Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Evaluating nursing students' engagement in an online course using flipped virtual classrooms


Flipped classroom models allocate more time for active learning approaches compared with more traditional pedagogies, however what is less clear with the utilisation of flipped learning is evidence to support whether students in flipped classes are given more opportunities to develop higher order thinking skills (HOTs) to effect deep learning compared with the traditional ways of teaching. Focussing on this gap, this study compares on campus and off campus student engagement in two courses using different deliveries: online face-to-face (f2f) mixed mode (on campus students attend traditional f2f on campus classes and off campus students study exclusively online) versus fully online mode, utilising flipped classes (all student study off campus engaging in flipped virtual classes). Final course grades were similar for both deliveries; however, the study suggests flipped classes offered students more opportunities to develop HOTs and engage more deeply in the learning process. Students’ evaluations of the online flipped delivery were mixed, with those students previously enrolled exclusively as on campus, particularly dissatisfied with fully online delivery and virtual class tutor experience. Recommendations are made concerning both the timing of the introduction of fully online delivery in a program and the need for continual up-skilling of staff who teach in online environments.

Published: 2019-03-07
Pages:59 to 71
How to Cite
Phillips, C., & O’Flaherty, J. (2019). Evaluating nursing students’ engagement in an online course using flipped virtual classrooms. Student Success, 10(1), 59-71.

Author Biographies

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Craig Phillips is a registered nurse and an academic at the University of South Australia. Craig is the course coordinator of the capstone course in the Bachelor of Nursing degree, which has an emphasis on the preparation of graduates to engage in professional settings.  His teaching interests focus on the unpacking of the student experience with online technologies. He is also keen in supporting colleagues in the digital learning environment. Craig has been a previous recipient of a supported teaching award, for his work with engaging students.

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Dr Jackie O’Flaherty has revolutionised teaching at UniSA and won local, national and international awards in the process. Just as important to her, however, is developing strong bonds with her students, and using them to help her students learn. She makes sure all her students are involved in the learning process and progressing, regardless of their talents, abilities and learning styles.

Jackie was a successful research scientist before realising her true passion lay in sharing her love of science, and she has since developed a range of biosciences courses for undergraduate health and medical sciences students. An early adopter of new technologies, she has focused strongly on online learning, particularly for students who live at a distance, to ensure their learning experience is the best it can be. Among other initiatives, she developed a short course to smooth the transition for new students beginning university, which won an International Online Effective Practice Award in 2018. Her many other awards include an OLT National Australian Award for University Teaching Excellence and an Open Universities Australia National Award for Excellence in the engagement of students studying online.    

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795