The number of nursing schools offering students the chance to earn a degree either a BSN, MSN or other advanced degrees has multiplied since colleges of nursing took their first tentative steps onto the World Wide Web in the 1990s.
But while students have embraced the programs, the new educational model carries with it some challenges.
Jonas Nguh, RN, PhD, MSN, FACHE, has earned degrees through distance education programs and has taught online nursing classes through the MSN program at Walden University for the past five years. He shared these tips to help online students succeed:
Adult learners often have families and/or theyre working full time. These students will need to be proactive in managing their time. If you find yourself with free time on a Monday, for example, you might as well go ahead and work on your assignments. Treat your week just as if you were in regular classes, and devote a day or certain times of the day to your work. A set schedule helps to accomplish more.
In addition to managing your time, manage the workflow. Be self-motivated. In an online environment, you are responsible for your own learning. No professor will follow you to remind you to get your work done. Know when different pieces of work are due. Keep a schedule, and keep up with the crunch.
Know how to communicate in an online environment. There is a certain etiquette to talking with your teachers and classmates in writing online. For example, dont use all capitals. That generally is considered yelling. You also should be aware that you dont have the opportunity for body language or tone of voice. Avoid anything that might be considered derogatory or offensive. Be careful how you write.
Get to know some of your classmates. Then, if possible, buddy up with someone who has taken an online course. They can help you in many ways, because they have experience.
Get a good working knowledge of the basic software and technology youll be using before you start. For example, learn Microsoft Excel and Word, if you dont know them already. With graduate education, you will have to submit extra information and create documents that use charts using computer programs to illustrate your answers.
Have a backup plan in place to save your work. You never know when there might be a power outage or your computer may crash. Have and use a good external hard drive to save work.
To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/Online-Ed.