4 Tips for Participating in Online Discussion Boards

Discussion boards can play a large role in the online classroom. Posting in a discussion boards can account for a small percentage of final grades or the majority of the course load in online college courses. Once you’re sure online enrollment is right for you, it’s important to have a game plan so that posting is time-effective and worthy of the best grade possible. Follow these four tips for participating in online discussion boards.

Follow the Instructions

This step may seem like a given, but it cannot be overlooked. Taking the time to review the instructions, especially if they’re highly specific or guided, can save time in the long run. This way, there’s no risk of spending a great amount of time writing a post only to realize that it’s unusable because it doesn’t fill the requirements.

Take Notes on the Material while Reading

It would be fantastic if we all had photographic memories of material after reading it, but short of a photographic memory, the next-best thing is to take notes. Jotting down the important information from a class will make writing a post easier, and it will prevent wasting time reading the same content twice.

Get a good understanding of the discussion (at least at first)

There are advantages and disadvantages to posting first and last on online discussion boards. Waiting for others to post lets one see the general tone and topics for the assignment, but it may be difficult to introduce an observation that hasn’t been covered by other students. Most students new to online learning prefer to post in the sweet spot once a few people have posted, but while it’s still early enough to introduce new thoughts to the discussion.

Check for Tone

Though this may seem nit-picky, it’s important to have the right tone when posting on discussion boards. Sometimes the tone is more laid-back and casual, and posts mimic casual real-life conversations. Other times, posts resemble formal essays, often even including introductions and conclusions. It may be beneficial to check the syllabus to see if the instructor has set tone requirements before starting, or simply see how other students are writing.

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Alumna Karen Brady was able to balance three teenagers, work, and school to earn her BSN

Earning a BSN is no easy task, yet Karen Brady made it all look easy.

ALUM_Karen_Brady_BSN2_50

“I think the fact that it was so doable was surprising to me. I felt like the expectations were completely realistic for a working student.”

When Karen decided it was time to complete her BSN, there were many programs to compare. Linfield College’s RN to BSN program stood out like no other. Karen found that Linfield’s reputation and curriculum were outstanding, and the program was the best choice to help advance her career and enhance her knowledge.

“I felt that Linfield would not just offer me a degree, but an education.”

While Karen was completing her BSN, she found that the online option was the best for her due to its flexibility. She was able to work fulltime, raise three teenage boys, and make it to all of their sporting events along with being a fulltime student. She was also able to make great connections with other students who were juggling the same things as her.

“It was a great experience and completely doable,” Karen says when asked about her education.  As a student in Linfield’s RN to BSN program, she was amazed at how the leadership and research training helped her become a more well-rounded and experienced nurse. These courses gave her such a passion for learning and expanding her knowledge that she even continued on to receive a master’s degree in Nursing Informatics.

“I knew I was a good nurse and that I had a great foundation, but I didn’t know how much more there was to being a really well rounded nurse.”

After Karen completed her BSN in 2010 through Linfield College, she got her dream job of working collaboratively with nurses to influence the quality of care for patients at Silverton Health in Oregon.

“I was surprised how easily the program fit into my life, how beneficial it was to my nursing career, and how fast it went by. If I had known those things, I would have done it much sooner.”

Summer term start Monday, June 20 and there is still time to register for classes.  Students wanting to start Fall term should apply now, as registration is already open for fall classes, which start September 7.

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Linfield College Online Education: Improving Access to Palliative Care in RN to BSN Curriculum

By Melissa Robinson PhD, RN

green_rural_hospital__signNurses serve in key roles in the community related to the coordination and delivery of palliative care services in the community. Nurses have also encountered challenges associated with accessing palliative care services and support for patients, particularly in rural communities. By preparing nurses in RN to BSN programs with knowledge of palliative care approaches that include pain and symptom management, holistic nursing care, cultural awareness, spiritual support, and more, nurses can feel more prepared to intervene with advocacy and support.

The palliative care nursing class at Linfield College is providing nursing students with an opportunity to choose an elective course that will enhance their specialty knowledge while also delivering practice-oriented experiences that are immediately applicable to their work in nursing. Their learning is enhanced through collaboration with peers on challenging issues such as communication with patients and families at the end of life and moral and ethical decision making. Students can explore why these issues are challenging and develop strategies that will help them navigate some of the most distressing aspects of working with people who are experiencing life-limiting illness.

Student learning is also impacted by the diversity of the online classroom. Students in the course are generationally diverse and have had varied experiences in nursing, from pre-licensure nursing students, to new RN graduates, to nurses with many years of practice experience. The course is making a difference for RN to BSN students who are Registered Nurses when they attend the online BSN completion program. Many of the nurses live and work in rural communities where formal palliative care programs are currently less prevalent and less accessible to the patient population that they care for.

  • “Thank you for a very though provoking class. It has helped define me as a person and nurse.”
  • “This course has really helped me in so many ways; for my patients and also personally, finding strength in myself to provide better end of life care.”
  • “I was a huge advocate for a patient within the last week and it made a huge impact on the patient’s desires and outcomes. I feel I have the proper language skills to address this difficult subject.”
  • “This class is an absolute necessity to be successful as a nurse.”
  • “Now I am not afraid to communicate with people about death and dying, or about their choices, even if their choices are different than mine.”

The elective courses in the Linfield College nursing program are designed to contribute to the nurse’s liberal education while contributing to his/her ability to influence health outcomes in a diverse and ever-changing health care environment. Students are supported to achieve a deeper understanding of the social, economic, and political factors that influence health and how the nurse can use his/her influence to improve those particular conditions.
Join the Linfield online learning community of nurses advancing their education – start with a meaningful nursing elective course with content designed to expand your practice in Palliative Care Nursing.  Palliative Care Nursing (3 credit upper division nursing elective) is offered during the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters. Registration opened on May 9 for both Summer and Fall terms.

Meet the Faculty: Dr. Melissa Robinson is certified in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing and Online Teaching and has nearly 20 years of experience in palliative and end-of-life nursing care. Her approach to facilitating the palliative care course is to design engaging, student-centered activities that inspire deep thinking and reflection on life and practice experiences. She values diverse perspectives, lifelong learning, and opportunities that inspire personal and professional growth.

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