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Unit of study_

OCCP5237: Introduction to OT Theory and Practice

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Cumberland, Sydney

This unit of study will introduce students to the theory and practice of occupational therapy through on campus learning activities and a fieldwork placement. Students will learn about the concepts and philosophies that underpin occupational therapy professional practice (including models of practice based on sociological, psychological and biological theories), specifically the nature of human occupations and the analysis of occupations. They will also apply this to the occupational therapy process and principles of practice as modelled by therapists in practice. As part of the fieldwork experience students will develop an understanding of the occupational therapy process and develop practical skills in communication, interaction and professional behaviour under supervision. Students will also engage in self reflection to identify their personal learning needs, existing strengths and required capabilities of occupational therapists. The placement experience is completed outside of the semesters during semester breaks.

Unit details and rules

Unit code OCCP5237
Academic unit Participation Sciences
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Rebecca Barton,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Placement hurdle task Fieldwork evaluation
0% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO2
In-semester test hurdle task Written take-home exam
Written take-home exam
60% Formal exam period Extended answer, case-based questions.
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO8 LO5
Participation hurdle task Fieldwork and related attendance
As described in "Attendance requirements" in unit outline
0% Multiple weeks Seminars Weeks 11&13 and fieldwork
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Discussion board post and comments
Original online discussion post (Wk 6) plus response to peers (Wk 7)
20% Multiple weeks 300-400 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Skills-based evaluation hurdle task Accelerate communication excellence (ACE)
0% Week 05
Due date: 27 Mar 2020 at 15:30
1 hour online module
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO9 LO8
Online task hurdle task Academic Honesty Education Module
Online module covering academic honesty requirements
0% Week 06 30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment group assignment Critical case analysis summary
20% Week 09
Due date: 01 May 2020 at 23:59
Max 3 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO6
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Accelerate Communication Excellence (ACE):

  • The ACE Program is an on-line module designed to accelerate the development of professional communication skills in listening, reading, writing, speaking and reasoning. For each of these professional areas students will learn how to accelerate their skills, followed by the opportunity to self -assess skills and confidence. ACE aims to better prepare students for clinic placement by helping them bridge the gap from classroom studies to working with clients in real life settings. 
    Please see:

Discussion board post and responses:

  • Students will individually write one online discussion post critically engaging with concepts underpinning occupational therapy. Students must also respond to at least two other discussion posts. Detailed information regarding this assessment can be found in Canvas.

Critical case analysis summary:

  • Students will work in pairs to critically apply relevant theory to support their analysis of occupational issues within a written case study. Detailed information regarding this assessment can be found in Canvas.

Written take-home exam:

  • Extended answer, case-based questions. Students will have 24 hours to complete the exam and submit it via Turnitin.

Fieldwork evaluation:

  • Using the Short Placement Assessment (OT-SPA), students and clinical educators will independently rate students’ demonstration of core professional behaviours and skills during their off-campus placement. Students and supervisors will review and discuss performance both at midway and completion of the placement. The educator will make their final recommendation to the Unit of Study coordinator, who will review and determine the final result.


Academic Honesty Education Module:

  • This compulsory online module provides students with information regarding academic honesty requirements. Students should review the information available on the academic integrity website - and then complete the AHEM module (accessed via their Canvas homepage).

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

Specific rubrics/criteria outlining the standards required for each assessment are provided in Canvas.

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introductions; 2. What is occupational therapy? What is our focus? What do we do? Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 02 1. Values and professionalism; 2. Defining key concepts Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 03 1, ICF, OT models and paradigms; 2. Disability: a rights-based approach; 3. Communication and language: the power in words Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 04 1. PEO model recap; 2. Considering environments/contexts Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 05 Model of human occupation Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 06 1. Integrating theory and practice: a workplace rehabilitation example; 2. Fieldwork preparation Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 07 Occupational performance model (Australia) Seminar (2 hr)  
Week 08 Analysing occupations and performance Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 09 1. Intervention continuum; 2. Occupation as means and ends Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 10 Grading and adaptation Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 11 Fieldwork preparation Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 12 Exam preparation: using theory to understand complex case studies Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 13 1. Unit of study summary; 2. Fieldwork preparation Seminar (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance requirements

Attendance requirements for this unit of study include weekly seminars, mandatory briefing and debriefing classes, off-campus placement attendance, and group and individual self-directed learning. As per SHS Faculty Resolutions, attendance is required at a minimum of 90% of all timetabled activities. Mandatory sessions, minimum total hours, and minimum hours per activity type also apply, as outlined below, followed by instructions on what to do for occasions of absence.

Attendance at some on-campus seminars and placement contribute towards the total of 1000 hours of fieldwork required for graduation from the degree. 

Mandatory pre-placement preparation classes: Weeks 11, 13 (2 hours).

Mandatory post-placement debriefing class: Date TBC (2 hours).

Self-directed learning: It is expected that students will complete between 2 and 6 hours self-directed learning in preparation for commencing their placement. Guidelines for what is considered acceptable activities for self-directed learning are located in the SHS WIL Canvas site: 

Placement attendance: 40 hours/week for 2 weeks = 80 hours. Students are expected to attend ALL scheduled placement days. Where missed hours occur, the actions to be taken are outlined in the section below.

Attendance records are taken for mandatory classes and attendance at placement is recorded. Students are required to accurately log their attendance for these activities via the timesheet function in Sonia according to the guidelines provided, in support of demonstrating you have met the attendance requirements.

Missed hours

• ALL absences must be notified to the unit of study coordinator and supervisor (placement). Notification must be timely and should include the nature of the leave and the expected return. Students may be required to undertake alternative learning tasks within specific timeframes to demonstrate the attainment of learning outcomes.

• Absences ≤ 8 hours cumulative (including relevant classes and placement) across the duration of the subject must be notified to the unit of study coordinator.

• Absences of greater than 10% (>8hrs) of fieldwork requirements must be notified to the unit of study coordinator AND accompanied by an application for special arrangements (contact the unit of study coordinator for details). Special arrangements will be required to make up the missed hours.

• Absences of greater than 16 hours cumulative (including relevant classes and placement) will require a formal application for special consideration. Applications for special consideration for missed hours must be entered as “In-class assessment; Attendance”. The nature of fieldwork means that such circumstances may require withdrawal from the subject to complete the entire subject or component at another time. Contact the unit of study coordinator for details

Students should also refer to the “Fieldwork Activity and Attendance Guidelines” on the Work Integrated Learning Canvas site (available to all students) on the Occupational Therapy page at

Pre-placement requirements:

Students must meet all pre-placement requirements as outlined on the University of Sydney Course-specific Checks and Clearances website (  Further, students must have an up-to-date declaration (in Sonia) that they have read and understood key documents related to privacy and confidentiality, codes of conduct, NSW Health policies and general communication/email etiquette. Failure to meet these requirements may prevent a student from being allocated to, and/or completing a placement or placement unit of study irrespective of their enrolment status and may thereby be unable to meet mandatory attendance requirements. Students must complete pre-placement requirements within the timeframes indicated in the UoS Canvas page.


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit are listed in Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate professional behaviours appropriate to the expectations of the university and fieldwork setting
  • LO2. demonstrate skills for managing learning in a professional context
  • LO3. explain the significance of occupation to human health and well-being, and outline the taxonomy of human occupations
  • LO4. analyse occupations using relevant conceptual models and identify person-environment-occupation aspects of occupational performance
  • LO5. describe how to design and adapt therapeutic occupations
  • LO6. demonstrate communication skills that will achieve professional objectives, and build collegial and therapeutic relationships
  • LO7. demonstrate an understanding of professional communication and how it will impact on your role as a health professional
  • LO8. demonstrate skills in understanding and using professional oral English
  • LO9. demonstrate skills in listening to, and correctly recording in writing, information using professional written English.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes have been made to one of the assessments based on student feedback. The critical case analysis will replace the fieldwork preparation video to further support students' application of theory and to provide additional feedback in preparation for the final oral exam. Learning activities relevant to the fieldwork preparation video will be incorporated into relevant workshops.

Student Administration Manual

This unit of study outline MUST be read in conjunction with the Student Administration Manual on the School of Health Sciences Current Students webpage:

All students are required to familiarise themselves with their academic responsibilities, and the academic policies governing their enrolment and progression. The School of Health Sciences student administration manual provides a direct link to the University of Sydney’s Coursework policy and Faculty provisions.

The Work Integrated Learning Canvas site also provides information specific to School of Health Sciences placements such as essential preparation, forms and policies.

All students are required to familiarise themselves with their academic responsibilities, and the academic policies and protocols governing their placements.

When considering applications and appeals relating to these matters, it will be assumed that students understand their academic responsibilities and are familiar with these key policies and procedures.

Site visit guidelines

You are required to contact your site/supervisor at least two weeks prior to placement, and to exchange important information to assist your supervisor and yourself to prepare for placement.

Work, health and safety

Consistent with New South Wales WHS legislation, you are required to complete a WHS induction within the first few days of your placement, and if relevant, at any time you attend to work in another setting. This is an essential legal requirement to ensure that all risks are minimised for yourself and others that you are responsible for. The university has a duty of care to you to ensure you have been inducted appropriately and similarly
you are responsible for demonstrating that you are aware of and know how to manage risk appropriately.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.