Preparation for an uncertain world: International Curriculum Development for Occupational Therapy Practice

Preparation for an uncertain world: International Curriculum Development for Occupational Therapy Practice

Occupational Therapy

Belgium / Singapore / South Africa / United Kingdom


The project focusses on the development, delivery and evaluation of an international, final year, blended e-learning module, delivered amongst Occupational Therapy pre-registration programmes:  Coventry University (CU) the University of Cape Town (UCT) and PXL Limburg University, Belgium (PXL). Other international occupational therapy programmes have been involved and there is potential to expand the number of international partners.

The project provides the opportunity to explore a globalised picture of mental health occupational therapy practice through the use of pedagogy designed to encourage students to think creatively, engage in individual and group problem solving, develop innovative ways to deliver culturally-sensitive services, to discuss strategies, take calculated risks and consider ways and means of extending the reach of the profession (Pattison, 2006; 2008).

It aims to equip students with personal entrepreneurial capacities to deal with greater levels of uncertainty and complexity in their professional practice (Ravasi & Turati, 2005; Gibb, 2007), and provides the opportunity for international exposure which also allows for the development a richer understanding of occupational therapy in other contexts.


Aims of the project

  1. Develop professional artistry through enhancement of students’ self and diversity awareness for globalised OT practice.
  2. Evaluate the project during educational stage to examine students’ self and diversity awareness, intercultural competency, entrepreneurial perspectives and professional learning.
  3. Develop undergraduates’ ability to problem solve and consider ways to extend the durability and professional reach of OT.
  4. Actively develop digital pedagogy and curricula for the design and delivery of teaching and learning overseas, for professional development, through joint venture, to improve research capacity and academic collaboration (WHO, 2013).
  5. Follow students into their first graduate post to assess how their entrepreneurial capacities are evidenced and applied.


  • Online critical discussion forum
  • International Skype lecture


Synchronous and Asynchronous


CU, PXL and UCT students are assigned to mixed groups of students.

Facilitated by tutors, student groups access podcasts of real graduate work scenarios accessed for critical discussion in online forums.

Students at Coventry further attend live Skype lectures from PXL Limburg and all students actively participate in international discussion groups.

The Open Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enabled shared lectures and both synchronous and asynchronous discussion. In addition, the platform housed learning materials such as case scenarios, podcasts, module resources and formative assessment guidance.

Intercultural Reflection

A validated intercultural development inventory designed to assess competences that are critical to interacting and working effectively with people from different cultures is used before and after the module and intercultural interactions.


Thelma Cardwell Research Foundation Funding Award

This prestigious award for the project, its development and dissemination, was presented at the 16th International World Federation of Occupational Therapists Conference in Japan, June 2014.

Coventry University Excellence Awards

The project was one of the two finalist in the category Online International Learning in the 2015 awards.


This project has been supported by the learning technologies team at Coventry University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning Enhancement (CELE).