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The Use of Social Media in a Medical Physics Classroom

G Starkschall

G Starkschall*, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, HOUSTON, TX

SU-E-E-2 Sunday 3:00:00 PM - 6:00:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall


The purpose of this presentation is to provide an example of how Facebook has been used in a medical physics classroom.


Facebook was used in an introductory course in radiation interactions taken by graduate students in a CAMPEP-accredited medical physics program. Facebook served two major functions in the class, as a means for communicating announcements to students, and as a forum for discussion of unclear points in the course. At the end of every class, students were prompted to fill out a questionnaire asking them to identify points that were not clear. After class, all questions were posted by the instructor (so students maintained anonymity and did not have to be embarrassed by lack of knowledge). Students had 24 hr to post responses to their peers' questions. Students who responded correctly to peers' questions received additional in-class credit for their response, thus encouraging them to respond. After 24 hr, the instructor or a teaching assistant posted a response to the question.


12/16 students participated in discussions. The students who did not respond were all postdoctoral fellows (3/4 foreign) auditing the course. From 3 to 9 students typically responded to questions. Students responding to questions received credit for their responses (0.4 points per response up to a maximum of 5 points added to an in-class grade that counted for 10% of their final grade). Student evaluations of the use of Facebook were generally positive. Furthermore, use of Facebook for this application extended the time students were interacting with each other in medical physics.


The use of social media in a medical physics classroom appears to be an effective tool to incorporate into a teaching methodology.

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