Bridging Gaps Between Theory and Practice, Online and In-Person

Imagine you’re teaching a high-enrollment course, full of valuable conceptual information. The logical way to get students to connect the dots between theory and practice would be to introduce compelling case studies—but how do you keep up with new and interesting cases to satisfy the learning needs of hundreds of students each semester? Add in the fact that a quarter of your students are online, and it seems like a daunting challenge.

U.OSU can help! Yes, the free professional website service offered by the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) can help you tackle these challenges and create a unique and powerful learning experience for your students.

College of Nursing Instructional Designer, Joni Tornwall, used U.OSU as part of her solution for Jodi McDaniel’s pathophysiology course. The assignment was for students to create their own case studies based on a topic of their choosing. Joni said, “Case studies help you imagine how to apply advanced concepts—they provide a context for the application of the information you are learning during lectures.”

Students were instructed to provide background information, differential diagnoses, evidence-based plans of care and more, and present this information using U.OSU. This allowed in-person and online students alike to easily digest the information. U.OSU’s “themes,” or templates, allow users of all skill levels to organize information in intuitive ways. This website platform was the foundation of a paperless format for peer and instructor feedback, which made the workflow much simpler.

Joni said, “Having something centrally-supported like U.OSU is so valuable.” She said her students were able to quickly learn how to use the tool, and any challenges were quickly resolved by ODEE support staff.

Students also felt the case study assignment helped them apply course material to real-life situations. When surveyed after the class, 96% of students said they believed the hypothetical patient in the case they presented was one an advanced practice nurse was likely to come across in a clinical setting.

Using U.OSU, instructors can create assignments that accomplish learning objectives and bridge the gap between highly conceptual information and practical application. They can also better align the course experiences of in-person and online students.