Distance Education In Nursing Institutes

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 Nursing Institutes and Distant Education

Distance Education In Nursing Institutes

Distant Education In Nursing,Distant Higher Education In Nursing Institute,Distant Education Nursing Programs.

Distant Education In Nursing 

    Distance education in nursing began in 1972 with the University of Mississippi Nurse Midwifery Educational Program and since then has had an increasing impact on nursing education. In the late 1990s, distance and online education experienced significant growth. 

    According to the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2000-2001 academic year, enrollment in for-credit distance education courses grew to 2.9 million. The survey conducted in 2002 found that 90% of public 2-year institutions and 89% of 4-year colleges and universities offered courses to students at a distance (Kiernan, 2003). 

    The primary reason public educational institutions embraced distance and online education was to improve access to educational opportunities for the public and to keep the price of education at a reasonable level (Kiernan, 2003).

    During the last decade nursing has witnessed a technological explosion in health care, and there is no sign that advances in technology are likely to dissipate anytime soon. Advanced technology permeates nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives. 

    Distance education in nursing has improved access to higher education for many nurses and has substantially improved nurses' career opportunities and knowledge. Distance education is particularly critical in rural states like South Carolina, where nurses are widely dispersed and fewer graduate programs exist compared to other areas of the country. 

Distant Higher Education In Nursing Institute

    Compared to more densely populated areas, rural areas typically have fewer university-level higher-education programs because there are fewer students to fill them. In contrast to many major cities that may have multiple major universities, South Carolina has three major public institutions of higher learning that offer nursing baccalaureate and higher degree programs: the University of South Carolina (USC) system, the Medical University of South Carolina ( MUSC), and Clemson University (CU). These three universities are located centrally with satellite campuses, in the southern region, and in the upstate, respectively. 

Distant Education Nursing Programs

    South Carolina has multiple nursing programs distributed across the state at various levels. Both technical preparation (LPN and ADN) and collegiate preparation (BSN) exist. In addition to basic preparations, graduate programs exist at USC, MUSC, and Clemson. USC offers master's and post-master's education in a variety of specialties, as do MUSC and Clemson. Both USC and MUSC offer PhD programs in nursing and USC also offers the doctor of nursing degree (ND). 

    University of South Carolina (USC) has a long history of distance education, dating back to the 1930s when the College of Independent Studies began offering correspondence courses statewide. Currently, 13 USC colleges offer selected courses and degree programs to students at a distance in the fields of education, public health, nursing, library and information science, business administration, engineering, and journalism. 

    The largest distance education unit at the University of South Carolina is the Department of Distance Education and Instructional Support (DEIS, 2004) located on the central campus in Columbia, SC. Each semester more than a hundred courses are offered to degree-seeking students in a variety of delivery formats, including digital satellite broadcast (one-way video, two-way audio), videoconferencing (two way video and audio), videocassettes, CD -ROM, DVD, print, and online technologies.

    Among various distance education technologies available at USC, digital satellite broadcast remains a popular choice. USC and South Carolina Educational Television (ETV) have a long history of cooperation in statewide delivery of instructional programs. Each semester more than 40 live televised courses originate from USC's seven studio classrooms located on the main campus. 

    This delivery method enables instructors to reach learners off campus without spending a considerable amount of time and effort in course redesign and development (Bates, 1995). Live televised courses also allow updating the learning content with the most recent information each time the course is offered.

    Another advantage of the live broadcast is that students are not required to have any special equipment. For students in isolated rural areas where a broadband connection to the Internet is not available, live satellite broadcast remains the only option for taking courses with required participation in class sessions or rapidly changing content. 

    To make satellite delivered courses accessible to students off the main campus, the University of South Carolina has developed a wide network of viewing sites throughout the state.

    The synchronous nature of live satellite broadcast, however, makes it less convenient for students with family responsibilities or busy work schedules. Other challenges of this model of distance education are limitations of the representational capabilities of television in involving students at distant sites in interactive activities (Bates, 1995). 

    Although the USC classroom studios are equipped with a telephone talk-back system, engaging students at distant sites in meaningful learning activities alongside their peers in the studio classroom requires additional planning and constant effort from the instructor.

    The majority of distance education courses at USC, however, use a mix of technologies, which allows for a variety of instructional methods and formats within a single course. Previous work indicates that using multiple teaching methods is more likely to result in student learning. 

    Online learning, often described as a new paradigm for teaching and learning (Harasim, 2000; Harasim, Hiltz, Teles, & Turoff, 1995; Kearsley, 2000), is rapidly gaining momentum and challenging older forms of distance education. 

    A survey of USC's distance education students conducted in the spring semester 2003 indicated that 25% of the students participated in online learning, which is a threefold increase from the previous year (Hogue, 2003). Because this trend is likely to continue, USC's Strategic and Assessment Plan for Distance and Distributed Learning calls for enhancing existing distance education programs with new modes of delivery (Hogue, 2003). In 1999, upon recommendation from the faculty, USC purchased

    Blackboard, an enterprise course management system. This enables instructors to create online courses and course components without investing a significant effort in learning HTML code and editing. 

    Despite sporadic technical problems, the use of Blackboard quickly spread across academic departments and today the majority of USC faculty use this system to post course materials and resources on the Web, conduct synchronous and asynchronous discussions, manage homework and assignments, and distribute grades.

    Since the acquisition of Blackboard, the number of courses delivered totally or partially online has been growing steadily. Although the number of degree programs available from USC entirely online is still small, several academic degree units have expressed an interest in launching online degree and certificate programs in the near future.

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