Abstract

Background: Being aware of the limits of traditional discipline-based education, the Faculty of Dentistry at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) tasked basic medical science faculty members with developing a new integrated curriculum for undergraduate dental students to be applied in the 2014/2015 academic year.

Objective: To determine the students’ perceptions of the restructured curriculum and elicit student suggestions for improvement.

Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to all first-year dental undergraduate students (n=192) enrolled in the academic year of 2014/2015. The questionnaire was written in English and included standard questions designed to determine student satisfaction toward the restructured curriculum. The different variables in the study were analyzed with descriptive statistics and the significance level was measured by SPSS version 16, using the descriptive statistics and Chi-square test.

Results: At the end of the first year, a large majority of students rated their overall experience with the course as good or excellent and agreed that the connection between basic and clinical sciences was made clear in the dental relevance sessions. In general, students’ experience with the instructors was positive. However, although most students felt that assessment methods were fair and reflected the curriculum, the overall success rate was lower than that of the previous academic year (2013/2014) (P=0.002), when the traditional-discipline based curriculum was still in place. 

Conclusion: Having completed the first step of the restructuring of the first-year basic science dental curriculum, our plan for the next phase in the curriculum integration process is to increase inter-course and inter-topic integration and supplement the delivery of the course material with more clinical case scenarios.

 

Keywords: Integrated curriculum, Perception, Saudi Arabia, Undergraduate students
 
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