Engaging Nursing Students Through the Use of Discussion Board Assignments

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Alicia A. Stone, PhD, MS, BS
Nursing Division, Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY, USA

The learner of today presents with a technology-based skill set that has called for a change in nursing education. Students are given readings that are often available on electronic devices. Most students are accustomed to looking up definitions and problem-solving on the internet. Web 2.0 or the interactive and user-controlled capabilities of the World Wide Web became part of their daily lives. The challenge for today’s professor is to find a way to engage students in learning nursing principles while keeping them actively involved in the process. Technology has the potential to become a cognitive tool that advances students’ clinical reasoning skills, rather than just making traditional learning tasks easier.

An assignment was created to engage the students prior to class with technology and discussion boards. Prior to each class meeting, students are required to access case studies and answer questions that are designed to elicit clinical reasoning skills. The answers are posted on the Canvas discussion board so that the students can reads other postings and respond to them. They then arrive at class having read the material and become more engaged in the learning process and class discussions. Their clinical instructors have noticed that they are more prepared for the clinical day and often compare the case presentations with the actual patient scenarios.

This presentation seeks to share this assignment and explore the implications of technology-based learning activities on clinical reasoning development. Benner and associates (2010) have suggested that there be an increased emphasis on integration of classroom and clinical teaching. This is indicative of a need for student engagement that is seamlessly transferred from theory to the bedside. This technique provides an avenue towards helping students to assimilate the information when in the clinical setting. The use of the clinical reasoning cycle was incorporated into the pre-class and classroom discussions as well as in the clinical area.