This section discusses the technological applications that will be used to provide the distance learning educational program in transcultural nursing. Available literature demonstrates that the changes precipitated by contemporary computer- and web-based technologies have provided an exclusively new modality of educating students free from the limitations of time and physical location (Amirault, 2012). Today, nursing students and practitioners can use available technological applications to advance their knowledge, skills and competencies in a web-based distance learning environment (Sharma & Sharma, 2012). The technological applications that will be utilized to provide the online education program include the Blackboard Learning System, multimedia (video and audio) conferencing, and computer-based testing.
The Blackboard platform continues to be used by many nursing institutions that offer online education programs, with findings from several researchers demonstrating that the application has been successful in transforming the Internet into an influential setting for the educational experience (Kennedy, 2012; Sharma & Sharma, 2012; Sternberger, Deal, & Fountain, 2011). In our case scenario, the Blackboard platform will be used to facilitate synchronous (real-time) learning and instruction activities across time and space through the use of chat rooms and video discussions. These technological tools will have the capacity to not only facilitate peer-to-peer and instructor-to-learner exchanges in the learning of transcultural nursing, but also to promote social connectedness, learning support, as well as feedback (Amirault, 2012; Sharma & Sharma, 2012). The Blackboard platform will also be used for delayed (asynchronous) learning activities, whereby students in the transcultural nursing program will be expected to use discussion boards and digital drop boxes to facilitate the transfer of learning content and other important course documents.
Multimedia conferencing will be used to provide a two-way communication channel between the instructor and students, hence increasing student engagement, collaboration and instructional pacing. Here, technological tools such as real-time tutored video instruction (TVI), virtual field trips, and synchronous broadcasts will be used to optimize learning opportunities, foster global collaboration, and enhance the integration of course content with real-life experiences in intercultural nursing (Sternberger et al., 2011). It is important to note that multimedia conferencing can be aligned with the Blackboard platform to provide more learning opportunities and clinical experiences for students who want to expand their knowledge and skills in transcultural nursing.
Lastly, computer-based testing will be used to assess the skills and competencies of a geographically diverse student population upon successfully completing the education program. Here, adaptive and linear computer-based tests will be used to assess how the online educational program has impacted the students in terms of skills level, competency development in transcultural nursing contexts, as well as performance level. Available literature demonstrates that computer-based testing has the capacity to offer instantaneous feedback to distance learning students, engage students by keeping them connected in the learning process, and increase personal flexibility in terms of scheduling examinations and reducing the need for travel to assessment sites (Caudle, Bigness, Daniels, Gillmor-Kahn, & Knestrick, 2011). It is also evident that computer-based testing applications can be aligned with the Blackboard Learning System to provide a seamless and engaging learning experience for distance education students (Sharma & Sharma, 2012).
This section has discussed how the Blackboard Learning System, multimedia conferencing, and computer-based testing will be used to provide the online education program in transcultural nursing. Overall, it is evident that the technological applications discussed in this section have numerous benefits that could be used to expand the knowledge, skills and competencies of nursing students and practitioners in distance learning environments.
Amirault, R.J. (2012). Distance learning in the 21st century University: Key issues for leaders and faculty. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 13, 253-265. Web.
Caudle, P., Bigness, J., Daniels, J., Gillmor-Kahn, M., & Knestrick, J. (2011). Implementing computer-based testing in distance education for advanced practice nurses: Lessons learned. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32, 328-338. Web.
Kennedy, M. (2012). Enhanced learning. American School & University, 85(1), 14-14. Web.
Sharma, S.K., & Sharma, R. (2012). Communication and educational technology in nursing. London: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Sternberger, C.S., Deal, B., & Fountain, R.A. (2011). Think globally, learn locally: Multimedia conferencing between two schools of nursing. Nursing Education Perspectives, 32(1), 41-43. Web.