Occupational Therapy Doctorate
How was your experience with the admissions staff?
My first experience with Quinnipiac was through the admission staff. The staff member who was assigned to me was extremely attentive and helpful. She walked me through the entire process. She was sensitive to my needs and supportive. I found her to be very knowledgeable and resourceful. On the rare occasion that she didn’t have an answer, she knew exactly where to find it, or where to refer me in order to have my question answered.
Can you describe what your experience has been like in the online classroom?
I had never taken a course online before enrolling in this program. Although one of the reasons that I chose the QU online OTD program was that the online format afforded me the flexibility that I needed, I wasn’t sure that I was tech-savvy enough to manage it. There were others in the program with more computer experience than me, and many with considerably less computer experience. It seemed that we were all met at our own competency level and guided accordingly. I didn’t feel hindered by some of my classmates’ lack of computer experience, nor did I feel overwhelmed by an expectation that was over my head. It was never assumed that I had the background knowledge of how to manage the technology of this program. There were plenty of resources.
Tech support is very easy to access and they are extremely helpful and accommodating. Further, the professors have taught me how to use various programs for presentations, as well as for efficiency. An unexpected byproduct of being in the Quinnipiac online post-professional OTD program has been that I’ve expanded my knowledge about technology.
Can you tell us what sets Quinnipiac’s program apart from some of the other programs you looked at?
The QU online OTD program is practice-based, rather than research-based. My personal goal has been to enhance my current practice, and this program (more than others that I’ve researched) seemed to be aligned with my professional goal.
Did you learn anything in any of your classes that you were able to immediately apply to your job the next day?
Almost everything that I’ve learned in class has been immediately applicable to my current practice. One of the ways that this naturally happens, is that we are constantly being encouraged to bring our professional experience into the “classroom.” We are encouraged to share our experiences with our classmates in an effort to bridge theory and practice. Although I have over 25 years of clinical experience, the education that I’ve received in this program has deepened my understanding of factors relating to my practice, and I believe that it has helped me to become a better clinician.
An example of something that I learned in the program and was able to apply “the next day” is: in one of our classes, we explored the benefits of using occupation-based evaluation tools, and we were given an opportunity to learn more about various instruments. I quickly realized that one of the occupation-based instruments that I researched could potentially enhance my practice by measuring my students’ functional performance in a standardized way. I shared the research that I gathered in class with my supervisors. This information helped me to advocate (successfully) for the purchase of the evaluation tool.
Did you receive a promotion or new job offer as a result of what you learned in the program?
As a result of being in the QU online OTD program, I feel more confident in my clinical skills, and my ability to express myself both verbally and in writing. It may sound ironic because this is an online course of study, but my interpersonal skills have improved, helping me to collaborate in a more meaningful way with my colleagues. Although I did not receive a promotion or a new job, I have availed myself of more opportunities in my work setting and this has enhanced my school-based practice greatly (and I do receive a small annual stipend for having an advanced degree).
Since beginning in this program, I have launched multiple initiatives at work. I have started whole-school programs that benefit general education students, as well as special education students (i.e. movement based groups and fine motor groups). I have formalized staff education programs to include written materials, as well as Web-based programs. I have piloted the use of different service delivery models to accommodate the needs of my students. The skills gained in this program have helped me to identify what needs to be changed, envision what possibilities exist, and then promote the necessary change.