Rationale and Objectives: At the authors' institutions, faculty members and trainees work at multiple sites scattered miles apart, making it difficult to physically attend weekly teaching conferences. As a possible solution, a weekly online musculoskeletal teaching conference was undertaken. This quickly grew to include multiple other sites around North America. The authors share their experiences to assist other radiologists in organizing similar educational conferences. Materials and Methods: The conferences are run using the Citrix GoToMeeting online meeting system. It runs on multiple platforms, including Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Attendees use a wide variety of microphones, sound cards, powered speakers, and webcams. Most users have fast institutional Internet connections, though several attend via slower connections, such as 3G. Results: The conference has run successfully for 2 years, with participants logging in from 24 different sites in 18 states, two Canadian provinces, and three countries. About 48 sessions are held each year, with 10 to 15 sites joining the conferences each week and about 10 to 15 cases seen each week. Most attendees are from university medical centers, though several private practice radiologists attend regularly. Screen-sharing quality is superb, with no discernible difference between local and remote slide quality. Audio quality is usually quite good, particularly for those using computer audio. Audio feedback is an occasional problem, but this issue is now more easily addressed. No single time is equally convenient for participants scattered among four to six time zones. However, some sites find the conferences sufficiently valuable to rearrange their afternoon procedure schedules to reduce conflicts with the conferences. The social aspect of visiting weekly with friends and colleagues from afar is highly valued, as are seeing the wide range of pathology from other institutions and the ability to confer with colleagues on difficult cases. The conferences have also spawned several collaborative educational projects, such as an online journal club, a published book of conference cases, and an online musculoskeletal hardware atlas. Conclusions: The weekly online musculoskeletal conference described in this report has matured over 2 years from a peculiar experiment to a very popular conference. Cases not seen locally provide enrichment, and attendees gain educational opportunities not otherwise available. Other radiology groups should be able to create and maintain similar conferences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging