The Anatomy of an Online DNP Course
Q: In my research I find that many DNP programs offer online courses. I have never taken an online course. How does it work, generally?
I felt the same trepidation in approaching my DNP program, which was completely online, other than two on-campus weekends. I had never considered myself to be tech-savvy; what a challenge!
Many DNP programs are online, which facilitates distance learning and therefore increase choice as well as the flexibility many nurses need to listen to lectures and classes during off hours. In addition, you can play the lectures multiple times, pause and take breaks, or go back to hear the material a second time if it is missed.
Different institutions may use different platforms, such as Blackboard or Sakai. Courses are set up with a menu customized by the instructor, who may choose to add discussion boards or chat rooms for group interaction. Discussion boards are organized with “threads” or streams that originate from an initial comment or question posed to the group. Participants are expected to comment and respond, providing citations to support their statements. Chat rooms occur in real time and can generate some pretty vibrant discussion!
Online courses typically have a link to the syllabus, schedule or calendar, and weekly lecture content that can be accessed throughout the semester. There may be drop boxes for assignments, which also allow for return of graded documents. Reading assignments and links to resources such as the library or registrar’s office are also at your fingertips.
I found it to be very organized and user friendly. Certainly, any platform has it’s glitches. In general, I found that the online format facilitated my learning and incited me to stretch and grow in terms of using technologies for my adult learning.
Editor's note: Here at the DNP Answers blog we take your questions about the DNP and answer them as best we can. This question is answered by blogger Meg Carman, DNP, ACNP-BC, CEN, who serves on faculty in the ABSN program at the Duke University School of Nursing in Durham, N.C. She also practices with Wake Emergency Physicians in Raleigh. Comment below to discuss this topic, or send new questions to email@example.com.