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PCOM Brings Clinical Education to Online Environments

May 6, 2020

PCOM medical student wearing ear buds and using a laptop on a desk at home to access online learning.

PCOM's Dept. of Professional Development and Online Learning recently presented a webinar series for educators shifting to online education in the wake of COVID-19.

In the wake of COVID-19, students across programs at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) were dismissed from their on-campus classes as well as clinical rotation sites. This abrupt dismissal prompted PCOM’s Department of Professional Development and Online Learning to mobilize to ensure a continuity of clinical education. In the webinar series titled “Strategies to Bring Clinical Education to Online Environments,” clinicians and educators from various programs at PCOM discussed how they made the transition to online learning and shared eLearning strategies to successfully engage students.

The “Strategies to Bring Clinical Education to Online Environments” webinar series is open to educators and preceptors in clinical education and is designed to help participants understand and utilize the resources available to them. It is also an opportunity for clinicians and educators to share creative solutions to problems they have solved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a little under two weeks, we were able to transition 308 courses, from 25 distinct academic programs, across three campuses, largely due to the hard work of our faculty and the existing infrastructure we had in place. For years we have focused on making online learning accessible and, in many cases, our faculty were already using these online resources to supplement their in-class teaching,” said Erik Langenau, DO, MS, chief academic technology officer at PCOM.

“In the case of clinical education, there was a need for an entirely new set of courses. For example, in our Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program, we were able to create 25 new courses for our third-year students that directly align with the clinical rotations they would have experienced had they not been pulled from their sites,” Dr. Langenau continued.

In his webinar titled “COVID-19 Internal Medicine: Approach to Online Learning,” Daniel Parenti, DO ‘87, chair, internal medicine, shared his plan for providing a meaningful virtual internal medicine experience for students using Blackboard as a vehicle. Dr. Parenti highlighted the topics he would be focusing on and how the course he developed gives each student an opportunity to clinically explore these topics. One portion of Dr. Parenti’s course focuses on interpreting clinical situations. As an example from his course, Parenti shared a recorded clip of a patient’s breathing pattern and explained that students would then be assigned to listen to the recording, diagnose the problem, and share how they came to their diagnosis.

When asked what advice he would give educators rapidly transitioning to online learning, Dr. Langenau shared, “Keep it simple. Focus on the things that will have the biggest impact. Perfect is the enemy of good, and if you’re always focused on perfection, you’ll prolong implementing something that will work.”

The courses were free to attend, and each one-hour course was counted for AOA Category 1-A credit for continued medical education.

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  • About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit or call 215-871-6100.

    For more information, contact:
    Daniel McCunney
    Associate Director, News and Media Relations
    Office: 215-871-6304 | Cell: 267-449-1360

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