Learn Where You Live, Teach From a Distance: Choosing the Best Technology for Distributed Nursing Education


  • Lorna Butler University of Saskatchewan
  • Carol Bullin University of Saskatchewan
  • Jill Bally University of Saskatchewan
  • Mark Tomtene University of Saskatchewan
  • Emmy Neuls University of Saskatchewan


Indigenous, northern, remote presence, robotics, capacity building, distributed education, nursing


Rural and remote communities within the Circumpolar World have been challenged to provide on-site opportunities for post-secondary education due to geographical barriers and a lack of available resources. Distributed learning is defined as the separation of time and/or space in teaching and learning and therefore offers possibilities that can be tailored for programs, faculty, and individual students. Distributed learning not only mitigates geographical and resource challenges but, most importantly, it provides learning experiences that are context relevant. The intent of this report is to illustrate how one western Canadian nursing education program has moved beyond traditional methods of educational distance delivery to include a more learner-centred approach. The ”learn where you live” program was developed to provide accessible, quality undergraduate nursing education to northern rural and remote communities. This novel educational approach supports the educator to be in two places at one time in a synchronous, face-to-face delivery in which students are taught from a distance rather than having to relocate. This approach to nursing education is based on the premise that it is the educator and not the student who is remotely situated. The authors advise that there is no normative preference for a particular type of technology. Best practices are evolving through circumpolar collaborative partnerships in northern nursing education. This report is part of a special collection from members of the University of the Arctic Thematic Network on Northern Nursing Education. The collection explores models of decentralized and distributed university-level nursing education across the Circumpolar North.

Author Biographies

Lorna Butler, University of Saskatchewan

Professor, College of Nursing, and the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development

Carol Bullin, University of Saskatchewan

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Jill Bally, University of Saskatchewan

Assistant Professor, College of Nursing

Mark Tomtene, University of Saskatchewan

Director, Operations and Strategic Planning, College of Nursing

Emmy Neuls, University of Saskatchewan

International Officer, International Centre for Northern Governance and Development






Nursing Education in the Circumpolar North