Students View About Distant Education In Nursing

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Distant Education In Nursing and Students View

Students View About Distant Education In Nursing

 What Distance Education Is Like for Students,Problems Faced by Students During Distant Education,Responsibilities of Faculty to Resolve Issues Regarding Distant Education.

What Distance Education Is Like for Students

    Being a member of a DE learning community requires changes in approaches to learning on the part of the student and additional services for technical, academic, personal, and career support on the part of the institution providing the educational offering. The learning support services suggested have been shown to provide a more positive outcome for students and to facilitate their transition to these new modes of education. 

Problems Faced by Students During Distant Education

    Common problems noted during transition include student satisfaction levels, frustration with technology, feelings of isolation, and perception of increased time spent on coursework. However, the better the student support, the smoother the transition for students and the more positive the experience. This results in increased student satisfaction and increased student retention.

    Swan (1999) found that students taking courses via interactive video conferencing systems were generally satisfied with the quality of instruction and believed that it was a good method for offering courses. However, when asked about the negative points of courses via video conference, they responded that it was boring to stare at a television screen for the entire class period, that they were unable to see everyone at once, and that sending papers away to be graded Was problematic Swan also noted that students reported a perception that all remote sites did not get the same amount of attention. Wuest (1989) noted that there was increased participation and therefore increased attention to students at the studio site of an audio teleconference class.

    Students in DE courses identify communication with faculty as a problem and requested more frequent communication with faculty during the course, as well as prompt feedback on course assignments (Blakely & Curran Smith, 1998; Reinert & Fryback, 1997; Sherwood, Armstrong, & Bond, 1994). Engaging students during DE has been shown to be helpful in alleviating communication problems. 

    Fulmer, Hazzard, Jones, and Keene (1992) noted that although students were initially uncomfortable participating in video conference courses, encouragement facilitated participation. When interactive teaching strategies were used in an interactive video conference class, students reported feeling closer to the faculty and to the school (Sherwood et al., 1994). 

    Students continue to identify frustrations with technological short-comings of equipment used with distance education (Boyd & Baker, 1987; Cobb & Mueller, 1998; Phillips, Hagen bush, & Baldwin, 1992). However, despite these frustrations, most students indicated that they would take another course via DE.

    Ridley, Bailey, Davies, Hash, and Varner (1997) found that students enrolled in online courses cited the ability to reduce the negative effects of distance and scheduling as reasons for enrolling in Internet courses. However, even students who had a positive experience with a doctoral course in a virtual classroom on the Internet preferred to come to campus if able to do so, despite the benefits of convenience and access with the Internet course (Milstead & Nelson, 1998).

    Student attitudes toward DE vary in level of satisfaction from enjoyment to anger or dislike of DE courses. Cobb and Mueller (1998) surveyed graduate students who had taken a Web-based course and found both positive and negative attitudes. Students who enjoyed the Web-based courses stated that it was a wonderful learning tool. They commented that it made learning more accessible and reported that they liked the convenience of having class at home. 

    Other students, however, expressed strong negative feelings regarding Web-based courses. Some of these students reported difficulty learning while using computers. Others expressed the belief that Internet courses were no more than correspondence courses. Several students complained that Internet courses only provided an opportunity for visual learning, and they reported difficulty in understanding what they read on the computer. 

    These frustrations were also noted by Schutte (1997) and Cragg (1994). Careful attention to course design can help make Internet courses a good learning experience for students. Faculty should pay special attention to the number of learning activities that are scheduled and the time they take for completion. Internet courses require an adjustment in teaching style and pedagogy to maximize effective learning and ensure that course requirements can be completed in a timely manner. 

    A number of continuing education offerings are available to introduce faculty to these changes in teaching pedagogy and help faculty to be effective in a “virtual classroom.”Cobb and Mueller (1998) found that students complained about the increased time commitment required for Internet courses. Students reported that “class discussion” via a bulletin board took a great deal of time, especially in classes with a large number of students. 

    Students reported difficulty sorting through large numbers of bulletin board messages when they were all somewhat significant. Students in large classes found that they had to log on daily to keep up with content, an expectation for which they were not prepared.

    The students' report that time spent on Web courses was greater than in a traditional classroom is supported by Schutte (1997), who found that students in a virtual classroom perceived that they spent significantly more time on course work than did students in a traditional classroom . setting. Time constraints may be a particular problem for graduate nursing students because they are predominantly female. 

    Von Prummer (1994) noted that females enrolled in education placed greater emphasis on their family roles, which created role and time conflicts, whereas male students reported no role conflicts and mentioned being relieved of family duties and given uninterrupted time and space for studying.

    Students reported a decreased perception of interaction with faculty and other students (Cobb & Mueller, 1998). This is in contrast to Schutte (1997), who noted more involvement among peers in a virtual classroom. He found that the highest performing students reported the most peer interaction; However, peer interaction was built into the assignments for students in the virtual classroom but not for students in the traditional classroom. 

    Cragg (1994) reported that computer conferencing allowed students to participate in discussions and schedule their own learning time. The group of students observed formed a cohesive, friendly group despite initial frustrations with the equipment. 

    Campbell (1998) noted that women may have needs for support that differ from those of men because women talk more frequently about discomfort with isolation and place a higher value on connecting with others than men do. Because of these differences, faculty must remain vigilant for difficulties with peer interaction in computer-mediated courses.

    Cobb and Mueller (1998) found that this decreased interaction also affected perceptions of faculty accessibility. Students reported that despite 24-hour, 7-day access to faculty via e-mail and the course bulletin board, it was very inconvenient, if not difficult, to seek help with problems. They were frustrated by having to wait until the next day (or week) for help. They identified that being unable to get immediate feedback on assignments or questions was a barrier; they wanted immediate input to know if they were on the right track. 

Responsibilities of Faculty to Resolve Issues Regarding Distant Education

    Technological advances in DE have provided a variety of delivery modes to increase access to nursing education. However, additional services are required to deliver effective DE to students and to assist students through the transition to these new modes of course delivery. Faculty who develops and teach DE courses must consider the need for these support systems, services, and resources prior to implementation of DE programs and monitor them for effectiveness. 

    The student services support staff are truly the glue that holds DE programs together, and they influence student satisfaction and retention. Continued attention must be focused on what constitutes effective strategies for assuring the resources to support learner success.

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