2 Curriculum Development and Design

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Curriculum Development and Design

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Curriculum Development and Design
Sue Baptiste, Patricia Solomon

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Contents

The Pedagogical Framework: Problem-based Learning

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Approaching the Task of Curriculum Renewal . . . . . . . 13 Where to Begin? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Designing Our New Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Redevelopment Within a Problem-based Learning Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Integration of Experiential Practice Preparation Within a Problem-based Learning Framework . . . . . . . 18 Evaluation Within a Graduate Problem-based Learning Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

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Sue Baptiste, Patricia Solomon

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A historical overview of the physiotherapy and occupational therapy programs at McMaster University will assist in providing a context for the discussions within this chapter. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, programs in both physiotherapy and occupational therapy were established at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. These programs arose from the thinking of a group of pioneers who believed that the educational approach that had been developed by medical education innovators at McMaster University was also most relevant for the preparation of occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Consequently, a group of educators from both institutions, Mohawk College and McMaster University, combined their skills and created a vision that became the diploma programs in occupational therapy and physiotherapy. This approach was problem-based learning, and was used as the foundation for both programs from their inception to the present day, across three different iterations of curriculum. One of the key innovations to the way in which the college programs were taught was the combination of using faculty from both the university and college to teach all courses. In the 1980s, a degree completion program was launched that provided graduates of the diploma program a chance to upgrade their qualification to a bachelors degree from McMaster University. This was particularly important since the minimum credential for entry to practice had been raised to the baccalaureate level by the professional associations. In 1989, the program moved completely into the university setting and the graduates were granted a BHSc(PT) or BHSc(OT), a bachelor degree in health sciences. Ten years later, in 2000, candidates were admitted to the entrylevel masters programs in occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

The Pedagogical Framework: Problem-based Learning
As briefly referred to above, the occupational therapy and physiotherapy programs at McMaster University have a strong history with and legacy of problem-based learning. While the initial curriculum models were strongly influenced by the inaugural undergraduate medical curriculum, time and confidence presented opportunities to create our own models. These models reflect the special nuances of each discipline. Problem-based learning is recognized as having begun at McMaster University, in the medical curriculum, and was in response to critical concerns about the nature of more traditional learning models in medical curricula. The intention was to create an approach to teaching and learning that was learner-centered, yet based upon clear objectives and evaluation criteria. The key difference was the expectation that learners would be facilitated and guided rather than taught (Barrows and Tamblyn 1980; Neufeld 1983; Saarinen and Salvatori 1994). Both the occupational therapy and physiotherapy programs at McMaster University have embraced these ideas, although with differing degrees of connection and commitment to the original model. In fact, true problem-based learning models should naturally...
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