Online Pharmacy Orientation: Design, Assessment, and Benefits

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What is the primary purpose of pharmacy orientation courses?

To introduce students to the field of pharmacy

Which aspect of pharmacy practice is typically covered in the course content?

Role of pharmacists in the healthcare system

What is a common responsibility discussed in the first section of the online pharmacy orientation course?

Monitoring drug therapy

Which element is NOT typically included in the design of online pharmacy orientation courses?

Exclusive focus on surgical techniques

What formative assessment strategy is highlighted in online pharmacy orientation courses?

Student-generated multiple-choice questions

Why have online pharmacy orientation courses become increasingly popular?

Due to their flexibility and accessibility

What is the primary focus of the third section on the professional components of pharmacy?

Ethical and legal aspects of the profession

Which assessment strategy involves peer-to-peer interaction and exchanging ideas among students?

Student-Generated Multiple-Choice Questions

Why are student-generated multiple-choice questions considered beneficial?

They foster active engagement with course material

Which assessment strategy may not be of interest to students according to the text?

Instructor-Created Examinations

What is one drawback mentioned about instructor-created multiple-choice examinations?

Result in excessive memorization of detailed facts

Which assessment strategy involves analyzing and evaluating current pharmacy-related research and developments?

Pharmacy-Related Article Critique

Study Notes

Pharmacy Orientation: An Online Approach to Engaging Students in Pharmacy Education


Pharmacy orientation is an essential component of pharmacy education, providing students with an introduction to the profession and its core principles. As the field of pharmacy continues to evolve, online pharmacy orientation courses have become increasingly popular due to their flexibility and accessibility. In this article, we will explore the design, assessment, and benefits of online pharmacy orientation courses, highlighting the use of student-generated multiple-choice questions as an effective formative assessment strategy.

Design of Online Pharmacy Orientation Courses

Online pharmacy orientation courses are designed to provide a comprehensive, flexible, and accessible learning experience for students interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy or those who require specific course requirements. Course content is typically divided into three sections, focusing on the role of pharmacists, the philosophy of pharmacy practice, and the professional components of the profession.

Role of Pharmacists

The first section of the course introduces students to the role of pharmacists within the healthcare system. This includes a discussion of the pharmacist's responsibilities, such as providing medication therapy management, monitoring drug therapy, and promoting patient adherence to prescribed medications.

Philosophy of Pharmacy Practice

The second section delves into the philosophy of pharmacy practice, emphasizing the importance of patient-centered care, collaboration with healthcare professionals, and the integration of pharmacotherapy into overall patient care plans.

Professional Components of Pharmacy

The third section focuses on the professional components of pharmacy, including the ethical and legal aspects of the profession, documentation requirements, and the importance of communication skills in the pharmacy setting.

Assessment Strategies in Online Pharmacy Orientation Courses

Efficient and effective assessment strategies are crucial for online pharmacy orientation courses to gauge students' understanding and engagement with the material. Several assessment strategies have been employed over the years, including:

Student-Generated Multiple-Choice Questions

A formative assessment strategy involving student-generated multiple-choice questions was developed for use in a high-enrollment, online course. This approach enables students to actively engage with the material, fosters critical thinking, and encourages self-assessment of learning progress.

Discussion Board Responses

Students have been asked to post responses to a discussion board for each topic, providing an opportunity for peer-to-peer interaction and the exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Pharmacy-Related Article Critique

Another assessment strategy involves having students choose and critique a pharmacy-related article, allowing them to analyze and evaluate current pharmacy-related research and developments.

Instructor-Created Examinations

Instructor-generated, multiple-choice examinations have been used in the past, but they can result in excessive memorization of detailed facts and may not be of interest to students or central to understanding the profession.

Journaling on Content-Related Topics

Journaling on content-related topics has also been employed as an assessment strategy, providing students with an opportunity to reflect on their learning and make connections between course material and their future career aspirations.

Benefits of Student-Generated Multiple-Choice Questions

Using student-generated multiple-choice questions as a formative assessment strategy offers several benefits for both students and instructors:

Student Engagement and Learning

Student-generated questions foster active engagement with course material, encouraging critical thinking and self-assessment of learning progress.

Interrater Reliability

The grading rubric for these questions is consistent and reliable, ensuring that student responses are evaluated fairly and accurately.

Instructor Workload

The instructor perception is that the grading workload associated with this assessment strategy is manageable, allowing for efficient grading and feedback.

Transfer of Learning

This approach also evaluates whether the metacognitive strategy of generating multiple-choice questions transfers to other aspects of students' academic lives, promoting a more holistic learning experience.


Online pharmacy orientation courses are an innovative approach to providing students with a comprehensive introduction to the pharmacy profession. The use of student-generated multiple-choice questions as a formative assessment strategy has proven to be an effective way to engage students in the content, foster critical thinking, and support self-assessment of learning progress. This approach aligns with the educational philosophy of fostering active engagement with course material, a central tenet among educational scholars in the field of pharmacy education.

Explore the design, assessment strategies, and benefits of online pharmacy orientation courses. Learn about the role of pharmacists, philosophy of pharmacy practice, professional components of pharmacy, student-generated multiple-choice questions for assessment, and more.

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