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Department

Health & Rehabilitation Sciences

Summary

For current and future faculty, a central challenge across disciplines has become the issue of ‘significance:’ students want to know why the content they are learning, and the work they are doing, is important (Wesch, 2010). Within occupational therapy (OT) programs, for example, students are often dissatisfied with the curricula’s heavy focus on theory and the lack of intervention knowledge (Hodgetts et al., 2007; Seah, Mackenzie, & Gamble, 2011). A second source of dissatisfaction for students stems from how their ability to acquire evidence-based knowledge, to inform their practice after graduation, is limited by current resources and underdeveloped information literacy opportunities (Morrison & Robertson, 2011; Powell & Case-Smith, 2003; Welch, 2002). As a result, some practicing therapists have started to develop ‘online communities of practice,’ where sharing and discussions about evidence and practice guidelines takes place (White, Basiletti, Carswell, Head, & Lin, 2008).

Wesch (2007a) believes that the question of ‘significance’ in curricula has become important for students because the way we are teaching today, in higher education, is often outdated, and out of touch, with the ways that people access knowledge through the internet. It has now become easier than ever to collaborate with others and contribute to knowledge bases via digital technologies (Wesch, 2007b). The increased access that digitization offers to various communities, combined with the ease it brings in creating and collaborating (as well as sharing the knowledge that such technological advances bring) is referred to as Web 2.0. To begin to address the challenges confronting students and faculty, the goal of this workshop is to introduce one way in which digitized, evidence-based knowledge can be further developed in courses by using the design principles of Web 2.0. For the purposes of this workshop, Google Sites, a free web design and hosting service, will be used to illustrate a new way for professors and instructors to look at preparing and presenting their respective courses and projects. As a result of instructors incorporating Web 2.0 into their OT curricula planning and teaching, the content created by students can be used to help contribute to the culture of an “online community of practice.” The resources that students develop, as assignments in their courses, would then be accessible on the Internet. This accessibility would not only help these students in their practice after graduation; it would also help to equalize access to resources that may not otherwise be available in their future workplaces.

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