Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Blog

    Taking In-Class Learning Online

    Posted by Ann W. Kummer on Mar 26, 2020 3:33:38 PM


    Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Conditions: A Comprehensive Guide to Clinical Management 

    Instructor: Ann W. Kummer, PhD, CCC-SLP, FASHA 


    What prompted you to create an online course to go with your textbook?  

    I can easily answer that question with two words: concern and frustration!

    I am concerned that many children with speech and/or resonance disorders secondary to cleft palate, dental malocclusion, non-cleft velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI), and other craniofacial conditions are not receiving the treatment that they need. Some children receive speech therapy for years when the appropriate treatment is physical management, including surgery. This only serves to negatively affect their self-esteem because they are doomed to failure. Other children are receiving speech therapy appropriately, but with ineffective procedures. Most concerning is that some children are referred to a surgeon for VPI surgery, when they actually have velopharyngeal mislearning that can be corrected with speech therapy.

    I am frustrated because very few graduate programs in speech-language pathology are offering adequate coursework in order to train students to effectively evaluate and treat these children. One reason for this is a shortage of instructors who have the knowledge, experience, and even interest in teaching the course.  As a result of this shortage, I have been teaching a course on cleft palate and craniofacial conditions at five universities each year for several years. In addition, I receive 4-5 emails per month from speech-language pathologists who are requesting help and advice for a child on their caseload with a history of cleft palate or abnormal resonance.

    Because of these issues that affect the well-being and quality of life of kids, I decided to develop an online course that could be used by universities in the country and around the world to train students. In addition, I wanted to make this available to practicing clinicians who need this information to better serve their clients or patients.


    How do you think students feel about an online course versus an in-class course?

    Although an online course does not offer the direct personal interaction of an in-class course, there are many advantages of this mode of education. Students can:

    • Take the class in any semester, not just when it is scheduled with the instructor.
    • Watch the lectures from home at a time that is convenient for them.
    • Listen to parts of the lecture repeatedly if necessary.
    • Save time and money with a lack of commuting.

    Most students today have experience with online courses and I think most even prefer this type of course.


    Are there any advantages to universities in adopting an online course?

    Absolutely! An online course is much cheaper to provide because the university doesn’t need to hire someone in their program to teach it. Also, the course can be taught by an expert in the field. Finally, the university can provide it to students at any time because scheduling the instructor and a classroom is not needed.


    Finally, what are some of the features of your online course?

    Well first of all, this course is based on my extensive clinical experience at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and my extensive teaching experience of this class at five different universities. In addition, the recorded lectures include many clinical videos of real patients to illustrate the content. There are almost 300 clinical videos that come with the online version of the text. Finally, this course includes homework assignments and exams. As such, it is a 1.5 graduate credit “course-in-a-box.”


    For more information click HERE!

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