Online Registered Nurse Degree
Ordinarily, we think of a nursing degree as requiring doing nursing tasks under the supervision of a school and taking place in a physical place and time: taking temperature and blood pressure; administering to patients in a particular place and time. But what if all of this was simulated and you could teach in a nursing program that allowed you to travel the world and still maintain your course? How would this become feasible? One answer is the adoption of an online program. Such a program is not restricted to time and space; it operates on cyberspace, that is, as computer simulated space and time (asynchronous time).
What cannot be simulated, the cognitive portion of nurses training, can be obtained separately: pharmacology, nursing ethics, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics for nursing, and the usual basic courses such as composition, history and literature. All of these courses can be taught online. The hands on skills are taught separately as a lab component. But what does the cognitive component look like. Imagine, then, that you are a new instructor and you have just signed on. What you will see on the monitor is color coded sections that represent different functions of the course.
The subject could be pharmacology, biochemistry or anatomy and physiology; the emphasis is on the process, not the content. This is a key difference of the online system in comparison to the traditional space time organization. So what is this structure? As you look into the monitor, you will see that the first panel is labeled as Announcements. This panel is the place where urgent messages are posted-messages such as a change in course offerings, or emergency messages such as a hurricane in some areas where there are students located. The instructor may also post office hours, email and phone numbers here. Also, the course policies and the late assignment policy could be posted here-anything that is urgent.
The next panel is Assignments and here the whole range of challenges is presented to the student. Timed objective tests are used along with demonstrations, submission of research based essays, group projects, participation in discussion threads, I.D. questions, and diagnosis of problems relevant to the field. Closely related to this line of performance is the panel called Problems and Solutions. In this panel the student is challenged to discover a function or way of navigating that result in efficiency and effectiveness and to teach this skill to fellow students. This fits with the goal of teaching critical thinking in the broad sense. Then comes the Discussion Thread: Here, the instructor tosses out a problem related to the field and the students trace the theme of the problem through the presence of the problem throughout the course. It could be a consideration of the differences between online teaching and traditional teaching; it could be the difference between prescriptive grammar and transformational grammar. Out of this mix, the grading emerges. In this panel, the grades are stored and constantly updated via averages. The student may see her grades at any time just by clicking on the site, but the system prevents her from seeing other's grades. The grades are used as a basis for holding a conference with the student. These conferences are usually private and held via email, phone or private cell. In some rare cases, where there is contention between student and teacher, a legal representative may be present also. Grades, by the way, are affected by the presence of the student. If the student is absent or late signing in, the system keeps track of this behavior and calculates the deficit. The instructor need not call attendance; it is done automatically.
If the student has questions about the content of the course, she may click on Ask the Professor. The monitor will show the teacher's response to the question so that the entire class may profit by the exchange.
Not all panels are graded. For example, the panel labeled as Student Lounge is intentionally not graded. The idea behind this panel is to created a context in which the students can exchange not only content material but personal issues as well. The goal is to create bonding among students and thereby offer them a support system that will last beyond the course.
One may wonder that if the online teaching offers so much flexibility, how is it that one must go about obtaining a position teaching online? The downside for some is that one must learn a new way of navigating the platform adopted for the course. But the above summary should give an idea what this is like. The structure will be similar but not identical to what is presented here. Beyond this there lies great advantage. How, then, does one go about securing such a teaching position? First, you must update your CV and write a good cover letter. You can create a model of a cover letter so that you do not have to reinvent the wheel each time you apply to a new school but you can make minor adaptations. So, you will need to know where you would like to apply. You can secure a list of hundreds of schools offering online teaching from U. of Texas as well as many other universities. Write to the department of Human Services and request such a list. Do not ignore community colleges. Assemble packets including an unofficial transcript of your graduate grades, your CV and recommendations. Some schools require you to prove your identity by sending a notarized verification. Send out ten packets at a time. Remember, no matter how impressive your CV is, you are in a numbers game and you will have lots of competition, this economy being what it is. When you get a bite, you will probably be interviewed by telephone. If this goes well, you will be assigned training and upon completing the training you will be assigned your first class. At this point, you will meet your mentor who will guide you through the first few classes. After this you are on your own. And did I mention that you can make twice as much money in online teaching than in traditional teaching?
Accredited online bachelor degree programs and accredited online master's degree programs are growing in numbers at an exponential rate as a result of the adoption of distance education technology by community colleges, state universities and four-colleges. The for-profit colleges that offer the online military degree, online account degree and online business management degree have had great success with distance education. Further, new and returning college and university students are quite excited by the idea of earning an online bachelor degree or online master's degree from their personal computers. This combination of technical adoption by post-secondary academic institutions and the eagerness of college students to enroll in accredited online college degree programs is creating a bright career path for online adjunct instructors willing to learn how to use a personal computer to access the many online college courses in the various online degree programs.