Preparation of Faculty for Online Education In Nursing

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Faculty Members Preparation for Online Education In Nursing

Preparation of  Faculty for Online Education In Nursing

Faculty Preparation for Teaching Online In Nursing Education,Competencies Necessary to Teach Online In Nursing Education,Technology Use In Nursing Education,Instructor to Facilitator In Nursing Education,Community Building In Nursing Education,Interactive Learning Strategies In Nursing Education.

Faculty Preparation for Teaching Online In Nursing Education

    Having moved into the twenty first century, the impact of technology on teaching and learning has been significant. Many institutions of higher learning have embraced online learning as an answer to meeting the needs of today's students. The introduction of online learning into nursing education has resulted in a change in the role of the nursing educator. Many faculty are struggling with the paradigm shift toward online learning.

Competencies Necessary to Teach Online In Nursing Education

    One of the most critical issues that arises in the shift from traditional instruction to online instruction is the faculty's preparedness to teach online. Most faculty find the transition to a difficult experience. Lack of technological knowledge is often identified as a significant barrier. 

    Research indicates that lack of knowledge of the pedagogy related to online learning is a much greater problem (Conrad, 2004). Technology and pedagogy cannot be separated. There is a dynamic relationship between content, pedagogy, and technology (Koehler, Mishra, Hershey, & Peruski, 2004). 

    The Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, developed Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs (2000) in response to the rapid growth of technologically mediated instruction in institutions of higher learning (North Central, 2000 ). 

    The Best Practices document was created to present a consistent approach to the evaluation of distance education. The recommendations presented in the document focus on maintaining a balance between accountability and innovation. 

Technology Use In Nursing Education

    Faculty members who teach online must acquire specialized skills. When faculty are given the assignment to teach online, many are concerned with their level of technological expertise. If a faculty member plans to convert a traditional classroom course to online, the ideal course conversion team would include the course instructor and an instructional designer. 

    Once a course has been designed, the level of technology knowledge needed to teach an online course is quite basic. The basic technology competencies necessary to teach online are the abilities to:

(a) set up folders and directories

(b) use word processing software (cut, copy, paste, save files)

(c) handle e-mail communications, including attachments

(d) use a browser to access the World Wide Web (Ko & Rossen, 2004) 

    It is also very important for faculty to become familiar with the technology support staff at their institutions.If the course instructor is not able to collaborate with an instructional designer for course conversion, it will be necessary for the faculty member to use one of the online course delivery platforms (also known as course management systems), such as Web CT, Blackboard, or Educator to adapt the course materials into a format that can be accessed via the Web.

    An institution's technology department usually makes the decision about which course delivery platform will be used for all of its online courses.Many of the platforms have builtin Web authoring tools that allow the faculty to create Web pages without the need to know HTML (hypertext markup language). 

    These tools are “pedagogically advanced platforms,” which provide a variety of synchronous and asynchronous tools that can be used in teaching an online course (Moore, Winograd, & Lange, 2001). 

    Included in many of the platforms are mechanisms for online testing and evaluation, as well as the capability to track the progress of students. Faculty will need instruction and assistance in learning how to use the course delivery platform to convert instructional materials.

Instructor to Facilitator In Nursing Education

    The transition to the online classroom results in changes in the faculty and student roles. Instructors who feel confident in the face-to-face class-room may experience feelings of inadequacy or nervousness when teaching online. A lack of social cues can lead to misunderstandings or behaviors that might not occur when people are in a face to face environment. 

    The anonymity that the online classroom provides gives some learners the opportunity to behave more aggressively than normal. Students who are strong in confidence in a traditional classroom may find themselves intimidated in the online environment. The more introverted student may actually flourish in the online classroom. 

    The online environment diffuses authority and places the student at the center of the learning process (Alexander, Polyakova Norwood, Johnston, Christensen, & Loquist, 2003). Faculty-student relationships change. Some instructors report that they have experienced stronger relationships with students in the online environment, while others report feeling more distant (Ryan, Carlton, & Ali, 2004). 

    The instructor's role in the online classroom is transformed from knowledge deliverer to facilitator, and students assume a greater responsibility for the learning that takes place. In online learning there is a shift in emphasis from course completion to competency-based education. There needs to be a balance of content delivery and the learners' need for a socially constructed environment. 

    To achieve this, it is necessary for the instructor to relinquish a certain amount of control over the learning process. Often, faculty rely on their experience in the face to face classroom and find it difficult to let go of some of the old paradigm. Faculty have reported a role change from one of expert teachers in the classroom to that of a novice in the online classroom (Ryan et al., 2004). 

Community Building In Nursing Education

    Students in online courses have reported feeling isolated and missing social contact with the instructor and peers (Attack & Rankin, 2002). In order for the learning process in the electronic classroom to be successful, attention needs to be paid to the developing sense of community within the group of participants. 

    The learning community becomes the vehicle through which learning occurs (Palloff & Pratt, 1999). A dynamic community model supports an environment that promotes inquiry and supports learning. 

    Most students bring prior experience and learning to the online classroom, which can contribute to the classroom learning success. Students must feel comfortable and willing to share these experiences (Keeton, 2004). Helping students to become comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings in writing is key to a successful online environment. 

    To create a social presence in the online classroom, the instructor can model inclusion of feelings in written communications. When an instructor is successful in fostering community, students report they have a better learning experience, feel closer to their peers, and get to know their instructors better than they ever did in a traditional classroom (Lynch, 2002).

Interactive Learning Strategies In Nursing Education

    Faculty need to incorporate learning strategies that result in meaningful interactions between students and instructors. Moore (1989) identified a model that includes three types of interaction in the online classroom: learner-instructor interaction, learner-content interaction, and learner-learner interaction. Learner instructor interaction is highly desired by learners. 

    During learner instructor interaction, the instructor should seek to stimulate the learners' interest in the course content, as well as encourage self direction and self-motivation. Learner-content interaction is the process of the learner intellectually interacting with content that results in changes in the cognitive structures of the learner's mind. 

    Learner-learner interaction occurs with or without the presence of the instructor, and can take place between two learners or within a group of learners. Collaborative learning activities allow learners to achieve a deeper level of knowledge generation. The most powerful experiences may be those in which interaction occurs throughout the group instead of between one participant and facilitator in a group setting (Palloff & Pratt, 1999).

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