Transcript for presentation:

Inter-professional education in universal design: An Australian case study.


Helen Larkin, Susan Ang, Valerie Watchorn, Danielle Hitch and Richard Tucker


B3. Education about UD

Date and Time

2014-06-16, 17:20 - 17:40


MA 1

Presentation PDF

Short oral presentation

Transcript of the talk

>> HOST: Thank you very much. So we are moving around the world. And we have now reached Australia.
So I would like to welcome Helen Larkin.
>> HELEN LARKIN: Great. Thank you everyone. It is a bit chilly. I am getting a bit chilly standing here. Before I start I want to set a little bit of a context in terms of where I come from. And I come from Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, which is then you destroy a University that is so bring our 44th anniversary. That is quite young. Him if anyone who knows Victoria or that part of the story a, I am at the waterfront campus in Geelong, Australia.
And we are physically located together.
And when I came into thousand five, although we were literally separated by passageway of 100 meters, there had never been an intentional pass to bring these two groups together. And I thought there was a lot of common interest. And this has been talked a lot about already.
So this actually started to happen when I was teaching. I am an occupational therapist. I was teaching my third your students I was teaching universal design in third year and I was showing a lot of photos of buildings and talking about barriers to participation in relation to the environment and same as a things like what on earth were those architects thinking ?
And what of my students put her hand up and she said Helen, I wish my boyfriend was here. He is architecture student, and he would have a totally different point of view.
And at that point I realized we needed to bring the view to the table and bring the two groups together. So that is what we did.
At the same obviously at the same time, obviously there is increasing awareness about social justice and both national and global agendas.
Australia is part of the United Nation convention on the part of people with disabilities.
We have had major reviews of standards and building codes and a growing recognition of the help in city initiatives.
Certainly the University, there is a large emphasis place now on what the student experience should be and what attributes we want our graduates to have ?
What do we want them to be graduating with and what jobs are we preparing them for? And I think this is a really important aspect of what we’re trying to do.
We did not find that anyone else was doing it. There were some studies that have occupational therapy brought with industrial design students, but I could not find any studies where they brought both citizens together.
So in 2010 we developed quite a large student community that was cross faculty with other representations from across the University and what we wanted to do was developed and trial a blended and teaching resources around inclusive design. We wanted to look at what was sustainable beyond 2010 for any professional and educational approach to this and we wanted to look at sustainable partnerships in the future with regards to inclusive design practice and education.
What we did is in 2010 we did a very large literature review first of all as all good studies will do.
We did some consultation across Australia and throughout the focus groups or telephone interviews, we have trimester systems and in semester two of 2010, we developed some online teaching resources. And you can see it was first year architecture students and third year occupational therapy students.
We talked to both teachers and I thought it was important. There is a three year undergrad and then two years on top of that so there is five years total and so we did this in the second semester of our first year architecture program.
There were about 120 architecture students and 60 to 70 occupational therapy students.
We did face to face teaching and online teaching and in the face to face teaching we did arrange.
(Comment off mic).
Nation activities. We wanted to compare the difference between what I call real life and simulation.
So we sent students using wheelchairs and vision impairment classes, using a delivery trolley, using a pram, we did this in a large regional city to experience what it was like in this sort of simulation, and we wanted to compare this with Second Life simulations. So through the use of an avatar, the navigated through a Second Life simulation.
And we evaluated that.
So any stakeholder consultation, just briefly, we had 28 people who participated in the focus group or a telephone interview.
The main experience of the group was pretty high, over 20 years of experience.
They came from a range of professional backgrounds, architecture, occupational therapy, access (Indiscernible) and a range of advocacy groups.
Just to talk briefly about a couple of the key messages and some of the quotes, but it was a very large study that we did.
I think some of these key programs were some of the terminology we have heard today.
Some people in those focus groups and telephone interviews preferred the term “universal” because the other implies that you are sort of doing them a favor. But other people did not like the word universal design, and particularly architects felt it was a one size fits all, sort of a dumbing down part of the process.
So there was no real agreement in terminology, no real preference.
Quite a few of our participants commented that sustainability is really now, has taken a lot of ground from accessibility if you like and actually, we are making more ground in Austria 10 or 15 years ago than what we are now.
So I think also some of the comments from participants is that in the pursuit of looking at environmental sustainability and design solutions, some of those solutions were actually becoming more accessible with a range of abilities.
And clearly, I think that as an occupational therapist who is quite old in the tooth and have been around for a long time, I have seen lots of design solutions for individuals that are really poor design solutions and I think that very much came clear, it is not one or the other. No one is the expert. The old person who is the expert is the person who has a particular needs and wants a design in relation to their life.
And then architects and occupational therapist have a role to understand and respect that we can each bring to the table and contribute.
What we wanted students in this 2010 project to do was to be able to described the principles of universal design. This is both for architecture and occupational therapist. We wanted them to talk about these design solutions and one of them to be able to critique a design solution from that perspective as well.
So we did some face to face teaching. So one of the lectures and architecture came into my third year occupational therapy and I taught an architectural drawing and design she does a much better job of it than me.
Several of the occupational therapy academic stuff, teaching to architecture, we taught this in the first year design studio.
We talked about universal design. We talked about diversity. We talked about using the international classification of functioning as a basis for that and we explored some of those issues.
We had a one day workshop with both students were we brought them together, and we had some guest speakers. We had a lot of discussions and that is when we did the simulation. Each student with through both a second and a real life simulation.
I hesitate to use the word, “Real life” because I don’t think any of put ourselves in their shoes. Despite the fact that we can sit in a wheelchair, we do not understand what it is like 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Although was nice to hear Patricia evaluate that experience and we should talk about it from her own experience and the power of transforming the views of major corporations. So I do think there is some use in trying to change attitudes.
So we also had occupational therapy students and architectural students contributing to this as well.
So just on the left you will see an example of a poster presentation from a group of occupational therapy students in terms of this is one of the things they are required to do do some basic architectural drawing skills to communicate on a case study that they’re working with a client.
Obviously we are not expecting them to be architects, but we want them to understand what an elevation is, what a plan is, so when they are working with architects, they have some basic knowledge, and they can make an informed comment.
And obviously, as you can see from the posterior, we had to critique these plans also in relation to universal design.
On the right you will see some design solutions that some of the architects came up with when they had to embed universal design characteristics within their designs.
Second Life, that was a really steep learning curve. I never really heard of Second Life before we embark on this project, and there wasn’t many people in the University with the skills, but we did have one person who is very, very keen to try it out.
So one of the biggest problems is technical support in the computer hardware.
So the computer hardware that we used, it wasn’t good for the student support. The use of second life in terms of the hardware was hard so we had to upgrade quite a few computers.
The biggest problem with second life is making it real. So we are doing everything that is counterintuitive to second life. Second life is designed, so people can fly, they can go upstairs and they can do wonderful and magical things.
So we actually try to make it more real.
So there were a lot of cost associated with scripting and building this second life environment and problems to scale. We did not want wheelchairs to fly. We wanted real scale in buildings. We wanted to build an environment where sometimes the person in the wheelchair could never go through a particular area.
So we wanted students to experience those issues of accessibility and inaccessibility.
There were also risks to second life for anyone who is familiar with second life environments. It can be risky for people, and there are cases around things that happen to people. We wanted to make sure that people who use second life were using it and no one could access it other than our students.
It is very, very costly and very time consuming.
In the evaluation we need to just first the evaluation at the beginning and end of the semester the demographic information but what I want to share with you is we used the readiness for the scale that was developed in 1999.
It has been used a lot to measure attitudes to professional learning with healthcare students, medical, nursing.
It has never been used with architecture learning.
So there is about 18 to 20 questions that students answer. Both the students did the questionnaire at the beginning of this particular project and basically occupational therapy students were particularly more positive, but less cognitive even though they were third year, about their own role.
Architecture students, they were more likely to think that learning with other disciplines was a waste of time.
They thought problem solving could be learn more effectively within their own profession, and they had to apply more knowledge and skills than other professions.
At least in comparison to occupational therapy students.
When we did it at the end, we had the online teaching, we had the face to face teaching, we had the one day workshop, and then at the end of the semester we did the second questionnaire, we asked the students the same things again.
The difference is mostly remain the same, but the gap had narrowed in some areas.
However, the occupational therapy students became more positive. became less positive. They thought that problem solving could be learn more effectively with professionals in the same background and the became less positive about the benefits of shared learning.
As disappointing as this is, it is not surprising because within their help, professional, educational learning, this is very them this is very common.
So you have got to do more than just bring them together.
So the usefulness of second life, not very really. At least not from the student perspective and in terms of time and money in regards to building that environment. They were not really all of that positive about its effect.
Particularly it does not mimic obviously the physical and social and tactile challenges that a real isolation does.
So students were very positive about real life simulations and that is why we are still doing them. And we have been doing them I did occupational therapy for 35 years, 40 years ago and we are still doing it. I still think it is a powerful educator and a powerful transformer of attitudes and beliefs.
Unless someone has a better idea, I do think we have to be conscious that a few disability advocacy groups don’t like us doing them. But it is important that we do them carefully, tactfully, and with sensitivity.
So since 2010, just to finish off, we now teach first and second year architecture. We also continue to teach occupational therapy, and we do real life simulations and we have had an increasing rate of students in this area and now we can say that within the architecture program, there is more by and then there was and now they are employing tutors within the design studio projects to have an active interest in inclusive design, whatever we might like to call it.
Lots of challenges. It really is about buy in and being a champion of change.
It is very difficult to find the time and the space to make that interprofessional education happen, but I just want to finish off this is a quote from last year with a first year architecture student who spoke to his colleagues. He used to be a chef before started to study architecture, before his injury. Universal design is like a good way. It is very enjoyable. I think that really sums up what the messages that we are trying to give to students. And finally in the words of one of the very per students in 2010, she came up to me at the end of the session, at the end of the semester, after completing her design project, she says it has been a life changing experience. And that is what I am hoping we are doing through this project, transforming values and attitudes and beliefs. Thank you very much.
>> HOST: Thank you. Questions?
>> GUEST: In the real life experience, we have always had a problem with getting enough equipment. Do you have any tips?
>>: What we are trying to say is that it is not just about wheelchairs. We are trying to get the message across to the students that we all know this could be any of us at any stage, either temporarily or permanently.
So we’re trying to expand. We used to livery trolleys. We use prams as well as wheelchairs and crutches and so on. So we do have a number of wheelchairs within the occupational therapy program. But it is challenging. Because the architecture program would like to get it done in one day and I think it is very insensitive to say that 100 plus students could do this, not all of them have a disability or a health problem, but it is a challenge.
>> GUEST: Do you bring people with disabilities into the studio?
>>: Yes. Interestingly enough, we do have someone that does quite a lot of lectures for us, a gentleman with several policy.
This year we used five students, all of you are first year architecture students and have a disability of some sort that impacts their ability to navigate the environment.
But the thing that is interesting is that one of the students is one that I just quoted here before. He has a spinal cord injury and uses a wheelchair. He is doing a design project and he is talking to one of the lectures and saying I am sitting here with my six other people on my team, and they are still designing buildings with steps and stairs and here I am and yet the message is still not getting through. It is tough. Really tough.
>> GUEST: Thank you. Very interesting. I also have a question. The real life and the Second Life, they are very popular. I have seen them used also by politicians, together with the organizations and then I think it is a bit surprising that after, when for instance, they are discussing difficult topics, they do not really put weight to what they learned in this real life situation. So it could be interesting when it comes to students, also to have them to follow up after a few years to see. Because, of course, there are problems to that method. And so it could be interesting to have a few years.
>> HELEN LARKIN: I think my solution I think we know that people with experience, with a family or friend or disability will get it more. I am really tried to push architecture students to work in a part time, they all have part time jobs. Maybe they work at a hotel or a local McDonalds. So I wanted to get some real experience about what it is like.
>> HOST: Just a short question.
>> GUEST: So the architects noble (Indiscernible) are there some affected differences between
>>: I think the students became slightly more negative. They are in the third year of their course. They’ll have one year to go. They saw the first year architecture students not taking this seriously. So there was a very much of a difference in terms of professional, sort of where they work on the professional scale. So I think that was a contributor factor. But we did it because it was a more convenience issue. So it was easy for me to Ashley modify the curriculum.
>> GUEST: How many ours and how many weeks for all of the programs?
>> HELEN LARKIN: Well, it was several weeks. So in first and second year architecture, it is over several weeks, and we come into the studio design in various points along the way. And occupational therapy, it is only a couple of weeks, in terms of third year anyhow, and then they do their project in relation to the one we saw up there. It is still quite small. We are trying to expand it.
>> GUEST: Thank you very much.


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