When you think of online coursework, do you automatically assume the content is less engaging than that of an on-campus course? Instructors and course designers in the nursing field continually look for ways to make online courses feel just as engaging and interactive as onsite courses. Therefore, the instructional designers for Xavier University’s accelerated nursing program added dynamic features to the online accelerated BSN coursework.
Online coursework has been known to consist of long passages about a subject and a series of questions to assess the reader’s comprehension or analysis of the content. Instructors used tools like PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, or even crossword puzzles.
But in today’s digital world, students struggle to find value and effectiveness in those tools. Knowing this, the ABSN team at Xavier incorporated the following into the nursing curriculum:
- Cutting-edge graphic design.
- Lifelike animations.
- Simulation activities.
Elements like these help nursing students understand and practice complex concepts such as:
- Measuring I.V. dosages and solutions.
- Identifying parts of the human body that are small or close together.
- Detecting diastolic and systolic pressure.
Application versus Memorization
Yes, memorization is an important aspect of education, but application is another learning method that works well for retaining information. While students will take skills labs where they can manually practice and apply what they learn, as well as clinical rotations to learn under the tutelage of an instructor, the ABSN team at Xavier wants the online coursework portion of the curriculum to feel hands-on as well. And they have found a unique way to do this.
Throughout four semesters, students will revisit the same animated case studies, with the intention of applying different or more advanced learnings in each course. For example, students might learn prenatal and post-natal procedures by following a mother through a pregnancy. The same concepts won’t be re-taught in separate classes; students will learn a more in-depth application of a concept as they progress through the program.
Students have to notice small details about a patient’s home, location, family and appearance – as they may be required to analyze or identify these things occasionally. These activities are designed to mimic the experience and responsibilities a nurse would have in real life.
Enhancing the Learning Experience
Creating an online course requires all hands on deck, from the instructors, designers and even students by way of their feedback. Though these several factors do not impact a course’s material, they do influence how the material is delivered.
According to the ABSN team at Xavier, the goal isn’t to replace traditional teaching methods such as textbooks or lectures, but to provide another resource to help students understand concepts that are challenging to grasp from traditional methods alone.
Combining Innovation with Simplicity
By using feedback from faculty, evaluating the students via surveys and considering student grades, the instructional designers are able to design activities that truly enhance the learning experience for nursing students.
Having an innovative online program means nothing if the technology itself complicates things. At Xavier, this is not a problem. Students who take the online accelerated BSN courses say they appreciate how easy it is to access and complete assignments.
Every course has different lessons and activities, but they can all be found in one place: Canvas, the ABSN program’s learning management system (LMS). Nursing students have a lot to juggle between courses, skills labs and clinical rotations. Entering the ABSN program with a previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree, many of these students have started families or have other responsibilities outside of school. The last thing the instructional designers want is for these students to be stressed with learning to navigate each new course individually.
To make course navigation easy for students, the following components are the same for every course:
- Learning Outcomes: describe what students will learn in the course.
- Read and Study Materials: lists the textbooks or materials students need for the course.
- Learning Activities: provides students with detailed outline of the assignments.
- Assessment: gives students direct access to discussion forums and course assignments.
- Review: offers students a lesson overview and self-assessments for students to study with.
Once students become accustomed to using Canvas, they will know how to navigate each course for every semester to come and will have more time to dedicate to mastering the material itself.
Xavier University Invites You to Try It
The ABSN curriculum at Xavier University is always being optimized to help nurses quickly learn and understand the material. What a nurse learns in school is not only essential for taking the NCLEX exam (required to become a practicing RN), but is essential for the workforce. The ABSN team at Xavier knows that nursing students should learn in ways that allow them to remember information for the long-term, which is why they build engaging, memorable courses.
If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and would like to attend a top 5 Regional University, consider Xavier University for your ABSN degree. The accelerated nursing program is designed to have you working as a successful nurse as soon as possible. In fact, if you have all the prerequisite requirements, you could graduate in as few as 16 months. Taking that next step is easier than you think. Contact our admissions team today to see how you can get started!
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