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Making Internationalisation a Reality for Occupational Therapy Students

Funder: European CommissionProject code: 2016-1-SE01-KA203-022102
Funded under: ERASMUS+ | Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices | Strategic Partnerships for higher education Funder Contribution: 193,412 EUR
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Making Internationalisation a Reality for Occupational Therapy Students

Description

Context/background of the project;The project was informed by a previous pilot in 2012 between Lund University (LU) and University of Southampton (UoS). Here, students participated in a programme of education, practice and research based activities both face to face and virtually to develop professional knowledge, skills and identity as well as language and cultural competencies. Objectives of the project;-To bring the expertise of three universities together to explore innovation in meeting the educational needs of occupational therapy students.-To use the international community to strengthen and deepen students’ professional identity -To enable students to use occupationally focused approaches to make transformational change to small and isolated groups in society -To develop an interculturally skilled workforce to support increasingly diverse populations in all partner countries.-To develop a workforce with both confidence and skills to work in the European and global market.Number and profile of participating organisations;The three partner Universities – Lund University (LU), University of Southampton (UoS) and the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) were the primary participants. In addition, 76 community partner organisations across five countries and invited keynote speakers collaborated over the three years of the project. In the final year of the project three other Universities (University of Vic (UoV), Bournemouth University (BU) and Riga Stradins University (RSU) participated in the virtual learning activity.Description of undertaken main activities;Physical ExchangesThree five days physical exchanges took place: 2016 to LU; 2017 to UoS and 2018 to NUI Galway. In total 299 students participated during the three years. The theme for the first year at LU was occupational needs through models and frameworks in the second year was emerging areas of practice and in the third year was dissemination. In all exchanges, there were keynote speakers on the theme, students visited and spoke with community partners and presented their findings at a conference on the final day.Web ExchangesThree web exchanges also took place. In total 344 students participated over the three years. The students engaged in virtual discussions over some weeks exploring how an occupation-focused perspective might support vulnerable and excluded groups in all three countries. Students also met with vulnerable and excluded groups/communities. A variety of learning materials to support learning were developed and in 2017 and 2018 students presented findings at a web conference. In 2019, three additional partners – Bournemouth University (BU), University of Vic (UoV) and Riga Stradins University (RSU) participated. Students from pairs of universities collaborated as before and findings and the results of the discussions were presented in a virtual ePoster and discussion of findings facilitated by a lecturer.Intellectual Output 1The aim of this output was to evaluate the impact of the internationalisation programme on students’ professional identity. A tool to measure professional identity was developed and tested psychometrically and used to evaluate students’ level of professional identity. Results suggest that the tool is psychometrically sound and that the physical exchange predicted 34% of the variability in professional identity scores.Intellectual Output 2Offered a set of educational course material. A video outlining aspects of occupational and social justice was used at the beginning of each exchange (both physical and web based). The video was supplemented by multiple choice questions which students answered and discussed in small groups and a case study which was used to generate further understanding of human rights.Intellectual Output 3A detailed web based handbook which can be used by other institutions introducing similar blended initiatives has been developed. The handbook details the physical and web exchanges including information on preparation and organisation of both. The use of virtual and web based technology to support activities, and project management is described in the Handbook.Results and impact attained;In total 76 staff and 643 students participated in the various exchanges and over the three years worked in partnership with 76 community partner organisations. The impact was twofold – students gained experience in collaborative working, experienced how health and social care delivery differed in other countries and gained a higher level of professional identity. Community organisations gained a sustainable deliverable in each case.Longer-term benefits;-Identification of a platform for students to carry out international group work which can be used in future collaborations-Use of e-posters to communicate findings across six sites-Staff collaboration in development of learning resources which can be used both locally and in future collaborations.

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