Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics

Technology is a Game-changer in Higher Education

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Technology in Education Column

by Dr Sandra Bassendowski

The Technology in Education column is written by one of our CNA Centennial 100 Award Winners, Dr. Sandra Bassendowski, who is a Professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Sandra recognized a need, and offered to write this important feature for the CJNI – this column is focused on how technology can be used in nursing education and by nurses in general. Sandra has been recognized by the Canadian Nurses’ Association, as well as the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association and the University of Saskatchewan for her inspiring, dedicated work in her educational practice.


Every fall, it seems to me that the games begin- the CFL is in full swing, the NFL captures the viewers’ attention with high profile games on weekends as well as Monday and Wednesday nights, the World Series is set to go in October, and hockey, well, that is a different story this year. At the same time, students return to K-12, post-secondary, as well as to non-credit teaching and learning environments. For me, September feels more like “Happy New Year” than January 1st does in the dark, cold days of winter.  It is exciting to meet new students, explain the components of the syllabus, and begin to engage students with the course content. And as educators, we acknowledge that a high-quality and purposeful learning experience changes the game for students. I keep a quote posted on my computer screen as a reminder about the need to constantly move forward regarding the scholarship of teaching and learning. “The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out” (Hock, n.d.). Consider how technologies, such as the Internet, e-mail, Facebook©, Twitter©, instant messaging, Wikipedia©, LinkedIN©, smart phones, iPads©, and others, have changed the current models and policies of education.

SandraThink about the skills and information that students bring to our classrooms as they surf, search, and google the World Wide Web. “The use of ICTs has become routine in the lives of most Canadians. Thus, it is to be expected that upon entering an undergraduate program, nursing students will possess the foundational skills… nursing students would have gained these skills through elementary and secondary level education, and through life experiences” (CASN & Canada Health Infoway, 2012, p. 2). Think about how convenient it is to send instant messages to students, to attach files, and send announcements to the entire group of students. But “the impact of information technology goes beyond convenience—it can change the game through the student’s experience. The college or university “experience” is more than the classroom, the course, or the campus. The experience is determined by social, technical, and intellectual interactions involving students, faculty, and staff; the organization; and the infrastructure, including technology” (Oblinger, 2012, Improving the College Experience, ¶ 1).

New nursing graduates will be required to practice in an increasingly technology-enabled environment. Educators must focus on what can be gained for all stakeholders in nursing and health care by encouraging students and colleagues with different levels of technical skills and expertise to collaborate around learning outcomes, student assessment, educational tasks, and program challenges. It can be a game changer.


CASN and Canada Health Infoway, (2012). Nursing informatics: Entry-to-Practice Competencies for Registered Nurses.  Ottawa: Author.

Hock, D. (n.d.). Founder of Visa. Retrieved from

Oblinger, D. (2012). IT as a game changer. EDUCAUSE Review, 47(3). Retrieved from


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