Nightingale College, a nursing school located in Ogden, Utah, is focused on supplying the next generation of nurses to the US healthcare system. Faculty and staff are dedicated to equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve care outcomes and quality of life for each individual, family, and community they serve.
Since many Nightingale students live in predominately rural locations, the college needed a learning management system (LMS) that could fully support a blended environment that supports competency-based education (CBE). “From the very outset, our President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder, emphasized that Nightingale would be a competency-based college,” explains Aaron Nelson, Manager, Learning Resources at Nightingale College. “As a new school, we have no entrenched mindset and our nursing program is a great fit, with all of our students coming to us with an existing general college background. The majority of our students do their academic course work online, learning at their own pace, then do their practicums at clinics and hospitals close to where they live.”
Recognizing that an LMS provides a vital backbone for CBE and a hybrid model of educational delivery, Nightingale invested early in LMS technology. They initially implemented a Brightspace competitor’s technology. As the college moved forward with the CBE model, however, it found its inaugural LMS solution falling short. It was determined that Nightingale needed to move forward with a new LMS that could better support a CBE model.
In their search for a replacement LMS, Nightingale looked at a wide range of candidates: 10 solutions in total. They narrowed the field down to a shortlist of three before coming to the consensus that Brightspace was the right fit for the college. “Brightspace offered us an answer to our technical challenges. It had a robust SCORM integration and very well-defined release conditions,” says Nelson. The D2L sales team also scored high marks for their attentiveness. “We’re a small school and we felt many of the vendors simply didn’t think we were worth their while. This was not so with D2L. They were very responsive and sent a team to do an onsite presentation. They devoted time and effort to us, and that was greatly appreciated.”
Approximately 70 new students coming into the program began working with Brightspace. They use the LMS to access course work online at their own pace, connect with faculty, and interact with each other. In addition to the pilot group of students, three full-time faculty members were migrated over to the Brightspace platform and are actively using the LMS for the courses they are teaching.
“D2L was fantastic to work with. They took us by the hand and handled everything: training our teachers, helping structure our coursework, and providing technical support,” Nelson says of D2L’s implementation and project management teams. “They also provided us with experts on CBE who gave guidance on best practices and CBE principles. Overall, it was a really good implementation period.”
The improved process enforcement with Brightspace has the ability to incorporate release conditions, making it more difficult for students to skim over critical parts of program learning. “Students now realize they actually have to do all the steps and that the work is required and not a nice to have. It’s amazing how fast they are coming around,” chuckles Nelson.
Nightingale College has much bigger plans ahead. “We have a very attractive education model with our students able to graduate with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in about a year and a half. Currently Nightingale is operating only in Utah, but we have ambitious plans to scale our model nationwide.”
He goes on to explain, “There is a significant shortage of nurses in the United States today, and yet traditional nursing schools have only so many spots, so many capable students fail to be accepted. This creates opportunity for Nightingale to serve that demand and opportunity for Brightspace to be a critical part of the solution.”