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Comparing the effects of online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic and traditional teaching in Surgical Nursing

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has necessitated a dramatic shift in how nursing faculty and undergraduate nursing students are educated. This study aims to examine the teaching effectiveness of Surgical Nursing using both face-to-face teaching and online teaching in undergraduate nursing education.
Methods: A single-group, three-time point repeated measure was adopted. Year-3 undergraduate nursing students (n = 162) were recruited. Face-to-face teaching was conducted at semester 1 in 2019. Online teaching was conducted at semester 2 in 2020 during COVID-19 pandemic. Questionnaires of critical thinking, self-directed learning and self-efficacy were administered before semester 1 and after semester 1 and semester 2, respectively. Unit quiz composed of multiple-choice questions was conducted at the end of each chapter.
Results: 45.1% students held neutral attitude towards online course of Surgical Nursing. Students were more likely to prefer unit quizzes online and mind maps as homework, task-driven learning, pre-recording videos and online question and answer as the means of theoretical teaching online, and watching surgical nursing skills video and case-based learning in groups as the means of practical teaching online. However, nearly 62.4% students reported the effectiveness of online teaching was worse than face-to-face teaching. During online teaching, the mean accuracy rate in unit quizzes was improved, but there were no differences in student evaluations of instruction mean scores for critical thinking, self-directed learning, and self-efficacy in comparison with the baseline. Additionally, compared to face-to-face teaching, a decrease in terms of self-directed learning, critical thinking and self-efficacy was observed in online teaching.
Conclusion: The effectiveness of online teaching was not superior to the traditional teaching. Although online teaching has advantages of convenience, speed, anytime and anywhere, face-to-face teaching in classroom and interpersonal interaction in the real situation are insurmountable limitations in online teaching.