Adding online flexibility to the BScN program, Bloomberg Nursing successfully transitioned NUR430: Research and Scholarship in Nursing into a virtual classroom this past September. A course designed to connect second-year students with the impact nursing research has on health care delivery, students now engage through podcasts, virtual office hours, video content and weekly discussion forums. Through support from the Office of Online Learning Strategies and funding from the Online Undergraduate Course Initiative (OUCI) for this pilot project, Bloomberg Nursing once again provides the highest level of nurse education through innovative teaching methods.
“The Faculty has already established itself as a leader in online teaching in the Master of Nursing – Nurse Practitioner program,” says Dr. Kim Widger, assistant professor at Bloomberg Nursing and the first online NUR430 course instructor. “It’s a natural progression that we would take the next step in bringing that level of online learning to the undergraduate program, and provide students with more flexibility.”
Professor Widger and Fareed Teja, the Faculty’s academic information and communication technologist, worked closely with previous course instructors, research faculty and the University’s Director of Online Learning Strategies, Laurie Harrison, to implement a course structure with a flexible learning environment for the 170 students enrolled. The challenge to provide an outstanding learning experience outside of a classroom setting was met with creating a variety of innovative resources and activities.
The weekly informal video “Koffee with Kim” connects students with the instructor and allows Professor Widger to comment on key ideas and questions that result from student discussion forums. This is above and beyond the virtual office hours, which encourages students to communicate amongst each other and with Professor Widger to assist with assignments. Through student feedback, the lectures delivered via podcasts are well-received and contribute to providing a rich learning environment. Participation by Bloomberg Nursing research faculty for weekly “Faculty Spotlight” videos showcases their internationally-renowned work and introduces the students to the importance of nursing research and scholarship. These new tools help reinforce the important role research plays in patient care and equip students with the knowledge and skills to incorporate evidence based practice in their nursing careers.
“One of the great things about this project has been the level of support we received at the program level, from the whole university and also from our faculty who participated in the videos and shared their research stories with us,” says Teja. “This online delivery allows us to really highlight faculty research and engage our undergraduate students in the research aspect of clinical practice.”
Already off to a strong start, the updated delivery of NUR430 continues strong classroom engagement in a new, online setting.