Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Web 2.0 and undergraduate occupational therapy education

A number of people have recently inquired as to how we are utilizing web 2.0 applications in our undergraduate programme, so I thought I’d post the answer here. I’ll start with level 1, and cover subsequent levels in subsequent posts.

At level 1 our students are encouraged to set up a del.ici.ous site and are given guidance on how to do this. Guidance is available via the VLE (blackboard), or from those tutors who also use the application for bookmarking important material and sharing it with others. We have the link to del.ici.ous on the blog if you are unfamiliar with it.

First years are encouraged to visit this blog and others, and to contribute whenever they feel the urge. We encourage this in order that our students develop confidence in their own thoughts and opinions, as well as the ability to communicate succinctly in the written form. Blogging also exposes students to the multinational aspect of OT which we recognise as an important aspect of their training. Again links to other OT blogs can be found on the right hand side of this page.

Level1 (and level 2 and 3 students) have access (via blackboard) to discussion forums, file sharing facilities and wikis in order to facilitate PBL session and other project working. The forums and group pages are relatively long standing initiatives, however we will introduce wikis for the first time this year. As first year students are overwhelmed with information at this time of year, it is probably that exposure to wikis will happen in semester 2, when they are confident with other aspects of the technology.

From a lecturers perspective these things offer added value to the programme particularly as we can monitor student contributions which enables us to quickly identify and support anyone who seems to be struggling. It is important to us however, to get a student perspective on the value of web 2.0 application in OT education and to this end we intend to conduct our own research. In the meantime any comments, especially from students are very much appreciated. Please respond by clicking on "comments" below.


Merrolee said...

Kia ora Sarah and the OT Staff at Salford

How are we using Web 2.0 applications at the School of Occupational Therapy, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin New Zealand?

At first year we start the first year students of on Del.icio.us - we think its a great tool for helping students find resources quickly and if enough of us were saving our sites on del.icio.us it would soon become the first stop for students. Jackie teaches the students how to use del.icio.us by taking them to the computer suite and assisting the students to set up their sites, to start adding in etc. I'm not sure what visual resources she provides along this.

In second year, James has the students set up a private blog where they record their learnings and experiences of using technology - they learn a range of online tools (as well as offline) including Flickr, YouTube etc. Again many of his classes are in the computer suite.

Back in first year, Graeme is looking to use a wiki for our students in psychology to pull together and summarise their learning about various concepts covered in the lectures and tutes - this will be new next year so will be a good trial!

Umm.. we've also tried using Google docs with our postgrad students but not very successfully...

We use Blackboard extensively across all three years. All resources for students are provided via Blackboard, and we use the discussion forums in Blackboard - mainly for the support of students when they are out on fieldwork placement.

Would be happy to help out with any resources/ideas for your planned research. I'm currently writing up for publication (perhaps in OT International) the results of a research project carried out with occupational therapists earlier this year... and am about to leap into a new study with academics and students about how Web 2.0 can support, develop, facilitate digital information literacy. Depending on your research questions its good to consider factors such as self-efficacy as this appears from our earlier research to have a huge impact on people's comfortableness with the technology..

So thats it for now I think.. but if I remember any others I'll come back here and post them.


Sarah said...

Thanks again for you comments.
How have your students found using the applications? How do you engage those who may be a little wary? Or do you need to? Do you feel there are any disadvantages to taking this route? Are we loosing other skills? Questions questions........

Merrolee said...

Hi Sarah
Good questions - I'll point Jackie in the direction of this posting as she can answer to the using del.icio.us and then James as he can talk more about how he used the blogs in the second year course.

The wiki will be trialled for the first time next year - but again I'll send Graeme your way as he may be wanting to ask the same question of you!!!!