Can medical school be taught online?
Yes and no. Clinical rotations must be done face-to-face in a teaching hospital. Period. There is no substitute for hands-on learning side-by-side with medical faculty. But, today’s technology does provide for the teaching of basic science and didactic material online.
Oceania University of Medicine (OUM) is one of a handful of medical schools worldwide that teaches much of its basic science and preclinical curriculum online. The first two years are taught in an online classroom with live lectures and small-group discussions. Recorded lectures are also provided, as are asynchronous lessons via the Internet which prepare students for licensing examinations such as the AMC Exam, USMLE Step 1, and NZREX.
“Now, time and place are not a factor in medical education,” says Scott Cunningham, MD, PhD, OUM’s Director of Curriculum. “This flexibility allows people who previously could not consider a medical career to overcome personal, family, professional, geographic, and other barriers to attend medical school.”
Indeed, most of OUM’s student body are working healthcare professionals—nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, respiratory therapists, and others. A growing number of recent college graduates – traditional-aged medical students – are also entering OUM’s student body.
The medical school’s clinical curriculum is taught in teaching hospitals around the United States, in Australia, and on OUM’s campus in Samoa. Students can also complete clinical rotations at institutions in American Samoa, New Zealand, and India. Graduates compete for global residency programs and are currently licensed to practice in Australia and the US.
Based in the South Pacific, OUM is accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, listed in the World Health Organization’s World Directory of Medical Schools, and recognized by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Located on the grounds of the National Hospital Complex in Apia, Samoa, OUM offers MD degrees to its graduates and has a current enrollment of 250 students from 12 countries. Graduates are receiving their post-graduate residency and internship specialty training at teaching hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, and the United States.