Familiarity breeds engagement
With a student cohort situated literally at all points of the compass and covering the whole of the Australian continent and never having the luxury of any face-to-face in class time with those enrolled in the Concepts of Mental Health Nursing unit at Central Queensland University it was imperative to find a way to impart knowledge in such a way that grabs the student’s attention. As with any distance education cohort the tyranny of distance is often coupled with the students perceived lack of time to be able to study therefore it is important to get their attention from day one and to hold their attention for the entire term whilst imparting the necessary knowledge for them to successfully complete the unit of study. Gone are the days of simply printing and mailing a study guide, or even being able to upload a narrated PowerPoint presentation to a learning platform and expecting the students to read and absorb all that is required. A new dynamic yet familiar approach is required for the 21st century distance education student. This paper will present a case study overview of just such a dynamic approach that goes beyond the narrated PowerPoint, beyond the recorded and uploaded didactic lecture and draws on a concept that is familiar to all, that is the humble talk show. It will show how utilising this familiar concept allows the educator to engage the distance student in such a way that they once again enjoy learning and look forward to weekly lectures. Student feedback demonstrated that this method was a successful gold-star learning approach.