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Online Learning: Where Nursing Education is Today

Distance Learning -- Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:24am

Dr. Lisa Broussard's faculty members in the Department of Nursing proudly lead the way in online education for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, bringing advanced education for nurses in Louisiana and across the nation.


“Our faculty are very much pioneers on this campus,” Dr. Broussard says. “We have people who have been teaching online 15 years or longer. We really embrace the online environment and strive to have rigorous, really high quality programs.”

A graduate of UL Lafayette, she has taught at the campus for 26 years and served as head of the Department of Nursing since 2011. For the past decade, she has led online courses and currently teaches master’s students in the nurse educator track and works with doctorate-level students.

"All of our masters and doctoral courses are 100-percent online," Dr. Broussard adds. "I feel like I can really teach students a lot online with a well-structured class, set policies and a good evaluation structure."

Like all faculty who want to teach online, nursing faculty must complete a rigorous certification program to learn current online teaching methodologies, pedagogies, and tools.

Through training and extensive experience, nursing faculty members have become proficient in using the full suite of EduTools available through the Office of Distance Learning. These tools help faculty members connect and collaborate with their online students through video conferencing using Skype; video and audio podcast creation with Panopto; and Examity, a virtual online proctoring service.

Dr. Broussard said she frequently uses the tool VoiceThread, as well, to enhance engagement, collaboration and conversation. VoiceThread allows instructors to create collections of media — videos, documents and presentations — that can be shared as a web link to students. They can view the material on their own time and respond within the file by adding their own video, text, or voice, connecting conversations for all members of the class to experience.

READ MORE: "VoiceThread meets podcasting to optimize student engagement"

“I really like it,” Dr. Broussard says. "It really helps with student engagement. Students appreciate that engagement and enjoy it."

The department’s largest online program involves 700 registered nurses from all across the nation, earning bachelor of science degrees in nursing. The popularity of the RN-to-BSN program, which can be completed in as few as 12 months, proves it meets the needs of busy nurses, who can learn anytime, anywhere.

“Our students need something to provide the convenience of learning from home, on their own time,” Dr. Broussard says. “They are practicing nurses working various shifts, and many of them have families. Accessibility and 24-7 convenience is the only way to go. It’s where we are in nursing education today.”