Title

Using Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to Explore How Students Understand Occupation: A Curricular Approach

Location

Room A

Start Time

18-10-2013 11:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2013 11:30 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

By the year 2017, we envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs (AOTA, 2007, paragraph 1). Hooper (2010) likened the centennial vision for occupational therapy to a “topographical map” (p.97). As educators, we need to assess the success of our programs in navigating future practitioners toward the centennial vision. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) research provides a means to study the development and implementation of occupational therapy curriculum in order to share implications that can guide the profession to our destination (McKinney, n.d.).

Occupation is the core domain of the profession. Understanding human engagement in occupation in order to meet the occupational needs of society requires students to understand, integrate, synthesize and apply knowledge related to neuroanatomy, kinesiology, medical conditions, political-social-economic contexts in which occupations occur, theory and research in occupational therapy and occupational science.

In this presentation we will draw on data from a SOTL project conducted by three faculty members of an occupational therapy program that examined transfer of learning across a curriculum. Transfer of learning has been defined as the application of knowledge from one context to a new context (Mestre, 2002). Transfer of knowledge is crucial for students to understand and build upon a broad base of knowledge in order to competently meet the occupational needs of future clients in practice. The faculty within the program has identified occupation as a core concept guiding the curriculum and believes that occupation is a focus within and across courses. An aim of the project was to understand how students use knowledge of occupation and occupational performance in order to develop occupation-based interventions. Data collection methods included interviews with occupational therapy students and video of students working through a case in a course using a problem-based learning format. Findings from this study reveal what topics cohere for students and how they use and understand the concept of occupation. Hooper (2010) proposes that weak linkages between topics and knowledge of occupation will make it unlikely that the profession will hit the mark in 2017.

Collaborative projects, such as the one described in this presentation, that explore curricular-wide questions instead of course-specific questions within SOTL approaches, have the potential to provide faculty with information about how the learning experiences across a curriculum are considered and incorporated into the practice of students and their development of an understanding of occupation. We can learn from what students do and do not say, to what they attend, what knowledge they use and what is implied in the development of their interventions. A SOTL approach offers a critical lens to directly address our occupational therapy education and indirectly occupational therapy practice in order to determine if core curricular concepts (i.e. occupation) are truly being understood and used by occupational therapy students as they integrate and use knowledge of occupation in occupational therapy contexts.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the value of SoTL research as a vehicle to evaluate the implementation of an occupational therapy curriculum that is presumed to be occupation based.
  2. Describe the importance of the transfer of key information/concepts across the curriculum.
  3. Understand how students integrate concepts of occupation with other related knowledge.
  4. Understand the barriers to, and strategies for, the transfer of learning across the curriculum.

Keywords: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, learning transfer, occupational therapy curriculum

References

AOTA (2007). The road to the centennial vision. Retrieved from http://www.aota.org/News/Centennial.aspx.

McKinney, K. (n.d.). What is the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) in higher education? Illinois State Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.sotl.ilstu.edu/downloads/pdf/definesotl.pdf

Mestre, J. (2002). Probing adults’ conceptual understanding and transfer of learning via problem posing. Applied Developmental Psychology, 23, 9-50.

Hooper, B. (2010). On arriving at the destination of the centennial vision: Navigational landmarks to guide occupational therapy education. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 24, 97-106.

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Oct 18th, 11:00 AM Oct 18th, 11:30 AM

Using Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to Explore How Students Understand Occupation: A Curricular Approach

Room A

By the year 2017, we envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs (AOTA, 2007, paragraph 1). Hooper (2010) likened the centennial vision for occupational therapy to a “topographical map” (p.97). As educators, we need to assess the success of our programs in navigating future practitioners toward the centennial vision. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) research provides a means to study the development and implementation of occupational therapy curriculum in order to share implications that can guide the profession to our destination (McKinney, n.d.).

Occupation is the core domain of the profession. Understanding human engagement in occupation in order to meet the occupational needs of society requires students to understand, integrate, synthesize and apply knowledge related to neuroanatomy, kinesiology, medical conditions, political-social-economic contexts in which occupations occur, theory and research in occupational therapy and occupational science.

In this presentation we will draw on data from a SOTL project conducted by three faculty members of an occupational therapy program that examined transfer of learning across a curriculum. Transfer of learning has been defined as the application of knowledge from one context to a new context (Mestre, 2002). Transfer of knowledge is crucial for students to understand and build upon a broad base of knowledge in order to competently meet the occupational needs of future clients in practice. The faculty within the program has identified occupation as a core concept guiding the curriculum and believes that occupation is a focus within and across courses. An aim of the project was to understand how students use knowledge of occupation and occupational performance in order to develop occupation-based interventions. Data collection methods included interviews with occupational therapy students and video of students working through a case in a course using a problem-based learning format. Findings from this study reveal what topics cohere for students and how they use and understand the concept of occupation. Hooper (2010) proposes that weak linkages between topics and knowledge of occupation will make it unlikely that the profession will hit the mark in 2017.

Collaborative projects, such as the one described in this presentation, that explore curricular-wide questions instead of course-specific questions within SOTL approaches, have the potential to provide faculty with information about how the learning experiences across a curriculum are considered and incorporated into the practice of students and their development of an understanding of occupation. We can learn from what students do and do not say, to what they attend, what knowledge they use and what is implied in the development of their interventions. A SOTL approach offers a critical lens to directly address our occupational therapy education and indirectly occupational therapy practice in order to determine if core curricular concepts (i.e. occupation) are truly being understood and used by occupational therapy students as they integrate and use knowledge of occupation in occupational therapy contexts.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the value of SoTL research as a vehicle to evaluate the implementation of an occupational therapy curriculum that is presumed to be occupation based.
  2. Describe the importance of the transfer of key information/concepts across the curriculum.
  3. Understand how students integrate concepts of occupation with other related knowledge.
  4. Understand the barriers to, and strategies for, the transfer of learning across the curriculum.

Keywords: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, learning transfer, occupational therapy curriculum