Student and Faculty Perceptions of Caring in the Online Learning Environment
Professional identity of nurses is closely connected to the concept of caring; nursing educators strive to bring this quality to the classroom. But how does caring translate to the online learning environment? We explored the concept of caring in online education and nursing education literature. Through surveys and focus groups, we gathered perceptions of faculty caring behaviors from online graduate students and faculty teaching online courses in the College of Nursing. We will report the top 10 faculty caring behaviors as identified by students and faculty in our study and will point out differences in student responses related to demographics, particularly race and gender. We will also share the results of the thematic analysis of the open-ended responses to the survey and focus-groups transcripts, which produced a list of additional caring behaviors desired by the students and examples of faculty caring and non-caring experienced by the students. After a brief overview of best practices for implementing caring behaviors in online learning environments, we will invite the audience to suggest additional ways of projecting caring online and engaging students in creating a caring learning environment. Knowing exactly how to project caring in the online learning environments will benefit faculty, students, administrators, and support staff in all educational settings.