Close-up look at online meeting on a laptop screen
HealthOctober 20, 2020

Civility on live-stream learning

By: Laura Logan, MSN, RN,CCRN
Are you struggling to maintain civility in your live stream learning sessions? See some of the tips below to help:
• Standard online etiquette requests
• Online-Bombing and what to do

It is best to start your Zoom learning session with a few ground rules/standards, so everyone knows what the expectations are.


Encourage your participants/students to keep their video on. Explain that this helps you assess their understanding of the material through facial expressions and changes. Explain you will not call these students out on your assessment, but that you will use the cues to use other examples to explain the point you are making or possibly think of a way to explain the material in another way.


Another standard request is to ask the students to keep their microphones on silent. This will decrease noise and interruptions. Explain question time will be offered at the end of the topic or ask the students to write the question in the chat section of Zoom. The instructor can check the chat area on the break. Remember, the administrator/instructor of the live session can control the microphones of all students, if needed.


What do you mean break? Yes… you and your students need a break. It is best to schedule a 10-minute break at least every hour. This gives everyone time to stretch, refresh and refocus. You, the instructor, need this too. I like to put on music during this time and then check the chat for questions, then refresh myself. When you come back to the live session, start by answering the questions and clarifying anything that may be a theme of confusion in the lesson.


If you encourage discussions, you need to explain the rules. One person can only talk at one time, so the students need to have their thoughts together to address the discussion. Explain that if there is disagreement with a thought that it is okay, however, the discussion needs to remain civil. Some thoughts on this are to encourage your students to actively listen to each other. When there is a disagreement, encourage the student to use “I statements” and encourage them to ask for clarification such as, “What I hear you saying is…” This will help guide the flow of the conversation between the students. Establish that, you, the instructor will interrupt the discussion if it becomes uncivil and guide the students back on track. Be careful with tone of voice when speaking to students on live stream. Be mindful that others in their vicinity could be listening to your comments and your content. Be careful to use correct verbiage when telling nursing stories that drive home the content.

Online meeting bombing

What is it? What to do if it happens?

Online bombing is when a live stream session is hacked into with an inappropriate disruption. This can be in the form of a live or recorded video. It will most likely be offensive to many of the students and the instructor. The rule of thumb is that the administrator of the live stream session should shut down immediately. Make sure you explain this is what will occur, and the students will receive a new link for the live stream in at least 30 minutes. This gives everyone time to debrief and for the instructor, to report the problem. Hopefully, your school’s computer technology department has safeguards in place to avoid this from happening, however, the technology is ever-changing.


While teaching online has its challenges, we, as nursing faculty, can make it less stressful by having a plan. Just like the nursing process, we need to think of our online learning sessions as a plan to care for our students, the best and most prudent way. Incorporating these tips may ease the anxiety for the professor and the student.

Laura Logan, MSN, RN,CCRN
Expert Insights Contributor for Wolters Kluwer, Nursing Education
Lippincott® Nursing Education
Preparing today’s students to become tomorrow’s nurses
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