An online educational model in andrology for student training in the art of scientific writing in the COVID-19 pandemic.


Agarwal A(1), Leisegang K(2), Panner Selvam MK(1), Durairajanayagam D(3), Barbarosie C(4), Finelli R(1), Sengupta P(5), Dutta S(6), Majzoub A(1)(7)(8), Pushparaj PN(9)(10), Elbardisi H(7)(8), Sharma R(1), Gupta S(1), Arafa M(1)(7)(8)(11), Roychoudhury S(12), Alves MG(13), Oliveira PF(14), Henkel R(1)(15)(16).
Author information:
(1)American Center for Reproductive Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.
(2)School of Natural Medicine, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.
(3)Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Sungai Buloh, Malaysia.
(4)Department of Genetics, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania.
(5)Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Bioscience and Nursing, MAHSA University, Malaysia.
(6)Department of Oral Biology and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, MAHSA University, Malaysia.
(7)Male Infertility Unit, Urology Department, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar.
(8)Urology Department, Weill Cornell Medical-Qatar, Doha, Qatar.
(9)Center of Excellence in Genomic Medicine Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
(10)Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
(11)Andrology Department, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
(12)Department of Life Science and Bioinformatics, Assam University, Silchar, India.
(13)Department of Anatomy & Unit for Multidisciplinary Research in Biomedicine
(UMIB), Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar
(ICBAS), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
(14)QOPNA & LAQV, Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.
(15)Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Imperial College London, London, UK.
(16)Department of Medical Bioscience, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa.


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of the annual Summer Internship at the American Center for Reproductive Medicine (ACRM). To transit it into an online format, an inaugural 6-week 2020 ACRM Online Mentorship Program was developed focusing on five core pillars of andrology research: scientific writing, scientific methodology, plagiarism understanding, soft skills development and mentee basic andrology knowledge. This study aims to determine mentee developmental outcomes based on student surveys and discuss these within the context of the relevant teaching and learning methodology. The mentorship was structured around scientific writing projects established by the team using a student-centred approach, with one-on-one expert mentorship through weekly formative assessments. Furthermore, weekly online meetings were conducted, including expert lectures, formative assessments and social engagement. Data were collected through final assessments and mentee surveys on mentorship outcomes. Results show that mentees (n = 28) reported a significant (p < .0001) improvement in all criteria related to the five core pillars. These results illustrate that the aims of the online mentorship program were achieved through a unique and adaptive online educational model and that our model has demonstrated its effectiveness as an innovative structured educational experience through the COVID-19 crisis.