Programming course for health science as a strategy to engage students during the coronavirus pandemic

Carlos I. De la Fuente, Eliane Celina Guadagnin, Marcos Roberto Kunzler, Felipe P. Carpes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Programming is an important skill for different areas of knowledge. While in the past, programming skills were much more related to fields of computer sciences and engineering, today, professionals from different areas benefit from the ability to write codes for different applications. Furthermore, programming stimulates logical thinking, which impacts other personal abilities. Health science students have limited exposure to programming during their studies. Aware of this and considering the prolonged time in social distancing in Brazil due to the SARS-COV2 pandemic in 2020, we organized an outreach course dedicated to teaching introductory concepts of programming for health science students. The activity was developed fully online using the Zoom web conference agent, lasting 12 wk (8 synchronous classes, 15 synchronous hours in total), and attended by 27 undergraduate and graduate students from two different universities. A collaborative problem-based learning and group-learning methodology were developed through asynchronous homework and mainly online synchronous activities. In this article, we describe our approach and provide some suggestions for replicating the course in other universities. We observed that the activities of the outreach course improved programming skills and confidence for most of the students. More importantly, it piqued their interest enough to motivate them to continue to practice writing and testing their programs. We concluded that an outreach course dedicated to programming promoted improvements in programming skills in health science students. Furthermore, the program was an opportunity to keep the students active in science while working from their homes during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • higher education
  • problem-based learning
  • remote learning
  • remote teaching
  • teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Education

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