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assignments, distance education, nursing students, online courses, reminder systems



  1. O'Neil, Carol A. PhD, RN, CNE
  2. Buckley, Kathleen M. PhD, RN, IBCLC


Background: Reminders guide students in meeting course expectations for submitting assignments.


Problem: Variables linked to the effective use of reminders are unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact on student grades and attitudes of using routine reminders for assignments in an online course.


Approach: Students enrolled in online graduate and undergraduate nursing courses were emailed weekly reminders for discussion board assignments. Students received reminders for half of the semester and served as their own control to evaluate the impact of reminders on grades.


Outcomes: There was no significant impact of reminders on grades or overall attitude. However, when undergraduate and graduate students were compared on individual questions on an attitude toward reminders' scale, undergraduate students reported that reminders were necessary, had a positive impact on their grades, and should be included in all courses.


Conclusions: Reminders should be routinely used in undergraduate online courses.