ASIS Massage Education recently launched a hybrid program that meets curriculum competency standards set by COMTA, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.
Flexibility! When the Covid-19 pandemic required us to go fully online for a short period of time, we needed to offer students flexible options during the pandemic. Our awesome education department created a process for students to “virtually” attend on-campus classes, and have additional online work and assignments to complete. We quickly learned that it WAS to offer students a well-rounded Massage Therapy education, while allowing them the time to learn and have the flexibility to work and/or spend more time with their family. This schedule has also provided the opportunity for students to spend more quality time with their families.
What are the benefits for the student?
Students are able to participate in 30 percent of their program online, giving them a shorter time they must be on campus, allowing them the flexibility to adjust to changing home and family needs during the pandemic and beyond. By preparing the lecture material for the modality classes at home, they are able to focus on more hands-on instruction while they are on campus for the in-person classes. Students can work on their weekly material at their own pace, on their day off or when they are able to get some time in between their other responsibilities.
The hybrid program is also creating study material for students to support their learning. It also allows all students to participate at the same level. Everyone is responsible for their learning and has to complete all the assignments.
Methods of instruction/learning
Lecture based classes, that require no hands on practice, have been developed for a distance/hybrid format delivery. For Anatomy and Physiology, Kinesiology, Communications, Ethics and Business, classes are fully online, with the exception of the “Friday (or Saturday) check in” where they have the option to come in for testing, tutoring, or just to connect and use the campus equipment. For modality courses, lectures on background information are offered online in conjunction with the hands-on portion of the modality.
The online assignments are a combination of daily postings, readings, assignments and quizzes. Online classes will be comparable to a 2.5 hour face-to-face class. The in-person classes focus on the hands-on work of the modalities, with ample practice time.
What is the hybrid schedule?
All students start the program in Engaging with Alpha – the beginning module that is entirely in person. Once they complete that module (4 weeks for the day students and 7 weeks for the night students), they will enter the hybrid program. Students receive access to the following week’s online content on the weekend before the week. They work at their own pace, completing their assignments by Friday. During the week, students attend in-person classes:
- Day students attend in person classes Monday-Thursday 9-12:20, with Fridays as an opportunity for Q&A with an instructor on Fridays. Clinic sessions are also scheduled 5 times throughout the module
- Night students attend in person classes Tuesday-Thursday 6-9:20pm, with Saturdays as an opportunity for Q&A with an instructor on Saturdays. Clinic sessions are scheduled throughout the module as well
What does the online class content look like?
Online classes will start with a one-hour recorded lecture, then follow with assignments. We have determined through beta testing with current students that the average length of time it takes for students to complete the daily assigned work is 1.5 hours. Our Education Director, when creating assignments, ensures that students will need the required time to complete assignments.
Students participate in weekly discussions with their classmates about topics that are covered in the weekly material (great way to stay connected!). We see students get the chance to evenly participate in discussions, as opposed to in-person learning, where more outgoing students sometimes tend to lead the discussions.
Our current students have shared some very positive feedback on this new format, and ASIS is very excited to provide this method of learning and attending school!
See what our students have to say:
“I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the online format for learning because it allows me to be present for class while at home – This has been extremely helpful, especially with my son starting online kindergarten. Thank you for making this an easy transition!” -Meredith
“I would like to let you know that I believe the online learning is going great. It has really given me time to study and work at my own pace without feeling stressed. It gives me time for just one day a week to really sit down and work on everything that we will be covering that week. Thank you for making it easier to get an education during these tough times.” – Destany
For those of you considering a career in massage, and ASIS, how would this flexible approach to learning help you reach your career goals? We would love to help you!