The cohort consisted of 42 students, the majority of whom were doctors and hospital managers, and of three non-Americans, I was the only European.
The teaching was designed as a combination of attendance on campus and online work from home over an 18-month period (3). The preparations included tests in mathematics and in the Excel spreadsheet program. Attendance at Dartmouth comprised a total of six weeks divided into four residency periods.
A normal day on campus consisted of 10 – 12 hours of teaching, followed by preparation for the following day. The Americans were ambitious: they generally rose at 5 a.m. and appeared to work non-stop. The course was arranged so that everyone took their own workplace as a starting point from which to address specific challenges presented there, and find solutions to these. The teachers were outstanding educationalists. They were familiar with our backgrounds and provided individual follow-up.
The iTunesU and Canvas platforms were used for the online teaching, and over time it was surprising how effective and natural this way of working became. The electronic solutions were designed so that even 10-minute breaks in the day could be utilised. The syllabus consisted of articles, videos and recordings of the teaching sessions, and was continuously updated on the electronic platform. The technical solutions and ICT support staff were impressive. Due to its innovative use of technology in teaching, the master’s programme was given recognition by Apple Inc. as a «distinguished program» in 2015 (4).
Online teaching and group work – a total of 3 – 4 sessions per week – largely coincided with afternoons or evenings in Norway, or daytime hours at weekends. My own submissions, comments on others’ submissions and a consistently high level of independent work were elements of the study programme. A professor led the sessions, and everyone was expected to participate actively.
Around 15 hours per week of independent work are stipulated, but considerably more time was often required. The student’s family must obviously have an understanding of the magnitude of this study programme before it is embarked upon.
The application process for Dartmouth requires references and personal interviews before admission. Foreign students must have a full-time student visa (F-1) in the USA.