Michele M. Pelter, RN, PhD: Assistant Professor, Orvis School of Nursing, Instructor and Designer of the course
Alina Solovyova-Vincent: Instructional Designer, Teaching and Learning Technologies
“Participation in the Exemplary Course Program has been a challenging but very rewarding experience for me. This process has truly been a journey, which started with my participation in our University’s Course Makeover Program. The Course Makeover Program helped me to better understand online learning and gave me many ideas for how to improve my course. Over the course of the next two years, I incorporate many of the suggestions and ideas into my course, which resulted in not only a better online course but enhanced student learning. Applying for and winning the Exemplary Course Program represents the culmination of my journey. To have my course recognized as ‘world-class’ is not only exciting for me as an educator, but for my University as well.” ~ Michele M. Pelter, RN, PhD
This course is a graduate level Nursing Research and Theory course. In order to meet the needs of this student population and satisfy the requirements of the Graduate Nursing Program, it is designed as a blended course, which meets face-to-face 4 times during the semester, with the majority of the course conducted online. This is the first course students take in the Graduate Nursing Program, and is considered a foundational course for all graduate students regardless of their nursing specialty. The student population consists of many non-traditional students who possess only basic computer skills. For many, this is their first experience with online learning. With this in mind, the course is designed to make it intuitive to navigate, easily identify weekly materials and activities, and engage with content, peers and instructor. Deliberate effort was made to provide students with clear access to everything they need from the homepage. Content is presented using a variety of means and media including narrated PowerPoint lectures, lecture transcripts, PowerPoint handouts, a textbook, research articles, self-tests, and multiple web-based supplemental resources to encourage further learning. Learning activities are closely aligned with overall course goals and objectives. Course assignments are designed to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their critical thinking skills by employing various levels of analysis and by applying course material to real life topics. Many course concepts span the entire semester, allowing students to apply their knowledge to progressively more challenging contexts and continuously reinforce learning. To allow for individualized learning experiences, students are given the freedom to choose a clinical research topic that interests them. This topic is used throughout the semester in a series of interlinked assignments. Opportunities for improvement are provided through the use of weekly self-tests and through multiple instances of peer and instructor feedback on continuous development of ideas and resources for the final project.