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Penn State Physical Therapist Assistant Faculty Present at National Conference

From left are Emily Larrier, Jennifer Jewell, Pamela Pologruto, Beverly Labosky and Ryan Mutter.
From left are Emily Larrier, Jennifer Jewell, Pamela Pologruto, Beverly Labosky and Ryan Mutter.
4/17/2014 —

Professors and students from multiple Penn State University campuses including Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, presented their experiences with flipping a classroom and the benefits of a multi-campus collaboration effort at the Combined Sessions Meeting (CSM) physical therapy national conference earlier this year.

A “flipped classroom” is a form of blended learning in which students review material prior to class. Classroom time is then used for students to apply knowledge to practical scenarios.

At the CSM, Penn State Fayette professor Pamela Pologruto, DPT, presented the instructor perspective and the effectiveness of a flipped classroom physical therapist assistant course that was created in Fall 2013 through peer collaboration with a multi-campus effort. Six lectures were flipped, including values-based behaviors for the physical therapist assistant, ethics/ethical analysis, communication, billing and reimbursement, diversity/cultural competence, and lifelong learning. Each instructor was responsible for flipping two lectures and sharing the materials with the other two campuses, which collaborated through numerous online meetings.

For the CSM presentation, Dr. Pologruto was joined by Jennifer Jewell, DPT, and Beverly Labosky, PTA, AAS, professors at Penn State’s Shenango and Hazelton campuses, respectively. Their presentation focused on the technology used to provide out-of-class material, student and instructor feedback, and the collaboration between the three Penn State campuses.

The instructors reported the benefits, including having more classroom time to assist and guide students in the clinical application of knowledge to real-life scenarios. Also, students were more engaged in the classroom and had increased opportunities to participate in active learning.

Following the professors’ presentation, a panel discussion featured Penn State physical therapist assistant students Emily Larrier and Ryan Mutter, who answered audience questions and shared their perspectives on the limitations and benefits of learning in a classroom that has been flipped.

Commenting on the Penn State group’s presentation at the CSM, Dr. Pologruto said, “Attending and presenting at a national conference provided the valuable opportunity to share knowledge and gain knowledge from other professionals who share the same passion.”

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Penn State Fayette helps to prepare individuals to become skilled technical health workers who assist the physical therapist in patient treatment. Students develop knowledge and skills in the appropriate use of equipment and exercise associated with various physical therapy treatment modalities. The physical therapist assistant major requires five semesters to satisfy graduation requirements, and students completing all coursework will earn an associate in science degree.

The Combined Sections Meeting, which is held annually, is a collaborative effort between the American Physical Therapy Association and its 18 specialty sections. This year’s CSM took place in Las Vegas from Feb. 3-6, and had more than 11,000 attendees.

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