In keeping with the university's mission, the University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Surgery's Division of Dental Hygiene strives to bring care to the underserved of Maryland. In aligning with this mission, the division has created two satellite baccalaureate degree programs in underserved areas of Maryland that can provide access to preventive care for local citizens. An electronic curriculum maintains equity in teaching for off-site students, with the entry-level baccalaureate degree program taking place online and serving the home campus and two remote facilities.
The remote areas of Maryland where we now provide dental hygiene care were also underserved educationally. Students from these regions were unable to obtain a dental hygiene education without relocating. Now prospective students can stay in their communities.
Our distance learning satellite centers are prime examples of combining access to the underserved with state-of-the art technology. The newest satellite teaching facility, set to open for dental hygiene students in fall 2009, will have the capacity for teledentistry and will house dental equipment that is futuristic and beyond state-of-the-art.
Currently, our faculty use sophisticated teaching/learning software including Lesson-Builder and Study Mate, two programs that appeal to multiple learning styles and that are compatible with Blackboard. We utilize lecture-capture systems that permit both synchronous and asynchronous learning, and faculty use a virtual dental school via Second Life. Students call in from distance sites during live lectures to ask questions or make comments. The technology to view students as they speak also is in place.
Distance education programs and indigenous clinical settings have provided a win-win for all: underserved students, underserved patients, the state of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Surgery's Division of Dental Hygiene.