Using web-based discussion as a teaching strategy: bioethics as an exemplar
Nurses are required to be competent in the area of bioethics based on several accreditation standards. Bioethics courses are one strategy to develop such a competency. Bioethics education itself has various goals including the need to engage in discussion and the ability to debate diverse issues. Providing an educational experience that meets both disciplinary and topic needs can be challenging. On-line conferencing through WebBoard 3·0, a web-based discussion software program, within a graduate level bioethics course successfully contributed to meeting these needs. A technical description of the WebBoard is provided in the following discussion along with a description of the integration of this device into a bioethics course. The WebBoard conferencing allowed all students to enter the class discussion and especially facilitated discussion for reticent speakers and distance learners. Evaluations of the bioethics course from both the faculty and students’ perspectives were generally positive. Most students found the technique easy to use and liked the asynchronous format that allowed them to read and contribute at any hour of the day or night. Despite the labour intensive nature of this experience, the strategy ensured participation by every student, a major goal of the project. Developing an interdisciplinary situation would increase the value of such an experience.