The implementation of innovative initiatives to enhance distance learning for Australian undergraduate nursing and midwifery students

Jacqueline O'Flaherty, Hayley Timms


Providing distance education students with different modes of study and interactive online learning resources has become an increasingly important part of nursing and midwifery higher education. In 2006, the number of students enrolled ‘externally’ in a compulsory foundation course (anatomy and physiology) comprised 38% of the total cohort of students (this percentage is three times the Australian HE standard for students studying externally). In response to student feedback and ongoing critical reflection a number of factors were identified that led to student dissatisfaction as well as a lower retention rate compared to the on-campus cohort. External students also reported anxiety about studying in an online environment, returning to study and study workload. In order to overcome these anxieties, provide support and assist with student retention and satisfaction, a number of innovative learning initiatives using emerging educational tools and technologies were developed and implemented. This paper discusses the results of both the early and more recent initiatives introduced into a course that was initially designed for only face-to-face students but has since been redesigned to include and support the unique needs of the external learner.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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