Friday, January 1, 2010

Term One Round-Up

I've been spending some time over the holidays finishing up my Term One review for my portfolio. It's something that we have to hand in to our academic advisers to review at the beginning of each term and it is an overview of all the work we've done in the term that just passed. Because McMaster uses a self-directed and problem-based approach to learning, the knowledge and skills I've acquired in the first term may be very different from the things one of my classmates has. The portfolios help us to keep track of what we've learned so far and they help us to identify our learning gaps so that we know what we need to focus on in future terms. There's also a reflective piece about what you've learned... I haven't written mine yet, but I think it will be a "you've come a long way, baby" kind of thing. And it wraps up with a reflective piece about your future practice... what brought you to OT in the first place, where do you see yourself ending up in your practice after graduation, and how has that idea evolved because of your experiences in each term. While at times it feels like a chore to do this portfolio, I think it will be a really great resource and is good experience for reflective professional practice and development long term.
So, in term one the main emphasis was on "occupation." It's the defining feature of our profession, our domain of interest and expertise... and so we students need to get very familiar with all the nuances of what that term means to occupational therapists.
We only have two courses each term: Inquiry and Integration (that looks at theory and applying theory in practice) and Professional Roles and Experiential Practicum (that teaches more applied skills, such as interview techniques, and also includes our clinical placement). We also have an unofficial course that does not have any grade component, but that will probably be rolled out as a registered course next year. It's called Foundational Knowledge and includes basic stuff like introduction to anatomy and physiology, basics of development, psychology and sociology, and some rudimentary statistics. The reason for the course is that, because the students in the program come from all different backgrounds and there are no prerequisites, not everyone is starting with the same knowledge base. And that's great sometimes... you each get to be an expert and you can help fill in the blanks for one another. It's good for group learning. However, there is some basic knowledge that everyone needs to have... so this course is designed to give everyone an opportunity to get on the same page.
I won't go through and itemize all the specifics of what we learned this term... one, because I think it would be a boring read, lol... and two, because while it was all really important it was also kind of foundation OT stuff with a lot of acronyms that don't make sense unless I elaborate on each of them... which I don't feel like doing. But if you have questions, let me know!
One of my New Year's resolutions is to try and be a bit more consistent about posting to the blog about what we're doing in our course. The posts might be shorter, but I think it will be better!
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday... and I wish much health and happiness for all!
Happy 2010!!

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