The Gateway to a learning community within the Bachelor of Nursing : using Blackboard course management system
The Bachelor of Nursing (BN) program at Central Queensland University requires students to complete industry based clinical practicum in each of the 3 years of their program. Students spend 40- 60% of their week off campus in clinical practicum. The Bachelor of Nursing Program Gateway (BNPG) is the application of the traditional Blackboard course management system from a single course to a whole program. It has pushed the boundaries of online course management creating an online learning community that consists of students, lecturers, clinical laboratory managers, administration staff, program advisors and industry clinical staff from three Central Queensland University campuses (Rockhampton, Mackay and Bundaberg), one hub (Noosa) and flexible delivery. This paper will adopt Wenger, McDermott, and Synder’s (2002) seven principles of communities of practice to discuss development strategies that have proved successful, as well as some of the pitfalls experienced and lessons learned that will save valuable time for program coordinators hoping to adopt this technique.