Faculty (in North American usage) or academics (in British usage) refers to the academic staff of a university: professors of various ranks, lecturers, and/or researchers. The term faculty in this sense is most commonly used in this context in the United States and Canada, and generally includes professors of various ranks: adjunct professors, assistant professors, associate professors, and (full) professors, usually tenured (or tenure-track) in terms of their contract of employment. In British English “faculty” usually refers to a division of a university, but not to the employees.

Web 2.0 technologies (e.g., blogs, social networks, and wikis) are increasingly being used by medical schools and postgraduate training programs as tools for information dissemination. These technologies offer the unique opportunity to track metrics of user engagement and interaction.

Davidson et al. employed Web 2.0 tools to assess academic behaviors among neurosurgery residents.

They performed a retrospective review of all educational lectures, part of the core Neurosurgery Residency curriculum at the University of Toronto, posted on the teaching website (www.TheBrainSchool.net). The website was developed using publicly available Web 2.0 platforms. Lecture usage was assessed by the number of clicks, and associations were explored with lecturer academic position, the timing of examinations, and lecture/subspecialty topic.

The overall number of clicks on 77 lectures was 1079. Most of these clicks were occurring during the in-training examination month (43%). Click numbers were significantly higher on lectures presented by faculty (mean = 18.6, standard deviation ± 4.1) compared to those delivered by residents (mean = 8.4, standard deviation ± 2.1) (p = 0.031). Lectures covering topics in functional neurosurgery received the most clicks (47%), followed by pediatric neurosurgery (22%).

This study demonstrates the value of Web analytics tools in examining resident study behavior. Residents tend to “cram” by downloading lectures in the same month of training examinations and display a preference for faculty-delivered lectures 1).

Davidson B, Alotaibi NM, Guha D, Amaral S, Kulkarni AV, Lozano AM. Studying Behaviors Among Neurosurgery Residents Using Web 2.0 Analytic Tools. J Surg Educ. 2017 Nov-Dec;74(6):1088-1093. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.05.019. Epub 2017 Jun 2. PMID: 28583426.
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