The use of online debates in teaching pharmacotherapy
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Given changes in the final year pharmacotherapy unit structure and calendar, along with a need to introduce assessments to encourage critical thinking, it was decided that online debates of therapeutic controversies would be beneficial. The primary objective was to assess the impact of teaching strategies on the development of argumentation skills and informal reasoning in pharmacy students. Students were provided with an introduction to argumentation followed by two formal debates, with feedback provided in between. Four debate groups were randomly selected for evaluation. In debate one, all groups posted one argument and all arguments were rationalistic and ranked as Level 3. For debate two, a total of 33 arguments were evaluated, with an overall median ranking of Level 2. Again, all debates were categorised as rationalistic. In general, students felt there was too much workload associated with the assignment. Changes in the future include providing the debates in patient scenarios to increase practical applicability.
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