Online Self-paced Learning in Nuclear Cardiology for Fellows and Students

Author: Radhika Krishnan, MS

Primary Advisor: Lance Gould, MD (co-author)

Committee Members: Kim Dunn, MD, PhD (co-author)

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.


Background Licensed medical professionals and students have a compelling need to keep abreast of the current advancements in medical sciences in order to accurately diagnose and treat patients. Online training courses are often used in the field of engineering and medicine for professional development and continuing education. It provides a convenient and flexible way to train professionals and students. It also provides easy access to instruction material anytime and anywhere. Further, the self-paced instruction helps students learn at their own pace. This research paper reviews the current developments in online learning related to nuclear cardiology and presents a model solution to train medical students and practicing professionals. Methods and Results A web-based model solution was developed for nuclear cardiology training for fellows and students at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston (part of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston). The training module allows for interpretation of cardiology images using nuclear medicine. The online module is currently offered to the students for learning at their own pace during the course of their education. The technology employs Java Server Pages for presentation, Java for business logic, and Oracle as the database in which to store test scores and student response to the image displayed, details about the images, and the correct interpretation of the slide. The primary goal of the module is to improve the ability to correctly interpret nuclear cardiology images. Assessments The web-based training solution was evaluated on the basis of functionality, ease of use, learners’ interest in the training, and achieving the purpose of the training. Conclusions The web-based project served the purpose by training the participating fellows and students and helped them to better interpret diagnostic images in the field of nuclear cardiology. The application supported the course curriculum and helped the professor assess students’ performance through the reports provided for administrators. Through routine review of student participation and performance, the training module enables the professor to customize the training for better learning. Participants’ usage of the system and the improvement of their test scores indicate that the students’ learning experience and exposure and familiarity with online modules was enhanced. The intent of optimal training was achieved, and the ability to learn anytime and anywhere seemed to be an attractive way to learn.