I had plans to get all of my continuing eduction done on time. No, really. I had my flights booked and was registered for the AOTA National Conference. But, no one warned me how severe pregnancy sickness can be, I couldn't walk past my refrigerator without severe nausea, let alone travel halfway across the country. This sickness and subsequent new motherhood made simply surviving work my top priority and put continuing education out of my mind.
With a few weeks to go before it was time to renew my license, I started exploring the online continuing ed options that I knew existed, but had never looked into. I landed on occupationaltherapy.com, because, honestly, the other options felt too confusing.
The next few weeks ended up being some of the most inspiring time I've had for my career since school. I was working in mental health at the time. My coworker and I always talked about getting further training, but the courses were too far away and too expensive. Instead, right from my computer, I found a new mental health OT's gold mine. Here are some of the courses I was able to take:
- Sensory Modulation Assessment & Treatment Across the Continuum of Behavioral Health Care
- Wellness Recovery Action Plan (Wrap): Wrapping Sense Around Recovery
- Stress Management as a Critical Life Skill
- Using the OT Frame of Reference in Recovery-based Mental Health
- Applying Empowerment Theory to OT Practice
- Sensory Processing to Support Adults in Their Everyday Lives
One of the arguments against online continuing education is that you do not get to make face-to-face connections, but, in an odd way, I felt even more connected than I have at local conferences. I got to participate in a lecture from my former NYU professor. I listened to professors from the geographically closest OT school, Creighton, and felt a new kinship with the universtiy. I was also introduced to leaders in the OT field, who I've since followed on Twitter and can regularly interact with.
Lastly, the available formats were very helpful. Some courses I completely nerded out with: printing out the handouts, downloading the video, and sitting down to take notes. Others I downloaded to my phone and listened as I was running.
After such a good experience, I wanted to learn more about the company, so I decided to reach out to see if occupationaltherapy.com would answer some questions for the readers of this blog. A huge thank you to them for how easy it was to get in touch and how quickly they answered my questions!
Here is my Q&A with OccupationalTherapy.com
How can I keep up with new OT courses being posted in my area of interest?
OT.com: On OccupationalTherapy.com, our goal is to provide the latest content in an easy to use format at an affordable price. We offer 6-8 hours of new content a month via two live webinars each week. These courses are converted to video, audio and text formats as applicable. You can search our library by course title, format, topic or duration to find courses that best suit your needs. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter that highlights the latest courses. We collect members’ feedback to plan future course content, so if you have specific topics you’d like us to cover, please let us know!
What are the most popular OT courses?
Here are five of our most popular courses from 2014, based on the number of viewings and average ratings from our members.
- It comes as no surprise that our most popular courses are the series from our Virtual Conference on Sensory Processing with Guest Editor Dr. Winnie Dunn, Supporting People Across the Lifespan to Live their Best Lives. Dr. Dunn and colleagues discuss sensory processing concepts relevant to life stages and the application of these concepts within an individual's home, family, school, and community.
- Barbara Kornblau’s course Preventing Falls in Adults with Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions: What Works. Barbara provides an extensive review of the literature to identify factors that contribute to falls as well as to apply evidence-based fall prevention interventions to people with disabilities.
- Dr. Sal Bondoc’s series Evaluation and Treatment of Balance and Postural Control Problems in the Elderly. In this 3-part series, Dr. Bondoc provides strategies to evaluate and treat balance and postural control problems in the elderly using a systems model and research evidence.
- Dr. Jeanine Beasley’s series Best Practice for Conservative and Postoperative Management of Arthritis. In this 2-part series, Jeanine reviews the evidence on conservative management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and provides strategies for evidence-based post-operative care.
- Dr. Lynn Hellerstein’s course Is Your Child Visually Ready for School? Seeing Beyond 20/20. Dr. Hellerstein discusses the critical link between vision development and learning and provides information to identify the signs and symptoms of vision problems in children.
Of course, the value of a course will all depend on the individual viewer. We currently offer more than 300 courses in 19 topic areas, so there are many options for all OTs and OTAs.
How do you find course presenters?
We collect and analyze member feedback, read course reviews, look to evidence-based research and conference proceedings, and stay abreast of CEU requirements to determine content for our library. Then, we invite leading experts to present courses in these areas. We’re grateful to the leading experts in OT who contribute their time and expertise in making OccupationalTherapy.com a great resource for professionals!
Are there any plans, that you can share, for developing the service in the future?
As we move into 2015, we’ll continue to focus on the needs of our members by providing relevant, quality CEU courses. In addition to our monthly webinars, we’re lining up two exciting virtual conferences, which are week-long series of courses on a topic. In June, we’re having a virtual conference on Wheelchair Seating: Back to the Basics. This series will be presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS, a leading voice in seating and positioning in OT. Our second virtual conference will be held in October on the topic of Mental Health in OT, led by Guest Editor, Elizabeth Cara, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS, a well-known educator in the field. In addition to our CEU courses, our Career Center is a great service for OTs and OTAs to upload their resumes, search for jobs and and network via a new robust user profile.
We’ll continue to focus on giving our members an outstanding customer experience on all areas of our website. I love hearing from our members - please feel free to contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments and suggestions!
This is NOT a sponsored post. Opinions are my own. Throughout February, I plan to write about several of my other favorite resources so stay tuned!