Rebecca M. Aldrich, Karin E. Johansson; U.S. and Swedish Student Learning Through Online Synchronous International Interactions. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(Supplement_2):6912350010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.018424
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
There is a continued need to communicate global perspectives in occupational therapy education, but the literature addressing how to incorporate firsthand global experiences into campus learning environments is scant. This article describes how course-based synchronous interactions between U.S. undergraduate occupational science students and Swedish undergraduate occupational therapy students occur via online technology. In a 2014 pilot study, we thematically analyzed students’ open-ended survey responses to discern what students learned through the interactive sessions. We also performed a content analysis of four audio-recorded interactive sessions to understand the content and nature of students’ learning. Our findings suggest that course-based online synchronous interactions provide a positive way for students to learn about other cultures and global differences in occupational therapy practice. The findings also highlight needs for improvement relative to the structure and aims of the interactive sessions. We relate these findings to the global availability of technology and occupational therapists’ cultural competence.
it’s hard to discuss the subject in Swedish; how do you expect us to discuss such important matters in a language that many of us [haven't mastered]? Even if we understood what the American students were saying, it was really hard to express your own thoughts.
Students perceive synchronous online peer interactions as positive opportunities to learn about culture, occupation, and global occupational therapy practice and education.
Synchronous online peer interactions can be integrated into existing courses with minimal technology if appropriate Internet and audio infrastructure is present.
Student perceptions of synchronous online peer interactions may relate to whether they speak the language in which the interactions occur, how far they are in their educational process, and the extent to which they desire control over the progression of the interactions.
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