Adapting to a new reality: COVID-19 coronavirus and online education in the health professions


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Amy E Seymour-Walsh1
PhD, Lecturer, Clinical Educator Development *

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Andy Bell2
MEd, Lecturer, Paramedicine

Anthony Weber3 MHlthSci, Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching)

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Tony Smith4
PhD, Academic Lead (Research)


1 College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Sturt Rd, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia

2 School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Southern Queensland, 11 Salisbury Rd, Ipswich, Qld 4305, Australia

3 School of Business and Law, Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, Qld 4701, Australia

4 Department of Rural Health, University of Newcastle, 69a High Street, Taree, NSW 2430, Australia

ACCEPTED: 19 May 2020

early abstract:

Context: The current novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has effected a significant change in the way industry-based and tertiary health professions education (HPE) can occur. Advice for strict, widespread social distancing has catalysed the transformation of course delivery into fully online design across nations. This is problematic for HPE, which has traditionally relied on face-to-face learner interaction, in the form of skills laboratories, simulation training, and industry-based clinical placements.
Issues: The transition to online-only course delivery has brought with it a need to address particular issues regarding the construction and delivery of quality curricula and education activities. It is in this context that regional, rural and remote (RRR) health professionals and academics can provide invaluable insights into the use of technology to overcome the tyranny of distance, promote high quality online HPE, and enable the ongoing development of communities of practice.
Lessons: The purpose of this series is to address the risks and opportunities in the current transition to online HPE, and provide practical solutions for educators who are now unable to embrace more traditional face-to-face HPE delivery methods and activities.