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Preparation for an Uncertain World

Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny
Team: Gemma Tombs
Preparation for an Uncertain World - Title Graphic


This project currently involves the development, delivery and evaluation of an international, final year, blended e-learning module, delivered amongst three Occupational Therapy pre-registration programmes to include Coventry University (CU) the University of Cape Town (UCT) and PXL Limburg University, Belgium (PXL).

In particular the project is offering undergraduates the opportunity to explore a globalised picture of mental health occupational therapy practice through the use of pedagogy designed to encourage students to think creatively, engage in individual and group problem solving, develop innovative ways to deliver culturally-sensitive services, to discuss strategies, take calculated risks and consider ways and means of extending the reach of the profession (Pattison, 2006; 2008).

Further, the project aims to equip students with personal entrepreneurial capacities to deal with greater levels of uncertainty and complexity in their professional practice (Ravasi & Turati, 2005; Gibb, 2007). The opportunity for international exposure also allows for the development of a richer understanding of occupational therapy in other contexts.


Research Evaluation

The project is currently being evaluated by Dr Katherine Wimpenny and Gemma Tombs from the project team to:

  • Objectively examine any shifts in occupational therapy students’ intercultural sensitivity
  • Explore student perceptions about the international experience, the approach to learning and the educational value of the international learning opportunity
  • Examine student, graduate and academic perspectives and experience of this approach to pedagogy including lessons learnt and next stage developments


Preparations for an Uncertain world graphic


Technology Application

The project is using an Open Moodle platform to enable the online international delivery of teaching and learning. It has involved using flipped-like seminars and discussion forums to occur in real time (synchronously) and over time (asynchronously) in both a classroom context and via the discussion forums as part of online learning. Whilst this is an open platform it had the facility to be locked after a short registration period to ensure confidentiality of participants. The platform has housed learning materials such as the graduate Vodcasts, graduate and student donated resources, website links, and other module resources. In order to engage with the site, students have simply to log in with their unique user name and password from any mobile or laptop device that has access to the Internet. This pilot approach to flip-like e-pedagogy is a first for the three course programmes involved.

200 undergraduate students in total are involved in this project and have been allocated to twenty international e-action learning sets (ALS), or discussion forums across the three institutions. The students are linked to the discussion forums via their final year module on their respective course programmes. Table 1 provides details of the modules where the discussion forum is housed, an example of a key learning outcome for that module, and the form(s) of assessment that students will undertake.

The discussion forums are facilitated by a number of CU graduates (n=4) who donated the Vodcasts, along with academic support from module tutors across the three institutions . In the discussion forums the students are currently exploring the graduates Vodcasts and considering challenges faced when promoting professional perspectives within interagency, multidisciplinary team working. This flipped-like e-pedagogy is designed to disrupt current teaching and learning practices on the respective modules and encourage students to think creatively, engage in individual and group reflection and problem solving, develop innovative ways to deliver international culturally-sensitive services and consider ways and means of extending the reach of the profession (Pattison, 2008:405).


Table 1: Module and assessment

Oil Project - Module Assessment Table

[1] CU has a strong commitment to internationalising the curriculum; OIL modules have status in the university and have fulfilled certain criteria including specific pedagogical dimensions, types of student interactions, and identification of how students might benefit from intercultural learning opportunities.

Additional Resources


Project Timeline:

Start date

September 2014

End date

September 2015



Phase 1: 
(Sept – 2014)

  • Recruitment of Graduate OTs.
  • Develop mental health case scenarios
  • Development of Moodle site, Module teams briefed
  • Development of user guides / facilitator set prompts

Phase 2: Use of scenarios in international discussion sets. (Feb – March 2015)

Phase 3: Assessment Period (April – May 2015)

project timeline chart

Research Phase:
(Sept 2014 – May 2015)

  • Research Evaluation (Case Study methodology, multi-method data collection)
  • Analysis and interpretation of findings will lead to recommendations to inform future roll out


Research Findings

  • Engaging diverse points of view online facilitated critical thinking, intercultural attitudes and how to manage one’s anxiety.
  • Asking graduates to donate complex scenarios from their work via video provided students with first hand content from the world of practice, which was valued.
  • Working in international online groups offered students opportunities to interact with other students’ cultural models, which lead to the disruption of their respective ways of thinking, and to the generation of new discourse.
  • Students requested that the module aligned with summative assessment as a motivation for all students to engage.


link-icon-pdf-smallResearch Paper
Preparation for an uncertain world: international curriculum
development for mental health occupational therapy

Source: Coventry University Open Collections


link-icon-pdf-smallEvaluation Report
Preparation for an uncertain world: International curriculum development
for mental health occupational therapy practice preparation

Source: Coventry University Open Collections



  • Paper submitted to WFOT BULLETIN, currently undergoing review:
    • Wimpenny, K., Gordon, I., Lewis, L., Desiron, H (2015) Graduate Preparation for an uncertain world, World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) Bulletin

Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):

  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
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