In all the debate over online degree programs and MOOCs, non-academic uses for the format are frequently overlooked. While many are decrying online education as the ruin of brick-and-mortar universities, the term doesn’t necessarily have to mean taking courses or pursuing a degree at all. Rather, “online education” may simply denote using virtual tools to teach and inform others about a certain topic or interest.
Dental XP, an online dental education resource, is a fantastic example of this. The site boasts an extensive catalog of articles and videos “for dentists, by dentists,” including detailed surgical walkthroughs and orthodontic strategies. Members can purchase a premium account or join for free, meaning anyone can benefit from wealth of information and services available. Through the site, members can even access online courses and lectures taught by dental experts, or discuss related topics in the community forums.
Other dental professionals have embraced online education in smaller ways, utilizing the technology to better connect with their clientele. Jacksonville, Florida dentists Tiffany Shields, DMD, and Charles Prizzia, DDS, for example, created an interactive website in order to spread proper oral hygiene practices. Along with dentist bios, the site contains comprehensive information about procedures, before and after photos of patients, and a smile analysis test.
Dr. Shields says that "[w]ith all of the new techniques and products available in today's dentistry, some people feel the importance of knowing about these products or techniques before they schedule an appointment. Our website gives them the latest products and techniques available in our office with clear and concise information to help our patients understand the wide array of treatment options available."
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Douglas Goff also recently began offering educational resources online. He says, “We believe that informed patients are better prepared to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. This is why we have added new online education resources. We want all of our patients to be fully prepared for their appointments and to know exactly what to expect.”
Offering news and video links for patients to study will hopefully make them more knowledgeable about dental hygiene and the effect it has on their overall health. These professionals have found a way to incorporate education into their practices, offering an important service for both clients and the greater public at large.
“Dentist in Columbus Offers Helpful Educational Tools Online,” digitaljournal.com, February 13, 2013
“Jacksonville Dental Practice, Smiles by Shields, Turns toward Online Education to Reach Their Patients,” prleap.com, March 5, 2013