Faculty and staff at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) ensure they are staying abreast of the latest advances in their field despite the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. With Covid-19 causing lockdowns across the world, conference venues have been closed, but many of the conferences themselves have migrated online and WCM-Q faculty and staff have been keen to embrace virtual learning.
Dr Ameed Raoof, associate professor of anatomy in radiology, and Dr Mange Manyama, assistant professor of anatomy in radiology, were both scheduled to present their research to the American Association of Clinical Anatomists on June 15.
Dr Manyama presented two posters about online learning. He said: “It was a challenge to include all the important information and the fact that we’re limited to recording our narratives on our posters in a limited time, it eliminated the ‘live’ interaction with conference attendees that usually occurs as the interaction is an opportunity to provide more description of the work.”
Dr Raoof also submitted two research posters about e-learning – and said the main problem with the experience was the lack of interaction with other delegates, but that otherwise it was an excellent event.
Deema al-Sheikhly, director of medical education and continuing professional development, was invited to deliver an online presentation to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s annual conference. Presenting as part of a panel discussion, al-Sheikhly spoke on the subject ‘Achieving Accreditation with Commendation: Embracing Life-long Learning Together’.
Al-Sheikhly said: “The main limitation of an online conference is the need to reduce the number and the length of sessions to ensure engagement of the audience and reduce the level of fatigue from sitting in front of the screen for too long. Furthermore, the opportunity to network as per the normal practice in conferences is limited.
Dr Amal Khidir, associate professor of paediatrics at WCM-Q, was due to deliver two workshops at the Ottawa 2020 conference in Malaysia but instead had to deliver them virtually. This is a collaborative effort and presentation with Drs Mai Mahmoud, Aicha Hind Rifai, Magda Wagdy, Ahmed Alhammadi, Marcellina Mian, and Sa’ad Laws. She said the greatest challenges were technological ones, ensuring that the audio/visual equipment was correctly installed and working, but that the presentation and post-event discussion were actually easier to moderate online and the workshops, too, were a great success.
Dr Khidir said, “The main limitation was that you don’t get the same one-to-one interactions as you do when you are physically at the venue but the whole event triggered a great discussion and we were thankful that we were able to disseminate our scholarly work.”
Dr Thurayya Arayssi, senior associate dean for medical education and continuing professional development, said: “School, college and university are only the first stages of our education and if we are to grow as professionals and as individuals it is imperative that we remain inquisitive and take responsibility for self-improvement. It is therefore heartening to see faculty and staff at WCM-Q continue to strive for knowledge acquisition and dissemination, even during the coronavirus pandemic.”
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