Every year, physical therapists and assistants need to fulfill continuing education hours to be able to renew their licenses. We usually get flyers, emails, mailers and subscriptions for available course topics. In this profession, we need to strive for advancement in our careers through continued learning.
At times, working professionals venture into higher learning more than the usual short online courses or onsite seminars. Some enroll in higher education for a brighter future. Unfortunately, not all are lucky to have the time time the and the finances. However, there’s hope if you have reliable internet access, a computer device, extra hours after work and a strong dedication to complete self-education courses.
Today, I’ll be sharing with you a few university websites and links that have open course offerings. Most of them provide free lecture materials and/or podcasts but generally do not offer credits towards your CEU or school requirements. So if you’re trying to become a physical therapy student and wondering if the medical field is for you, this article will hopefully assist you in trying them out. For the practicing therapist, these links will also be helpful in brushing up on particular topics or to prepare for formal higher education training.
Here are a few recommendations:
MIT OpenCourseWare. This is a free web-based listing of MIT course materials for undergraduate and graduate studies. Once you venture into the website, there is already a lot of free resources that you can access. Click on courses and check out Health and Medicine.
UC San Diego. If you are more of an audiovisual learner, then this site is suited for you. UC San Diego provides free videos and podcasts to most of its courses. These podcasts are actual class recordings, but the courses may or may not come with text or syllabi. Also, course offerings lean towards the basic sciences and are geared for the early medical learners.
Tufts OpenCourseware. This Tufts University-sponsored site is another portal for free access to course content that was initiated by MIT. I’ve ventured into doing the Musculoskelatal Pathophysiology course, and the lectures were presented in a clear organized manner. Once on the site, find the School of Medicine link to view more interesting topics.
John Hopkins Open Courseware. The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers free access to their popular courses. The school promotes public health information topics for world health awareness.
Coursera. This site is my favorite among the rest. Coursera partners with major universities and colleges on a global scale. After creating an account, you can freely access all of their courses and get enrolled in classes when they become available. Most courses have to be completed in a certain time frame and will require you to submit assignments, perform independent readings and complete exams to earn a certificate. Because professors are usually thorough, there is a classroom feel to it but you get to remain in the comfort of your own home.
I’ve enrolled in a few, such as Medical Neuroscience conducted by Duke University, and it was a very rewarding experience. Most of the courses I’ve been enrolled in have videos and text with reference recommendations. It’s MOOC (massive open online course) platform makes free education available for all ages.
Coursera also offers specialization courses that let you earn certificates of completion. So if you complete a course relating to physical therapy, you might want to try to submit to your state licensing body for approval.
Massive Open Online Courses are definitely growing by the numbers as more elite universities all over the world continue to participate in public education.