As an assistant professor in the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies since 2006, Dr. Shawn Fraser has already seen some exciting developments within the Centre.
One of these is the new thesis-based Master’s program beginning this fall.
?In terms of our program,? explained Dr. Fraser, ?we have a thesis-based Master’s course That’s . . . coming online right now. Before, we were course/project-based.?
Other initiatives he’s been involved with include developing courses in research methods.
?I’ve just developed a course with another professor, Dr. Sharon Moore,? he said, ?called Advanced Research Methods. And I’m also developing a course that goes online in January called Advanced Quantitative Research Methods.?
When asked what other areas he’d like to develop courses in, Shawn explained that his background in kinesiology and health psychology would be an influence.
?I’d like to see or develop in the future some health psychology type courses; for example, Health Behaviour Change. Helping people increase physical activity behaviour or improve their diet through health psychology type practices.?
In his role as a tutor within the Centre, Shawn has seen how AU’s distance education model can make a big difference in helping students achieve their goals.
?In our program,? he said, ?we have primarily health professionals, especially in the graduate program. I’m quite certain it would not be possible for [them] to pursue graduate studies if they were in a traditional university.?
Full-time health professionals often encounter scheduling difficulties in attending campus-based classes. As well, there may not even be a campus available.
?A lot of these people are practising nurses or pharmacists in maybe a small town or even in a city like Edmonton and working full-time and trying to fit in the classes. It’s pretty difficult.?
Along with the increased access to courses, Shawn sees another major benefit to the online graduate classes.
?One of the things that I really like about it, aside from the convenience, is the students get a chance to sit and think before they have to have a discussion. So in a traditional graduate course you’d sit around and you’d have a seminar in very much the same way. I find the comments to be a little more thoughtful because they can sit and think for a day and then post something rather than having to say something in just a few minutes.?
If you’d like to contact Dr. Fraser, or find out more about AU’s courses and programs in nursing and health services, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies website.