Two Physical Therapy faculty members, Dana Martin and Kelly Stephens, recently teamed up with Educational Technologies at Missouri (ET @ MO), a campus resource for faculty, to redesign two of their clinical education courses from the ground up using innovative technologies such as virtual tours and podcasts.
With help from two ET @ MO instructional designers, Ying-Hsiu Liu and Jarod Quinn, Martin and Stephens revamped PT 5260 Clinical Education and PhysZOU 1 earlier this year, and it debuted for PT students this fall. They are still working with ET @ MO to redesign Clinical Education and PhysZOU 2, which will be available for enrollment Spring 2019.
Instructional designer Ying-Hsiu Liu says these courses were good candidates for redesign because course instructors Martin and Stephens understood that this was an opportunity to revisit the course’s content and teaching method – they weren’t just looking for cool technology or additional equipment to spice up their course. Martin and Stephens also had a realistic timeline, and were willing to invest a lot of time over several months to work with the instructional designers.
These courses cover everything that PT students need to know, except actual PT skills, before they start their actual clinical rotations. For example: Medicare and billing practices, ethical considerations, communication skills, and other skills to prepare them for their first days with actual patients. Historically this course has been a “hodge podge” of information, but ET @ MO helped Martin and Stephens get to the core objectives the course needed to meet.
“They asked a lot of questions, which was really refreshing because they don’t know a lot about PT,” Martin says. “So they really walked us through the process of breaking everything down, pulling out what we wanted, helping us figure out what we wanted, and building it back up.”
Though this is technically not an online course (it’s called a hybrid, blending online learning with face-to-face time), ET @ MO helped them use Canvas, an online learning management system, to put much of the course’s content in modules for the students to access on their own, outside the classroom. This way students can access the content ahead of time, and instead of spending precious classroom time going over content that they can read on Canvas, that time can be used to further apply that knowledge with real-world cases and situations. This way of setting up a course is called a “flipped format.”
“Structure wise, I anticipate having more discussion, more hands-on activities, more application of the information,” Martin says. “Instead of standing up in front of the class and talking for 50 minutes and boring them to death about Medicare, we can have patient cases, or bring up some probable potential conflicts, so it’s more of a higher level of thinking versus ‘Ok I have to remember what Medicare A is vs. Medicare B.’”
A recent study of the flipped classroom format in a graduate setting showed that the flipped classroom “provides more opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, independently facilitate their own learning, and more effectively interact with and learn from their peers.”
Another advantage to this “flipped format” way of setting up the course is that the Canvas modules can be a source of information even after the course is technically over.
“We wanted them to be able to access certain things while they’re on their clinical,” Stephens says, “If they wanted to think about PTAs or if they wanted to refresh and look back over the Medicare information we covered, it would be a resource after the fact.”
In addition to the text content on Canvas, ET @ MO also helped Martin and Stephens with multimedia content, such as podcasts, interactive Google Maps, and a virtual tour of the PhysZOU clinic.
The podcasts are supplemental to the course, and they explore topics such as the relationship between Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants. “We went to their studio, so the podcast is much more professional,” Stephens says, “They’re doing things like adjusting the mics for the best quality, so they help with a lot of things that make it better quality than what we could do on our own.” ET @ MO even used designers to create a unique, professional looking logo for their podcast.
The virtual tour of the PhysZOU clinic shows students what to do and what they can expect during their first day of clinicals, and also shows them where equipment and supplies are throughout the room. “They can watch it before they start on Monday, and at least when they walked in they wouldn’t be shocked,” Stephens says. “ET @ MO came over and we taped in PhysZOU twice. It’s so professional looking.”
Overall, Martin and Stephens are extremely happy with the level of support and technical skill they received going through this course redesign program with ET @ MO. “I would love to take every course I have and go through it,” Stephens said, and Martin echoed. “It is so empowering to have two people who are devoted to your class make it the best – it’s unbelievable.”
To learn more about ET @ MO, visit their website.