Publication date: Dec 01, 2023
The measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic in the academic 2020/2021 included full-time online courses for medical students in Serbia for the first time since the faculty was founded in 1920. The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes and opinions about the full-time online course among medical students and their teachers. A qualitative study was carried out in the autumn of 2021. In-depth interviews were conducted with 38 participants (27 students in the 4th study year and 11 teachers who teach in the 3rd study year) about their experiences in the past academic year. To select study participants, purposive sampling was employed. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis was applied. Five topics emerged: 1) Theoretical online learning, 2) Practical online learning, 3) Motivation, 4) Technical aspects of online learning and 5) Evaluation of knowledge. Overall, students’ attitudes toward theoretical classes were mostly negative, but the attitudes of teachers were mostly positive. However, the attitudes of both students and teachers toward practical online classes were mostly negative. Students were, in general, less motivated to follow online classes compared to conventional courses, even though the teachers felt that they had to put more effort into making a suitable online course. Most participants considered that the online classes had a negative impact on their knowledge and practical skills, but their academic achievement was not inferior compared to previous years. The full-time online course should include conventional on-site teaching. The relevance of acquiring practical skills is strongly emphasized.