rehabilitation; primary health care; occupational health; mental health; child development; occupational therapy; education; vocational rehabilitation; community-based therapy
Experiences of online occupational therapy education during the COVID-19 pandemic at a university in South Africa.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a worldwide shift of academic programmes towards a predominantly online forum. There was therefore a need to explore how students experienced these shifts to ensure optimal learning. This study describes students' experiences of online teaching, learning and assessment and perception of their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative study was employed using a four-part self-administered online survey. Following a pilot study with 11 community service occupational therapists, the survey was sent to all eligible participants (N=118) with a response rate of 85% (n=91). Data were collected from second to fourth-year registered occupational therapy students in 2021. Data were analysed descriptively using R Studio Suite. Results: Over 50% of the students reported a positive online experience. Adequate access to infrastructure enabled optimal online learning. However, students experienced difficulty with structuring self-study time, theoretical application and time allocated for online tests. Additional challenges included stress and time management and managing the increased requirements for self-directed learning. Coping was enhanced by the availability and access to student support services. Conclusion: The key issues identified in the study need to be addressed to enhance the online delivery of the curriculum.

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Copyright (c) 2023 South African Journal of Occupational Therapy


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