RESEARCH ARTICLE: Feasibility of virtual mock trials as a parallel teaching-assessment activity for student pharmacists at two American pharmacy programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond




Active Learning, COVID-19, Debate, Mock Trials, Technology, Virtual


Background: Student-pharmacists forced into remote-learning by the COVID-19 pandemic participated in a Virtual Mock Trial (VMT). Objectives: Feasibility of VMTs was assessed by evaluating student VMT performance, student perceptions on technology and overall experiences.

Methods: The VMT was implemented via video conferencing technology in April 2020. Faculty-judges and student-jurors observed/rated student performance using pre-established rubrics. A post-VMT survey was administered electronically. Descriptive analyses were performed, and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests were conducted to compare programmes.

Results: Forty-six students from Programme A (East Coast, USA) and 89 from Programme B (West Coast, USA) participated in the VMTs. The faculty-judges’ evaluation scores for student performance ranged from 85.0% to 96.7%, while the student-jurors’ evaluation scores ranged from 68.3% to 100%. Student perceptions on the four categories regarding technology use all had means > 5 on a 7-Point Likert Scale. More than 79.0% of students rated their VMT experience positively (i.e. 6 or 7). 

Conclusions: VMT is feasible for the current pandemic remote-learning environment, and it could be replicated in other pharmacy or healthcare programmes to enrich students' active learning in virtual education.

Author Biographies

Shih-Ying H. Hsu, West Coast University School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, California, USA

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice

Ettie Rosenberg, West Coast University School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, California, USA

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, and Assistant Dean

Hoai-An Truong, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland, USA

Professor, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Lynn Lang, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland, USA

Director of Assessment, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions

Reza Taheri, Chapman University, Orange, California, USA

Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice, and Associate Dean School of Pharmacy


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Research Article