Health Education and Infrastructure In Distant Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Distant Nursing Education In Health Education  and Infrastructure 

Health Education  and Infrastructure In Distant Nursing Education

Teaching Online Health Education About Disease,Institutional Infrastructure and Support for Distant Learning.

Teaching Online Health Education About Disease

    This course is designed for nurses who are experienced in the management of pathophysiological disorders. It includes advanced concepts in pathophysiologic principles, using a systems approach to provide understanding of the dynamic aspects of disease and disease processes, and foundation for assessment and management of the acutely or chronically ill client. 

    Epidemiology, etiology, life span, cultural concepts, diagnostic reasoning, and current research findings are integrated into select content areas. 

Institutional Infrastructure and Support for Distant Learning

    The teaching and learning process of an online pathophysiology course begins by looking first at the infrastructure and support for online education at the institutional level. 

What equipment is necessary for faculty and students?

What is the plan for upgrades (hardware and software)?

What levels and types of technical support, education, and training are in place for faculty and students?

What other basic support systems (eg, online registration, access to degrees online, or access to library journal articles) need to be in place for online learners, learners who may never set foot on campus?

Who develops and supports these systems and how do they integrate with the online learning environment?

What basic computer skills and knowledge do students and faculty need in order to be successful learners and teachers in an online course?

What additional special skills do you need to know and practice in order to continue successfully within your institution? 

With regard to these skills, if student or faculty skills are below the basic levels needed, or if they do not possess the special skills, what responsibility does your institution want to take in order to bring them up to speed in acceptable skill and knowledge levels ?

Will you serve the entire student population with the support structures, convenient features, and useful tools that are in place for online students?

How do online courses interface with your institution's information systems (IS), registration, and so on?

How will the faculty and students come to know the answers to all these questions?

    Much more is involved than just deciding to teach a basic science course online. The development of the course alone is one giant hurdle in itself, but so many other issues and answers need to be defined and examined before the course development even begins. The answers to the above questions have a significant impact on how and what you do when developing your course. 

    A brief examination of what the School of Nursing (SON) at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) did regarding these questions will give you some insight into how these efforts helped lay the foundation for creating and teaching an online pathophysiology course.

    Generally, all the faculty at the SON are provided with an office, a computer, additional computer storage space on a network drive that is backed up daily, an e-mail account, and an Internet connection that is accessible to the entire campus as well as remotely from home computers. Computers run on a Windows-based operating system and the Microsoft Office Suite software products installed on every computer. 

    Many of these decisions were already determined for the school at a campus level through the IS department. The budget, software licensing agreements, and plans for continuous upgrades of technology are directed from the main IS office, and implementation efforts are carried out on an individual school level by the school's IS personnel, who work as liaisons with the campus's central IS department. 

    Students who are considering applying to the university are made aware via marketing and application materials that they need to own, acquire, or have access to their own personal computer (PC), desktop or laptop, upon attending this institution. Materials available indicate minimum hardware and software requirements for their PCs. Students are responsible for complying with these minimum specifications and bear the burden of this expense. 

    Students who are accepted and register for courses receive a student e-mail account and have Internet access through a local dial up phone number. Those students who are not local to the school are encouraged to secure another Internet service provider (ISP), to avoid incurring long-distance telephone charges. 

    Training for using e-mail, the Internet, search engines, and databases is provided on a campus level to all students through the campus library, but mostly through online selfpaced tutorials. However, some face-to-face (F2F) classes are offered. Students also have access to free virus protection software for their PCs and regular upgrades to the software as long as they are students.

    UCHSC SON has established infrastructure, the Office of Online Education Services (OOES). This office is staffed with an instructional designer, a Web administrator, a programmer, and an administrative assistant. The personnel in this office developed Online Central! a Web page built into the SON Web site (see side note). This central resource page supports online learning throughout the SON.

    First time online students at the SON are directed to click the Getting Started Checklist. This list takes students through a series of 12 items to see if they are ready to begin their online education at UCHSC SON. Clicking yes to an item in the checklist indicates that students know the information and should proceed to the next item on the list. 

    Clicking no to an item on the list launches students into a new Web window that provides information to help them in their knowledge deficit. First time faculty who are teaching or developing online courses are directed to click the Faculty Resources link. This link gives access to a number of resources to aid faculty in developing and teaching endeavors.

    In particular, they have access to the Faculty Handbook for Building Online Courses, with updates on OOES process and procedures, instructional design strategies, best practices for teaching, and tips for writing in an online environment.

    Faculty and students are also required to complete a prerequisite course called Online Course Skills before teaching or registering for an online course. The design of this course gives students and faculty first insight into the look and feel of a SON online course. Passit course provides foundational knowledge and skills to enable them to succeed in their online courses at the SON.

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