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Vol 40  No 6
November 22, 2007


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Taking pleasure in teaching
by Sharon Gray



Dr. Donna Moralejo won an Award for Excellence in Nursing Education from the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador. The accompanying vase, designed by Blue Moon Pottery, bears the logo of ARNNL.

Teaching can be hard work, but for Dr. Donna Moralejo, Nursing, it is also a lot of fun. And she’s very good at it, so good that she recently received the Award for Excellence in Nursing Education from the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador (ARNNL).

Dr. Moralejo said it’s important to be creative in coming up with ways to be a good teacher.

“For example, with online teaching it can be hard to get a good discussion going, so one of the things I do is give the students case studies so there’s something clear for them to focus on. I want them to share answers and interact with each other.”

Because students in the nursing master’s program are not online at the same time, such “discussions” can take up to a week.

Another technique Dr. Moralejo uses is to create animations for her teaching. “These are real animations of the pathophysiological process, for example an animation might show pollen entering the lungs and demonstrate what is happening at the cellular level. This helps students understand some of the processes going on.”

Dr. Moralejo also uses video clips in her online courses. “These video clips might be mini lectures, allowing students to hear a small lecture that summarizes some of the key points. Students like them because they provide an alternative to reading. For some courses these can be streamed on to the website.”

As a dedicated teacher, Dr. Moralejo said it’s always a bit of a challenge to come up with new ways of presenting material. “Students respond and give me feedback which I use, but sometimes even when they don’t like what I’m doing I keep doing it. For example, I never use multiple choice questions in exams. I use short answer questions – it’s harder work for the students and for me, but in the end we both learn more.”

Dr. Moralejo has been a faculty member at Memorial’s School of Nursing since 1990. She received her PhD in hospital epidemiology from the University of Calgary in January 2000. She is the recipient of an award of merit from the Canadian Community and Hospital Infection Control Association for her role in developing the association’s entry to practice distance education program.

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