you're right - every school *is* different. i had to take a nursing 101 class as a pre-req to the nursing program.
it sucked. my instructor was hilarious but i hated how she always interrupted students in mid-sentence - that is a huge pet peeve of mine :angryfire there were only two grades in the course - a five-page paper on an area of nursing that interests you and a presentation. we had two books for the class - i don't remember what they were called - but one of them explained the different dimensions of nursing (like how you go in as a novice nurse, etc etc etc) and they had stories of nurses and how they advocated/cared for their patients, etc. the other book talked about test/note-taking strategies, how to conduct research and how to search for things online - stuff like that. the first book was interesting, but the second one was extremely boring. you always had to stay on top of the readings because you never knew when you were going to present - she would call on people randomly, and you didn't know if you were doing the presentation yourself or if you were going to be in a group.
overall, i didn't really learn *that* much in the class - i thought that class in particular was a joke. all we did was discuss the readings and what we learned from them. one week we were talking about nursing research and throughout the entire class my instructor kept bragging about how "so and so used this research for [something] and guess who came up with it? me" - i don't know, it was just irritating.
i hope your nursing 101 class will be a lot better than mine was. :heartbeat