Technology Associated With Dental Prosthetics and Learning Experiences: Collaborative Initiative, Australian and Norwegian

Technology Associated With Dental Prosthetics and Learning Experiences: Collaborative Initiative, Australian and Norwegian

Jane Lesleigh Evans (Griffith University, Australia) and Trude Myhrer (Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3850-9.ch009
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Design and manufacturing of dental restorations has evolved to embrace digital technology. So too has the paradigm of learning and teaching dental prosthetics. Once a didactic teacher-driven process, it has become student-focused, reliant on collaboration and directed toward employability. This chapter describes the stages, processes, and experiences of developing a collaborative partnership to “internationalize” dental technologist curricula which led to a model for developing shared digital resources and enhanced work-integrated learning. The discussion is supported by reflection of dental technology student learning experiences from Oslo and Akershus University College and Griffith University. Issues, controversies, and problems are explored through a descriptive analysis of experiences that aim to encourage other academics to rethink curriculum design, delivery, and assessment to create international partnerships. International collaboration in higher education can provide academics with a platform to share digital resources and create flexible, transferable qualifications.
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This chapter takes the reader on a journey through the globalization of dentistry, the evolution of digital prosthetics culminating in an example of how dental technology education can evolve in the digital era. It will highlight the benefits that an international collaboration can create. The primary focus is to establish an understanding for the use of the flipped classroom as a teaching method through an international collaboration. In a flipped classroom, students prepare learning material (both theoretical and practical) before they attend physical classes, thus, enabling enhanced collaboration between students and academics to resolve issues related to prosthetic cases. Developing demonstrations for practical use in dental technology will support the teaching teams and provide flexible learning opportunities. To succeed with this flipped classroom approach as a teaching method, it is helpful to embrace the PICA model, which includes four key elements: presentation, interaction, collaboration and analysis. These will be elaborated on throughout the chapter.

The intent of the international collaboration described in this chapter is to ensure qualifications are relevant, transparent, and transportable. To achieve this, curricula was mapped, assessment moderated and student exchange experienced - all were consistent with contemporary dental technology practices. The stages and experiences of developing a collaborative partnership to ‘internationalize’ dental technology curricula has raised motivation and a desire to develop and share digital resources, and enhance opportunities for work integrated learning. This is a distinct advantage for the students and teaching team which promotes engagement and continued learning.

To achieve a successful international collaboration, a reliable open, online platform is necessary. One such example is Open EdX using a mobile application, and platform to meet a wide variety of requirements. This enables program designers to collaborate and develop accessible course content. The international program development team, situated in Norway, aims to develop courses collaboratively that can serve students all over the world thus enhancing consistency and transportability of qualifications. The project has been going for a number of years beyond this dental technology venture, and continues to grow.

Overview of Internationalization in This Project

Internationalization in the context of this study refers to the development of a curriculum that: spans international boundaries, fosters personal development through international exchanges, cultivates world standards of contemporary standards in dental technology and promotes sharing of knowledge. The purpose is to enable qualifications to be transparent, tractable and transferable. Students and academic staff experience shared affiliations that promote connectedness and collaboration.

Context: Description of Collaboration Between Griffith University Australia and Oslo and Akershus University College Norway Dental Technology Programs

The collaboration commenced in 2011 when the previous Head of Department for Radiography and Dental Technology programs at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) Norway, invited the dental technology Program Director from Griffith University (Griffith) Australia, to visit Oslo to investigate opportunities for collaboration. During this time, the team alliance sprouted with a study to compare Interprofessional Education (IPE) between the programs of study (Evans et al., 2015). The next year, program directors established a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable the sharing of curricula, and discover different approaches to learning and teaching. After mapping and auditing of curricula, a pilot study was conducted to moderate assessment. This enabled all students at each location to complete the same practical tests across five areas of dental technology. In 2013, the process of assessment moderation was refined and calibration of markers was achieved from site visits and online discussions (Myhrer et al., 2015). Furthermore, some minor changes were implemented to curricula and the learning, teaching and assessment strategies were viewed as congruent and worthy of an exchange agreement. The student exchange opportunity was created in Semester 5 for Oslo students and Trimester 1 final year for Griffith students, and staff exchanges recommended. The goal was to increase consistency, transparency and portability of dental technology education, and the collaboration continues.

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