Online spaces, authenticity, and personal experience…these are my thoughts…..

I have been challenged this week to look back on personal experiences with open course spaces. I thought back to my initial experience with forum posting in my first masters class. All students were asked the same questions and required to answer and respond to 3 of our peers. Amy discusses a similar experience. There was very little “room” for original thoughts and thought provoking discussion. Having had nothing to compare this to at the time I thought it was alright but time consuming. Often the responses were all very similar with virtually no “unstructured” critical reflection. I would respond because I had to for marks according to the rubric but not because I was actually interested in what my peers were saying.

After taking ECI 833 I came to understand that open spaces were so much more than what I had been exposed to in the past. I was introduced to online blogging/twittering and loved that through posts I could take theory and concepts introduced in the face to face portion of the course and discuss/utilize and explore them in my own way. This was the first class that I felt I could directly relate my learning to nursing education and try tools that I would actually use in my own classes.

We are given blog “prompts” but I feel we are able to choose how we interpret them and have freedom to post with relation to what we are interested in. I have always been a bit torn about whether I should have taken a Master’s in Nursing as opposed to Adult Education. However, I am starting to feel differently as I am learning so much from my peers through open space learning. Through their posts and tweets I am able to generate ideas for my own students and also for my own elementary aged children. I have introduced my son to Bill Nye thanks to ECI 834 discussions.

As the Open Education Consortium says: “sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built.”

I have started to think much differently about student centered learning and the importance of peer sharing especially in adult education . Prior to this class I would have students write reflective journals based on their clinical experiences and then be the only person who read and gave feedback. I have come to realize that this is pretty much a make work project for students and myself and does not engage them very well. I still have students write reflections but we take time to read them out load and talk about them as a group. This stimulates great discussions and students have a more vested interest in their writing and research because they know they need to be able to answer questions from their peers and facilitate discussions. I feel the students reflection and self-awareness has considerably increased with the sharing space.*&imgrc=MJrlE1gM2dVVUM:

I have even thought for next year of developing a google document that students can post and respond to. I suppose this will be like a forum but with more of an “authentic” purpose. Students will be able to post based on experiences and will not just be answering questions.

I would love to see all of the students in the obstetrics course be a part of this. I believe it is important that students have some freedom to discuss what they find interesting. I am not sure if I am ready to have students openly blog in a public domain because I would be worried about hipa and breaches in confidentiality. Even without the use of names people may recognize certain situations. Given the nature of nursing we need to be so careful about what we post in online spaces. I would be concerned that students would not feel comfortable sharing negative experiences and perhaps even upset others reading their blog posts. I think in this field of post secondary education it may be difficult.

What are your thoughts on blogging for nursing students? Do you think it is an appropriate tool to use in an open space given hipa? I would love your insight!*&imgrc=Nfy2xsl-pEzvCM:





Author: Stephanie Grand

Mature Student, Mom, Nurse Educator, Newbie to Blogging and learning educational technology!

17 thoughts on “Online spaces, authenticity, and personal experience…these are my thoughts…..”

  1. Great post Stephanie! I think HIPA makes open online forums more difficult to do but I think not impossible. However, I do like your idea about using a Google Doc (closed) for only students within that circle of care to reflect within. I feel the instructor would have to clear and precise guidelines regarding HIPA and confidentiality. I believe students could reflect on their experiences and still maintaining the principles of HIPA. Lots to think about here…Thanks for sharing


  2. I love that you have taken an relatively closed assignment and made it into an experience where your students can learn from each other. I think that would definitely work as a shared google doc. Do you think students will get as much out of the experience posting their story and discussions within the document, or would the conversation be richer as an actual person to person discussion like you’ve been doing?


    1. I just read a research article posted by Twana on twitter that actually said students can reflect as well or if not better when given time to reflect. It also allows for more equal participation for students who may not feel comfortable speaking in front of the group.


  3. Hey Steph.
    I like your comment about the fact that with our nursing students we are the only ones who read and provide feedback regarding their reflective writing. My next clinical experience I plan on having the students blog and have a blog hug as we do with this class. In that space they will be required to post their daily “what, so what and now what” experiences. Do you have any thoughts on this?


    1. I am interested in how you would set that up Twana. You and I have very briefly talked about this in the past. How are you going to set that up so that confidentiality is maintained at all times in an open forum? I would love to hear more about your thoughts on this and your implementation thoughts. If you have not given this much thought I would be happy to collaborate with you more on this. Let me know!
      Steph, I really like how you have branched out with your reflective journals in clinical. I will for sure give this a try as well.


      1. Hey Melinda. I think what I plan on doing is having each student create a blog for clinical. T will create a blog hub and have students submit their blog addresses to me, which will then be added to the blog hub. Each member of the clinical group will have access to the blog hub. I think its that simple..???


      2. I think this is great and looked into it for our course. I was told I would have to do it through moodle and not through wordpress. Apparently it must be through an approved site. I will investigate further,


  4. Does that mean it’s a closed hub than? Or open?
    From my understanding it would still be open?!? Maybe I am confused


  5. Great post! I agree that these blogs really allow us the opportunity to explore our own voices within certain contexts. That one week when we didn’t really have a blog prompt, but rather had to find our own articles, was great, but I don’t think I could do it every week. So it is nice that we have a prompt to go somewhere with our blogs, but we are free to take it where we want. I think that is really the perfect combination of open spaces with some direction. It may not work with all learners, but it works really well with adult learners, and could be adapted for different grade levels. Thanks for the great post!


  6. Great post! Although I am not a nurse and I cannot speak to the programming. I totally agree with you that any learning should be student centered. I think this only makes sense whether you are teaching grade 1 or adults.


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