Advisor(s)

Katherine Jarrell, PharmD
Ohio Northern University
Pharmacy Practice
k-jarrell@onu.edu

Brittany Bates, PharmD
Ohio Northern University
Pharmacy Practice
b-bates.1@onu.edu

Steven Leonard, PharmD
Ohio Northern University
Pharmacy Practice
s-leonard.1@onu.edu

Karen Kier, PhD
Ohio Northern University
Pharmacy Practice
k-kier@onu.edu

Document Type

Conference Proceedings

Location

ONU McIntosh Center; Wishing Well

Start Date

22-4-2022 10:00 AM

End Date

22-4-2022 11:00 AM

Abstract

Misinformation regarding COVID-19 has clouded the judgment and perspectives of many individuals. At Ohio Northern University, a new interdisciplinary online elective course offers students the opportunity to gain evidence-based insight about the far-reaching implications of pandemics and COVID-19. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact that this course has made on student perspectives relating to various topics about pandemics and COVID-19.

This semester-long online elective course was taught in an interdisciplinary fashion by professors from different departments and disciplines within Ohio Northern University. Topics covered included: the history of pandemics; public health and healthcare response; COVID-19 transmission, vaccine development, testing, and treatment; societal and economic impacts of COVID-19; and the media. Information was presented through multiple online didactic instruction, required readings, and panel discussions featuring experts in the field. Assessment methods included quizzes, guided reflections, and several group projects that allowed students to apply previously covered course content. As part of the final assessment of this course, students were required to participate in focus group discussions to review what they learned in the course and identify what they liked best and least about the course. Students enrolled in the course were encouraged to complete an optional 29 question Likert scale pre-survey and post-survey through Qualtrics via de-identified survey. Questions in the survey related to the topics that were included in the course. Survey responses were processed using inferential and descriptive statistics and analyzed with SPSSx v22 (IBM, New York) analytics software and reported as a de-identified aggregate. Descriptive data are represented as mean and median. A paired t-test with an α = 0.05 was used for pre and post comparison data.

In the fall 2020 semester, 18 and 21 students completed the pre-survey and post survey respectively. In the spring 2021 semester, 60 and 42 students completed the pre-survey and post-survey respectively. Students who completed the surveys ranged from freshman to seniors and encompassed many different majors. Similar results were observed when comparing aggregate to individual semester responses. After completing the course, students were more likely to agree that information they had received about COVID-19 was accurate (p=0.04), less likely to agree that they had been lied to by the federal government (p=0.01), and more confident in their understanding of COVID-19 transmission (p

In general, this course was more effective in changing perspectives relating to scientific and medical facts rather than personal beliefs and opinions regarding the pandemic. This may be due to the polarizing and unwavering nature of various social, economic, and political perspectives. Focusing more strongly on these perceptions could be considered in future iterations of this course. The unpredictable and ever-changing nature of the pandemic makes the interpretation of this information difficult as maturation bias may play a role in the difference in perspectives. Additionally, at the time of data collection, the COVID-19 vaccine was either still in development (fall 2020) or had just started being administered (spring 2021). Therefore, these perceptions would likely be different if surveyed at a later time. While there are several confounding variables, this course was able to provide students with evidence-based information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, opposing the misinformation and disinformation consumed by society.

Notes

This presentation is part of the Honors Capstone Enhancement Presentation series.

Open Access

Available to all.

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COinS
 
Apr 22nd, 10:00 AM Apr 22nd, 11:00 AM

Impact of a Novel Interdisciplinary Online Course: Student Perspectives Related to Pandemics and COVID-19

ONU McIntosh Center; Wishing Well

Misinformation regarding COVID-19 has clouded the judgment and perspectives of many individuals. At Ohio Northern University, a new interdisciplinary online elective course offers students the opportunity to gain evidence-based insight about the far-reaching implications of pandemics and COVID-19. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact that this course has made on student perspectives relating to various topics about pandemics and COVID-19.

This semester-long online elective course was taught in an interdisciplinary fashion by professors from different departments and disciplines within Ohio Northern University. Topics covered included: the history of pandemics; public health and healthcare response; COVID-19 transmission, vaccine development, testing, and treatment; societal and economic impacts of COVID-19; and the media. Information was presented through multiple online didactic instruction, required readings, and panel discussions featuring experts in the field. Assessment methods included quizzes, guided reflections, and several group projects that allowed students to apply previously covered course content. As part of the final assessment of this course, students were required to participate in focus group discussions to review what they learned in the course and identify what they liked best and least about the course. Students enrolled in the course were encouraged to complete an optional 29 question Likert scale pre-survey and post-survey through Qualtrics via de-identified survey. Questions in the survey related to the topics that were included in the course. Survey responses were processed using inferential and descriptive statistics and analyzed with SPSSx v22 (IBM, New York) analytics software and reported as a de-identified aggregate. Descriptive data are represented as mean and median. A paired t-test with an α = 0.05 was used for pre and post comparison data.

In the fall 2020 semester, 18 and 21 students completed the pre-survey and post survey respectively. In the spring 2021 semester, 60 and 42 students completed the pre-survey and post-survey respectively. Students who completed the surveys ranged from freshman to seniors and encompassed many different majors. Similar results were observed when comparing aggregate to individual semester responses. After completing the course, students were more likely to agree that information they had received about COVID-19 was accurate (p=0.04), less likely to agree that they had been lied to by the federal government (p=0.01), and more confident in their understanding of COVID-19 transmission (p

In general, this course was more effective in changing perspectives relating to scientific and medical facts rather than personal beliefs and opinions regarding the pandemic. This may be due to the polarizing and unwavering nature of various social, economic, and political perspectives. Focusing more strongly on these perceptions could be considered in future iterations of this course. The unpredictable and ever-changing nature of the pandemic makes the interpretation of this information difficult as maturation bias may play a role in the difference in perspectives. Additionally, at the time of data collection, the COVID-19 vaccine was either still in development (fall 2020) or had just started being administered (spring 2021). Therefore, these perceptions would likely be different if surveyed at a later time. While there are several confounding variables, this course was able to provide students with evidence-based information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, opposing the misinformation and disinformation consumed by society.