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Using Discussion Boards as a Teaching & Learning strategy Experiences gained teaching final year nursing students in Ireland. Sile A Creedon, PhD student, MSc (Res), BNS, RNT, RGN, RM, Dip (Teachers) IT. Lecturer, Co-ordinator Year 4 BSc. Overview. Genesis for module Modular objectives

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Using Discussion Boards as a Teaching & Learning strategy Experiences gained teaching final year nursing students in Ireland

Sile A Creedon,

PhD student, MSc (Res), BNS, RNT, RGN, RM, Dip (Teachers) IT.

Lecturer, Co-ordinator Year 4 BSc

  • Genesis for module
  • Modular objectives
  • Interaction / Engagement
  • Survey
genesis background
Genesis / background
  • Own background in nursing informatics
  • Health system ICT framework: HSE 2003
  • National Health Information Strategy 2004
  • Nurses are the largest group of healthcare workers
modular descriptor
Modular descriptor
  • NU4025: Health Informatics for Nurses
  • Optional (N=99)
  • Two pedagogical approaches:
    • web-based and classroom based.
module objectives
Module objectives
  • To examine implications for health delivery arising from telemedicine, ehealth
  • To examine the status of information technology within the Irish Healthcare sector
  • To explore and evaluate models of patient information data management systems
interaction engagement
Interaction (engagement)
  • …‘interaction is a reciprocal exchange of information which enhances knowledge development….goal is to increase understanding or mastery of defined goals’ Thurmond (2003)
    • Learner / content
    • Learner / student
    • Learner / lecturer
    • Learner / medium
  • VLE : Blackboard
course operationalisation
Course operationalisation

Three week cycle

Week 1 – attend for lectures (web tools, ppt, reading). Discussion thread provided

Week 2 – Submit to Discussion board.

Clear guidelines – date, time, word limit, no ‘lurking’

Feedback from lecturer.

Week 3 – Peer review to discussion board. Feedback from lecturer.

discussion boards
Discussion boards
  • Strengths:
    • All information is shared equally between student and lecturer
    • Permanent record
    • Convenient place for students to work as groups and learn from each other
    • Students have the opportunity to reflect before posting
  • Limitations
    • Less convenient than email
    • Lurking
    • Lecturer may have difficulty in determining ‘original’ thought
factors that influence success
Factors that influence success
  • Value: need to meet learning outcomes
          • Baskin 2001
  • Challenge: thread needs to be stimulating
  • Non-threatening: small electronic groups
          • Northover 2002
  • Feedback: need to know they are on the right track
          • Chou, Liu 2005, Leng et al 2006
  • Encouragement: lecturer must provide a positive learning environment and be able to manage groups.
          • (Pallof, Pratt 2001)
  • Authentic: thread has to be realistic, meaningful and build knowledge in a contextualised relevant way.
          • (Herrington, Oliver 2000, McLoughlin, Luca 2001)
learner content interaction
Learner / content interaction

….’students examining the course content and from participating in class activities’ ….(Moore and Kearsley 1999)

  • Variables:
    • Clarity of course design
      • Web tools
      • Consistent (ppt, hyperlinked reading)
    • Time
      • concerns,
      • requirements realistically identified
      • approx 200 hits to Blackboard per week
    • Medium used for module delivery
      • Web based / modified lectures
          • (Swan 2001, Sole & Lindquist 2001, Faux, Black –Hughes 2000))
learner learner interaction contd
Learner – learner interaction contd.
  • Divided into groups of 5 – electronically secure
  • Facilities for file transfer, email, chat and discussion board.
    • Submit reflections (discussion boards)
    • Review peer submissions
    • Submit peer review
    • Very explicit expectations, submission dates and times.
    • Protected time
learner lecturer interaction
Learner – lecturer interaction
  • Most significant predictor of learning

(Leong, Ho, Saromines 2002, Jiang and Ting, 1999).

  • Differed to traditional: email, discussion boards
  • Provided timely feedback on each submission.
  • Considerable time required
learner interface interaction
Learner interface interaction
  • Course required interaction between internet, web-tools and blackboard.
  • Varying degrees of literacy
  • Blackboard: user friendly
  • Use of two pedagogical mediums: web based and lecture-theatre based
evidence of student learning
Evidence of student learning

Summative assessment:

Design a nursing information system for the ward / unit you are most familiar with.

  • Content
  • Engagement with literature – relevant citations
  • Creative, logical, original thinking
  • Mastery of the subject
  • Contextualised within national / international HC system
  • Marked: 2 lecturers / 1 ext examiner
  • Results: majority second or first class hons.
major findings from survey n 89
Major findings from survey (n=89)
  • Engaged with content that they did not even know existed (51%)
  • Read more for this module than any other (45%)
  • Peer review was ‘excellent’ and made them more critical of their own work (80%)
  • Computer skills had improved (even though this was not a learning outcome) 45%
what they said markclass
What they said(Markclass)

Student / content

‘I have learned such a lot about IT in the health services in Ireland. Thank you!’

This was a fabulous module, the content is really relevant. I would recommend that this should be a core module.

Excellent content, very relevant to nursing, I really learnt a lot

This module really got me thinking about the way we manage patient records today…allowed me see how changes could be made within my own discipline

Very motivating for us as future staff nurses in relation to using ICT to manage patient data

what they said
What they said….
  • It was such a help getting feedback after each discussion…. I really learned from this course
  • Excellent to be able to review my peers’ work…this is critical learning
  • This was such a different approach to teaching – wonderful….knowing how you were doing made such a difference,
  • Fantastic….guidance from sile really helped me…best experience in the four years….
conclusion recommendations
Conclusion / Recommendations
  • Genesis:
    • National developments,
    • Nurses are the largest group in healthcare delivery
  • Engagement
  • Evidence of student learning
  • Recommendations
    • Replication of course design
    • Comparison with traditional methodologies
    • Instrument development (valid / reliable)