Background: The Bavarian Virtual University (BVU) offers resources to develop and implement e-learning courses and allows open access to information and provides the capacity to share information. Students of Bavarian universities can participate easily in these courses. Thus, the barriers to enter a university are now much lower. E-learning will be supported by the use of the learning and authoring software CASUS®. It optimises the creation of virtual patients and guarantees a common standard and a high quality throughout the whole e-learning course.
Methods: This paper describes the application process of proposals at BVU and the development process of online courses with CASUS® using the example of “General Practice”. The conceptual structure of the program and its specific rationale is presented herein. In addition, the number of participating students is analysed when the online course is integrated in the curriculum or when it is not.
Results: The e-learning course General Practice includes a total of 48 scenarios. They focus on the heuristics in General Practice of prevention and primary care. If the online courses are integrated in the curriculum, the number of students participating in e-learning courses increases. The integration of virtual patients (VPs) into practical training may improve the perceived benefit. Probably, there is no need for examinations to prove students’ knowledge if they can apply contents in the practical training. To answer this question, an evaluation of students’ and teachers’ perspective is needed. In addition, it is challenging to define one level of education for students of different universities. Hence, new methods are needed to develop and evaluate generally accepted standards that fit all participating universities and their students.
Conclusions: The application of proposals at BVU and creating VPs with the learning and authoring system CASUS®can be highly recommended to other universities, as well as the establishment of organisations like BVU in other countries.