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Georgetown University Joins the Ranks of Online Nursing Schools

January 20th, 2011

Georgetown University is partnering with a New York-based education technology company called 2tor to create its first ever online graduate degree programs, according to the Washington Post. Among those online graduate programs will be a family nurse practitioner master's program offered through the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown, the article revealed. Other online nursing programs at Georgetown are slated to follow this first effort.

The online program will reportedly help keep Georgetown from having to turn qualified applicants away from the graduate program due to limited facility space. Professors at the university had been hoping to incorporate an online format for a while now, but worried that such a format would take away from the personal, face-to-face experience nursing students receive in a classroom environment, the article showed. The online format offered through Georgetown, however, represents a technology that allows a more dynamic experience for the online student, supporters have said.

For instance, students enrolled in the online program would need to sign in to class at a set time every day to watch their professor's lectures on video. Online students would also be able to digitally "raise their hands" in class by clicking a button, the article explained. Visits to the Georgetown campus are also built into the curriculum so online students can use patient simulation technology.

Other well-known universities have partnered with 2tor to create online degree programs in disciplines outside nursing. Such schools include the University of Southern California (online programs in social work and education) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (online MBA program), the article showed.

Georgetown has said that the online family nurse practitioner master's program will be every bit as rigorous as a campus-based master's program, according to the Washington Business Journal.Candidates for the online program will be filtered through the same strict admissions standards expected of candidates for the campus-based program.

While most classes in the program will be offered fully online, clinical training will be arranged in a health care facility in close proximity to the online student's home town. This component means that online students will not miss out on the interaction with patients that is so vital to graduate programs in nursing.

Students who complete the online program will receive a master's degree from Georgetown University the same way a student would who attends classes on campus. The online program launches in Spring 2011, the university announced.