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|EXPLORING THE COMPLEXITY OF OPEN PEDAGOGY IN DIGITAL-DISTANCE UNDERGRADUATE NURSING EDUCATION
|Dr. Pamela Walsh (Athabasca University); Dr. Beth Perry (Athabasca University)
|Dr. Olive Yonge (University of Alberta)
Dr. Cindy Ives (Athabasca University)
Dr. Mohamed Ally (Athabasca University)
|Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
|Centre for Distance Education
Social complexity theory
Applied thematic analysis
|Open pedagogy, rooted in distance education, shows promise in increasing access to education through principles of relational practice, use of a critical lens, student-centred practices, valuing the scholarship of teaching and learning, and open knowledge practices. Characteristics of open pedagogy align well with nursing practice ethics. Open pedagogy has the potential to make nursing education more effective, meaningful, and socially just, particularly in the digital-distance environment. Nurse educators often lack exposure to the digital-distance realm and, like many teachers in the post secondary system, lack formal pedagogical education. Open pedagogy provides a promising avenue for digital-distance nurse educator development.
This dissertation reports on an exploratory qualitative study that focused on the complex nature of the links between open pedagogy, undergraduate nursing education, and digital-distance learning. I framed the study within a critical realist research paradigm. I explored how open pedagogy operates in digital-distance undergraduate nursing education and investigated what nurtures and challenges it.
I employed social complexity theory, as developed by Brian Castellani and Frederic Hafferty (2009), to conceptualize and design the research study. Using a two-phase, stepwise approach, I first explored institutional documents from Athabasca University, a Canadian open digital-distance institution that offers an undergraduate nursing education program. I analyzed documents for open pedagogical characteristics using an applied thematic analysis technique to gain a holistic sense of the system. In the second phase, I interviewed four digital-distance nurse educators from the institution using the same applied thematic analysis to develop a more detailed understanding of the complex social system under study. Finally, I built a working model of how open pedagogy operationalizes, is nurtured, and is challenged within Athabasca University’s open digital-distance undergraduate nursing education program. Findings from this research contribute to the fields of digital-distance nursing education, the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education, and open pedagogy in digital-distance higher education.
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