Moving Medical School OnlineMarch 23, 2020
Jason Walker, PhD, associate professor of physiology at PCOM South Georgia is shown
teaching classes remotely. Learning online has become crucial during the COVID-19
pandemic with many schools and colleges choosing to adapt to this method of instruction.
A dining room table, an outdoor patio, a quiet bedroom—these are all places where
PCOM South Georgia students are receiving their education.
As the college commits to the safety and well-being of the community and visitors,
the first-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students are receiving their education remotely. Learning online, often referred
to as distance learning, is not a new fad, but has become crucial during the COVID-19
pandemic with many public schools and colleges choosing to adapt to this way of teaching.
Using educational software, PCOM South Georgia students are able to attend and participate
in lectures with simply a wi-fi connection and computer. Much like in a physical classroom,
professors present slide shows, talk to students and answer their questions. Students
are able to use a chat feature or their computer microphone to ask questions while
professors are presenting the material. Faculty members have also set up virtual office
hours so that they can work one-on-one with students as they were doing on campus.
Jennifer Shaw, PhD, associate professor of physiology, is teaching remotely for the first time in her
career. PCOM South Georgia faculty members use a variety of modalities to teach online.
“We have the luxury of being a small campus,” she said. “I’m doing my best to talk
to them and answer questions and recreate the classroom environment. It’s not the
same as being in person, but it’s the best we can do in this situation,” Dr. Shaw
adds. “The situation is changing daily. It’s different as a first-year medical student.
The stakes are so high, and there is so much that the students need to learn. We’re
doing everything we can and adjusting as we go.”
Jason Walker, PhD, associate professor of physiology, says the students have stayed
engaged and responsive to the virtual classes.
“The chat feature is phenomenal because students who normally don’t ask questions
have started speaking up,” he said. “That really helps the facilitation of the lecture
and is adding value to their classmates’ learning.”
During this time, and going forward, Dr. Walker believes the first-year DO students
will continue to adjust to the change and face it with perseverance.
“Our medical students are resilient,” he said. “It’s nothing to them to be given an
obstacle and work through it.”
Online Medical School
Many of PCOM South Georgia’s students have taken this adjustment in stride and are
enjoying the change of pace. Sadie Daugereaux (DO ‘23), a Louisiana native, has taken
this as an opportunity to go back to her home state and learn near family and friends.
“I took a few online classes in undergrad but they certainly were not as interactive,”
she said. “The professors have been much easier to communicate with than any professor
I had for an online course.”
Matthew Powell (DO ‘23), chair of the inaugural class, says he is embracing the new
technology and is communicating constantly with professors.
“I’m enjoying being able to take my time working through the material for the first
time to make sure I understand everything fairly well before moving on,” he said.
“I am so impressed with PCOM and how smoothly things have been going. It is amazing
that they have secured access to these platforms and how well they work.”
As medical students, understanding this pandemic as it relates to social distancing
is crucial and beneficial, says student Aliza Perez (DO ‘23)
“Being that we actually learned about the Coronavirus and many other viruses this
year, I am better able to understand the severity of the situation and how the virus
is transmitted—something that was beyond my comprehension during undergrad,” she said.
“This change will test my discipline and resilience, which will ultimately be good
for me as I will deal with public health emergencies and constant change once I start
working in the hospital.”
To learn more about how PCOM South Georgia is adapting to changes brought on by COVID-19,
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About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the
Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both
a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit
institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields.
Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state,
PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The
medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019,
has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission
on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
For more information, contact:
Public Relations and Social Media Manager
Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003
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