Faculty member Dr. Carlos Barrero, clinical associate professor in the Department of Prosthodontics, was awarded first place overall for his research poster at the 2013 American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session and Exhibition.
Barrero’s winning poster, titled “The Utilization of Blended Learning to Teach Preclinical Endodontics,” highlighted a study completed by third-year endodontic resident Dr. Cristina Maresca that examined the implementation of blending learning techniques in a second-year preclinical endodontics course. Blending learning is the careful integration of classroom (traditional) learning with an online environment.
The study sought to gauge whether dental students who experience blending learning in a preclinical endodontic course demonstrated better manual skills, conceptual knowledge and a more positive learning experience than those utilizing traditional learning styles. Results showed that the blended learning students scored better on manual skills and had a more positive opinion of the course than their traditional learning counterparts. Both groups performed similarly with regard to conceptual knowledge gain.
“This study is significant because it confirms that it is possible to teach an undergraduate preclinical dental course at a satisfactory level using blending learning methods,” explained Barrero. “The incorporation of blending learning into the curriculum resulted in 30 percent reduction in lecture time and less dependence on expert faculty.”
At the ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition, posters were presented on a range of research topics including educational research, new programs and even studies that were still works in progress. Altogether, approximately 170 posters were submitted and presented that competed with Barrero’s winning poster.
“Overall, it was an honor to receive this award because it demonstrates recognition on the part of ADEA members of the importance, validity and quality with which this study was conducted,” said Barrero.
The research was facilitated through strong endodontic faculty support and interest in the topic, especially that of Dr. Eric Rivera, department chair, and Dr. Derek Duggan, assistant clinical professor. Also staff members from the CEDI department, Dr. Ceib Phillips, associate dean for graduate education, and Mr. Ivan Saldarriga, research assistant, were contributors to this research project. The research was funded by the Educational Research funding from Faculty Development Office.