Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 6493-6502
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2477
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The paper presents the results of a context-based and project-oriented approach in teaching for five consecutive academic years by the author of the practically-oriented compulsory subject “Informatics” (Information and Communication Technologies – ICT) to first year undergraduate bachelor students in “Medical Rehabilitation and Ergotherapy” (MRE) at the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” (SU), Sofia, Bulgaria. The MRE is a four year university bachelor programme.

The research goal of the paper is to analyse the quality of the teaching approach and the occurred learning by evaluating the more than 40 practical course products, developed by the students during the five years of course delivery.

The MRE curriculum stipulates Informatics as a practical subject of 30 study hours, aimed at provision and assurance of the necessary general ICT skills to the first year students, needed for their academic study and prospective professional realisation. The subject is taught in the first semester of the first year. During the high school the students receive a basic ICT training in operating systems, word-processing, graphic editors, spreadsheets, presentations, and Internet (WWW). The role of the Informatics subject in the MRE curriculum is to recall and update the ICT skills of the students, so as these skills to be usable for the physiotherapy study and profession. Thus, the subject poses a challenge to the teacher with regards to its usability, attractiveness, and motivation for the students.

In 2012 a preliminary survey was conducted by the author on the professional perspectives and realisation of the physiotherapy profession in the country. The results showed that a serious part of the physiotherapists organise their small and medium private physiotherapy centres. From other side, the conversations with the academic teachers in MRE outlined the necessary ICT skills, needed for the period of the study.

The author decided to develop a training course, based in a context case scenario of preparing and running by the students of their own team based private physiotherapy centres. The project case was named “Plan to an investor” for financing a physiotherapy enterprise, and was envisaged to be the final assignment for the course. The students worked in teams of 2 to 4 for their final assignments. The assignment task for the plan was designed to include textual/descriptive part, graphical part, and budget calculation part, and to be presented to the prospective investors with an appropriate computer presentation. In addition, two types weekly assignments were planned for each week of the course. The first type of weekly assignments, planned for the first half of the semester, included appropriate context-based office applications tasks (word-processing or spreadsheet) of a study-related or professional interest. The second type of weekly assignments, for the second half of the study semester, were related directly to parts of the final project. The final course grades were formed on the base of the weekly assignments (50%), and final course assignment plus its public presentation and defence (50%).
In addition to the mastered ICT skills the students were taught implicitly and acquired some basic business planning and entrepreneurial skills with respect to their profession. The interest and motivation for work proved to be very high, reflected in the high quality plans to prospective investors.
Context-based course, project-based course, ICT skills, Physiotherapy.