Establishing a community of practice for occupational therapy curriculum development: the value of a two-way process

Thomas, Yvonne, and Judd, Jenni (2015) Establishing a community of practice for occupational therapy curriculum development: the value of a two-way process. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62 (4). pp. 238-245.

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Introduction: A novel application of the concept of a community of practice was adopted in the development of a revised curriculum for undergraduate occupational therapy education in July 2012. University Academic staff and invited practice scholars met together, half yearly for day long meetings to develop and review a new curriculum. The formation of this community of practice allowed for open discourse and feedback to integrate theory and practice.

Method: A qualitative study utilised two focus groups, one for academic staff and one for practice scholars, at the end of the third meeting. The focus groups were facilitated by an external researcher, recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis elicited five major themes.

Findings: Participants reported a sense of community and commitment to the curriculum process. Five themes emerged from the focus groups: (i) a sense of community; (ii) a two-way process with mutual benefits; (iii) benefits to the curriculum and to student learning; (iv) future opportunities including resilience of graduates, and potential research collaborations; and (v) the structure and process of engaging in the community of practice.

Conclusion: The commitment of time, planning and resources required to establish and participate in collaborative curriculum development with practice scholars is shown to be a valuable investment for occupational therapy academics, expert practice scholars and ultimately for student learning. Further studies of student and graduate outcomes from the curriculum are warranted. Potential future outcomes of this process include resilience in graduates and collaborative research with practice scholars.

Item ID: 41774
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1630
Funders: James Cook University
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 15:45
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 100%
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