How to Teach Nursing Online for Students: Tips and Resources

student online learning

As campuses close in response to the coronavirus, many nurse educators will be teaching remotely for the first time to ensure the student learning experience isn’t disrupted. Online learners may have different expectations than onsite learners. Here are some considerations and best practices to consider if you find yourself in this situation.

  1. Respond to students’ emails or texts within 24 hours. This is a normal response time for online learners. Let them know in advance what your response time will be (whether 24-48 hours) so you meet their expectations.
  2. Address students by name in your response.
  3. Have an “open-door” policy for setting up virtual meetings or set up webinar “office hours” where you are online waiting for students to contact you.
  4. Make sure students know that you are approachable and that your goal is their success — remember, this wasn’t their choice either. Verbal and written acknowledgment of your approachability is important to them.
  5. Use discussion boards to post valuable questions for student critical thinking on the topic being taught. Encourage students to read and respond to other students’ comments and post your own questions to move the discussion forward.
  6. Set guidelines for the discussion boards. Have a clear rubric with set expectations. Make sure to set an end time — 11:59 pm or whenever you choose for students to respond.
    1. Students (and faculty) should read and respond on at least three days during the week.
    2. When using references in the discussion board, students should always cite the references. APA is the best choice.
    3. Use real-world experience/application as much as possible.
  7. Use Sherpath for your course. Elsevier’s technology-driven online product has digital lessons, assignments, adaptive quizzing, and ideas for group activities built right into the product. Sherpath follows the Elsevier nursing textbook you are using, making your remote course seamless in delivery and function. Contact your Elsevier Education Solutions Consultant today for more information and to test drive Sherpath.
  8. Are you looking for a platform for talking with students? Check with your college or university to see if they have WebEx, Zoom, Go to Meeting, Bluejeans, or another virtual meeting platform. Otherwise check out this blog which discusses many methods for talking live for little or no cost with students.

One thing I know is: “Never say NEVER!” Nursing educators are resilient and will get the job done!

For the latest evidence-based health and medical research on COVID-19, visit our Novel Coronavirus Information Center.

For resources and advice on teaching remotely, click here.