Academic Integrity Of Distance Learning

The Initial Knowledge State of College Physics Students, a 1985 paper by physics professors Ibrahim Abou and David Hestenes, stated that the “talk-and-chalk” method of teaching often  educates students in incremental ways. In fact, further research by physicist Richard Hake revealed that an interactive experience between students often fared better in terms of attention span than a teacher at the podium. Online classes, that promote group assignments via chat, videoconferencing and emails make the classroom mobile, more accessible, and therefore, without borders.

As discussed in an earlier blog, MOOCs have grown up and become a largely favored educational alternative to conventional instruction. Already, the numbers are impressive: 500 colleges and 200 organizations offer online courses — with an estimated 30 million students.

The Integrity of Online Learning
The Integrity of Online Learning

The academic integrity of online education works because it addresses aspects of traditional instruction that do not fully capitalize on the way students effectively learn. Online instruction via videos allow students to learn applying the brain’s innate métier: focusing, replaying, considering, learning. This is particularly true in more technical courses, where difficult chapters can be replayed to a specifically difficult portion of a lecture. With an online college experience, students receive an education that fosters complex thinking and subject retention. According to Barbara Oakley, “[…] online courses can hold students’ attentions, at times better than teachers in person can.”

Scott Freeman et al’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report revealed that the fluid and uninterrupted process of tutoring created improvements in learning. Since the birth of the internet some 26 years ago, distance learning techniques have proven to challenge traditional instruction. The flexibility of lectures via online lesson plans offer not just students the ability to make learning mobile, it can rejuvenate educators to create lesson plans with a greater marked purpose.

Photo credits

Online Learning

Research contribution

A. Anderson


Strong Demand for Nursing Degree Programs

Students obtaining R.N. and B.S.N. Degrees in Nursing from New York have more than doubled since 2002. The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to nursing students has spiked from 4,913 in 2011 to 5,866 in 2014, according to the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies report. These figures present very good news, because New York and the rest of the United States desperately need more nurses.

Growth of Healthcare Employment
Growth of Healthcare Employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’, there will be a need for 525,000 replacements nurses in the workforce by 2012-2022, bringing the total number of job openings for nurses to 1.05 million by 2022.  Fueled by a baby boom generation of nurses now over the age of 46, the needs of the healthcare community has shifted and poses a substantial challenge to the health care educational community. More than 50 percent of the nursing workforce is close to retirement; younger nurses will need education to close the gap. Luckily, the potential salary and job growth outlook for those who pursue a nursing career has candidates entering nursing degree programs in droves.

This influx of interest in the nursing degree program has necessitated an uptick in online programs for nursing degrees. In fact, the number of fully online R.N. to B.S.N. programs in America has grown by more than thirty percent in the last two years according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

More Baby Boomers Retiring

Today, many online nursing programs provide interactive seminars to students in all nursing courses which address various readings, online discussion, and written assignments. Instructors convey concepts and assignments that aid students gain deeper, cognitive understand of each course. Through this process, learners must demonstrate mastery of the material, which faculty evaluates based on student posts on interactive discussion boards and written papers. In short, online courses prove just as rigorous as in-classroom courses. Online colleges and traditional colleges are accredited in the same way — they both must meet the criteria set by independent accrediting bodies to receive recognition by that body.

In order for the U.S. nursing degree programs to prepare future nurses to tackle the deficit in the field, the growth in on-campus nursing degree programs must increase in conjunction with online nursing degree programs to meet demand.


Graph sources

Baby Boomers Retiring

Growth of Healthcare Employment

Photo Credit

Medical & Healthcare

Research Contribution

A. Anderson