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The Virtual Classroom

Program: Psychiatric Nursing

Congratulations to Nicole who graduated from the Psychiatric Nursing Program! We thank her for her hard work on the blog and wish her the best of luck in her new career. Questions and comments will now be disabled. Please watch out for a new Psychiatric Nursing Student Blogger in the near future!

Hey Everyone,

Year 1 of the RDPN program is over for my cohort, and we are now breathing a delighted sigh of relief! It has been quite a challenge partaking in school during the summer months, but it has been worth the journey! We will now begin to branch away a bit from the online classroom environment and focus more on the clinical aspect of our education. I am looking forward to what this next year will bring!

Online schooling is great, but it is no easy feat. So how does it compare to a ‘normal’ classroom setting? I’m sure some people are wondering just how a typical classroom dynamic transfers over to online schooling. Let’s just say it does, and it doesn’t…

When I first think of a typical classroom dynamic I think of sitting at desks, raising hands, and waiting until the bell rings at the end of the day. That regimented kind of structure is virtually non-existent in the online schooling world. When you commit to online schooling, the weight of organization and discipline is carried on your shoulders. There are pros and cons to this type of learning. You have the freedom to set your own schedule and learn at your own pace; this is something we online learners absolutely love! You can ask for help when you need it, but you hold the power to master your education. For many of us, online learning is a great fit. However, if you are the type of learner that needs consistent direction and support, then online education may not be your best option.

Online learning mimics the classroom setting in terms of learning criteria, as well as teacher and peer interaction. We still have many textbooks (I’d say at least 30!), projects, essays, exams…and homework, too. Our teachers interact with us weekly through contributing to the forums (forums are the online version of “classrooms”), and provide us with further input and feedback. In terms of peer interaction, we communicate by responding to one another’s posts and working together on certain assignments. We ‘talk’ to each other; we share information, ideas, and opinions. Some people are “in” the classroom multiple times a week. Others are busy with work and family on top of furthering their education, and integrate school into their schedules when they see fit. This experience requires you to be self-directive; take charge of your studies to achieve the results you want.

Speaking for myself, I have made friends through online education, just as most people would in a classroom setting. We are a huge support system for each other, even though some of us live hours apart. We help each other through the challenges that school can sometimes evoke, and our experiences together make for some unforgettable memories. Without such friends supporting me, this journey would be much more challenging!

Online learning is great, but different. It’s the right thing for me – maybe it’s right for you too!

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