Using web-enhanced learning to connect with learners: Student perceptions

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

In a period of rapid growth which has seen student numbers increase substantially across the Australian higher education sector, universities are seeking innovative means of engaging learners using limited physical resources. Greater diversity amongst students means that many have financial and/or family responsibilities, making them less able to attend scheduled classes, and more likely to engage in part-time or online study. Students enrolled in nursing and other health degrees are also confronted with significant clinical commitments, further impacting their ability to attend face-to-face classes.

Flexible approaches to learning and teaching, which enable learners to engage with content and learning activities at a time and place which suits their needs, are growing in popularity, and provide students with alternate means of accessing course content and learning materials. Additionally, they provide multi-campus institutions with an opportunity to harness expertise from one site to the advantage of students across all campuses. As a university with sites across four States and Territories, and with many units enrolled at or above capacity, blended learning is one option that Australian Catholic University is exploring.

This paper overviews Australian Catholic University’s initial efforts with a web-enhanced unit in its campus-based Bachelor of Nursing program. It presents qualitative and quantitative survey data from teaching staff and students across five sites on their experiences with, and the effectiveness of blended learning as a tool to engage learners, and to facilitate learning. Implications for nursing students and academic staff are discussed, and recommendations for coordinators of web-enhanced units are offered.

Keywords: Blended learning, engagement, pedagogy, nursing, midwifery, values-based

Using web-enhanced learning to connect with learners: Student perceptions

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Flowers, Karen; Gamble, Natalie; Nebauer, Monica; Harding, Thomas & Schulz, Paula