Online courses are relatively new in the nursing community, but they are quickly becoming more prevalent. A 2014 Pew Research Center report cited that of the 900,000 Americans enrolled in nursing school, 75 percent did so online. That number continues to grow, both among those seeking a degree as well as those already enrolled. These new students are understandably concerned about whether online learning has the potential to enhance their educational experience. Nowhere is this question more important than at the beginning of the university experience, and each learner should not assume that their learning course can be delivered online. Fortunately, the answer to this question is an unequivocal yes!
Below, I will share with you some essential factors to consider when setting your course objectives for an online course.
An online course’s objective should set out clearly how the learner intends to use the course, as well as how much time is necessary for the learner to achieve it. Understanding the kind of work the learner intends to do is a prime consideration when setting objectives. For instance, a college student could choose to concentrate her work on a single skill and not spend the course building the transferrable knowledge required for success. Because the learner’s intention is clear, the objective will tell how long the learner needs to spend on the course to obtain her degree.
Students should ask themselves whether their goals align with the formal curriculum. Sometimes a learner may miss the mark on her standard of work simply because her expectations are too high. Rather than being discouraged by a lower than desired grade, keep in mind that the completion level may be lower for many online students. Set reasonable expectation, and watch for a pattern of improvement over time.
Ideally, each objective in the course can be broken down to the learner’s specific area of interest. For instance, one of the objectives of a nursing course could be: “Increase knowledge in GPs by understanding healthcare practices including established antibiotics, surgical procedures, and ethical and legal aspects.” Your resident would then be allowed to use the course to research the doctor’s repertoire and understand their clinical practice.
For online learners, their instructors can be critical for an effective course. They must communicate clearly and clearly convey what they believe the learner needs to know. This involves communicating in a certain way, so that students can hear the content clearly, understand it, understand its importance and have confidence in its application. If an instructor makes an uncharacteristic mistake, students cannot evaluate the instructor based on the course’s material alone, but on their personal relationship with the instructor.
Beyond hearing, learners must learn how to learn by absorbing content, rather than simply reading it. Lectures are an efficient means of teaching, but don’t pretend they are not a great way to introduce a concept. As technology continues to advance, so should the teaching process.
That being said, schools and colleges should adopt a policy that establishes what constitutes a substantive lecture. Contrary to the popular belief, schools should do away with lectures and incorporate video and online interactive courses. It is wise to determine first whether the material of a lecture can be encapsulated into short, targeted lectures, as opposed to lengthy sessions. The content of a lecture may not have changed, but the format may.
Students should take notes during classes, and they should record the teacher’s instruction. But to keep learning, a learner should consider a range of factors. Students should stay engaged with the instructor and with their classmates. To do this, a learner should take notes even when not following the syllabus, but they should also take notes of the interview questions that the instructor asked, and the lecture itself. Another must-do is to blog, Twitter, or other social media during the course, depending on the subject area. In addition, if a student lacks any awareness of the course content, they should certainly read it and revise it.
Make sure that anyone training students to be patient, decent, and communicative is also learning from them. That person should have sound judgement, and the ability to assess their initial impression of the course, and respond as they learn.