Social and Emotional Competency Building in the Virtual Classroom

By Kandy Smith, Joseph Farmer and Cheryl Robinson.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Background Critics and proponents of distance education continue to express concern and frustration that key professional socialization functions like social and emotional competency building may be lost in the virtual classroom despite the increased faculty emphasis on establishing social presence and nurturing engagement. Yet, the virtual classroom continues to gain popularity with students at graduate and undergraduate levels across a variety of fields. Students are changing, and as educators greet the digital natives, it is vital that instructional approaches incorporate learner social norms to maximize learning. Technology is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction for the Netgeners, but instead extends the self and makes 24-7 accessibility and connectivity feasible. Successful emotional competency development in the virtual classroom requires creativity to build pedagogy that fosters engagement. Intentional strategies must promote emotional competency development by decreasing distractions, fostering an unencumbered student-faculty-content interface, and establishing a learning community within the class.
Employers now understand that given enough intelligence and technical skill to hold the job, social and emotional competencies matter most. Predictions are that emotional intelligence competencies are even weaker in the next generation. As universities prepare the next generation of the workforce, it is crucial that along with discipline-specific knowledge, faculty incorporate social and emotional learning into the traditional curriculum. Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence provides a useful framework for constructing pedagogical approaches promoting social and emotional competency building in the virtual classroom. Workshop Objective The purpose of this workshop is to share practical instructional strategies that promote social and emotional competency development in the virtual classroom. Selected competencies from Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence framework will be presented along with competency building activities and evaluation strategies. The role of instructor as facilitator/mentor/guide will be discussed with emphasis on building pedagogy that supports social and emotional learning (SEL) within the virtual classroom.

Keywords: Virtual Classroom, Emotional Intelligence, Social and Emotional Learning, Distance Education, Online Learning

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.29-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 691.592KB).

Dr. Kandy Smith

Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Kandy Smith is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. Her nursing career spans 24 years and includes practice in the ICU as a nurse and clinical nurse specialist, and in staff development before joining academia 14 years ago. Kandy received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Masters in Nursing from Emory University and a Doctorate of Nursing Science from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Having taught across the curriculum in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, Dr. Smith is passionate about developing emotional competencies in nursing students and nurses in practice. She participated as a Fellow in the Helene Fuld Leadership Initiative in Nursing Education Fellowship, and has presented numerous workshops, papers and posters on the subject of developing social and emotional competencies. Research interests include leadership development and

Joseph Farmer

Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Joseph Farmer is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, USA. He has completed nine years of teaching in various courses in the undergraduate nursing program, from Foundations of Professional in the first semester, Nursing Issues and Leadership in the fourth semester, through Aggregate Professional Nursing Care in the fifth and final semester. Mr. Farmer’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Master of Science in Nursing with a major in Community Health, and he is currently a PhD candidate in International Development. As a registered nurse, Mr. Farmer has worked as an emergency room staff nurse, clinical educator in hospital education, a research nurse, and a nursing instructor. He has also completed certification as an AIDS Care Registered Nurse. Research, presentations, and areas of interest include community health, HIV/AIDS, cultural diversity, and underrepresented populations. Mr. Farmer is a member of numerous professional nursing organizations, including the Transcultural Nursing Society and Association of Nurse in AIDS Care.

Dr. Cheryl Robinson

Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama, USA

Cheryl Robinson is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of South Alabama College of Nursing and is Track Coordinator for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Program. She has extensive experience in on-line education and developed and launched the entire NNP Program delivered entirely online. She received her BSN from Capstone College of Nursing in 1985, her Master's Degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1994, and completed post-master's preparation as a NNP at USA in 1995. Cheryl is an active member in the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Academy of Neonatal Nurses, the National Association of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, Zeta Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is currently completing a doctoral degree in nursing at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.


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