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I am an Australian occupational therapist, educator and researcher. I have worked as an OT in mental health, vocational rehabilitation and a private surgical hospital. I am passionate using online technology to enhance the knowledge and growth of the occupational therapy profession. In my PhD research I am looking at the role of online technologies in information management and knowledge transfer in occupational therapy. Views expressed and stories shared on this blog are my opinion and do not represent views of my employer or professional registration body.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creating Wikis in OT for education and practice

Something I tried this year in OT education was development of a Wiki. First year students were required to create a Wiki for a group assignment. The assignment was to identify a community activity that was designed to improve the health and well-being of the people involved.

Students chose groups ranging from community choirs to falls prevention groups and one group looked at a school leavers' support program called Red Frogs.

Students needed to demonstrate their understandings of the Action Research Process that was guiding the development of the community program, identify a community model of practice that was reflected in the program and discuss the occupational science principles being addressed by the program (eg: Occuptional Imbalance).

Each project was developed by students, in groups of 5 or 6 people, and pulled together in a Wiki. Using the history tab on the Wiki we could see how the Wiki developed over time and who had contributed. We could have used this as a marking tool but didn't because some of the students who were less technologically minded preferred to have other group members put their work on to the Wiki for them. In future I would make contribution to the Wiki part of the marking rubric.

Development of Wiki's has potential in the area of OT practice. Maybe we could have post-discharge information about Total Hip Precautions on a Wiki! I'm sure there are lots of areas where we'd love to enable access to up to date online information for our clients and also know that we can update it regularly. It sure beats pamphlets going out of date or out of print!

Has anyone created a Wiki in OT practice? Anyone else using these in OT education?


Merrolee said...

HI Anita
Now what are you doing at the U of A????? This has nothing to do with wikis but I just wanted to say welcome to the OT blogging world and to connect you into the existing OT bloggers that are out there!

Wikis' - I will come back to - I had a group earlier this year adapt the definition of OT on wikipedia... and I've set up wikis for other activities - as have some of the teaching staff here!

Anyway.. will come back to this posting - but just wanted to say Welcome, welcome welcome!

Anita's Blog said...

Hi Merolee... networking and WFOT led me to be working at the UofA. As you know, I've had this online fire burning for a while now and now I'm finally game enough to put it in the real online world! Thanks for all your support in the background when I was dabbling in this new world of online learning.

Cate Monahan said...

Hi Anita

I hope you've been in touch with Naomi Augau ( because she'll be able to point you in the right direction. I know she'll downloaded MediaWiki and used it successfully. This is the wiki you used with the Ist year OTs.

Cheers, Cate Monahan

Merrolee said...

Hi Anita
I found a good reference about wikis and wikipedia as a teaching tool sometime ago that you might find is the URL

Anita said...

Thanks Merolee, I also heard from another colleague about so I'm going to give this a try.

joan said...

Hi Anita,

It's one of your students, Joan. I stumbled onto this site as I was looking for a research project.

Before this program I worked in software development and I have done many projects collaborating on a wiki. I love it!

There are choices in wikis to use. I'm used to one where we had to use wiki markup language. However, for an OT audience maybe one with a GUI would be better.

The key to a useful wiki is to have strong organization and agreement among users up front regarding the creation of new pages & formatting.

It is also helpful to have someone monitoring this to maintain the integrity. Otherwise, pages get created, linked and lost very easily.

Anita said...

Hi Joan! Thanks for the message
:-) I'm proposing to use Wikis here at Corbett Hall in the Fall term so if you've got time I'd love to "pick your brains". Let me know what research project you think you're going to do too!
Cheers, Anita

joan said...


You're ahead of the curve. Friday's university paper had an article regarding the med school's new desktop that includes a wiki for collaboration! Keep pushing our faculty to get on board, our student life would be easier. Here's the article:

I especially like the concept that the med students have access to HOMER even after they graduate so they can continue to get the latest research and collaborate with peers.

Anita Hamilton said...

Comment from a student, sent by email:
What I would have said is that the (wiki) assignment was challenging but really rewarding as it forced us to embrace a new medium for presenting information. I think that we have a professional responsibility to keep up to date with, and employ, the internet and other new technology in order to ensure that OT is both highly relevant and recognised within the medical and wider communities. Just imagine how much the internet and other new technology is going to develop during our careers!

joan said...

Reasons I liked the wiki in the workplace:
1)Version control. It documents history so you always know who, when, what was posted. Nothing is ever lost.
2)democratic. In an open work environment *everyone* is encouraged to write and offer feedback and support to any project idea. We had a guy stocking shelves in the warehouse come up with a brilliant marketing idea. It can remove the walls of hierarchy.
3)It's real-time and dynamic. Company policies, etc. can be updated on the fly, w/history ;-)
4)Creativity. The more minds thinking about a problem the more solutions we can find.

My slideshare uploads