Nicole Coombs

501 Defluffing the ‘fluffy’ subjects: A theoretical nursing course conversion for undergraduates


This presentation demonstrates one way that has successfully ‘defluffed’ what could have once been considered a ‘fluffy’ subject by undergraduate nursing students – often considered less appealing or of less value compared to the clinical courses within their nursing degree.


In 2016, staff at the Federation University Australia, using a new Blended Online and Digital (BOLD) curriculum,   transformed the 1st year Determinants of Health course. Teaching practices changed using the new BOLD principles, including flipped classrooms, active learning sessions and a flexible student delivery mode, as well as the introduction of regular fieldwork practicum and associated assessment tasks. Student engagement and participation in this course was rejuvenated. Students were able to apply the theoretical knowledge, from both face to face teaching and the online content, to practical tasks and assessments such as, completing foot surveys and interpreting real epidemiological data from their own communities, allowing them to see their learning in real terms. This learning scaffolds into the 2nd year Health Promotion and Illness Prevention course.

Student feedback showed the change in course delivery was well received, identified what students wanted to achieve from this foundational nursing knowledge, and how they want to see it applied for assessment. Overall, the transformation has been a joint adventure for both students and teachers, which has hopefully given this traditionally ‘fluffy’ theoretical subject a new and exciting life in undergraduate nursing education.

Key words: ‘fluffy’ subjects, fieldwork, BOLD (blended online and digital), undervalued theory