Happy New Year

Champagne New Year image

Apologies for not writing a more substantive post but I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to get our new MSc in Clinical Gait Analysis by distance-learning running.  We had our first virtual classroom on Wednesday evening which was quite a milestone for me. Inevitably there were teething troubles particularly with admissions and registrations process but the final result is that we’ve ended up were we wanted to be with a good sized cohort of students embarking on the programme together. It’s large enough for a feeling of community to develop, small enough for things to feel manageable in this first year. Rather remarkably the seven students represent 4 continents which brings challenges for timetabling the virtual classrooms! We actually had applications from students on the two other continents but they came too late for us to get them on board on time.

The programme is designed for staff already working in gait analysis services. Staff currently employed in laboratories tend to take on either a “clinical” or “technical” role and one of the aims is to encourage and support individuals to develop competencies in all aspects of the role of a clinical gait analyst. It’s part of the CMAster project and next year VU Amsterdam and KU Leuven will be offering different residential options with potential for students to split their studies between any two of the three universities.

Our programme that spreads over three years of part-time study. The first two years are taught and the third gives the students a chance to undertake their master’s project. The taught programme is divided into four modules: Measuring walking, Healthy walking, Walking with pathology and Clinical interpretation. The first two modules are taught primarily by experiential learning requiring students to perform lots of gait analysis to consolidate their understanding of how to capture data and the reasons that healthy people walk the way they do. We’ve also managed to steer clear of any exams with assessment through a range of more relevant tasks.

All in all I’m pretty happy for the programme and looking forwards to it. Perhaps more importantly for this blog it is really starting to raise some issues for me that would make good topics for posts. All I need is the time to write them. So here’s looking forward to the new academic year and more on-line interaction.

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