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Abstract

Purpose: Health science educators increasingly focus on preparing health science students to work in interdisciplinary environments. Interdisciplinary communication is often hindered by geographic distances, creating barriers to effective interdisciplinary practice. Information and communication technologies are tools that can help reduce these barriers. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that students learn to communicate and collaborate with other disciplines in both face-to-face and on-line settings. The purpose of this article is to describe students’ perceptions of developing team skills in an interdisciplinary team context using a blended learning format. Understanding the students’ experiences will help health science educators prepare students effectively to use these technologies to facilitate interdisciplinary teamwork. Method: An interdisciplinary team development course was redesigned to be offered in a blended (70% on-line asynchronous/synchronous activities) format to increase flexibility and to provide experience with using the advanced communication technologies. This paper presents qualitative results obtained from student focus groups. The focus groups captured the students’ perspectives of the development of interdisciplinary team competencies in a blended learning format.Results: Although students generally felt they developed interdisciplinary team skills in a blended learning environment, they also expressed mixed feelings about how the environment affected the process of team development. Conclusions: Students’ perceptions of developing and practicing team skills in an interdisciplinary team context were not compromised in a blended learning format. Future research can further explore the on-line dynamics among students from various disciplines and the impact of this type of learning as a team on clinical practice.

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