Historical Background and Requirements of Web Based Learning In Nursing Education

Nurses Educator 2

Web Based Learning In Nursing Education Historical Background and Requirements

Historical Background and Requirements of Web Based Learning In Nursing Education

Teaching a Web Based Course ans Traditional Methods a Historical View,What is Traditional Course,Physical Requirements of Web Based Learning Courses In Nursing Education,Educational  Payments and Resource for Web Based Learning Courses In Nursing Education.

Teaching a Web Based Course ans Traditional Methods a Historical View

    The types of people who need educational services from colleges and universities and especially the ways in which they need those services delivered have changed over time. Therefore, the people who teach in colleges and universities must adjust their skills to meet the needs of the students they will be serving in the twenty first century. 

    College students of the 1950s and 1960s expected that what they learned in their college education classes would last most of their careers. Of course, they would expect to update knowledge, but at a fairly slow and steady pace, and much of what they learned would remain valid for most of their careers. Instead, knowledge longevity has proven far shorter than expected and is becoming ever shorter. 

    For example, the overall pool of scientific knowledge doubles every 19 months (Sparrow, 2004). Children of the Baby Boomer generation have gone back to college in the 1990s and 2000s just to be able to hold onto their jobs (Heinke & Russum, 2001). Their younger colleagues of Generation X, the Y generation, and the Nexers must expect to renew their knowledge completely every 5 years and to update knowledge constantly immediately upon graduation.

    These changes in knowledge requirements mean that as college and university teachers, we should no longer expect to educate degree-bound classes and then say good-bye forever, except for reunions and the occasional greeting card from our students. Rather, the model is going to be that we will need to maintain two educational tracks for students in our schools: the degree track and the continuing education track. 

    And on both tracks, the convenience of Web-based education is going to be in high demand.In the very recent past and even today, some teachers have been and are able to refuse to learn to teach online. It is the opinion of this author that this stance is unwise in the extreme. Even today, I hear from many new graduates of doctoral programs that part of their interview for new faculty positions includes the questions, “Are you able and willing to teach online courses?” 

    And it is made very clear to them that if the answer is no, the position will not be open to them. I predict that by the year 2010, in those colleges and universities that have a significant Web course presence, all faculty will be required to accept both online and on-campus course assignments as part of their employment contract. 

    In fact, it may be that in the future, schools will be more tolerant of faculty who are able to teach online but not able to teach in the classroom. For example, in order to facilitate diversity, they may be able to hire foreign born teachers whose spoken English language skills would be problematic for classroom lectures but would pose no problem for online courses. 

    Thus, in some schools, some teachers may be employed to teach exclusively online courses. And while there will continue to be a steady demand for classroom classes, the demand for online courses will continue to increase exponentially. The reason for the demand in online courses is that the proportion of students who are able to live on or near campus and attend school full time is continually decreasing. 

    Both enrolled, degree-bound students and continuing education students are less likely to be able to go to school full time than was the case in the 1970s and 1980s. Beginning with the 1980s, we saw a trend for even degree-bound students to be independent adults, and in many cases, to be older (in their 30s and above) with families and full time jobs. Of course, this is typical of continuing education students. For these students, it is very difficult to travel to the school at a specific class time, to find parking, and to attend class.

    For many, perhaps even the majority of continuing education students, Web based courses are their only option for updating their certified educational knowledge base and expanding their certified professional skills. Of course, people can always update their knowledge informally. But increasingly, professionals are required to provide through transcripts, Continuing Education credits, and other formal certification methods to show proof of their updated professional knowledge and skills. 

    Many professional nurses are turning to colleges and universities for academic courses for this type of continuing education and they need to access this education via Web-based courses.This is written for those members of university instructional communities who are interested in focusing more energy in teaching online courses through the Internet. It will address the differences among traditional, correspondence, and web based modalities for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. 

    Strengths and limitations of each modality will be addressed. Techniques of developing and implementing a Web based course and degrees through the Web will be discussed, with special emphasis on how to adapt teaching methods to the Internet. Techniques that have proven unsuccessful will be presented, as well as tips for success. 

What is Traditional Course

    A traditional on-campus course, also called a “classroom course,” is defined as a course in which students attend class in a college or university classroom one or more times per week, purchase their text materials at the university bookstore, and receive paper handouts in class from the instructor. Study guides may be purchased or made available in learning labs on campus. The student instructor interaction is either face to face or via telephone. 

    Often, students have group projects for which they schedule themselves during their out-of-class time. Students have access to the books, journals, and other materials in the on-campus library and for a fee can obtain other materials through interlibrary loans. Traditionally, on-campus courses make the assumption that some students may not have access to the Internet, and the course can be successfully completed without that access.

    A correspondence course is defined as a course in which there is no on-campus requirement. The student pays a single fee for tuition, books, and supporting materials. Usually, the student must independently study the materials, schedule exams, and mail the exams back to the college or university for grading. When the student completes all requirements, a grade is sent. 

    That is, there may or may not be any provision for communication between students and faculty, such as through mail or telephone calls. Typically, there is a final deadline for completion of all requirements, but the deadline is usually generous and students can learn at their own pace.

    A Web supported course is a traditional on campus course in which students have access to all the resources listed above. In addition, the course instructor places some materials on the Internet for students to use and perhaps copy if they wish. Such materials as the course syllabus, study guides, assignment guides, grading criteria, lecture notes, and slide presentations from the class lectures may be made available to students at the class Internet site. 

    A Web supported course may or may not require students to use the Internet. For those who have no personal access, the instructor may provide the materials through class, library, or lab. The university may provide access through student computer labs or in student dormitories. Access to the course Internet site may be open or password protected. Typically, a Web supported course will offer an online discussion board or chat room to enhance class discussions. 

    In addition to traditional student-faculty interactions, a Web-supported course usually makes a faculty e-mail address available to students for additional interaction opportunities. Students also may have special group “meetings” via computer conferencing technology. Both real time and virtual meetings can be supported in the Internet environment. 

Physical Requirements of Web Based Learning Courses In Nursing Education

    Also, students can obtain more information about course topics through either personal or faculty guided web searches. The two key criteria for a Web supported course are that:

(1) an on campus classroom component is required

(2) at least some of the course materials are available on the Web (although the course may allow students to obtain all their materials without accessing the Web).

    A blended course is a course that has both on-campus classroom and web course requirements. Typically, these courses have one or more intensive on-campus class days followed by some weeks or months of Web course work. Some teachers feel that these types of courses overcome the limitations of a Web course (loss of the face to face meetings between instructor and student, and loss of demonstrations that teachers believe can only be done in person), but allow people to be distance students because they require only a few days of on campus work. 

    Many college faculty are of the opinion that people who “really want the education” can afford and arrange to get to campus for the few days or so of intensive on campus instruction that blended courses require. In my experience, that is not the case. Many students will choose another program if a program has too many intensives, and some will not come if there are any intensives. 

    Intensives are most useful to students who have sufficient control over their work schedule that they can take vacation days for the intensive classes, or who live near enough campus that they can travel to the classes, or who have the economic resources to fly to campus and pay for hotel and per diem expenses necessary to stay in the city where the campus is located for the intensive on campus classes. That excludes quite a lot of students.

    A Web based course is one in which the entire course is online. This modality requires that all students have access to the Internet. The syllabus, including course description, objectives, class schedule (if any), handouts, examinations, class discussions, and so on are all available only through the Internet. Some of these courses require the student to purchase a computer video camera and have software that can send, receive, and play the streaming video along with the video camera. 

    This allows the students to give oral presentations in the class, and to receive videotaped learning materials and to handle all sorts of video learning media. Texts and other required materials that must be purchased are available by mail from the university bookstore. Students typically communicate with each other and the faculty via a combination of discussion board, chat room, and e-mail. Faculty may or may not provide lecture materials to support required readings. 

    Typically, faculty provide information about important links to relevant sites on the Web, but students are also expected to do considerable work in personal searches to enhance their own learning. A Web based course may or may not adhere to the traditional semester or quarter schedule of the university in which it is housed. Web courses, like correspondence courses, may allow the student wide latitude about scheduling readings, homework, projects, and examinations. 

Educational  Payments and Resource for Web Based Learning Courses In Nursing Education

    The three key criteria for a web based course are as follows:

1. There is no on campus requirement for any part of the course. This means that everything from registration, enrollment, and payment of tuition and fees to content presentations and group projects can be handled through the Internet or via e-mail or the US mail system. Thus, students who live in the same city as the Universities have no advantage over students who live halfway around the world.

2. All of the required course materials are either available online or may be purchased via mail order from the university book store or another mail-order supplier such as Amazon.com, Barnes andnoble.com, or any other online bookstore.

3. Students who live at a great distance from each other and from the faculty can communicate with faculty and other students via e-mail and perhaps through some combination of discussion boards, computer conferencing, or chat rooms, although phone calls may be used occasionally . Traditional On Campus Courses Traditional on campus courses offer many advantages. The format is familiar to students who have attended high school. 

    The daily or weekly class schedule and deadlines for papers, projects, and exams provide a form of external discipline. The instructor and student have the advantage of face to face discussions. This is perhaps the greatest advantage the traditional classroom format can offer. Students and faculty mutually benefit from vigorous, in person, intellectual discussions about the content of the course. When students and faculty discuss problems, identify potential solutions, and hear each other's ideas, a great deal of learning can take place. 

    All can hear the words, inflections, and feeling tone of each other's utterances and at the same time gain further information from the body language of both the speaker and the listeners. Of course, the teacher ensures that content is current and can offer personal support to the student who struggles with some of the content. This modality has been in use for as long as formal education has existed because it is so successful for most people.

    This format does create some problems. First, the student must arrange his or her schedule to fit the scheduled time of the course. This requirement may exclude many people from the class, simply due to scheduling problems. Second, for many students, travel to and from the university and parking are significant problems. For some adult students, class attendance may require a 2- or 3 hour drive. 

    Although most graduate classes meet only once a week for 3 hours, adding in the drive time means that students must allocate 7 to 9 hours per week just for class attendance. Homework, study, and library time require another 9 hours. Parking at our university is a problem. Most universities were built for use by young (17- to 22-year old), physically healthy students who live on campus in dormitories or less than 10 blocks away in student housing. 

    These students walk to classes, libraries, and university activities. Almost none of our graduate students and fewer than half of our undergraduate students fit this profile today. For some people, physical disabilities are such that attendance at a traditional classroom course is difficult. Third, although this format allows for in class discussion, those discussions must be very limited in time. 

    Classrooms are often in demand, and the students and instructor must vacate in time for the next class to begin. Fourth, shy students are at a great disadvantage.Particularly in large classes, only brave or aggressive students may get the chance to ask their questions or offer their opinions. In fact, in classes with more than 12-5 students, someone will almost always be overlooked. 

    In my classes that have more than 20 students, I estimate that only about 50% to 75% of the students ever speak in class and only 10% contribute regularly. Many of the others are too shy to speak in class.Although people rarely talk about drop out rates with traditional classroom courses, attrition is a problem that nobody quite knows how to measure. 

    Some people do not count as attrition those who register but drop a course during the regular drop/add period; they only count as attrition those who drop the course after that period. Others believe that attrition should include all those who drop a course after registering for the course as do distance education programs. 

    Because of the difference in measurement methods, it is impossible to directly compare attrition rates between traditional classroom courses and distance education courses at this time. However, most researchers claim that traditional classroom education has the lowest attrition rates of all the modalities (Parker, 1999; Phipps & Merisotis, 1999; Thompson, 1997). 

    Drop out rates for traditional classroom courses vary greatly (depending on program and whether the student is in a degree-bound program or in continuing education) but range from as low as zero to as high as 40%.

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