Online Problem-Based Learning: applications and exploration in undergraduate nursing education

Session Format Presentation with discussion
Author(s) Ruth Chen School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences
Session Abstract

Background: As alternative paradigms for university education are being explored, one area of focus has been on online course delivery models. Online undergraduate courses have been developed in many disciplines, and current enthusiasm around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) abounds. However, less is known about both the student experience and the appropriateness of online courses within health professional programs.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to obtain initial feedback from students in the Undergraduate Nursing Program Kaleidoscope Curriculum at McMaster who completed a senior-level problem-based (PBL) nursing course online during the 2012 - 2013 academic year.

Methods: Students completing online PBL were asked to provide feedback about their experience completing one or both of their final year nursing theory courses in an online (vs. in-class) context. A mixed-methods approach is being used to gather data regarding student experiences around three areas of focus: 1) course implementation and logistics; 2) effectiveness of learning within an online context; 3) perceived congruence (or lack thereof) of online learning with the development of client-centeredness in nursing professional practice.

Results: Pilot data from this initial cohort of online nursing student learners are currently being collected and will be analyzed in April 2013.

Implications: Online learning has the potential for great impact in nursing and health professional education. However, in addition to the logistical considerations required for online course implementation, there is a need to explore the potential interaction between the technological medium of learning and students' professional development.

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