Technology Briefs
Distance Learners Respond with a Click

Last December, when Dr. Mark Wolff asked students in a seminar at NYUCD on caries risk assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to respond to a multiple-choice question about tooth remineralization, the 10 NYU dental hygiene students in the room with him at NYU's Rosenthal Institute for Aesthetic Dentistry weren't the only ones participating.

Within seconds, Dr. Wolff also received responses from 35 dental hygiene students enrolled at the New York City College of Technology, who were in a classroom on their Brooklyn campus, three miles away from the Rosenthal Institute, where Dr. Wolff, Professor and Chair of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care and Associate Dean for Predoctoral Clinical Education, was presenting the seminar.

The NYUCD and City Tech students both used a palm-sized device known as an audience-response clicker to transmit their answers to a computer, which tabulated them and flashed the final tallies on television monitors located in the Rosenthal Institute. A videoconferencing system simultaneously displayed the tallies on monitors in the Brooklyn classroom alongside images of Dr. Wolff. Students in both locations also were able to watch one another on the monitors, giving both groups the sense that they were on the same playing field.

"This was an opportunity to explore how technology can be used collaboratively with another college for curriculum enhancement," said Dr. Elise Eisenberg, NYUCD's Director of Informatics & Digital Support Services. Added Ms. Lorilei Kirby, an NYUCD Clinical Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene who developed the six-session seminar in partnership with Dr. Wolff: "City Tech was a natural partner because it has videoconferencing capabilities and because it shares NYUCD's goal of teaching dental hygiene students about cariology from a dentist's perspective."

The seminar was open to fourth-year students from NYUCD's bachelor's degree program in dental hygiene, as well as to second-year students from NYUCD's and City Tech's associate degree programs in dental hygiene. Dr. Wolff said he hoped to present the seminar again in fall 2009.