Excellence in teaching and learning: Students’ perspective

Maya Shaha, Janet Berg, Jennifer Wenzel, Jodi Shaefer, Mary Terhaar, Rachel Klimmek, Krystal C. Melvin, Anne E. Belcher


Background: Excellence in teaching and learning (ETAL) constitute important aims of nursing schools. At present, these aims are measured by course evaluations, students’ passing rate of NCLEX exams (in the United States), graduate’ students’ employment rate, and positions, and graduates’ continuing with post-graduate education. In order to continue improving ETAL in nursing schools, it is necessary to explore this phenomenon more fully.

Methods: A qualitative study using a community-based participatory research design was conducted at a leading nursing school in the U. S. In three phases, the perspectives of the students (phase one) and of the faculty (phase two) were elicited, as well as a model for ETAL developed (phase three). Students’ views on barriers and facilitators to ETAL were obtained in focus groups. Faculty were interviewed. The model development involved inductive, as well as retroductive theory development strategies. Focus group and interview data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: In this manuscript, the results from phase one will be reported. A total of 41 students (bachelor, Masters and doctoral) participated in this phase. Three main themes were identified: Teaching excellence, Learning excellence, and Nursing as a new language. Students highlighted the need for congruence and coherence between the course syllabus and course assignments as essential contributors to teaching excellence. The supportive environment existing at the school was appreciated as it contributed substantially to learning excellence. Finally, the students highlighted that the clinicals were the most important elements in the curriculum. Clinicals allowed for an immersion in the practice field and, thus, were the most important way of learning Nursing as a new language.

Conclusions: The findings of the study’s phase one have been taken into consideration by the newly developed Office for Teaching Excellence (OTE). A number of supportive measures for faculty have been developed and are on offer to faculty. Programs were improved in order to better support students in their learning excellence. Phase one of this study has highlighted that program coherence and congruence constitutes an important factor for excellence in teaching and learning.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v3n12p35

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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