An investigation into the Knowledge, Attitude, and Performance of the Students in Birjand University of Medical Science about Computer and Internet Use

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery Birjand University of Medical Sciences. Birjand, Iran

2 2Birjand University of Medical Sciences. Birjand, Iran

Abstract

Background: Computers and Internet  play an ever- increasing and important role in medical education.This research was performed to determine the rate of knowledge, attitude, and performance of the students of Birjand University of Medical Science in the case of  computer and Internet use.
Methods:  This descriptive – analytical study was performed on 425 students of Birjand University of Medical Science selected by random systematic classification sampling. Knowledge , attitude, and performance of the students were evaluated  by using a self – structured questionnaire that had already been completed by faculty members of Birjand University of Medical Sciences and its reliability was confirmed. The data entered into SPSS software and was analyzed by using the Chi- Square test in level ( ).                                
Findings:  Of  425 Students studied , 227 (53.4%) were female.  In the field of measuring computer  knowledge of the students, 56.9% had minimal computer knowledge. In the field of attitude, 69.4% had a good attitude and 30.1% had an  average one. In the area of skill , 49.6% did not have enogh skills  in using software and 38.8% in using internet facilities.
The students were mostly skilled in using Word (54.6%) and Power point (52.7%). There was a statistical significant relationship between performance (Using internet Services) and gender and between awareness and education level of the students (P< 0/05). 
Conclusion:  Considering the limited knowledge and skill and the positive attitude of the students regarding computer and Internet, designing and compiling the training programs related to the computer in the form of scheduled workshops with repeatability and preparing the computer centers of the university are suggested.

Keywords


 

It is about 35 years that computers are used in Iran and fields related to computer sciences and application have been taught as independent university majors and short term educational courses in state and private educational institutes .University as one of the most important organizations responsible for education in our country requires periodical investigation of students' skills using computer and Internet for its improvement and development.(1)

Using information technology and Internet provides the possibility of getting access to the most updated information in the shortest time. This is especially useful for the students of developing countries ,as Internet fills the gap of information in such countries.(2)

The results of a research in France showed that today most medical schools use computer networks for educating students ,in a way that this methodology has become the basic part of learning and educational environment.(3)

According to the increasing process of using computers in education, at present using computers is inevitable in educational environments and they play an important and increasing role in medical education.(4)

Recent developments in education technology,provides new conditions in medical education and affects methodologies ,learning, planning ,and performing curricula.For better usage of the vast volume of medical information in World Wide Web,students and professors must get the necessary trainings for effective use of such information.Thus,medical schools have to provide clear strategies for solving the problems followed by these technologies.(5)

Conducted studies on faculty members and students of medical sciences universities in Iran show that the viewpoint of these people toward using

Computer and Internet is positive but the functional skill of these people in using Internet and data bases is not appropriate and in most of the cases the skill of  using Internet and data bases among faculty members is less than 50%.(7,5,4) Also a study conducted on students of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences showed that in contrast with the positive viewpoint toward electronic education ,their knowledge has been little in this field.(8)

According to the importance and effect of computers and information network in education and development of different aspects of knowledge, and as identifying knowledge and performance of students can help education managers of universities in planning the training of computer application and as such a study has not been conducted on students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences so far ,this study was done for determining the rate of knowledge ,viewpoint ,and performance of students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences in using computers and Internet.

Methods

In this descriptive –analytical study ,425 of students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences who had passed at least two terms of  university were selected through random systematic classification sampling ,four faculties were considered,  and the list of students of each faculty was taken from the education office of the university and participants were selected through random classification systematic sampling .Data was collected through a self-structured questionnaire which was planned based on the purposes of the study and its content and face validity were confirmed by some expert faculty members. This questionnaire was previously used in Naseri et al.'s study on faculty members of Birjand University of Medical Sciences and its reliability was confirmed by Alpha-Cronbach and calculated as 0.86.The mentioned questionnaire was classified in three fields of knowledge (41 questions for each a score of one or zero was allocated),viewpoint (13 questions based on Likert 5-scale started  from strongly agree to strongly disagree scored from 1 to 5) ,and performance(45 questions based on 5-scale Likert from very much to not at all scored from 1 to 5).

Getting a score less than 50% of the total in any field of knowledge, viewpoint, and performance was considered weak,50-75% average, and higher than 75% was good .Questionnaires were given to selected students and after explaining the purposes of the study and confidentiality of the information ,they were asked to fill them.Questionnaires were filled by participants autonomously.Data was analyzed by SPSS (version 13),statistical tests of Qui-square and Exact Fischer in level alpha=0.05.

Results

Out of 425 participant students,227(53.4%) were female.From the aspect of education level 15(3.5%) were studying in the level of associate degree,303(71.2%) B.S.,4(9%) M.S.,and 103(24.2%) PhD.

In the study of the viewpoints of students,almost all participants considered using computers necessary for conducting research.92.7% of the students considered the necessity of using computers and Internet in conducting research and development a lot to very much and 78.6% considered the necessity of using computers and Internet in education and teaching a lot to very much.

79.8% of students considered holding educational workshops of computer and Internet a necessity .While only 44% were pleased with the provided facilities of computers and Internet by university. In the case of questions of  "the necessity of having a weblog" and "the necessity of installing wireless Internet in campus" 78.8% and 58.1% of participants evaluated the necessity from a lot to very much respectively.

In the case of evaluating the performance of students,68.5% (291 students) had personal computers.32% used the Internet everyday and 45.9% 2 to 3 times a week. From the point of  the rate of hours of using the Internet,34.6% used 2 to 4 hours a week,21.4% less than 1 hour a week, and 20.9% 5-6 hours a week.28.9% used the Internet just at home,60.7% just in university, and 3.1% in both places.

It is worth mentioning that 41.9% mentioned that their method of learning to use Internet and computer was test and error,18.1% mentioned educational workshops ,and 1.6%  mentioned both methods.

29.9% said that their purpose of using the Internet was doing research,8.2% studying,4% other, and 48.7% doing research plus other cases.

 

In the case of the skill of using data bases ,students made most use of the following data bases.PubMed  20.2%,Iranmedex 23.5%,Elsivier  23.8%,EbSCO 25.6%,Ovid 26.4%,SID 29.6%.

In the case of using computer software ,students were most skilled in using Word (54.6%) and Power point (52.7%).Most students had little skill in using software(table 1).

In the case of knowledge level and viewpoint, 56.9% were at level of weak and 69.4% good .In the case of using software and Internet services 38.8% and 49.6% were weal respectively (table 2).

According to the results of qui-square test there was not a significant relation ship between viewpoint and knowledge with gender ,a significant relationship was observed between performance and gender .In the case of using Internet facilities females were less skilled than males(P=0.02),(table 3).Also there was not a significant relationship between viewpoint and performance with the level of education ,but a significant relationship was observed between knowledge and level of education.(P=0.002) (table 4)

 

Discussion

This study shows that as a whole the level of knowledge and performance of the students of Birjand University of Medical Sciences in the case of using computers and Internet is rather low ,this could be explained according to the limited facilities of the university in giving Internet services to students.

In a study done in the U.S. it has been expressed that medical education experts always remind that although sufficient access to computers and scientific sources is provided ,but the knowledge and skill of users haven't improved much. They have also mentioned that if physicians and faculty members are supposed to use computer and Internet efficiently, their lack of knowledge must be taken in to consideration as well.(10)

Another study was conducted on first year residents in Canada and it showed that the major obstacles for getting enough training for better use of computers were lack of time and its cost not lack of interest in learning, also most of the residents believed that computer training must become obligatory for them.(11)

In the present study  ,the point of view of most students (69.4%) was positive toward computers and Internet. This result matches Yamani and Bahadorani's study which has mentioned the positive viewpoint of faculty members of Isfahan University toward computers and Internet in education.(6)

In another study conducted among students of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in the case of electronic education, the level of knowledge of students was low and their viewpoint was positive.(8)

In the present study ,most students' knowledge and awareness of data bases were little, in the case of using computer software, students were most skilled on using Word and Power point and most of the students had little skills in using computer software. It seems that holding training classes in the form of scheduled workshops  with repeatability in the case of introducing medical databases and using software can play a considerable role in increasing efficient use of Internet facilities.

Based on the results of Abtahi's study ,41.2% of students were not familiar with medical data bases(12).In Rasoulabadi's study ,more than 50% of participants were not familiar with the topic of technical data bases of Ovid ,Blackwell ,and Elsevier(7).

In another study about medical students of Illinois University it was identified that medical students were skilled enough in using email and World Wide Web but were not sufficiently skilled in searching medical resources and using computer assisted learning software and most of them expected to learn these while doing their studies .This study also suggested that attempts should be made to plan computer training and computer assisted learning courses in the curriculum of medical students(13).The results of  the mentioned studies in the case of using data bases show insufficient knowledge in using data bases which match the results of our study. In the present study ,the viewpoint of more than half of the students (69.4%) toward computer and Internet was good and only the skill of 12.9% of them was at a good level, also the knowledge of more than half of the participants (56.9%) was evaluated weak .In similar studies the performance skill of participants has been reported low ,although they had a positive viewpoint(6,14).According to the relationship between viewpoint and knowledge and skill in this study ,the necessity of students' familiarity with computer and Internet usages and determination  of appropriate strategies for the development of educational computer facilities at university level seems

necessary so that besides positive viewpoint ,knowledge and skill are achieved as well.

In the present study male participants used Internet facilities significantly more than females which matches Latifnezhad and Hayati's study (15,8).One of the reasons of such difference could be more chances of male students for using computer compared to females.

Also students' knowledge level in this study increased with the increase of education level which can be because of spending more time in campus and learning different aspects of working with computers.

According to the limited knowledge and skill of students in using computer and Internet and their positive viewpoint ,planning educational programs related to scheduled workshops with repeatability ,developing the equipment of computer centers of the university ,providing appropriate space matching the number of students(such as libraries ,dorms ,faculties) can improve knowledge and finally the performance of students in using Internet facilities and the improvement of the professional knowledge level.

 

Acknowledgements

This article is the result of a research proposal confirmed by Research Association of Birjand University of medical Sciences (code: 473).The authors would like to express their gratitude to all the people who helped in the confirmation of the proposal, filling the questionnaires, and data collection.

 

Table 1:The Frequency Distribution of Participants' skills in Using Data Bases and Computer Software

Question

Not at all

Little 

avarage

A lot

Very much

 

n(%)

n(%)

n(%)

n(%)

n(%)

Using email

21(4.9)

44(10.4)

140(32.9)

123(28.9)

96(22.6)

The skill of searching and finding data bases on Internet

25(5.9)

45(10.6)

177(41.6)

(27.1)115

63(14.8)

Having the skill of working with the data base of Jahad Daneshgahi on Internet

136(32)

126(29.6)

93(21.9)

(9.2)39

30(7.1)

Having the skill of working with the data base of Iran Medex

122(28.7)

100(23.5)

99(23.3)

(14.1)60

44(10.4)

Having the skill of working with the data base of Ovid

168(5.39)

112(26.4)

(21.9)93

(7.8)33

19(4.5)

Having the skill of working with the data base of Elsevier

178(9.41)

101(23.8)

(17.6)75

(11.1)47

(5.6)24

Having the skill of working with the data base of PubMed/Medline

169(8.39)

86(20.2)

(21.4)91

(13.2)56

(5.4)23

Having the skill of working with the data base of EbSCO

184(3.43)

109(25.6)

(17.6)75

37(8.7)

20(4.7)

Having the skill of working with the data base of Scopus

184(3.43)

116(27.3)

(17.9)76

(6.1)26

22(5.2)

 The skill of working with  Power Point

30(7.1)

35(8.2)

(32)136

(27.3)116

(25.4)108

The skill of working with Word

35(8.2)

30(7.1)

(30.1)128

(29.4)125

107(25.2)

The skill of working with Access

139(7.32)

116(27.3)

(22.1)94

(10.8)46

(7.1)30

The skill of working with statistical software (SPSS، Excel و ...)

159 (4.37)

114(26.8)

(21.2)90

36(8.5)

(6.1)26

The skill of working software such as End Note/ Procite/ Reference manager

210(4.49)

113(26.6)

61(14.4)

23(5.4)

(4.2)18

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: The Frequency Distribution of Knowledge, Viewpoint ,and Skill Level of Participant Students

variable

n(%)

Knowledge

weak

(56.9)242

average

153(36)

good

(7.1)30

Viewpoint

weak

(0.5)2

average

(30.1)128

good

(69.4)295

Skill of using softwareا

weak

(49.6)211

average

(42.8)182

good

32(7.5)

Using Internet services

weak

(38.8)165

average

(48.2)205

good

(12.9)55

 

 

 

 

Table 3:The Comparison of the level of viewpoint, knowledge, and skill among participants based on gender

Level

Variable

Female

Male

Significance Level

n (%)

n (%)

Viewpoint

weak

(0)0

(1)2

28.0=P

average

(3/31) 71

(8/28)57

good

(7/68)156

(2/70)139

Knowledge

weak

(1/55)125

(1/59)117

55.0=P

average

(3/38) 87

(3/33)66

good

(6/6)15

(6/7)15

Skill of using software

weak

(5/48)110

(51)101

55.0=P

average

(9/44)102

(4/40)80

good

(6/6)15

(6/8)17

Using Internet services

weak

(5/44)101

(3/32)64

02.0=P

average

(4/45)103

(5/51)102

good

(1/10)23

(2/16)32

 

 

 

 

Table 4:The Comparison of Viewpoint, Knowledge ,and Skill level in Participants based on Education Level

Level

Variable

Associate degree

B.S.

M.S. and PhD

Significance Level

n (%)

n (%)

n (%)

Viewpoint

weak

(0)0

(7/0)2

(0)0

07.0=P

average

(40)6

(33)100

(6/20)22

good

(60)9

(3/66)201

(4/79)85

Knowledge

weak

(7/66)10

(62)188

(1/41)44

002.0=P

average

(20)3

(7/32)99

(7/47)51

good

(3/13)2

(3/5)16

(2/11)12

Skill of using software

weak

(3/53)8

(2/49)149

(5/50)54

07.0=P

average

(3/33)5

(2/44)134

(2/40)43

good

(3/13)2

(6/6)20

(3/9)10

Using Internet services

weak

(40)6

(9/41)127

(9/29)32

21.0=P

average

(3/53)8

(2/46)140

(3/53)57

good

(7/6)1

(9/11)36

(8/16)18

1-  Vafaee  Najjar A, Saeidi Nejat Sh, Ebrahimipour H.  User reviews of students' abilities and computer centers and Internet subsidiary of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences 2008. 3 rd Conference on E-learning in Medical Sciences, Mashhad, 1388.  [Persian].

2-  Riazi H. Medicine in Internet.  1st  ed. Tehran: Nore Danesh Publication;  2006.P. 43. [Persian].

3- Pouliquen B, Le Duff F: Managing educational resource in Medicine: System design and integration . Int J Med Inform 2005;74:201-207.

4- Siyamyan H.  Investigating the Attitude of, skills and performance of faculty members about computer and Internet use in educational and research activities in Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences. Journal of Health Information Management, 2009;6(2):133-140. [Persian].

[citd 2012 Jan 3]  Available from:http://www.magiran.com/magtoc.asp?mgID=4410&Number=12

5 - Ward JP, Gordon J, Field MJ, Lehman HP. Communication  and  information technology in medical education. The Lancet.  2001 ; 357 (9258): 792-6.

6- Bahadorani M, Yamani N.  knowledge, attitude and practice of university faculty members about computer and Internet usage. Iranian Journal of Medical Education , 2002;2(1):13-18.

  [citd 2012 Jan 3]  Available from:http://www.medlib.ir/Article/Resource/PDFArticles/37/952/10737.pdf

7- Rasoolabadi M. Evaluation of teachers and other faculty members familiar with the methods of Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences on the Internet and related information on their scientific and research activities. Nama (Electronic journal of research and scientific evidence on Iran).2007;7(2).

  [citd 2012 Jan 3] Available from: http://www4.irandoc.ac.ir/data/e_j/vol7/rasoulabadi.htm

 

8- Latifnejad roodsari R, Jafari H, Hossein L, Asflany A. Mashhad University of Medical Sciences study of knowledge and attitudes towards e-learning. Iranian Journal of Medical Education, 2010;10(4): 364-373.

9- Nasseri  M. knowledge, attitude and Birjand faculty members about computer and Internet usage. In  2009. The final report of a research project with the code adopted by 308 Birjand.

10- Jwayyed S, Park TK, Blanda M, Wilber ST. Assessment of emergency medicine residents' computer knowledge and computer skills: Time for an upgrade? Academic Emergency Medicine 2002; 9(2): 138-142.

 

11- Rowe BH, Ryan DT, Terrien S, Mulley JV. First year family medicine residents' use of computers

knowledge, skills and attitudes. CMAJ 1995; 153(3): 267-272.

 

12- Abtahi, M. Evaluation of skills and professors and students of dental technology and Internet in the academic year  2007-2008 in Mashhad Dental School. Journal of Mashhad Dental School.2008;32(4):  257-262 . [citd 2012 Jan 3]  Available from: http://www.sid.ir/fa/VEWSSID/J_pdf/65913876701.pdf

13. Hollander S. Assessing and enhancing medical students' computer skills: a two-year experience. Bull Med.Libr Assoc 1999; 87(1): 67-73.

 

14- Gholami H, Dezhkam M, Valaee N. The Survey of level of information technology, and internet of faculty members of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.Medical Education 2001; 1(7).

15- Hayati Z, Pourzahra SH. Evaluation of the faculty members of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Persian Gulf and the Internet, according to factors such as gender, teaching experience, degree and academic rank. Journal of Education and Psychology, ShahidChamranUniversity, 2004; 10(3-4): 145-166.  [citd 2012 Jan 3]  Available from:http://www.sid.ir/fa/VEWSSID/J_pdf/52313820408.pdf