The Medical Faculty of the University of Helsinki decided to employ a web-based evaluation system as an integral and essential part of all courses beginning in the autumn term of 2006.
Objectives: To analyse the effects of the intervention on dental students’ web-based responses at the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Subjects and Methods: A previously developed web-based tool was used for all preclinical and clinical courses from the beginning of the 2006—2007 academic year. We analysed data sets of student feedback for all courses before (2005—2006) and after (2006—2007) the intervention. We then compared the quantity and quality of the students’ feedback for the six standardised questions used in the evaluation, and calculated the means and standard deviations of values obtained with a Likert scale. The students’ assessments in the open questions were categorised according to key issues.
Results: Implementation of the system resulted in a considerable increase in student feedback: the mean response rate for the preclinical phase rose from 59% (SD 15.0; range 25—80) before the intervention to 90% (SD 9.6; range 72—100) after it. In the clinical phase, the response rates more than doubled from 34% (SD 15.9; range 9—69) to 73% (SD 12.9; range 45—100). The students’ assessments showed no significant change despite the marked rise in response rates. The educators’ positive attitude towards the students was appreciated (4.2—4.3) whereas the general goals for the courses in the clinical phase seemed unclear to the students (3.4) (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Web-based evaluation as an integral part of all courses in the dental curriculum proved successful: shortly after the intervention, we observed a considerable increase in student feedback with no significant change in quality.