The real face of a virtual class

1 April 2010

West Coasters keen to study on their side of the alps are among Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology’s first 'blended' delivery nursing degree students.

Acting head of CPIT’s nursing school Lisa McKay said the blended programme was to meet West Coast demand for a study option for would-be nurses unable or unwilling to leave the Coast for three years.

Instead the students will spend 11 weeks in Christchurch in the first semester of the programme and some time in the second semester, but the rest of the year’s theory will be delivered online at home.

There are four Coasters in the first year but the blended-delivery programme has also attracted a dozen or so other students from Christchurch and surrounds – particularly those with young children.

Katrina Elliott of Greymouth said she definitely would not have started the degree without the blended option. “I don’t think my family would like their mum to leave for three years.”

She had already spent time away doing the 2003 CPIT enrolled nurse programme and would have opted for the degree first time round if the blended option had been available.

Hokitika mother of three Shiree Thomson said she would have put off her training until her kids were older. Lauren Shenker from Westport said she had been considering studying in Nelson but was reluctant to spend three years away from home. And Theressa Kelly – who had recently returned to Greymouth from Christchurch – liked being able to study with the support of her family.

The blended-option students said they would keep in touch with email and online tutorials and joked about being able to roll out of bed and turn up to class in their pyjamas.

But all were also keen on the flexibility of the option, which would allow them to study when the kids are asleep or at school or to fit in with paid work.