Virtual classroom technology: facilitating distance education nurses’ knowledge of systematic literature searching

Virtual classroom technology: facilitating distance education nurses’ knowledge of systematic literature searching

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Online learning environments are increasingly viewed as a valid and beneficial means of facilitating learning in a higher education setting. Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaborative learning (OCL) technology that can be used as a virtual classroom in the distance education setting to facilitate knowledge of systematic literature searching. The technology allows for learning pedagogical principles that encourage collaborative engagement. The authors discuss how they developed and delivered instruction on a systematic database searching for health literature to distance education nursing Masters’s students. An online self-reporting survey was administered to determine student knowledge and to gauge student experience of using this technology.


Online Collaborative Learning, e-learning, distance education, virtual classroom, blended learning


Since the late 1990s, there has been increasing acceptance and adoption of online technology in the higher education setting. Online learning environments are increasingly viewed as a valid and beneficial means of facilitating learning (Basioudis & de Lange, 2009; Beckem & Watkins, 2012) and provide flexible learning opportunities to the 21st-century student (Harasim, 2012). In Australia, mature-aged students (adult learners) comprise a significant proportion of the higher education sector (Tones, Fraser, Elder, & White, 2009). To address their ‘time-poor’ circumstances (Stone & O’Shea, 2013) students are increasingly seeking out time-efficient and flexible modes of learning (Kenny, Kidd, Nankervis, & Connell, 2011). The literature highlights successful programs using virtual classroom technology in the distance education environment (Carbonara,2005; Quinn, Regan, & Schoech, 2008; Reeves, Herrington, & Oliver, 2004) and in particular, for nursing students (Bigony, 2010; Bourbonnais, Langford, & Giannantonio, 2008).
In response to the challenge of providing synergy between learning pedagogies and the online learning environment, the current debate centers on a need to either create new models of learning that better align with online technology (Harasim, 2012), or adapt existing learning pedagogies to online technologies (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013). While a consensus is yet to be reached, emerging literature suggests it may not be necessary to develop new learning theories for use in the online learning environment. Instead, what is required is an understanding of what online technology offers to students and determining how learning pedagogies can best maximize learning via this medium. However, creating customized online learning environments based on appropriate learning pedagogies remains a major challenge (Harasim, 2012), with educators striving to provide a close alignment between the learning pedagogy, intended learning outcomes, and the online technology. For adult learners, online environments that enable them to understand and integrate task requirements into their own structure of awareness (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013) best facilitate core principles of adult learning (Knowles, 1980). Of the three most recognized types of online learning technologies used in higher education, Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) emphasizes student discourse and collaboration (Harasim, 2012).
This study aimed to explore postgraduate distance education nurses’ knowledge of conducting online systematic searching for health literature and to gauge their experience of using this technology. The OCL technology, Blackboard Collaborate, was the platform used to deliver two educational sessions to Masters of nursing breast and cancer/palliative care students.


Blackboard Collaborate can be used to facilitate knowledge in a systematic literature search.

It offers a distinctive learning opportunity for mature age students from diverse geographical locations. Furthermore, the technology additionally provides students with an opportunity to engage with one another and multiple instructors in real-time; a feature that is not possible in the more traditional distance education delivery format, and which has the potential to enrich adult learning.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

KSRA research association, as a non-profit research firm, is committed to providing research services in the field of knowledge. The main beneficiaries of this association are public or private knowledge-based companies, students, researchers, researchers, professors, universities, and industrial and semi-industrial centers around the world.

Our main services Based on Education for all Spectrum people in the world. We want to make an integration between researches and educations. We believe education is the main right of Human beings. So our services should be concentrated on inclusive education.

The KSRA team partners with local under-served communities around the world to improve the access to and quality of knowledge based on education, amplify and augment learning programs where they exist, and create new opportunities for e-learning where traditional education systems are lacking or non-existent.

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Virtual classroom technology: facilitating distance education nurses’ knowledge of systematic literature searching



Elizabeth PascoeStream Coordinator: Masters in Cancer NursingSchool of Nursing and MidwiferyLa Trobe University, AustraliaSharon KarasmanisFaculty Librarian and Team Leader (Health Sciences)La Trobe University, Australia

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Maryam kakaei was born in 1984 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from Azad University of Arak.