A Transformative Model of Caring and Quality in Online Nursing Education

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 10:00 AM

Anna M. Waterman, PhD, RN1
Therese A. Snively, PhD, MS, BSN, RN2
Tara Lynn Spalla, PhD, RN1
(1)Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA
(2)Online RN-BSN Completion Program, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Columbus, OH, USA

With the surge in online education and the growing numbers of faculty teaching nursing courses online across the globe, the ways of knowing and enacting online caring and quality need to be identified, explored, and defined. Learning to create high quality, excellent online courses can be considered part of caring within the curriculum. Both faculty and students can be assured of excellence in the teaching/learning process by utilizing a model combining the culture of caring and quality in online nursing education.

One of the indicators of quality in online education is peer review of individual courses with the Quality Matters™ (QM) Rubric that is evidence-based.  It is different and distinct from other benchmarking in higher education and online education because it is situated from the lens of the student.  This willingness to look at the online educational environment from the vantage point of students can be considered a caring action directed at providing excellent online education. The other quality indicator used for the model is the Online Learning Consortium, formerly Sloan-C, a premier online learning society dedicated to providing quality in all aspects of online learning.  A new model created through synthesizing the concepts of caring and quality to transform online nursing education will be presented.  This intersection of caring and quality leads to improved outcomes for both students and faculty.

Examples of strategies used to foster a caring and quality online environment include: new student online orientation, online faculty orientation, online faculty mentoring program, and personal student advisement utilizing technology to reduce the geographic distance between students and advisors.  In the Online RN-BSN Completion Program, online faculty members demonstrate caring and quality by developing and following academic policies created specifically for the working nurse, as well as utilizing multiple strategies to engage distance students and promote success.

Strategically planning online excellence for all learners has international implications. Examples of strategies include using face-to-face real time web-chats so that teachers and learners can see body language, hear voice tone and inflection; integration of international literature within learning modules demonstrating value of multiple perspectives; flexible deadlines in assignments; academic support strategies to meet individual student needs; and nurse educator leadership to model and promote a positive and respectful learning environment for all.

The outcomes from using this “Transformative Model of Caring and Quality in Online Nursing Education” include the following:  learning, growth and development; reciprocal connection; student and faculty satisfaction; increased student retention rate; increased student completion rate; and decreased time to graduation.