Medical School Faculty Perceptions of Online Education: Implications for the Future of Medical Education

Anita Samuel*, Beth King, Ronald M. Cervero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Many medical school faculty view the educational changes wrought by the pandemic as an aberration and are eager to return to traditional face-to-face teaching. To encourage faculty to continue with online teaching, it is important to understand medical school faculty experiences of teaching virtually during the COVID-19 shutdowns and how that has affected their perceptions of teaching. A qualitative study was undertaken at X School of Medicine (SoM), University X, to understand the barriers and motivators to medical school faculty embracing virtual teaching. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with medical school faculty who had taught courses during the 2020–2021 academic years and continued to teach in 2022. The interviews were thematically analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s framework. Five themes emerged: (1) the advantages of virtual teaching, (2) the challenges of virtual teaching, (3) factors that enable virtual teaching, (4) strategies for success, and (5) the future of teaching. Faculty appreciated the flexibility provided by technology but were also challenged by the reduced interpersonal interactions in virtual teaching. Technology was also challenging in the skillsets and resources needed to use it successfully. Faculty appreciated just-in-time and personalized training, which enabled them to be more successful in virtual teaching. Faculty have come to accept that there are aspects of virtual teaching that are beneficial to learners and should be continued. There is an openness to integrating virtual teaching into the traditional format of face-to-face teaching. However, they need robust institutional support to continue online teaching in medical school.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Distance Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


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