The first semester was introductory in nature since the curriculum entailed multiple broad subjects, without specific narrow areas of learning. I can recall the Program Director attributing the general choice of disciplines in the first semester to the CODA standards. Specifically, he mentioned the importance of structuring curriculum with instructional hours, which must precede practical clinical hours, thus justifying the initial apparent lack of the later ones.
An effective learning environment presupposes proper motivation expressed by both teachers and students. In order to prepare for a new class, I would delve into the basics of the disciplines before the start of the semester. Although the material is difficult to master without an instructor’s support, it is possible to understand the general terms and the layout of the field that will be studied.
CODA standards make the environment necessary for the study of dental hygiene dense. Firstly, the number of students should reflect the availability of resources. The medical equipment for practical learning is expensive and limited. Therefore, for best results, it would make sense to limit the number of students to five per one piece of equipment. Secondly, the learning process should include both writing and communication. In essence, the ideal solution would be balancing lectures with seminars, which would require students to verbalize their knowledge.
Thirdly, the number of students per faculty should allow safely developing competence. The standards oblige assigning at least five students to one faculty for laboratory sessions and ten students for clinical practice. Safety is another requirement for an effective learning environment. Ideally, institutions should assign support personnel to clinical facilities, where programs are implemented. This is also relevant to the final standard, according to which all facilities should be provided with equipment for achieving educational and clinic purposes. The more students there are in the class, the more clinical stations should be, with one station being optimal for five students.