Building Expertise in Virtual Global Learning: Creativity and Mentoring in Action

There is something exciting that happens when you combine faculty’s creative ideas and passion for learning and educating students with a team of committed mentors. Lots of really great ideas spring into action!  It is always a pleasure to recognize faculty who are leading the way in creating innovative approaches to virtual global learning (VGL) and so I’d like to highlight three faculty who received our Office of Global Innovations Virtual Global Learning Awards. Our faculty awardees, Jeannie Bochenek, Tara O’Brien, and Elizabeth Sharp, took the lead in developing creative approaches of bringing students around the global together for shared learning experiences across a variety of programs and assignments. Here are a few brief synopses of what has been happening this year.

In Tara King’s Nursing 2781H Honors Research Methods class, she developed a collaboration with her 29 students and 18 students who were enrolled in 3806NRS Professional Nursing Practice at Griffith University School of Nursing & Midwifery, Gold Cost Campus, located in Queensland, Australia. During the last week of February, the students in both groups posted their, names, personal pictures, hobbies, and nursing plans after graduation in Microsoft Teams. They also viewed a video about an overview of the Australian healthcare system and the United States health care system. Both classes then met virtually, via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Students introduced themselves and participated in a group case study about the nurse’s role within a scenario of a patient having complications with urinary tract infections, using evidence from the literature. Tara noted the student interaction was incredible and post-experience data noted students rated their experience as extremely satisfying. The students noted they had discussed issues of education preparation, racism, and lack of patient access to health care as well as evidence-based approaches to care.

Students from Canada and the U.S. connected through interviews with two public health nurses who have lived and worked in different cities in Canada as part of Jeannie Bochenek’s virtual global classroom experience. School Nurse Guidelines for Ontario, Canada and the work they have done across the province of Ontario and across Canada to advocate for School Nursing were included in the question and answer format. Interviews were captured in Zoom for future learning application. Next steps include plans to expand the collaboration to include a similar approach with a Chinese colleague for use with N3116 School Health Management and in N3118 Practicum for School Nursing.

Liz Sharpe’s original idea focused on ways enable global appreciation of common goals in neonatal resuscitation for neonatal nurse practitioner students preparing to begin clinical training in the next semester. The American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program sets the standard worldwide. While the goals of resuscitation may be similar, the availability and types of equipment can vary. The original plan was to partner with a simulation specialty company in Austria for a shared synchronous virtual experience. With the pandemic impacting the Austrian practice environment, the needed physical gathering for this opportunity has delayed this approach. Despite that delay, the teams have already learned of significant differences in nursing practice and education between both countries. While Austria does have nurses specializing in neonatal care, they do not perform same functions with autonomy as nurse practitioners in the US. Plans continue to rethink and modify VGL approaches to capture learning experiences between the two countries.

Our 2020-21 awardees will be added to our initial mentor team, comprised of Tara King and myself, to assist and support next year’s awardees Sara Edwards, Kate Gawlik, and Cindy Zellefrow (remember to say congrats!). In this way, we all learn from each other’s experiences and grow our team of VGL experts! Please apply next year when the call for proposals comes out. All faculty involved agree- this is a fun and energizing way to expand your teaching expertise, develop relationships, and grow opportunities for scholarship. Sending you healthy, happy holiday wishes!


Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN

Chief Talent & Global Strategy Officer

The Ohio State University College of Nursing