Online Teaching of Undergraduate Student Nurses: An Integrated Review
Janse van Rensburg, Elsie Sophia
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Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016 and Sunday, July 24, 2016: Students are demanding accessibility and affordability of education (Fees must fall campaign 2015). Limited resources and shortages of nurse educators reshapes the landscape of education to utilise resources more effectively. Globalization and the technological explosion lead to the restructuring of programmes. Generation Y students apply for the undergraduate nursing programmes. Generation Y has a collaborative learning style based on social networking and digital connectivity (Tsang 2011). As the global demand for well-trained nurses increases, it opens a window of opportunity for nurses to emigrate. Developed countries are technologically advanced and nurses need to be prepared to use technology in practice. Emigration of nurses increases the burden on those left behind. More nurses need to be trained to address these shortages (Kotze 2012). However the shortages of nurse educators and increase student numbers results in challenges in providing quality nursing education (Holley & Taylor 2009). The pressure on educational institutions may result in a blended learning approach to accommodate larger student numbers with limited teaching resources (Billings and Halstead 2012). Online learning and assessments can be used to enhance the quality of teaching and the technological competencies of student nurses. The integrated review was utilised to systematically collect, classify and analyse the body of literature (IEEE, 2014) on online learning and assessment of undergraduate nursing students. The following search engines were used: Africa-wide information 2009-2015; CINAHL Plus 2009-2015, EBSCOhost 2009-2015; ERIC 2009- 2015, Health Source: Nursing 2009-2015; MEDLINE; Education Source 2009-2015; PsychInfo 2009-2015; Academic Search Premier 2009- 2015. A thematic analysis was done and themes and categories identified. Themes identified included opportunities and challenges of online learning and assessment mostly from the students' perspective. The opportunities included networking with peers and collaborative learning; professional development; clinical learning; opportunities for feedback; reinforcing and revision of information; overcoming geographic barriers; flexibility and self-directed learning. Challenges referred to time demands; increased workload; avoidance of 'difficult' areas in subject content; 'flick through' subject content at a high speed. The questions remain if the students retain the information learned and how does online learning facilitates critical thinking? It is not certain if deep learning or surface learning is utilised by the student nurses and these aspects need to be explored in future research.