UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Nursing

Date

4-28-2009

Document Type

Poster

Subjects

Education, Nursing, Graduate; Education, Distance

Disciplines

Education | Nursing

Abstract

Background:
Schools of nursing are experiencing faculty shortages which limit student admissions. The additional time and effort needed to gain competency as an academic nurse educator is one reason for this shortage. Nurse educator web-based courses offer increased flexibility in time management as well as reduced commuting time, however not all nurses embrace the online learning environment.

Aim:
Expand access to two web-based nurse educator courses at the University of Massachusetts Worcester by offering nurses the choice, within a single course, of completing either a hybrid or fully online course.

N620: Teaching and Curriculum Development
N623: Identifying and Measuring Outcomes

Research Design:
Exploratory prospective design. Qualitative data gathered from student focus groups and interviews. Quantitative data gathered through initial, formative and end of course surveys, student assignments, grades.

Findings:
1. 50% of the students completed the hybrid course because face to face interaction was highly valued.
2. Students with prior satisfactory online learning experiences and who knew each other from other courses completed the fully online course.
3. Students with no previous experience taking online courses did not anticipate the time commitment.
4. Even a hybrid course format can increase access to graduate courses for busy students with jobs and families. The online format reduced the burden of commuting and allowed for flexibility. Enrollment in N 620 more than doubled from the previous year (four versus nine students).

Recommendations:
1. Potential students should complete a self-assessment to determine if they are motivated to be self-directed learners and learn basic computer skills, Powerpoint© and Blackboard Vista© technology prior to beginning a hybrid or fully online course.
2. To facilitate communication in a hybrid or fully online course, course syllabi should contain detailed descriptions of all assignments, grading criteria and due dates. (U Wisconsin Milwaukee Learning Technology Center)

Presented at the UMass GSN Nursing Excellence Conference on April 28, 2009.