Examining Harasim's Online Collaborative Learning Theory for nursing education
AbstractPh.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Online nursing education has been evolving at a rapid pace as it is recognized as offering the flexibility needed for practicing associate degree (ADN) and diploma prepared Registered Nurses to return to school to earn their BSN. At the same time, there is a paradigm shift in how nursing education is delivered. The focus has shifted from content to concepts and collaborative learning is emphasized (Billings & Halstead, 2009; Giddens et al., 2008). Collaborative learning is embedded in online education. There is a growing body of evidence that supports collaborative learning within many programs of study; however, few studies have been done in nursing. There is no accepted framework for judging what is best practice in assessing collaborative discourse (Oncu & Cakir, 2011). This qualitative study using transcript analysis was undertaken to clarify the value of Online Collaborative Learning Theory as a way to assess the collaborative process within nursing education. The theory incorporated three phases: (1) idea generating; (2) idea generating; and (3) intellectual convergence. The transcripts of asynchronous discussions from a two-week module about disaster nursing using a virtual community were analyzed and formed the data for this study. The findings of this study support the use of Online Collaborative Learning Theory as a framework for assessing online collaborative discourse. Individual or group outcomes were required for the students to move through all three phases of the theory. Group development or process indicators that are more in keeping with interpersonal skills and not part of the theory were only found in the small groups and it is recommended that they be evaluated separately from the collaborative process as described by the theory.