Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact worldwide in every aspect of society including occupational therapy assistant students enrolled in academic coursework. This manuscript examines the unique experience of occupational therapy assistant faculty in a northeast state who were able to quickly modify classroom and lab teaching-learning strategies to a fully online virtual format for two semesters. Since no available information on strategies for online delivery of occupational therapy assistant education were found in the literature, their experiences implementing active learning strategies are described and discussed. Strategies covered include: the flipped classroom model; think-pair-share and jigsaw technique using breakout rooms; polling and student response systems; muddiest point via chat box; lab kits; one-minute paper using discussion forums; and student-generated videos. Twenty students provided feedback through a survey about the helpfulness of each strategy. The breakout room and chat box feature of the synchronous virtual classroom as well as lab kits were perceived as most helpful, whereas student-generated videos and one-minute papers were perceived as least helpful. Implications for continued incorporation of online learning in occupational therapy assistant curricula are outlined.


Tiffany L. Benaroya, OTD, OTR is the academic fieldwork coordinator for the occupational therapy assistant program at Rutgers University. Tiffany received her doctoral degree from the University of Southern California. With a majority of her courses taught in a hybrid format, she has a particular interest in online education.

Jennifer C. George, OTD, OTR, COTA is faculty in the occupational therapy assistant program at Rutgers University. Jennifer received her doctoral degree from Quinnipiac University. She has been involved in occupational therapy education for 10 years with a special interest in pedagogy using innovative strategies to develop students' critical thinking.

Deborah McKernan-Ace, COTA, MOT/OTR is currently the program director for the occupational therapy assistant program at Rutgers University. Deborah received her master's degree from Concordia University. She has been instructing in occupational therapy assistant education for more than 25 years and has a particular interest in curriculum design.

Margaret Swarbrick, PhD, FAOTA is a Research Professor and Associate Director of the Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University; and the Wellness Institute Director, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. She has published and lectured around the country on wellness promotion models, employment, peer support, and recovery. She has created wellness self-care programs for caregivers, families and youth.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report 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.