Faculty Decision and Student Requirement In Nursing Education

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Student Requirement In Nursing Education and Faculty  Decision

Faculty  Decision and Student Requirement In Nursing Education

Faculty Decisions About Distance Education,Student Recruitment In Nursing Education,Student Decision Making Can They Assess Quality,Outcomes of Courses and Programs In Nursing,Maintaining Quality In Nursing Education.

Faculty Decisions About Distance Education

    Many schools of nursing now offer distance education courses, and some have complete programs online. However, with greater choices for students, schools may focus their distance education on areas of nursing in which they have particular and known expertise. 

    Or they may offer for distance education only those courses or programs in which enrollment is typically too small for an on-campus program such as a post-master's certificate in transcultural nursing or courses in end-of-life care.

    Faculty need to decide which courses, clinical majors, and programs are best offered through distance education and online learning and which should remain face-to-face. 

    Many of the outcomes of courses taught in a traditional classroom environment can be replicated in an online course, but the faculty time to develop and implement an online course, give prompt feedback to learners, maintain communication with students, and work with clinical preceptors may exceed the time available, particularly considering faculty's scholarship and clinical practice commitments. 

    Some schools may decide not to offer any distance education courses and instead remain an on-campus-only school of nursing. Others may use distance education only for highly specialized areas of content. It is unlikely that schools of nursing will have sufficient faculty and resources in the future to continue to offer a full range of courses, majors, and programs that often overlap with other schools. 

Student Recruitment In Nursing Education

    Distance education creates a new type of competition for schools of nursing. In early years, many programs competed for students mainly in the local and regional areas. However, now with online courses and programs, the competition for students extends beyond any geographic boundaries, and some schools have invested much effort and resources in recruiting nursing students to their online programs. 

    In a highly competitive e-learning market, institutions need to specialize in meeting particular niches in that market (Gallagher, 2003). Nursing programs that focus their distance education on specialized areas of nursing may find it easier to recruit students in future years. Even with programs that meet a niche in nursing education, although, schools will need to invest resources on marketing and ensuring high quality of their courses. 

Student Decision Making Can They Assess Quality

    With distance education students can search nationwide for courses, programs, and faculty that meet their particular educational needs. Many prospective nursing students already shop around for the best program for them, and this will likely increase as more distance programs become available. However, prospective students may be unaware of differences in quality across these programs and standards for evaluating their quality. 

    In nursing education we have already developed a buyer beware situation, with students completing distance programs of questionable quality and outcomes. Schools of nursing need to take an active role in educating prospective students about how to judge the quality of an online nursing program, which is different from selecting a Web based course for personal development.

Outcomes of Courses and Programs In Nursing

    With the proliferation of online nursing courses and programs and other distance education methods, research is needed to establish the outcomes of those courses and programs in areas other than knowledge and student and teacher satisfaction. 

    Chaffin and Maddux (2004) suggested from their review of the literature that online courses are effective for teaching theory, critical thinking, and clinical skills and for fostering international collaboration. 

    Much of the research though has been done in one setting only and with small groups of students; more controlled studies across settings are needed to guide our decision making about courses, their design, and student activities in them. 

Maintaining Quality In Nursing Education

    The other pressing need in nursing education is to examine and maintain the quality of online courses and other forms of distance education. There are faculty who place their PowerPoint presentations on Blackboard, WebCT, and other course management systems; they then add a few notes to accompany those visuals and label it an online course. 

    Most nursing faculty do not have the educational background or skills to develop an online course. Instructional designers are needed on-site in schools of nursing or as consultants to work with nursing faculty to develop online courses and activities and other methods for distance education. 

    Schools of nursing also need systematic assessment processes in place to ensure the quality of their online courses and that they are as rigorous as the ones offered in a traditional format.

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