A Delphi study of online graduate courses in the United States
Donna Redman Nasmyth, University of La Verne, United States
University of La Verne . Awarded
Purpose of the study. The purpose of this study was to identify, using a Delphi Technique, the elements that experts believe should be included in the design and delivery of high-quality graduate online courses to meet the changing needs of the twenty-first century students. The study also asked the experts to prioritize the elements in order to determine their importance and likelihood of implementation. Finally, the study determined on which elements the experts were able to find consensus.
Methodology. The researcher used a Delphi Technique to reach consensus among an anonymous panel of experts by using a three-round series of questionnaires. The study used descriptive data, which were tabulated using means and standard deviation.
Findings. The experts reached consensus on a majority of the elements. However, although the importance was in the high to moderate range of a large percentage of the elements, the experts agreed by consensus that there was moderate to low likelihood of implementation. A dominant theme emerged of intense interaction. The experts agreed that keeping the student engaged in the online course through intense and constant interaction is most important and also very likely to be implemented. The use of advanced technology did not emerge as an important element for this group of experts.
Conclusions. The experts agreed that it is not very likely that the elements they identified as most important will be implemented. Although more institutions are embracing online education, there must be a commitment from key decision makers to continue to provide the support and resources necessary for effective development of online courses. This commitment is crucial for the viability of online education if the courses are to meet the changing needs of the students.
Nasmyth, D.R. A Delphi study of online graduate courses in the United States. Ph.D. thesis, University of La Verne.
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