U.S. and Swedish Student Learning Through Online Synchronous International Interactions
There is a continued need to communicate global perspectives in occupational therapy education, but the literature addressing how to incorporate firsthand global experiences into campus learning environments is scant. This article describes how course-based synchronous interactions between U.S. undergraduate occupational science students and Swedish undergraduate occupational therapy students occur via online technology. In a 2014 pilot study, we thematically analyzed students’ open-ended survey responses to discernwhat students learned through the interactive sessions.We also performed a content analysis of four audio-recorded interactive sessions to understand the content
and nature of students’ learning. Our findings suggest that course-based online synchronous interactions provide a positive way for students to learn about other cultures and global differences in occupational therapy practice. The findings also highlight needs for improvement relative to the structure and aims of the interactive sessions. We relate these findings to the global availability of technology and occupational therapists’ cultural competence.
By Karin E. Johansson, PhD, is Lecturer, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.