Issues in Implementing Online Education in a Developing Country

Issues in Implementing Online Education in a Developing Country

Tim Bristol
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch184
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This article highlights the issues that may arise when implementing online education in a developing country. In 2005, Faculté des Sciences Infirmières (FSIL) opened in Leogane, Haiti. The mission of this school is to provide nursing professionals for the country of Haiti, especially the southern half of the country. This facility was built with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is managed by the l’Université Episcopale d’Haïti. The school maintains a curricular format similar to that of baccalaureate nursing programs in the U.S. Haiti is in great need of health care professionals. In Haiti, there are 11 nurses per 100,000 population. In the U.S. this ratio is 770 per 100,000. Given that infant mortality is 10 times worse than that in the U.S. and that the lifespan is 15-20 years less, the need for qualified health care professionals is overwhelming. Even though the income of FSIL is 1/3 what is actually needed, the school has managed to keep enrolling students and maintaining the facility. They have also managed to maintain a computer lab with 13 computers and a stable satellite Internet connection. The author visited the campus in July of 2007. The purpose of this initial visit was to evaluate the information technology structure and the capabilities of the staff and students to determine what if any connections could be made between American nursing programs and FSIL. A SWOT analysis was conducted to assess internal strengths and weaknesses for FSIL as well as external Opportunities and Threats related to using E-learning to enhance FSIL.
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Swot Analysis Of A Third World Nursing Institution

A nurse educator and e-learning consultant partnered with the Dean of Nursing at a baccalaureate nursing program in Leogane, Haiti. Together they analyzed the school’s assets and liabilities to develop the following SWOT analysis.


Strengths revealed in the assessment lay in the willingness of the dean to pursue this relationship. Moving from a face-to-face lecture-based environment to an online environment is a challenge for any academic program. To do this in an already stressed system requires commitment on the part of all involved. Another strength is the internal infrastructure. The computers, while three years old at the time, appeared to be well maintained as did the intranet and satellite-based Internet connection. Other strengths included the fact that the dean, administrator, and library director are all supplied with up-to-date computer equipment. The students are well-versed in navigating the internet, even though for many this is their first interaction with a computer much less the internet. Finally, students in all four years of the curriculum study both English and French. Most students are native speakers of Creole.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Haiti: A small country in the South Caribbean of approximately 8.5 million people. It is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

Nursing Education: Education of individuals to prepare them for a career as a nurse.

Asynchronous Learning: Learning that happens at different times. Example - The instructor posts a question in the forum and students come online through out the week to answer the question.

Adult Learning: A model of education that puts the learner in control of their own development and whereby learning is relevant with the opportunity for immediate application.

Distance Education: Education happens when participants are geographically separated.

No Significant Difference: This refers to the empirical observation that outcomes for online and face-to-face learning are overall the same.

Courserooms: A website that is password protected and includes tools such as a discussion forum, a gradebook, an exam tool, and an announcement area.

Digital Divide: A phrase that describes the disparity in access to technology (particularly the internet) related to poverty.

E-Learning: The use of technology to enhance education. In this article most of it refers to internet-based education.

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