Blogging to create a palpation portfolio: Use of a blog to master psychomotor skills at a distance


Nova Southeastern University Health Professions Division


Fort Lauderdale, FL

Publication Date / Copyright Date

January 2013


INTRODUCTION: Online learning has grown in popularity in many fields of study, but is in its infancy in the education of physical therapists. The Hybrid Entry-level DPT (HE-DPT) program at Nova Southeastern University is a novel program that combines both online and traditional face-to-face teaching and learning techniques. The dynamic nature of physical therapy course objectives poses challenges to the online component of education in this model. Most notably the psychomotor domain of learning requires additional considerations in course planning when teaching at a distance. Psychomotor skills are traditionally instructed in a face to face, hands-on manner. PURPOSE: The purpose of this podium presentation is to outline from conceptualization to outcomes the use of a class blog to enable the instruction of palpation skills in a hybrid format. METHODOLOGY: Important concepts in online teaching and learning are establishing instructor presence, creating communities of inquiry, and enhancing collaboration opportunities. These are easily accomplished in a traditional face to face classroom environment where psychomotor skills typically are taught. The hybrid format of this course does not eliminate the face to face experience, however the limited time spent face to face with students necessitated a new approach to the instruction and practice of palpation skills to utilize students’ time spent at a distance. The class blog served as a portal through which students could share videos, view and comment on each others’ work, and receive feedback from the instructor during the online portions of the course. Through the semester the students themselves built a portfolio of work within the class blog. RESULTS: The students instructed in this hybrid format achieved the objectives of the course and developed the desired palpation skills. In addition they also gained valuable web- application skills and technical abilities that otherwise would not have occurred. The blog enabled students to practice with instructor feedback and consult and collaborate with one another as they learned. Other advantages to students of this model may include: increased tolerance to struggle, increased resourcefulness in gathering information, a tighter community between classmates, and a lasting web-based resource. CONCLUSIONS: The students instructed in the psychomotor skill of palpation were able to achieve success within a hybrid format. Despite the prevailing traditional model for the instruction of psychomotor skills this case report suggests that there may be room for expansion into the virtual classroom given the proper tools; those which preserve the essential functions of the classroom including instructor feedback and peer collaboration. This is not to suggest that the face to face time is completely lost, but it may be significantly decreased by utilization of web-base applications. Further research should be gathered and outcome comparisons made between the two models.


Physical Therapy

This document is currently not available here.

Peer Reviewed