Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

James Eison, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

William Young, Ed.D


Transformative learning, Facilitator, Mentoring, Faculty development, Nursing education


As universities increasingly offer online nursing education, the transition that faculty members must make to their new instructional role is often overlooked. This phenomenological qualitative research involved the use of semi-structured interviews with 16 nursing faculty from four Florida public universities, who were asked to describe their experiences transitioning from classroom to online teaching. Interview questions focused on their prior assumptions about online education, their preparation for online teaching, their current teaching methods, and the identification of information they would recommend as vital for successful online teaching. Participants were voluntary and selected by both criterion and network sampling. Interviews were conducted in-person, audio-taped, transcribed, and analyzed for recurring themes. Data were validated using member checks, peer reviews, and Atlas.TI software.

Participants reported that teaching online was more difficult than expected. Most frequently mentioned issues were time and effort required to design and teach due to factors such as students' needs, class sizes, and designing learning activities. Faculty preparation varied among institutions, but regardless of training most reported the significance of mentors or colleagues as critical for success. While some faculty reported feeling disconnected from students, many reported having better relationships with online students than with their face-to-face counterparts. Over half the faculty discussed the importance of their role as becoming facilitators of learning. Results support the need for institutions to provide both an adequate technology infrastructure and sufficient faculty support. From this study faculty recommended that mentoring and collegiality are vital components of the faculty development process.

Administrators need to address issues of time and effort, and faculty need to learn different ways to work that include team approaches and flexible scheduling. Suggestions for future research include identifying the degree to which these findings transfer to other disciplines. Identifying strategies for developing, sustaining, and implementing online mentoring programs for faculty, and information on sustaining better communication in the online environment. Finally, looking at cost-efficient models for delivering quality services is a factor often overlooked by administrators.