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How to pick an online nursing education program that fits

Online nursing education has evolved in the last decade to include interactivity and, even, face-to-face experiences.

“With the advent of technology to allow video conferencing much less expensively, there is now the possibility of being in an online program where you can see and hear your classmates and your teacher,” said Kate McHugh, MSN, RN, CNM, adjunct assistant professor of nursing and liaison to Georgetown School of Nursing and Health Studies in Washington, D.C.

McHugh also is vice president of curriculum and faculty relations at 2U, a company specializing in online partnerships with universities.

McHugh said today’s online nursing education — whether BSN completion or graduate-level programs — offers students a variety of three learning types: asynchronous, synchronous and blended.

Asynchronous learning is technology’s old-world online. Students don’t interact at the same place or at the same time, and all correspondence is by typing in chat or discussion boards. Students need a laptop, desktop or tablet with Internet access.

Synchronous learning allows students to see and hear their classmates and teachers through real-time video conferencing. Students need to be at their computers at scheduled times and need computers with Internet access and webcams.

Blended programs offer some face-to-face interaction. At scheduled times, students come to campus for hands-on and traditional learning. “Here at Georgetown, if we’re helping somebody become a nurse practitioner or a nurse midwife, there are psychomotor skills that we can’t teach online,” McHugh said. “So, we bring students to on-campus intensives a few times during the program.”

Today’s nurses, McHugh said, can choose among online programs that meet their financial, lifestyle and learning style needs.

For more online education information, visit

By | 2015-02-01T00:00:00-05:00 February 1st, 2015|Categories: National|0 Comments

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