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Disciplines & Themes

  • Nursing
  • Distance clinical learning

Learning focus:  

  • Reflection
  • Clinical skills

Design focus:

  • Video incorporated into PebblePad blogs
  • App-based learning
  • External feedback


Maintaining student-university connection from coast to outback

With more than 23,000 students and 1,700 staff from across 90 different countries, Murdoch University, situated in Western Australia, is a global centre for learning, teaching, research and industry. For this project, existing PebblePad use embedded throughout the Bachelor of Nursing was enhanced by utilising video reflections within a blog for connection between remotely placed students and their university facilitators.

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Rural and remote placements are a valuable inclusion to clinical placements for nursing students, offering unique learning experiences and exposure to a wide variety of clients. For many students, this placement may be the first time that they are away from family, friends and normal support structures for an extended period. We needed a way to maintain connection with the students to give them greater support.


The 'Supporting Students At A Distance' Ambition 

During the three-year Murdoch University Bachelor of Nursing course, nursing students are required to successfully complete seven work-integrated learning clinical placement units. Approximately 300 MU nursing students undertake a rural or remote WIL clinical placement per year and may travel up to 3000 km to attend placement. A difficulty is that the Murdoch Clinical Nurse Facilitator monitoring the student’s progress is rarely located in the same physical location as the student and internet connectivity in rural and remote locations cannot always be relied upon.


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Students have been utilising a digital clinical eportfolio using PebblePad and the PebblePocket app to record clinical competence whilst on clinical placements for several years. Following the successful implementation of the clinical eportfolio, an opportunity to increase the connection to, and support of, students in rural and remote areas was seen in the use of the blog feature in PebblePad, and incorporating video to add deeper personal connection. 

The Successful Workflow

The inclusion of Video blogs - ‘vlogs’ –into the clinical eportfolios for those students attending rural and remote placements was a co-design developed through discussion with students. The reflective components of regulatory assessments have been modified from the traditional written format and students are instead asked to create vlogs using the video function in PebblePocket to document clinical experiences. They upload the video in their PebblePad blog, which is shared with their university-based clinical nursing facilitator. Students are also encouraged to share the clinical eportfolio with the site assessors, as they were required to create a video ‘elevator pitch’ describing their reasons for wanting to undertake the remote placements as part of the selection process.

The video provides an overview of how PebblePad is embedded throughput the entire bachelor of Nursing at Murdoch University 


The PebblePad Difference

 Academic and clinical progression can now be more closely monitored as well as providing increased pastoral support for students in rural and remote clinical placements. Students easily engaged with the vlog format as it is simple, allows for a personal connection and individual creativity, and they are able to record the vlog from anywhere and upload to PebblePad at a later time. Clinical Nurse Facilitators also engaged in the vlog format, creating their own vlogs to provide feedback, which was positively received by students.

PebblePad has helped Murdoch University achieve these benefits ...

  • The clinical eportfolio allows for students to develop a personalised learning and assessment experience.

  • Templates developed within the PebblePocket app have enabled assessments to be undertaken in varied clinical settings and locations where access to an internet connection cannot be relied upon.

  • Academics and facilitators have the ability to provide feedback on learning in real time.

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