The University of Glasgow Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree programme is a practical clinical professionally regulated discipline. Given the mode of transmission of SARS Cov-2 the dental profession and associated programmes of study have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating a rapid pivot to online and blended learning. This case study shows how the work of early adopters of technology enhanced learning and teaching (TELT) at the dental school, and a timely staff-student partnership helped to lay the foundations for this pivot in response to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. A large amount of teaching required modification and adaptation to support remote delivery and, through collaboration, innovation and supported creativity, we were able to produce some very effective models for learning and teaching. To illustrate this, two specific examples have been presented: a novel approach to support the delivery of essential local anaesthesia training for second year dental students using collaborative wikis and online learning; and the use Microsoft Teams to support student integration and a sense of community among our first year dental students through active, small group collaborative learning. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have provided the opportunity to align the teaching of practical skills with technology and instil a positive shift in institutional practices. The effectiveness of this shift within the BDS degree programme and the impact on the development of our students will remain the focus of the school’s TELT partnership.


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Cite as

McKerlie, R., Malcolm, J., Varsou, O., Kennedy, C., Colgan, L., Harper, V., McAllan, W., Forgie, A., Rea, P. & Bell, A. 2021, 'A rapid transition to blended learning: the journey of a dental degree programme pivoting online', Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 9(2), pp. 169-180. https://doi.org/10.14297/jpaap.v9i2.475

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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