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Occupational Therapy Boards – Identifying the Value of a High-Impact Service-Learning Project

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Holistic Assessment and Teaching in Service-learning Environments

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Todd France Ohio Northern University

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Todd France is the director of Ohio Northern University's Engineering Education program, which strives to prepare engineering educators for the 7-12 grade levels. Dr. France is also heavily involved in developing and facilitating the Introduction to Engineering course sequence at ONU. He earned his PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder where his research focused on pre-engineering education and project-based learning.

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Developing students’ appreciation for the societal benefits of engineering is one of the key tenets of EPICS (Engineering Projects In Community Service), a service-learning program. In achieving this goal, it is important that students see the direct application of the knowledge and skills they have acquired as engineering students. When students are able to engage in a full start-to-finish design process within a team and, importantly, along with a genuine client, they have greater potential to appreciate the social responsibility aspect of professional engineering.

A unique EPICS experience is under development that aligns with these guidelines, focused on the creation of “occupational therapy boards,” designed to improve the fine motor skills of children. Borne out of an idea to develop engineering students’ design thinking and fabrication skills, this project provides a construct for engineers-in-training at all levels, and can be molded to best suit the students’ skillsets and/or project partners’ desires.

In the EPICS project under review, undergraduate engineering students have had the opportunity to work with occupational therapists at both a pediatric rehabilitation clinic and a local preschool. This research study identifies potential benefits, limitations, and recommendations so that the project can be more easily adapted by other institutions seeking high-impact, low barrier-to-entry experiential learning opportunities.

France, T. (2018, June), Occupational Therapy Boards – Identifying the Value of a High-Impact Service-Learning Project Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30845

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