Originally posted: March 31, 2009 08:58 PM, updated: April 4, 2009 08:51 PM
By Megan Boatwright, Local News 8 Reporter
Every semester the nursing program at BYU-Idaho accepts 32 applicants. Now thanks to an internet distance learning program they can accept even more. This semester eight students are able to live, work and take every class they need to graduate in Burley.
Several years ago BYU-Idaho set a goal to offer 20% of their courses online by 2012. The Nursing Department’s new program is part of that goal.
In most classrooms the students you see are all you get, but not in Nursing 100 at BYU-Idaho.
In addition to the 42 students who attend the class, seven more join each session via the web.
“At first there’s always a low murmur in the classroom,” said Rexburg student Darren Ernst. “As time goes on we’ve gotten used to the interplay between the classrooms.”
“It’s like talking on the telephone only we have video to go with it,” said Burley student Caitlin Johansen. The students see and hear everything that goes in the Rexburg classroom.
“If someone is asking a question we can move the camera on them,” said Johansen. “We can see the teacher when he’s giving a lecture and whatever he puts up on the screen.”
The program works so well even Rexburg students say they’d do it.
“I was desperate to get into the program when I was a freshman,” said Ernst. “I told to the head of the department that I’d be willing to move to Burley just to get into a program.”
The hands on training necessary in nursing school has always limited the number of students programs can let in, but distance learning classes have the potential to make it a little easier.
“There’s been discussion about Utah, Las Vegas and other sites,” said Department Head Dr. Susan Dicus. “The program will go where the need is and where we can give students a quality education.”
Even though it may not be the way they envisioned nursing school, Burley students are grateful.
“We all have a story behind getting into the program and it’s just been a blessing to have this opportunity,” said Johansen.