Development of Computer Skills in Physical Therapist Students
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences
Steven R. Terrell
Getrude W. Abramson
Barbara A. Melzer
The purposes of this study were to determine the current status of computer use in physical therapist education programs, what is being done to develop computer skills in physical therapist students, the factors impacting computer use in physical therapist education, and if there is a disparity between the type of computing technology used in the profession and that which is used in the education of physical therapists. The directors of all physical therapist education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) in the United States were surveyed in nine different topic areas related to computer use in physical therapist education. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results. Ninety-eight of 162 surveys were returned for a 60% response rate. Respondents rated their faculty highest in word processing, Internet, e-mail, and presentation program skills, and lowest in authoring systems/courseware, creating home pages, and troubleshooting computer problems. Almost all respondents (96.9%) use computer aided instruction in the delivery of their curricula, and 95% require students to submit assignments using various computer skills. Hardware, software, technical support, and computer training are available to faculty, and, to a lesser extent, students. Most respondents believed it was not their responsibility to develop relevant computer skills in their students, and the vast majority did not favor having CAPTE establish minimum computer skills for graduates of physical therapist education programs.
There does not appear to be a disparity between the type of computing technology used in the profession and that which is used in the education of physical therapists in most areas. What is lacking is a commitment to developing database skills, encouraging innovation in using the Internet for practice, creating educational courseware, and using/creating virtual reality for physical therapists. It is recommended that faculty reconsider where the responsibility resides for developing relevant computer skills in physical therapist students. It is also recommended that research be done on the use of computer skills in the various practice environments. In addition, much more needs to be done in research and development of computer applications specific to physical therapist education and practice.
Cheryl J. Hill. 2001. Development of Computer Skills in Physical Therapist Students. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences. (584)