Should we be using web-based learning to supplement face-to-face teaching of undergraduates?
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There are several pressures to use web-based learning to augment traditional undergraduate teaching, not least of which are to fulfil students’ expectations, to increase student retention and improve progression rates. This paper describes the use of this technology to supplement the face-to-face teaching of a Pharmaceutical Microbiology module delivered to second year MPharm undergraduates, studying full-time on-campus. In particular, it focuses on the use of web-based material to better prepare, and to optimise the productivity of, students undertaking laboratory sessions, material to improve their numeracy and material to tutor them for their end-of-module written examination. Data are presented showing student reaction to the use of this WBL and its impact on their attainment and their attendance at classes. Other issues discussed are lecturers’ resistance to adopting this technology and the problems of student accessibility in the context of future hardware trends and, in particular, the migration of software to work on the new generation of Personal Digital Assistants.