Online Scholarly Discourse: Lessons Learned for Continuing and Nurse Educators

  • Lorraine Carter Laurentian University
  • Ellen Rukholm Laurentian University


This article describes a collaborative three-year research project that focused on nurses' experiences of a learning environment as they participated in an Internet-based cardiac nursing program. In addition to gathering data about the general appropriateness of the learning environment in a specialty content area, the study examined the environment's facilitation of online scholarly discourse about cardiac nursing. Scholarly discourse is characterized by evolution over time of communication by and among learners, inclusion of references to relevant nursing literature, and the practice of writing conventions appropriate to the discipline. Guided by professorial and other learner supports, it is the foundation of theory-guided, evidence-based practice for registered nurses. The data reflects the study's consideration of online scholarly discourse derived from the nurses' contributions to an online discussion forum. Research partners included Laurentian University's Centre for Continuing Education and School of Nursing, the Sudbury Regional Hospital (SRH), and the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT). The project was funded by the Office of Learning Technologies.