Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Minimal evidence exists regarding online education in occupational therapy. This study explored entry-level occupational therapy (OT) student responses to two methods of instruction in an applied OT theory course. The investigator used a retrospective quasi-experimental, nonrandomized comparison group design with mixed methods to compare two cohorts of entry-level OT students. Data included midterm exam, final exam, and cumulative course grades, as well as qualitative data from a final exam essay question. Demographic data and cohort mean grade-point averages were collected at the program level. One cohort received face-to-face instruction, while the other received online hybrid and face-to-face instruction. The face-to-face cohort had statistically significantly higher summative course grades. The investigator could not factor out pre-program GPA, which may have impacted results. With qualitative analysis, the investigator found evidence for a priori themes of the value of theory and growth in theory application. Emergent themes included use of theory for clinical reasoning, client-centered practice, theory integration in practice, and theory in the OT process. Students in the online hybrid section perceived that the course required more busywork. Online and hybrid instruction can be an effective means of content delivery for OT applied theory.


Brenda S. Howard, DHSc, OTR is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Indianapolis. She teaches Applied Occupational Theory, Issues in OT Practice, Research Application, and Neuroscience courses, among others. She currently serves as the Member-At-Large on the AOTA Ethics Commission. When she is not at work, one might find her at the zoo, watching basketball, or enjoying the local cat café.

Declaration of Interest

The author reports no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.