Innovative Teaching Strategies: Online Instruction

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) published a white paper, "Distance Technology in Nursing Education," in an effort to examine how distance technology was reshaping nursing higher education and what nursing schools need to know in designing and implementing distance-technology-based instruction. In its conclusion, the AACN emphasized the need to "increase nurses' access to education through technology" as well as increase "the use of technology to promote quality nursing education through collaboration among institutions..." (AACN, 1999).

Wilkes and Burnham (1991) remind us that good distance teaching practices are fundamentally identical to good traditional teaching practices and "those factors which influence good instruction may be generally universal across different environments and populations."

Moore and Kearsley (1996) tell us that to be effective in the online environment the instructor must take full advantage of the interactive nature of the technology, "resist the urge to lecture," and continuously guide the students into action.

With all this in mind, we must choose learning strategies that enhance our teaching and adhere to sound educational principles such as those proposed by Chickering and Gamson (1993). Specifically, our strategies should meet the seven principles of good practice in undergraduate education:

      • encourage contact between students and faculty
      • develop reciprocity and cooperation among students,
      • encourage active learning,
      • gives prompt feedback,
      • emphasize time on task,
      • communicate high expectations, and
      • respect diverse talents and ways of learning.



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