Using Virtual Learning to Teach Postgraduate Nurses: An Educators' Perspective

Using Virtual Learning to Teach Postgraduate Nurses: An Educators' Perspective

Michelle L.L. Honey (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Nicola North (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-874-1.ch015
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This chapter focuses on the educators perspectives as virtual learning was introduced into postgraduate nursing courses. Drawing on qualitative data the challenges educators faced are described. Technology proficiency varied amongst the educators and this had an impact on the choices they made when transitioning from traditional lecture-format on-campus classes to virtual learning. This study found that virtual learning brings a sharper focus on good teaching practice; changes the role of the educator and emphasises how essential both pedagogical and technological support is.
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The use of virtual learning can be understood as a continuum, from fully on-line or web-based courses, to those that include on-campus classes utilising more traditional teaching methods (lectures, tutorials) supported by technology. Internationally, the rise in the use of technology to support learning has been influenced by increased demand for higher education along with increased competition among providers in a context of reduced education funding (Guri-Rosenblit, 2005; Kift, 2003; Williams & Goldberg, 2005). Higher education providers, including universities, face significant challenges in an environment characterised by the commodification of education, which include increased competition from private providers, decreased funding, increased accountability, a move towards a user-pays system and the pervasive increase in information and communication technology (ICT) (Anderson & Elloumi, 2004; Biggs, 2003; Phillips, 2005; Scott, 2000). Virtual learning is one response to these challenges.

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