In 1985 we introduced a extracurricular teaching program for the undergraduate course of medicine in the medical college of the State University of Campinas, one of the three íoneering programs of its kind in Brazil and Latin America. The course director (R.M.E.S.) was entirely responsible for the course's creation, search for funding, development of the teaching software packages, exercises, texts, etc., as well as theoretical classes, mentoring and tutoring. Several assistant instructors were trained and helped with ministering the practical lab classes and tutoring students.

The program was composed of two successive and interrelated theoretical and practical disciplines to students of first to sixth semesters of the medical course (which in Brazil, has the duration of 12 semesters, including the undergraduate internship in the last year).
These courses were offered once a week. on a half period (3 hours), during the entire teaching semester.

The first course was meant to be a general introduction to computers and to develop computer skills and awareness and usage of basic resources, such as operation of computers, operating system (Windows) and the Windows Office package of productivy tools (Word, Excel and Access), internet and web use and surfing, and the use and management of medical bibliographic searches. It was offered always in the first semester of the year, and was a prerequisite for the second course, for students with litttle or no basic knowledge of computers.

The second course was devoted to several practical applications of computers to medicine, and was intensely based on the hands-on use of many software packages developed by us in the Center for Biomedical Informatics (a separate interdisciplinary and interfaculty center) for the express purpose of constituting a practical laboratory supporting teaching and learning. This course was always offered in the year's second semester. Students who already could testify for an adequate level of computer use knowledge were dispensed of taking MD-003 and take MD-005 directly

Both courses were offered uninterruptedly from 1985 to 2002 (17 years). Class size was limited to 16 to 20 students, due to the computer laboratory which was made available by the Center of Biomedical Informatics, and later, by the Medical School'a Didactic Support Center.

Initially (1985 to 1992), we used CPM-based 8 bit computers, and later on, IBM PC-based 16 bits computers.

Starting 1997, we developed a proprietary Web-based support site, containing the teaching program, on-liine bibliography and internet study resources, downloadable software example packages and exercise data files, the syllabus, course calendar and communication tools (email and web forum). Starting 2001, we began to use a LMS (Learning Management System) developed by the University Computer Center (TelEduc), with many more tools and resources. Eventually, all the course sites were ported to the Moodle LMS.

Along time, as more and more students were admitted to the Medical School with a reasonable level of knowledge of computers, MD-003 was eventually phased out, and we offered MD-005 only, twice per year.


In 1998 we extended and adapted the MD-005 course to the undergraduate nursing curriculum, thus becoming a separate course, ministered in collaboration with a nursing professor colleague. This course was, and still is, mandatory.


Copyright © 1998 by Renato M. E. Sabbatini, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil - All rights reserved.