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Bow Valley College Practical Nurse Diploma program: A proven leader in remote learning

Calgary – As nurses across the country celebrate National Nursing Week (May 11 – May 17), Bow Valley College’s Practical Nursing students and graduates are joining a workforce that presents new and unique challenges. The theme this year is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health,” and the College’s next generation of practical nurses are keen to do just that. They are armed with the skills required to provide quality health care, and they are also adept at using cutting-edge computer technology.     

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in an unprecedented shift to remote learning and Bow Valley College’s Practical Nursing Diploma program’s early adoption of Microsoft Teams helped the College respond quickly and successfully; now, Bow Valley College is sharing its learnings to help other institutions around the world. Microsoft in Education Canada recently invited Bow Valley College to share its successful teaching strategies with other post-secondary institutions in a five-part webinar series. The videos have been viewed over 6,000 times by educators in more than ten countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, and Brazil.

Bow Valley College has been offering its synchronous Practical Nursing (PN) program for six years. In November 2019, the College started a pilot project using MS Teams, which included a cohort of 40 learners in China taking non-credit nursing courses. “By using innovative and active applied learning in a remote setting, we were able to bring our Calgary campus to the world, and the world to our campus,” says Dr. Misheck Mwaba, Vice President Academic, Bow Valley College.  

Microsoft in Education Canada put on the webinar series which takes participants through the College’s online design, and how its PN instructors are using the cutting-edge technology included in the MS Teams platform. “We can successfully engage learners in teaching and learning in a variety of ways within the MS Teams platform through recordings, breakout rooms, using whiteboard, OneNote, and videos during class time,” says Kim Hogarth, Associate Dean, Nursing at Bow Valley College.  

In addition to the group in China, the PN program serves more than 1,500 learners at any given time at eight different locations. They can choose to attend live sessions through the MS Teams platform or watch the recordings at a time more convenient for them. “Our learners tell us they love the flexibility of the delivery model because it allows them to gain skills while maintaining other responsibilities such as work or family needs,” says Hogarth. 

Bow Valley College achieved a 98-per-cent success rate in moving its learners to online courses in the first ten days of the crisis. Now, on any given day, more than 9,000 students are taking the College’s 1,500 classes online, taught by 600 instructors. “This shift to remote learning could last well beyond the COVID-19 crisis, and we want to share what our experience has been like in the hopes that others can feel more confident working in non-traditional environments going forward,” says Dr. Mwaba.  

For more information about how Bow Valley College navigated the switch to remote learning, view the higher education webinar series hosted by Microsoft in Education Canada. 

Higher Education Webinar Series 

Designing active applied learning
Essential Facilitation
Designing Assessment Method
Overcoming Barriers
Bridging the distance


Shannon van Leenen 
Media Relations Officer 
Bow Valley College 
403-410-3455 Office  
403-671-3274 Mobile 
shvanleenen@bowvalleycollege.ca 
www.bowvalleycollege.ca  
 
About Bow Valley College Calgary and region’s largest College — with 17,500 full- and part-time students, Bow Valley College is a leader in business, health, community studies, creative technologies, adult upgrading, and English Language Learning.

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