How to Determine the Quality of an Online Nursing Program
The process of accreditation is not mandatory for nursing programs, but it is
desirable. Accreditation is a voluntary program that schools can use to make sure that
their program is on par with other schools across the country. While there may be many
fine schools that are not accredited, accreditation should give you confidence in an
online nursing program. Another reason to choose a school with a valid accreditation is
that many schools will not take transfers or allow continuing education from a school that
is not accredited.
There are two groups that accredit nursing programs in the United States. They are the
National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, or NLNAC, and the Commission on Collegiate
Nursing Education, or CCNE. By choosing a school that has the seal of approval from one
of these agencies, you should feel confident that you are enrolling in a quality program.
Styles of Learning
Once you are comfortable that your school meets national standards, you must determine
whether it will work for you. Online classes are becoming increasingly popular, which is
both good and bad. The rapid growth in popularity of online classes has made it difficult
for some schools to turn away students. Consider it from the schools point of view.
An online course normally costs the same as a regular course. However, the online student
does not need a seat in the classroom, does not need to fit into a class. Many colleges do
not restrict the class size for online classes. While this may not be a problem if you
really understand the coursework and are able to work well independently, it can cause a
problem if you need extra help or find yourself falling behind.
One way that many online classes work is by collaborative learning. It is not unusual
for the instructor to divide the class into smaller groups and provide assignment for each
small group to work together on. Depending on your group you may find yourself spending a
good deal of time in online discussions that you had not counted on when planning your time.
Other classes provide little to no interaction between yourself and other students. You
will check a class message board for assignments and receive your grades in an email and
have little interaction with anything other than the text book.
While it is helpful to discuss the styles of classes before you settle on a school,
most teachers within a school have their own style of teaching, and you will have to adapt
to each method. The most important factor when considering an online nursing program is
the availability of the teachers. In even the smallest classes, if the teacher is
unavailable or less than timely in returning graded assignments it will be hard to get the
most from your classes.