Teaching Matters

PS2 R2c Interactive online oral examination in postgraduate Neonatal Nursing

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 30 November 202030 Nov 2020


Interactive online oral examinations in postgraduate Neonatal Nursing


Patricia Bromley, School of Nursing, CoHM



Presentation Type

Lightning Presentation


Room 2




Students undertaking online postgraduate nursing studies can often feel disconnected from their student peers and their lecturer. It can also be challenging for the lecturer to evaluate application of knowledge into clinical practice within the online environment. A way of connecting in the online environment is through web room sessions. This presentation will discuss a novel interactive online oral examination (Akimov & Malin, 2020) utilised in the Postgraduate Certificate in Neonatal Nursing to assess neonatal nurses’ clinical reasoning (Levett-Jones, 2013) and reflection IN practice (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). The process is very similar to the face to face viva voce examination; using a structured professional instrument, supported by technology in the online learning platform.

Assessment Activity:

Each student was asked to undertake a comprehensive newborn physical examination and to use clinical reasoning to document the process. After submitting the documented physical assessment, the student self-enrolled in an individual online 15-minute session to present their patient and answer questions from the assessor.

A total of 128 students were examined in the web room sessions over eight days.


  • An excellent way to get a clear idea of student’s understanding.
  • It was fabulous to connect with students (virtually) face-to-face.


  • Sessions took much longer than anticipated, easy to get side-tracked with clinical stories.
  • Very tiring for one person doing this number of students.


  • Use a recognised handover tool from clinical practice to keep to time.
  • Allocate 30 minutes for each student (incorporates marking time).
  • Involve the whole marking team.

Intention for 2021:

  • Formally research interactive online oral examinations with colleagues from other disciplines in the School of Nursing to widen the context.


Akimov, A., & Malin, M. (2020). When old becomes new: a case study of oral examination as an online assessment tool. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 45(8), 1205-1221. https://doi.org.10.1080/02602938.2020.1730301

Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. (2005). The Adult Learner (6th ed.). Elsevier.

Levett-Jones, T. (2013). Clinical Reasoning: Learning to think like a nurse. Pearson.

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