E-Mentoring & Online Collaboration to Develop Online Courses.
Success Story from Graduate Nursing Program: An Emerging Model with Widespread Potential
Robin DeWald, PhD, RN, CNE Faculty Program Director, Graduate Nursing, Excelsior College
Graduate Student Panel: Maureen Sileo, Lori Gofter, Andrew Palm, Marie Anne Mancuso
Steve Gilbert, Beth Dailey, and others
A story of effective E-Mentoring and online collaboration for curriculum development!
Robin Dewald supervised and guided a team of graduate nursing education students in an Excelsior College masters degree program. For their capstone course project, they redesigned parts of an online curriculum. These students had little prior experience with online collaboration or curriculum development. They overcame several obstacles to form a cohesive working group that has continued well beyond the capstone project requirements. This project has already demonstrated that online interaction can provide effective mentoring in contrast with the over-simplified belief that “Students email teachers all the time — why walk across campus when you can fire a note from your room? — but those queries are too curt for genuine mentoring. We need face time.” - “What’s the Point of a Professor?” Mark Bauerlein, English professor at Emory, New York Times, May 10, 2015 http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/10/opinion/sunday/whats-the-point-of-a-professor.html?referrer=
Dewald and a panel of these students will describe how they learned to work together so effectively online using a variety of synchronous and asynchronous technologies. They will explain how online mentoring enabled them to benefit even more from both their real-life practical experience and the theories and knowledge they were gaining from their course work.
Terms such as “online courses” and “online mentoring” will be clarified as needed.
Two separate "curriculum committees" were formed, each of which included a faculty member as mentor, two graduate nursing students, and an instructional designer. Each committee was charged with revising a master’s of nursing education course.
Their work, still ongoing, may provide a valuable model not only for nurse educators, but also for other graduate education programs. The combination of online mentoring and online collaborative project work may be useful in other courses in which face-to-face communication must be limited, and in which some many students can learn some important curricular elements more effectively online than face-to-face.
Dewald and the panel will be asked to identify categories of learning, teaching, and graduate education that are especially well-suited to implementing this model - and categories that are not.
Here’s more detail:
Future nurse educators need to have real-life experience in curriculum development. The curriculum development courses for master’s nurse education provide in-depth information. However, the practical application of the knowledge usually only occurs after the new nurse educator is charged with developing or revising curriculum after he or she begins his or her first teaching experience. By providing students with hands-on curriculum development of courses that may need to be developed or revised gives the students the necessary exposure to this important skill. Additionally, because the students are involved in the development, course content and activities will most likely be relevant to the learners’ needs.
This project involved the integration of master’s nursing education students in curriculum redesign of master’s level courses for their capstone projects. . The students had all recently successfully completed the courses. Including students in the curriculum revision and development process is an innovation with significant potential for advancing the theory to practice transition for new nurse educators.
Rather than waiting until graduates acquire teaching positions, the students engaged fully in the actual curriculum redesign while still in the student role. The development process emphasized accreditation regulations, learner experience, and future employer needs and expectations. The graduate students benefit from the mentoring and role modeling provided by the faculty supporting them. The college benefits by extensive feedback from students advocating for instructional design improvement, based on their personal experience and observation. The profession of nurse educators benefits from better prepared novice nurse educators who are armed with valuable experience and have had a chance to better identify with their new roles.
This model can help redesign nursing education to meet 21st century healthcare needs. This innovation fills an existing theory to practice gap and is anticipated to facilitate the role transition for new nurse educators.
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