Online learning in acupuncture courses:

challenges and opportunities


This workshop will be pitched for those College/TI heads and academics who are considering adding an online learning element to their courses.

Since 2012, the Northern College of Acupuncture (York, UK) has integrated online learning throughout its undergraduate and post-graduate curriculum for Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Nutrition Science and Practice, including three online-only courses with a global cohort of students.

NCA’s Research Director, Karen Charlesworth, led the design and implementation of the College’s online learning system, and Online Courses Director Jane Nodder runs a team of tutors who deliver teaching and learning via the system. Karen and Jane will lead this workshop, which offers delegates opportunities to:

  • Learn about the basic concepts, theories, terminology and current research relating to online learning, both in pedagogy and technology
  • Consider the opportunities and challenges of introducing online learning to their organisations
  • Explore a number of practical issues and areas of debate with regard to designing and delivering online learning
  • Consider ‘real-life’ examples of design and delivering via online learning
  • Consider the role of online learning and applying advanced technologies to research methods and approaches
  • Take away ‘Top Five’ Best Practice Tips

The workshop will include plenty of discussion and practical exercises designed to introduce and explore the challenges and opportunities of integrating online learning into acupuncture courses.

Karen Charlesworth MBAcC, MSc (Acupuncture)

Research Director at the Northern College of Acupuncture, York, UK

Karen was a specialist editorial and online consultant to, amongst others, the UK Department of Health before she retrained as an acupuncturist, graduating from the Northern College of Acupuncture in 2013.  Between 2011-2012 she designed and implemented a bespoke online learning system for NCA, with responsibility for all aspects of the system from planning through to staff and student engagement and support. The online learning system has become an integral part of the student experience at NCA, and is now additionally the delivery platform for three online-only courses with global cohorts: Advanced Complementary Medicine, Advanced Oriental Medicine, and Advanced Nutrition (Research and Practice. 

Karen received the NCA Research Dissertation Prize in 2014 and was awarded a Distinction for her MSc, entitled APPA: an Auricular Protocol for Pain and Anxiety: a consensus study to determine a theoretically effective protocol for use in humanitarian aid environments. She is currently embarking on a PhD in Acupuncture, and is also designing a small-scale trial to indicate the clinical effectiveness of the APPA protocol, following which she hopes to conduct a field trial in a humanitarian aid environment. 

Karen sits on the British Acupuncture Council’s Editorial and Research Committees, and is a consultant in online learning for the British Acupuncture Accreditation Board. 

Jane Nodder, MScNutMed DipION BA(Hons) mBANT, CNHC NTC FHEA

Course Director:  On-line MSc Advanced Oriental Medicine (Research & Practice), Advanced Complementary Medicine (Research & Practice), Advanced Nutrition (Research & Practice), Northern College of Acupuncture, York, UK.

Jane is an experienced nutrition practitioner and Course Director for the on-line MSc programmes in Oriental Medicine, Complementary Medicine and Advanced Nutrition (Research & Practice) at the Northern College of Acupuncture, York (University of Middlesex). She is also a PG Module Leader, CPD Seminar Tutor and MSc Dissertation Supervisor. In 2011, Jane completed the MSc in Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey with distinction, and is currently studying for a PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of Lancaster, UK.  She has also trained with the Institute for Functional Medicine in the USA and is a certified First Line Therapy practitioner. 

In 2010, Jane received the CAM Award for Individual Excellence in Nutritional Knowledge, and in 2011 the Yakult prize for Outstanding Student of the Year at the University of Surrey. Jane worked for the professional body for applied nutrition and nutritional therapy (BANT) in the UK for nine years as Chair of the Professional Practice Committee, as a Director and as Head of Clinical Governance. 

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