Faculty Publications

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Health and Physical Education | Nursing | Online and Distance Education


This study was designed to explore the concept of virtual collaboration within the context of an online learning environment in an academic setting. Rodgers’ method of evolutionary concept analysis was used to provide a contextual view of the concept to identify attributes, antecedents, and consequences of virtual collaboration. Commonly used terms to describe virtual collaboration are collaborative and cooperative learning, group work, group interaction, group learning and teamwork. A constructivist pedagogy, group-based process with a shared purpose, support and web-based technology are required for virtual collaboration to take place. Consequences of virtual collaboration are higher order thinking and learning to work with others.

A comprehensive definition of virtual collaboration is offered as an outcome of this analysis. Clarification of virtual collaboration prior to using it as a pedagogic tool in the online learning environment will enhance nursing education with the changes in nursing curriculum being implemented today. Further research is recommended to describe the developmental stages of the collaborative process among nursing students in online education and how virtual collaboration facilitates collaboration in practice.

Document Type

Accepted Version


This article is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments. It is the accepted-for-publication version. The content of this version may be identical to the published version (the version of record) save for value-added elements provided by the publisher (e.g., copy editing, layout changes, or branding consistent with the rest of the publication).


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Virtual Collaboration in the Online Educational Setting: A Concept Analysis, which has been published in final form at doi:10.1111/nuf.12034. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Original Citation

Henny Breen
Virtual collaboration in the online educational setting: A concept analysis.
Nursing Forum, 2013, volume 48, issue 4, pages 262-270



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