Critical Thinking in the Online Nursing Education Setting: Raising the Bar

  • Lorraine Carter Laurentian University
  • Ellen Rukholm Laurentian University
  • Sharolynn Mossey Laurentian University
  • Gloria Viverais- Dresler Laurentian University
  • Debra Bakker Laurentian University
  • Debra Bakker Laurentian University
  • Carolynn Sheehan Laurentian University


This article explores the effectiveness of writing to help nurse-learners develop critical thinking in an asynchronous, online learning environment. The formal written assignments of students in an online nursing health assessment program were analyzed for evidence of critical thinking according to Johns’ Model of Structured Reflection (Johns, 1995) based on Carper’s Ways of Knowing in Nursing (Carper, 1978), as well as for growth in discipline-specific writing. Informal contributions by participants and the instructor were studied for evidence of interaction. Results indicated that the online learning environment provided an effective forum that facilitated critical thinking and reflection through writing.