Technology Strategies in a Consortium Nurse Practitioner Education Program
The Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) Program in Canada, a bilingual (French, English) program, is offered by a consortium of ten universities using distance delivery methods. This consortium delivered program maximizes fiscal, human resources, faculty and distance education expertise across the ten universities.
While forming a consortium has optimized resources and improved accessibility to NP education, maintaining best practices in education has required effort and diligent monitoring. Major curriculum changes require the independent agreement of the ten academic governing bodies. Professors and tutors are located at different universities and teach learners at 10 consortium universities. Communication challenges among faculty and tutors have been overcome by regular teleconferences, twice yearly face to face meetings and web communication using e-mail and newsgroups. Inter-rater reliability among tutors when marking learner assignments and exams has improved after attending a workshop, using an on-line grading form and marking on-line exams using a web interface.
Web-based learning, computer conferencing, audio files, on-line quizzes and exams, CD-ROM, expert videos and Elluminate on line teleconferencing are some distance methods used. Tutorials in clinical courses are facilitated by a tutor at each university. A case based-approach is used to build theoretical knowledge and evidence-based practice. Tutorials are conducted face to face, by teleconference and use of synchronous Elluminate chat. Educational best practices are used to ensure knowledge transfer and participation of learners.
This consortium distance delivered NP program has developed dynamic partnerships, educational strategies and research initiatives, as well as a collegial and professional support network for students.
Keywords: Consortium, University Education, Distance Delivery, Technological Innovation, Virtual Classroom, Clinical Practice
Francophone Coordinator Ontario Nurse Practitioner Program, School of Nursing