An international university network for online teaching of pathology in Frenchspeaking countries
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AbstractIntroduction: Building online courses is a highly time consuming task for teachers of a single university. Universities working alone create high-quality courses but often cannot cover all pathological fields. Moreover this often leads to duplication of contents among universities, representing a big waste of teacher time and energy. We initiated in 2011 a French university network for building mutualized online teaching pathology cases, and this network has been extended in 2012 to Quebec and Switzerland. Method: Twenty French universities (see & for details), University Laval in Quebec and University of Lausanne in Switzerland are associated to this project. One e-learning Moodle platform (http://moodle.sorbonne-paris-cite.fr/) contains texts with URL pointing toward virtual slides that are decentralized in several universities. Each university has the responsibility of its own slide scanning, slide storage and online display with virtual slide viewers. The Moodle website is hosted by PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité, and financial supports for hardware have been obtained from UNF3S (http://www.unf3s.org/) and from PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité. Financial support for international fellowships has been obtained from CFQCU (http://www.cfqcu.org/). Results: The Moodle interface has been explained to pathology teachers using web-based conferences with screen sharing. The teachers added then contents such as clinical cases, selfevaluations and other media organized in several sections by student levels and pathological fields. Contents can be used as online learning or online preparation of subsequent courses in classrooms. In autumn 2013, one resident from Quebec spent 6 weeks in France and Switzerland and created original contents in inflammatory skin pathology. These contents are currently being validated by senior teachers and will be opened to pathology residents in spring 2014. All contents of the website can be accessed for free. Most contents just require anonymous connection but some specific fields, especially those containing pictures obtained from patients who agreed for a teaching use only, require personal identification of the students. Also, students have to register to access Moodle tests. All contents are written in French but one case has been translated into English to illustrate this communication (http://moodle.sorbonne-pariscite.fr/mod/page/view.php?id=261) (use "login as a guest"). The Moodle test module allows many types of shared questions, making it easy to create personalized tests. Contents that are opened to students have been validated by an editorial committee composed of colleagues from the participating institutions. Conclusions: Future developments include other international fellowships, the next one being scheduled for one French resident from May to October 2014 in Quebec, with a study program centered on lung and breast pathology. It must be kept in mind that these e-learning programs highly depend on teachers' time, not only at these early steps but also later to update the contents. We believe that funding resident fellowships for developing online pathological teaching contents is a win-win situation, highly beneficial for the resident who will improve his knowledge and way of thinking, highly beneficial for the teachers who will less worry about access rights or image formats, and finally highly beneficial for the students who will get courses fully adapted to their practice.