One University Making a Difference in Graduate Education: Caring in the Online Learning Environment.

Research paper by Cynthia J CJ Brown, Carol B CB Wilson

Indexed on: 02 Mar '16Published on: 02 Mar '16Published in: Journal of holistic nursing : official journal of the American Holistic Nurses' Association


As online education gains momentum, strategies to promote student engagement, develop social presence, and create a virtual community are essential for students' successful learning. A university with a philosophy grounded in caring developed two strategies for the graduate online education setting. These two strategies intentionally promote caring for self and others as a means to foster engagement, social presence, and a vibrant online community. One strategy was online Caring Groups, that is, small groups of four to five nursing students created each semester in one of the students' required courses in the online setting. The second strategy was the creation of two Caring Connections online sites, one for master of science in nursing students and one for doctorate in education nursing students. The sites were developed external to required courses to provide support for the online students throughout the graduate programs. Each site provides an ongoing space for students and faculty to post and discuss inspirational quotes, self-care tips, music, and photographs. The online Caring Groups and Caring Connections sites will be described, including how they were created, how they are used by students, how faculty support students, lessons learned, and how Caring Groups are integrated into the curriculum.