of the expert’s answers or just a few.

Five cases are reviewed in the "case studies" module. The user is required to make a diagnosis based on the examinations, and is asked to respond to key issues. Students are then asked to determine how the rehabilitation protocol should be modified to fit the needs of the individual.

A "lessons learned" screen—summarizing the modules’ key messages—pops up at the completion of each of the three modules.

Thirty-six Academy members have registered for the "Post-Operative ACL Rehabilitation" course thus far, and nine have completed it. The initial evaluations have been quite positive, with the majority scoring the course elements as "above average" or "well above average."

Orthopaedic surgeons can register online for the course by clicking on the "Auditorium." Registration fees are $30 and three CME credits are awarded at completion.

An unrestricted educational grant for this program was provided by the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation. The Council on Education has approved funding for the development of two additional online courses.

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