Employing interdisciplinary collaborations to redefine academic practices in a university Nursing program

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

This paper documents how interdisciplinary collaborations between academic staff helped redefine academic practices in the first year undergraduate nursing program conducted at the University of Southern Queensland. The interdisciplinary collaborations constituted a response to the various contexts currently impacting the higher education sector in Australia. These contexts include changes in pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, academic identity, technology, research-informed learning, student and stakeholder expectations as well as the challenges of managing an increasingly diverse student body. The interdisciplinary boundaries were crossed so that academic practices were integrated to assist student nurses to transfer the academic, literacy, numeracy, e-learning and information technology attributes they need if they are to succeed at university and in the nursing profession. This research study used a continuous evaluative methodology to test the effectiveness of these academic practices from three perspectives: the staff, student and institutional perspectives. Overall, the evidence suggests that these interdisciplinary, embedded, situated and scaffolded academic practices enhance students’ capabilities to make successful transitions both to the university and into the nursing profession.

Keywords: interdisciplinary practices, nursing e-portfolios, embedding key literacies