Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 379-382

What's best, online or on-site? The write a scientific paper course

1 Department of Paediatrics, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida MSD2090, Malta
2 Foundation Programme Malta, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida MSD2090, Malta
3 Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida MSD2080, Malta

Correspondence Address:
Jeremy Borg Myatt
Foundation Year 2 Doctor, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida MSD2090
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sja.sja_276_22

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Background: The ability to publish is a career-critical skill but requires the acquisition of a wide and disparate skill set. The Write a Scientific Paper (WASP) course was created in Malta in 2010, an intensive, three-day event. WASP is an accredited event held in Malta, London, and Bahrain. The COVID pandemic forced WASP to go online. This study compared satisfaction with WASP online as opposed to in-person by analyzing course feedback pre- and post-pandemic. Methods: Google forms are used to collect anonymous feedback on a Likert scale for various aspects of each WASP. The period 2017 to 2022 was used to compare four courses on-site and five courses online. Feedback on: Rate lectures, handouts, WASP overall and how likely are you to recommend WASP was compared. Results: Response rates were >60% and almost all Cronbach's Alpha values were >0.7. High satisfaction scores were achieved in all four questions (>4/5). There were no significant differences except in lectures, which scored well but fared slightly worse overall online. Conclusions: Migrating online does not necessarily lead to change/s in presentation contents but transforms delivery. Our results indicate that WASP is accepted online but the slightly lower lectures score implies that WASP might be better delivered in-person than online. However, students remained happy to recommend WASP and this accords with other studies that overall, student satisfaction with online education is common. It is hoped that as the pandemic recedes, webinars complement and not continue to totally replace traditional in-person meetings.

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