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Keywords

Educational technology, Internet, Nursing education, World Wide Web

 

Authors

  1. Sakraida, Teresa J. DNSc, RN
  2. Draus, Peter J. EdD

Abstract

Stimulating faculty to adopt an innovation of online learning in a registered nurse (RN) completion program was the focus of a faculty retreat seminar to launch a transition to a Web-supported curriculum. This article follows the planning and implementation that initiated curriculum transition to a Web-supported format using Roger's innovation-diffusion framework. Web-supported courses include an online component in combination with face-to-face instruction. The factors that influence innovation adoption, specifically relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability, framed the discussion of principles. Approaches used to garner faculty involvement in the curriculum transition are discussed, and highlighted are considerations for teaching the utilization of course management software, along with faculty preparation for initiating online learning for the first time.

 

Nursing education is being transformed by the increasing use of online instruction. 1 The number of traditional college age students has decreased, while the nontraditional, part-time student who works and has family obligations has become the norm for most programs. 2,3 Online courses provide an important means of outreach to remote students and working registered nurses (RNs) who have greater distances to travel to campus and limited time to access campus resources. RNs seeking degrees are increasingly likely to take online courses. It is estimated that about one-fifth (20.6%) of all college courses use online course management tools, up from 14.7% in 2000. 4

 

Registered nurses pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) often prefer the format of online learning. 5 A survey of RNs employed in a large health care system of western Pennsylvania conducted in 2002 (N = 1755; 44% response rate) indicated that 65% would consider Web-based classes on the Internet either in combination with face-to-face classes or totally online using a home or work computer. 6 In the same survey, these nurses described their computer skills at an average level that involved primarily word-processing, e-mail, and surfing the Net for information. 6

 

Change is viewed as the effect of a new idea or innovation being adopted and put to use or rejected. A Web-supported curriculum, defined as a hybrid approach that combines an online component with face-to-face classroom instruction, was introduced to the faculty as a new model for learning. A plan was developed by a faculty team to address anxieties and concerns and promote a successful transition to a Web-supported curriculum. The factors that influence the rate of innovation adoption provide a framework for discussion about educational considerations in the planning and implementation phases. This article presents the change process used to stimulate and actualize faculty in an RN completion program to redesign their courses to include Web-supported online learning.