Occupational Therapy’s Northern Expansion

By Adrian Wheeler (Educational Strategist, EdTech) on September 29, 2022

Program Expansion Overview

Beginning in September 2022, UBC’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (OSOT) will be expanding the Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) program to educate future occupational therapists in northern BC. This expansion will see an additional 16 students forming a northern cohort in Prince George at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The new cohort will join an existing 64 students in Vancouver through a distributed education program taking advantage of cutting-edge technology which enables the delivery of world class lectures to students at both sites simultaneously.

This program expansion will allow UBC to graduate more, much-needed occupational therapists and train graduates in a northern location closer to communities where the need for them is greatest. Click here to learn more about the program expansion and UBC’s wider partnership with UNBC.

Learner view from the Vancouver site. Learners from Prince George can be seen on screen.

How has EdTech supported OSOT with this program expansion?

EdTech joined this project in late 2021, after the department had procured the technology and infrastructure to address the pedagogical needs of the program. We worked closely with OSOT’s incredible faculty and staff to help further adapt their pedagogy, effectively use the new systems and explore the educational possibilities of this technology-enhanced environment. This was no small task as the MOT program involves a huge amount of hands-on education to learn practical skills with specialized equipment.

To ensure success, we had to work collaboratively with faculty and teaching staff to gain a deep understanding of their processes, bring in specialized technology and provide both individual training and a department-wide workshop. We then worked together on two dry runs where a faculty member and a group of students travelled to UNBC to lecture and attend classes remotely. Throughout the development, we worked closely with our MedIT support colleagues and conducted regular round table meetings where we could discuss challenges and work together to create solutions.

The success of this project and the excellent relationships we have built with OSOT will allow us to continue supporting the department as the MOT program further expands to other sites (a Fraser site is confirmed for September 2023). Furthermore, OSOT’s move to a distributed model has not gone unnoticed within the health professions. We look forward to applying what we have learned to future projects if and when other departments or programs consider a distributed model.

Flexible classroom space allows students to be organized into pods for collaborative learning.