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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Facing The Challenges Of Teaching Online Nursing Courses

Facing The Challenges Of Teaching Online Nursing Courses

As a teacher you are already faced with many obstacles when it comes to teaching your nursing students. Working as an instructor for an online class brings with it even more challenges than a traditional classroom. While you will lack the face-to-face contact with your students you may be used to, the online platform brings with it new and fresh opportunities.

Nursing education of the future?

Adapting to an online classroom.

The beginning stages of teaching an online course are very similar to the preparations you go through for the classroom. In addition to creating your lesson plan and the objectives of the course, you can put together a detailed list of expectations for your students. This last part is key because it will set the standard for your online course.

Include the amount of time you expect each student to put in every week and the best ways to contact you. Consider setting virtual office hours every week that will enable students to chat with you about any concerns or questions they have regarding the material. You can also include an estimated response time to e-mails, such as a 24 hour turnaround period on e-mails or discussion board postings.

Embrace the online classroom.

Connecting with your students.

Many first-time teachers of online courses are wary about losing the personal contact they have with their students in the traditional classroom. You will likely be surprised by the deeper connections you are able to make in an online course. An online platform allows so much more room for discussion, and students are often more comfortable opening up in ways they wouldn’t sitting at a desk in front of you.

This allows teachers an incredible opportunity to present real open discussions that allow their students to embrace critical thinking and reflect on the material in a deeper way. As a teacher you should be as involved as possible, and try to be present in the virtual classroom daily to build trust and stronger teacher-student relationships.

Teaching online brings new opportunities.

The challenges of teaching nursing online.

There are still educators in the nursing community who believe that online courses have no place in such a hands-on field. But as hospitals push current nurses to return to school for their Bachelors or Masters degrees, online courses have become the most convenient option for those with busy lives.

While online nursing courses may require the use of more examples and real-world situations than other subjects, research has shown that the results of online nursing courses are consistent with those of less hands-on subjects. (Smith, G. G.(2008) E-learning commodity or community: Disciplinary differences between online courses.)

Another challenge that some teachers face is dealing with academic integrity. The online environment can make it difficult to ensure that your students are doing their own work, but by promoting an honor system you can hope that your students will make smart choices. At the end of the day, students will find ways to cheat whether their classroom is online or not so you can deal with it just as you would normally.

Teaching online nursing courses definitely brings along new challenges but it also creates new opportunities to connect to your students and watch their growth. The nursing shortage in America can make giant leaps forward with cheaper and more convenient ways for people to begin nursing education or further their current nursing careers. Online nursing opens up a new world of opportunities, and nurse educators will lead the way.

Jessica Galbraith is a freelance writer on a wide range of subjects. She enjoys travel and learning how to remove information from online sources.

by Jessica Galbraith via

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