With participation from all providers of Bachelor of Nursing education in the Netherlands, a program for Open Education Resources (OER) has become nationwide over just a few years. The program was initiated in 2017 – so, well before the current COVID-19 outbreak. However, the epidemic has obviously increased the interest in digital educational tools for the health sector even further.
15, out of the 17 institutions in the Netherlands provide Bachelor of Nursing programs. They are all onboard the project. According to Marja Versantvoort, heading the project, the key to the success has been flexibility:
“Many instructors feel that putting together their own learning materials is a part of the teaching profession. They want to deal with the material in their own unique way. And that is only possible if they start working with the learning material themselves, they think. So, the OER we provide can be seen as all kinds of little dishes, to which teachers can add their own sauce.”
Marja Versantvoort has 17 years of experience as a Perioperative nurse. She became interested in developing and providing education. After completing her first degree in teaching, followed by a master’s degree in didactics, she has been teaching for 12 years now. She spends one day a week on the OER project named ‘SAMEN (together) bachelor of Nursing’.
“I was totally sold on OER myself, but I know the profession only too well and I had expected quite a few critical questions. But that didn’t happen. From day one, everyone I spoke to was extremely enthusiastic. People get it. You can literality see the penny drop: I want that too, is what they’re thinking.”
If the need is so great, isn’t it odd that this has only recently become available for the entire education system?
“Actually, that is pretty strange indeed. Especially if you consider how many hours you, as a teacher, spend putting together your own learning materials on the basis of compulsory national learning materials. It is kind of like reinventing the wheel,” says Marja Versantvoort.
“The learning materials you want to share must meet certain requirements. That why we developed a quality mark. A quality model. The learning materials you want to share must meet certain requirements in order to be awarded the quality mark.
“There still some obstacles. It really is a fact that teachers take their profession very seriously. And it can save them a lot of time if they can use materials, but sharing takes time. Because you have to adapt your teaching material so that it meets all the requirements. And if something takes time, teachers are very willing, but the student always comes first. So we keep thinking about ways to make sharing as easy as possible while still ensuring quality.”
The digital infrastructure for the OER project on Bachelor of Nursing education is provided by Dutch NREN (National Research and Education Network) SURF.
The project is a frontrunner for other programs in The Netherlands. By 2025, all Dutch higher education institutions should be operating systems for sharing and reusing teaching materials.
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