The History of CU's Health Informatics Program

In 1989, the then University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Nursing hired Dr. Diane J. Skiba to develop the informatics specialty option and to serve as the Director of Informatics. Over the course of the next 8 years, Dr. Skiba helps build the technology infrastructure in the School of Nursing and pilot-tested the informatics specialty option to the local student population.

In 1997, Dr. Skiba, Associate Dean for Informatics and Director of Academic Innovations, and Dr. Amy Barton, Associate Dean for Clinical Practice created the online informatics program. Three concepts were instrumental in the design of the online program. First, an interdisciplinary focus was essential. Second, a learner-centered model was foundational. Third, funding was key to experimenting with new technologies to support the online program.

Throughout our over 20 years of history of being online, we have adapted and modified our program to foster a learner-centric model. Our informatics courses are modularized so that we do a deep dive into content rather than surface learning with a new topic each week. Modules last between 3-4 weeks. You typically have four modules in a course over the semester.

We also provide outstanding instruction that is determined by your own background and experience. Instead of teaching through video lectures and narrated presentations, we provide learning guides to take you through the content of each course and how to achieve the learning outcomes. The learning guide is tailored for those who are new to the field and those that may already be practicing informatics. Based on your existing knowledge and familiarity with the topic at hand, each learner creates their own learning pathway to achieve course outcomes. Along the way, you are engaged in learning activities that scaffold your learning so that you can accomplish the objectives of each module. All learning activities and outcome assessments are built on real-world scenarios. These assessments help you to directly apply your knowledge to the role of an informatics specialist. We think of it as translating your knowledge into practice.​

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