Physiopedia Open Ethics course (PHT402) – a review

In May this year Physiopedia announced a 6 week open course on professional ethics delivered in collaboration with Michael Rowe of the University of Western Cape. As far as we are aware this course is the first of its kind to be run for the Physiotherapy community, being completely open and free to participants anywhere in the world. This course finished on August 25th and I thought it would be good to provide a quick overview of how it was run and highlight some feedback from the participants.

  • The course involved each participant setting up and writing an open blog on which they reflected on each weeks’ activities and also engaged with the reflections of the other participants through writing comments on their posts.
  • There were 6 weeks each with a different focus that included topics such as morality, equality, torture and euthanasia (view the course activities).
  • 52 UWC students and 36 external participants from countries such as South Africa, USA, United Kingdom, India, New Zealand, Estonia, Saudi Arabia and Canada have taken part.
  • Over the duration of the course more than 500 blog posts have been written and there are countless comments on these blog posts (view all the participant blogs here).
  • After 5 weeks each participant peer assessed the blogs of 3 of their colleagues and this feedback was given anonymously to each student for their own development.

Here are quotes from some of the final reflections on the course from the external participants:

many thanks to my fellow MOOC participants for all your thought-provoking posts, for your honest introspection and self-examination,  for the interesting links to items related to the topics, for being kind enough to read and then make stimulating comments on my posts, and for causing me on several occasions to read your blogs late into the night when the rest of my household were asleep. Wendy Walker (United Kingdom)

It is not only ethics that I learned about from this course , it was a real eye opening experience that taught me to think widely and diversly, to ask stupid questions sometimes, how to present my thoughts and how to search for evidence to support what I’m saying .  Reham Alanbar (Saudi Arabia)

Wow! It has already been six weeks. I have learned an immense amount of information from many different perspectives. Most of the information reached a consensus in regards to my own perspective and opinions but nonetheless the course was extremely stimulating and educational. I believe the best attribute we have all gained is a more open mind. Jackie Wong (Canada)

I would like to start by stating that I am very lucky to take part in this course with such a multi diverse, international and smart group of people… …I have learned so much during the course, about the laws and cultures of my  home country, my  residence country as well as the reality in other countries as it reflects from my fellow participants’ posts. I also learn about using blogging as a way to reflect my ideas and share them with the world. Noam Eitan (USA)

This course has been an eye opening experience for me and it has changed the way I go about exploring topics that appear to be taboo in nature. It has allowed me to explore alternate view points and accept the fact that my own opinions are not the end all be all. This course has changed the way I communicate my thoughts and feelings and has allowed me to connect with people just like myself from all over the globe. This has been an invaluable experience and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome. Thomas Janicky (USA)

I realized that my thoughts are influenced by what i believe, where am from and where I live. Since all the above three varies from person to person , the ideas, thoughts  of various sensitive topics had varied widely. As a professional I learnt that when you encounter a controversial thing, analyse the situation in point of view from yours as well as your opponent. Above all the best thing I learnt is first am a Human and next am a professional Physiotherapist. Sheik Abdul Khadir (India)

It has been an extremely exciting project for us at Physiopedia to be involved in this course and it is extremely gratifying to see that the participants have all enjoyed it and benefited as much as we have. We are very much looking forward to running our next open course… watch this space!