August 2001 Bulletin

AAOS uses distant learning for SLAOT course

In another "first" for the Academy, plans to incorporate new distance education technology into an existing AAOS international program have been given the "green light" by the International Committee. The one-hour lecture will originate from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and will be transmitted–utilizing the Internet and telephone–to a SLAOT (Sociedad Latino Americana Ortopedia y Traumatolgía) instructional course in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The October 23-24 SLAOT meeting is expected to draw between 700 and 900 participants to the site at the Radisson Plaza hotel in San Salvador. Four Academy members–Daniel J. Berry, MD; Timothy J. Bray, MD; Carlos Garcia Moral, MD; and J. Andy Sullivan, MD–will travel to the meeting to hold a two-day instructional course lecture on adult reconstruction of the hip and knee, trauma, pediatric orthopaedics and upper extremity problems. The one-hour distance learning segment is scheduled to take place on the second day of this course. Miguel E. Cabanela, MD–a native Spanish speaker–will present the long-distance component from the Mayo Clinic, discussing alternatives to hip replacement in young patients.

Connected via a telephone line for sound transmission, Dr. Cabanela will present a PowerPoint presentation, which will be sent via the Internet to the San Salvador site.

As Dr. Cabanela is clicking his mouse at the Mayo Clinic, participants in San Salvador will not only view the slides, they’ll hear him discuss the topic and will be able to ask him questions. The technology also will enable Dr. Cabanela to annotate his slides–circle something or draw an arrow to a point he would like to emphasize–and the participants in San Salvador will see that on the screen.

According to Daniel Berry, MD, also from the Mayo Clinic and chairman for this course, the site was chosen because the Mayo Clinic has "excellent technical support for this sort of a broadcast, which is important in a demonstration of new technology."

Internet technology was chosen for this distance-learning segment because it has thus far proven to be the most cost-effective and technologically uncomplicated means of data transmissions. The staff of the AAOS department of international programs conducted a trial Internet transmission to San Salvador in May.

Aware of the exciting possibilities distance learning technology offers, the Academy’s International Committee is continually exploring ways to integrate new distance learning features into AAOS international courses, while taking into consideration available technology, logistics and cost factors.

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