Masters in nursing students' experiences as a member of a virtual classroom on the internet
Carla L. Mueller, PhD, RN
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There is a growing demand for masters prepared nurses to meet the health care needs of the population. However, adult students find that multiple role responsibilities make it difficult to participate in the leisurely pace of the youth-centered model of traditional higher education. Courses in virtual classrooms on the Internet have been established to provide more convenient access to graduate nursing education. However, few attempts at systematically investigating and rigorously assessing the experiences of graduate students involved in courses in virtual classrooms on the Internet have been published. Disciplined investigation of students' experiences is warranted in order to fully explore the meaning of these experiences to those directly involved. The questions posed for this study were: How do students in masters in nursing courses experience education as a member of a virtual classroom on the Internet? What meanings do they attach to that experience? A qualitative inquiry using an interpretive phenomenologic design was used. Network sampling was used to select fifteen participants for this study from those masters in nursing students at a large midwestern university for interviews. Data analysis used a hermeneutic circle and followed the seven stages outlined by Diekelmann, Allen, and Tanner. Five themes and one constitutive pattern were identified. Themes were: (1) Changing Expectations → Adapting to New Roles; (2) Learning the System → Technology's Potholes and Pitfalls; (3) Feeling Overburdened; (4) Is Anyone Really Out There? → Communicating Without Voices; and (5) Learning as a Growing Experience → Recognizing New Strengths. The constitutive pattern was Learning the Ropes: Finding a Way Through the Forest. Participants described learning as much different than previous experiences in traditional on-campus classes and spent much time learning the technology and adapting to a more student centered, reflective mode of learning. Communicating with others without the benefit of body language and voices was difficult. Most students reported a sense of isolation and a feeling that they did not know their classmates well. Students who participated in chat room sessions described knowing chat group members better than other classmates and perceived less isolation.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 3024230; ProQuest document ID: 275813692. The author still retains copyright.
This item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
|Review Type||None: Degree-based Submission|
|Research Approach||Qualitative Research|
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