During the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector of Bangladesh suffered a lot. To adapt to this uncertain situation, the online teaching–learning method was introduced for the first time in the dental colleges to continue regular classes. This qualitative study explored the in-depth perception
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector of Bangladesh suffered a lot. To adapt to this uncertain situation, the online teaching–learning method was introduced for the first time in the dental colleges to continue regular classes. This qualitative study explored the in-depth perception among students of this new, affordable, flexible online learning method and to find out the scope of improvement of the delivery method. Two focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted, each including 6–8 participants (N = 16, the male/female ratio was 7:9) for gaining an in-depth understanding of the perception of online teaching among dental students. With the help of the trigger questions, the facilitator and moderators conducted both FGDs. By analyzing the focus group discussion, four distinct themes were identified. The main themes extracted from the data refer to the difficulties which students faced during participation in online classes (e.g., low attention span, unusual timing of classes, internet accessibility, power cut, boring content, etc.), advantages of online learning (e.g., saves time, able to continue studying during the lockdown, saves money, avoids commuting, being safe during a pandemic situation, one can participate in classes if sick, etc.), disadvantages of online classes (e.g., not feasible for clinical classes and lab works, lack of social interactions, lack of group study, long screen time, lack of after-class peer discussion, lack of engagement, etc.), and also scopes of improvements (e.g., technological training for staff, recorded classes, technological orientation for students, more engaging contents, online support, more interactive lessons, short duration of the class, break after 30–45 min, and also teachers training for online facilitation, etc.). In Bangladesh, the online teaching–learning method is not a regular practice. Most of the institutions were forced to adopt this method on very short notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Online education in a clinical subject such as dentistry requires a special training program, online content preparation, and interactive lesson delivery setup, which are big challenges for a resource-constrained medical education setup. The focus group discussion unveiled some key issues which indicated that there are many scopes for improvement in online teaching methods. With the help of the medical education department and through faculty development, the online learning sessions can be made attractive as well as beneficiary for the key stakeholders.