Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing is one of 10 academic institutions collaborating to develop a digital storehouse of e-learning materials and a wide range of educational products and services for use in nursing education worldwide. The purpose of the venture - the International Virtual Nursing School (IVINURS) - is to provide global educational solutions to meet local health care needs through a collaborative network of international partner institutions.
The School of Nursing was selected for membership in IVINURS based on its outstanding nursing and distance learning programs. Other partner institutions include Akershus University College, Norway; Chaing Mai University, Thailand; Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Mid-Jutland Nursing Schools, Denmark; Queens University, Belfast; and Napier University, University of Dundee, University of Southampton and University of York, all located in the United Kingdom.
"We are honored to be one of the founding partners in this collaborative learning program," says Janet Allan, PhD, RN, CS, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing. "IVINURS is a unique opportunity for sharing and developing e-learning materials to improve learning experiences for both students and faculty."
IVINURS has adopted an educational approach that promotes best practices in learning and teaching. It is centralizing quality, reusable learning objects, including multi-media, clinical case studies, learning modules and full courses, making them accessible to others around the world to modify or use "as is" to meet their specific needs.
"This approach is especially significant in times of shrinking budgets and nurse and nursing faculty shortages, since it reduces duplication of production time and efforts in creating quality nursing learning materials," says Barbara Covington, PhD, RN, associate dean for information and learning technology at the School of Nursing, who chairs the IVINURS' Technology Task Force and is a member of its Board of Directors.
IVINURS was formally implemented at a meeting of the Founding Partner Institutions held in November 2004 in Edinburgh, Scotland, when a Board of Directors was established and the non-profit company, IVINURS, Ltd., was formed. In addition to Dr. Covington, other representatives from the School of Nursing include Carolyn F. Waltz, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of international activities, who serves on the Education Task Force; and Ann Thomasson, associate dean for finance and administration, who serves on the Finance Task Force.