The AAO has made a restricted gift of $300,000 to the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF). The gift, which was disbursed to three universities, will help conduct a Distance Learning Project to determine effective methods of interactive Internet-based instruction, including small-group seminar discussions for graduate orthodontic programs.

“It seemed like it (the research) could be a part of a bigger effort,” says David Hall, DDS, adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill . “The determined methods will be valuable and will allow us to share faculty resources. This won’t replace full-time faculty, but will enhance and enrich programs.”

Using video-conferencing and Internet2® network applications, the Ohio State University , the University of Louisville , and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will conduct pilot tests and Internet-based instruction, which will be compared to traditional teaching methods. The researchers will evaluate the educational impact of the instruction and how it affects those presenting, those listening, and the passive viewer.

The universities are in the midst of implementing the project. Faculty members are currently conducting clinical conferences and one-topic seminars, delivered in different interactive styles, including a videoconference.

A preliminary project report will be given during the J. Daniel Subtelny Education Leadership Conference, which will be held in conjunction with the 106th AAO Annual Session in May.