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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 156-162

Effectiveness of online E-teaching among dental students during COVID-19: A study from North India

1 Departments of Public Health Dentistry, Bhojia Dental College and Hospital, Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Periodontology, ITS Dental College, Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Departments of Paedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Bhojia Dental College and Hospital, Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India
4 Departments of Oralmaxillofacial Surgery, Bhojia Dental College and Hospital, Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India

Date of Submission21-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance12-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication23-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Avijit Avasthi
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Bhojia Dental College and Hospital, Baddi - 173 205, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdrr.jdrr_11_21

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Objective: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of instructor in conducting online e-teaching during COVID-19 among dental students across North India. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire consisting of an online teaching effectiveness scale comprising 12 items was shared among dental students pursuing undergraduation from various dental colleges across North India. Virtual sampling was used for inclusion of students and students shared an online questionnaire among their peers via WhatsApp and e-mail. Anonymity of students' responses was maintained. Data obtained were subjected to statistical analysis by SPSS Version 21.0 Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. Descriptive statistics was generated in frequency and percentage. The mean scores were obtained and comparison of students response was done using one-way analysis of variance. Results: About 96.4% responded to the online questionnaire. Students from 3rd year and 4th year perceived online e-teaching more effective when compared to mean scores obtained from 2nd year students with a significant difference. Students rated high with significant differences in teacher's ability to clear their expectation (P < 0.01), explanation of teaching content with meaningful examples (P < 0.02), and teaching seamlessly with planned schedule (P < 0.00). Conclusion: Therefore, preplanning and thorough training could further accelerate the efficiency and effectiveness of online e teaching.

Keywords: COVID-19, dental students, online e-teaching

How to cite this article:
Avasthi A, Sharma P, Kaur A, Kalra G. Effectiveness of online E-teaching among dental students during COVID-19: A study from North India. J Dent Res Rev 2021;8:156-62

How to cite this URL:
Avasthi A, Sharma P, Kaur A, Kalra G. Effectiveness of online E-teaching among dental students during COVID-19: A study from North India. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Oct 1];8:156-62. Available from: https://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2021/8/3/156/324410

  Introduction Top

Teaching patterns have radically transformed with advent of online e-teaching. Online e-teaching is nowadays promoted by higher-educational institutions and organizations. Online e-teaching offers several advantages such as ease of use for both instructor and students located at distant places, self-paced learning, simultaneous projection of audio–visual content, and customization of study material as per the student's need.[1] Although online e-teaching is comfortable, there could be technical glitches such as moderator/operator error.[1]

India reported the first case of COVID-19 on January 30, 2019, which emerged from Wuhan in China. The sudden surge of cases resulted in imposition of a nationwide wide lockdown by Government of India on 24th March which led to closure of educational institutions.[2] The need for physical distancing and isolation forced higher educational institutions to depart from the usual pedagogical method and resume teaching through online platforms like Zoom, Jitsi, Microsoft Team, and WebEx. Videoconferencing tools (digital videoconferencing [DVC], interactive videoconferencing [IVC], and web videoconferencing) came to the rescue of teachers to resume teaching disrupted by pandemic.[1] The focus of education/learning process shifted from passive teacher-centered learning to active learning-centered teaching/student centered.

The success of online teaching is dependent on teachers' expertise in online teaching, the readiness of students to listen attentively with rapt attention, and the quality of study material projected during online teaching.[3] Videoconferencing tools allow instructors to conduct classes and trainings in far-off locations. PowerPoint presentations shared via videoconferencing tools, for instance, DVC, IVC, and web-based/desktop-based resources help in teaching the subject.[1]

Online education is perceived flexible when compared to traditional classroom teaching. An instructor can engage the teaching in a flexible way. Students can construct questions and the instructor can obtain feedback from students. In traditional classroom teaching, students attend lectures, make notes, and ask questions in face-to-face teaching.[2]

Debate on effectiveness of videoconferencing tools is ongoing with a view that students taught using videoconferencing tools seemed less satisfied[4] in contrast to those taught by traditional classroom teaching and questions are also raised about student retention and lack of atmosphere for studying at home.[3],[5],[6] Irrespective of the medium by which students are taught whether traditional classroom/online if effectively applied will meet the desired outcome.

Students are well acquainted with online technology, but dental educators face the challenge in delivering the amount of study material in line with expectations of students. There is sufficient literature pertaining to perception, impact, and experiences of online e-teaching;[3],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] however, there are limited data assessing the ability of instructor in successfully conducting online e-teaching during COVID-19 crisis.

Thus, the above study was initiated to assess the effectiveness of online e-teaching in dental undergraduates during COVID-19.

  Materials and Methods Top

Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee bearing protocol number (BDC/2943) to conduct the study. Dental students pursuing dentistry from dental colleges across North India were incorporated. 12-item online teaching effectiveness (OTE) scale was used to judge the effectiveness of online e-teaching [Appendix 1]. A cloud-based platform “SogoSurvey” was used in developing the OTE scale and the online questionnaire form was shared with undergraduates through social media tools (WhatsApp and e-mail). The participants responded to the questionnaire by opening the e-link (https://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/CMFQy.j). To maximize the responses, virtual sampling was deployed and students shared online surveys among their contacts via social media tools such as WhatsApp and e-mail. The estimated time to complete the online-survey was <4 min and responses were obtained within 2 weeks in July 2020.

The OTE scale[13] is based on four factors promoting student learning and building of knowledge.

Four factors of OTE scale are as follows:

  1. Presence: Cultivating learning through social constructivism, effective communication, and quality instructional technique. Presence of strong social, cognitive, and teaching presence
  2. Engagement: Fostering engagement in the classroom and obtaining feedback
  3. Expertise: Demonstration of expertise in delivery of content and maintenance of technical expertise
  4. Facilitation: Conducting classroom interactions in implementing planned activities. Monitoring and supervision of learning process and managing communications.

Demographic details such as age, gender, and year of undergraduation were gathered. Responses of 12-item OTE scale were gathered on a 7-point Likert scale and responses ranked from 1= completely disagree to 6= completely agree.

Pretesting of 12-item OTE scale was conducted in a small sample and the internal consistency obtained was Cronbach's alpha (~0.89).

The data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences Version 21.0, Armonk, NY: IBM Corp.[14] Descriptive statistics was recorded in frequency and percentage. Comparison of student's response to effectiveness of online e-teaching was done by the analysis of variance (ANNOVA) in obtaining mean scores. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05.

  Results Top

There were 197 students who participated, but seven responses were incomplete and excluded; as a result, 190 responses were recorded yielding a 96.4% response rate. The mean age of participants was 22.2 (standard deviation: 1.08) years. About 15.8% (n = 30) of the respondents were in 2nd year, 41.5% (n = 79) enrolled in 3rd year, and 42.6%(n = 81) were final-year undergraduates.

42.6% (completely agree) to instructor sharing relevant professional experiences and 43.7% (completely agree) that instructor displayed enthusiasm for new mode of teaching. Instructor online material had a good presentation which was agreed by 41.6% of the participants. Similarly, more than one-third of the participants agree upon the effectiveness of the instructor to generate interest and presentation of materials in novel ways.

However less than one-third differed upon presentation of materials through meaningful examples. Proper scheduling of classes and meeting deadlines was agreed by students. Most of the students agreed upon the subject matter knowledge and instructor showing respect to students. Similarly, more than half of the participants agree that the instructor was able to meet up to their expectations. Timely responses to questions and doubts raised by students were met by the instructor. Engaging with students during offline was agreed by students [Table 1].
Table 1: Student's response to effectiveness of instructor in conducting theoretical online e-teaching during COVID-19 using online teaching effectiveness Scale

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The mean score of students' responses was computed and compared using one-way ANOVA [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparing mean score of student's response to effectiveness of instructor in conducting online e-teaching during COVID-19 by analysis of variance

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There was a statistically significant difference between groups of students in respect to ability of instructor conveying meaningful examples demonstrated by one-way ANNOVA (F(2,187) = 3.713, P = 0.02). Similarly significant difference in meeting schedules and deadlines between groups of students (F(2,187) = 6.593, P = 0.00) and significant differences emerged in clearing expectations between groups of students (F(2,187) = 4.123, P = 0.01) [Table 2].

  Discussion Top

Online e-teaching was felt effective by less than one-half of the respondents in the present scenario of COVID-19, which differed with trends from earlier studies[9],[11],[12],[15] which could be attributed to familiarity and ease of comfort with face-to-face teaching. The unwillingness to accept and adopt videoconferencing tools and less familiarity with technology were the factors responsible for low effectiveness of online e-teaching in dental curricula.[5],[9],[15]

Teaching modality does influence the effectiveness of teaching which could be gauged due to the burden of course content on teachers to effectively impart knowledge through online mode.[5]

Still, more than one-half of the respondents felt that their teachers were able to clear their expectations through online e-teaching. The potential of online e-teaching within dental institutions in India needs to be fully explored since online e-teaching effectiveness was greater in western dental schools and in the Middle East[8],[11],[12],[15] owing to better infrastructure and adaptability of the instructor in conveying knowledge through e-resources such as projecting clinical videos and podcasts.[16]


Our study did not pursue assessment of practical preclinical training through online mode which is pursued unlike in western dental schools.[9] Internet connectivity was one of the constraints reported in executing online e-teaching.[16] Interacting with students via offline was not discussed. Another pitfall of the study is the hidden biases (acquiescence bias, social desirability bias, and extreme responding bias) obtained using Likert scale in gathering responses.


Obtaining feedback through online mode would enable teachers to re-strategize teaching for smooth transition from traditional teaching to online e-teaching.[10] Nowadays, three-dimensional (3D) viewer software technology and virtual reality technology may in long run help teachers to improvise their skills, but the cost-effectiveness of online e-teaching in developing countries also should be considered.[9] There is a belief that self-explanation and self-monitoring strategies adopted in online e-teaching would improve learning outcomes[7] 3D educational programs may widen the scope and efficiency of online e-teaching which may accelerate students' spatial ability and increase critical thinking.[9] Online simulation with dental manikins and haptic based simulator may also offer a solution in conducting preclinical training to students, but it is an expensive proposition.[17]

Facilitating cooperative learning techniques in teaching practices, for instance, think-pair-share, jigsaw, and reciprocal teaching may improve academic grades, enhance self-esteem, and improve personal and social development of students.[18] Teaching by incorporating problem-solving should be encouraged since it shapes analytical skills. Matching teaching styles and learning styles should be integrated and tested in teaching methodology. Evidence from previous studies has shown reformation in learning, behavior, and attitude among students where teaching styles are paired with learning styles.[19]

Recommendations suggested by stakeholders comprising parents and student volunteers should be considered such as lowering cognitive load of teaching content, integrating case-based learning, and framing lesson plans in accordance with students' need may improve learning outcomes from online e-teaching.[20],[21]

Post pandemic, the sustenance of online teaching in long run will require innovation in terms of presentation of content, effective communication, and a team approach for effective delivery of this teaching practice.[22] Embracing heutagogy in e-learning shall also be promoted focusing on competency-based and skill-based learning.[22]

  Conclusion Top

Theoretical online e-teaching was perceived reasonably effective by dental undergraduates and this was one of the initial studies assessing the effectiveness of online e-teaching during COVID-19 in India. Dental colleges in India should try to invest and collaborate with IT sector in conceptualizing and designing dental curriculums so that web-based learning tools can be effectively and efficiently utilized.

Ethical clearance

BDC/BUDH/2943. dated 13th July 2020.

[TAG:2]Appendix 1 [/TAG:2]


Effectiveness of theoretical online e-teaching in dental students during COVID-19 using the online teaching effectiveness scale: A new assessment tool for online education:

Note: Tick mark the appropriate answer and only 1 answer

Demographic information:

  • Do you wish to participate:

  • ◻ ◻

    Yes No

  • Gender:

  • Male ◻ Female ◻

  • Date of Birth:


  • BDS:

2nd Year:

3rd Year:

4th Year:

Q1. Instructor sharing their relevant professional experiences:

Q2. Instructor enthusiasm for teaching:

Q3. Instructor good presentation skills

Q4. Instructor creativity to increase student interest

Q5. Instructor presentation/explanation of material in novel way

Q6. Instructor demonstrate meaningful examples

Q7. Instructor respect for students

Q8. Instructor subject matter knowledge

Q9. Instructor meets schedules and deadlines

Q10. Instructor clear expectations

Q11. Instructor timely response to questions

Q12. Instructor offline and online availability

  References Top

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COVID-19 Pandemicinindia-Wikipedia. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_India. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 11].  Back to cited text no. 2
Asiry MA. Dental students' perceptions of an online learning. Saudi Dent J 2017;29:167-70.  Back to cited text no. 3
Al Samarraie H. A scoping review of videoconferencing systems in higher education: Learning paradigms, opportunities, and challenges. Int Rev Res Open Distrib Learn 2019;20:120-40.  Back to cited text no. 4
Paul J, Jefferson F. A comparative analysis of student performance in an online vs. face-to-face environmental science course from 2009 to 2016. Front Comput Sci 2019;1:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kidd RS, Stamatakis MK. Comparison of students' performance in and satisfaction with a clinical pharmacokinetics course delivered live and by interactive videoconferencing. Am J Pharm Educ 2006;70:1-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Dell CA, Low C, Wilker JF. Comparing student achievement in online and face-to-face class formats. MERLOT J Online Learn Teach 2010;6:30-42.  Back to cited text no. 7
Turkyilmaz I, Hariri NK, Jahangiri L. Students perception of the impact of E-learning on dental education. J Contemp Dent Pract 2019;20:617-21.  Back to cited text no. 8
Zitzmann NU, Matthisson L, Ohla H, Joda T. Digital undergraduate education in dentistry: A systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:1-23.  Back to cited text no. 9
Bhardwaj A, Nagandla K, Swe KM, Abas AB. Academic staff perspectives towards adoption of E-learning at Melaka Manipal Medical College: Has E-learning redefined our teaching model? Kathmandu Univ Med J 2015;13:12-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Moazami F, Bahrampour E, Azar MR, Jahedi F, Moattari M. Comparing two methods of education (virtual versus traditional) on learning of Iranian dental students: A post-test only design study. BMC Med Educ 2014;14:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
Sarsar F, Kaval ME, Klasser GD, Güneri P. Impact of internet supported dental education: Initial outcomes in a study sample. J Hum Sci 2016;13:4986-97.  Back to cited text no. 12
Cumella E, Blackman G, Fournier ER. The Online Teaching Effectiveness Scale: A New Assessment Tool for Online Teaching. Available from: https://.purdueglobal.dspacedirect.org'bitstream'handle'1. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 01].  Back to cited text no. 13
IBM Corp. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows. Ver. 21.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp; 2012. Available from: https://www. ibm.com'support'pages'spss statistics 210 a. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 02].  Back to cited text no. 14
McCann AL, Schneiderman ED, Hinton RJ. E-teaching and learning preferences of dental and dental hygiene students. J Dent Educ 2010;74:65-78.  Back to cited text no. 15
Machado RA, Bonan PR, Perez DE, Martelli JÚnior H. COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on dental education: Discussing current and future perspectives. Braz Oral Res 2020;34:e083.  Back to cited text no. 16
Deery C. The COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for dental education. Evid Based Dent 2020;21:46-7.  Back to cited text no. 17
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Abu-Asba A, Azaman H, Mustafa R. A match or mismatch between learning and teaching styles in science education. Int J Educ Teach Styles Sci Educ 2014;2:1-10.  Back to cited text no. 19
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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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