This post was writted by Christopher S. Cayco.
The CAMP Department of Physical Therapy Program began offering the Master of Physical Therapy program, a clinical masters, in 2011. The program’s curriculum covers topics related to advanced clinical knowledge and skills such as evidence-based practice, research methodologies, theories of Physical Therapy, exercise physiology, ethics, counseling and advanced clinical field work. The program was mostly intended to benefit practicing physical therapists with schedules usually made to accommodate those that have clinic work. In the past years that the program has been offered, the courses have been largely self-directed using a flipped classroom approach with instructional materials and readings being sent online and students expected to actively contribute to their learning. Integration of materials have been through face-to-face discussion.
Since the program started its students that enrol are usually from within the Metro Manila area. In order to reach more students from different regions of the country, the Department has began to offer this course this academic year (2016-2017) mostly through online learning in conjunction with some face-to-face classes spread throughout the semester. Although online platforms for teaching are not entirely new to the program as some courses were taught in the past by guest professors from the United States and Australia, this is the first time that courses have been streamlined to be delivered greatly through online platforms.
Majority of the topics in research methodology, evidence-based practice and ethics for this semester have been conducted through Google Hangouts, a free communication platform by Google that allows real-time video conferencing. Lectures delivered through Google hangouts has allowed distance learning with as much as 7 students at one time. Quizzes and tests for this course have also been conducted online through Edmodo, a free educational website that allows teachers to set-up an online classroom. This approach in delivering integration classes and quizzes with the students has allowed most of them to join the classes at the comforts of their own homes or offices without needing to travel to the campus after work hours. This has also allowed the program to reach students as far as Ilo-ilo, and even have collaborative teaching with peers from Cebu.
The utilization of online learning within the college is still relatively novel but these steps in integrating technology and alternative learning platforms appears to have its place and value in the college’s graduate program. There is much potential that can be explored by further integrating our usual classroom teaching approaches with online platforms.