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Student and faculty issues in distance education occupational safety and health graduate programs

, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University, United States

Doctor of Education, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University . Awarded


Higher education institutions public and private are increasingly considering and using distance education to deliver individual courses and complete degrees. It is much more complex to deliver an entire degree program than individual courses, and if degree programs are to be successful much thought must go into the design.

The purpose of this study was to determine the need for graduate occupational safety and health programs, delivered by means of distance education, and the best means to deliver the program from the perspective of faculty and working occupational safety and health professionals. A review of literature served as the basis of the study and considered the areas of distance education, adult learners, and the occupational safety and health field.

Methodology included conducting a survey of occupational safety and health faculty as well as a random sample of occupational safety and health professionals, who are considered the potential student population for such a program. The surveys assessed the demand for graduate programs, identified considerations, and pinpointed necessary resources. Recommendations to guide the development and delivery of such programs are made. This research provides insights for students, faculty, and administrators into the advantages and disadvantages of distance education graduate programs and areas of concern that must be addressed if the program is to meet the needs of students and requirements of faculty.

Findings indicate that although there is interest in a distance education-based program, many potential adult students have an unrealistic expectation of distance education. Adequate time is the largest issue for potential students. The distance student's needs must be considered when developing program policies and procedures. Faculty need to be sufficiently trained in pedagogy, technology, and communications so that they have the same comfort level with this method of instruction as they do for the more familiar classroom. Additionally, technical and instructional support personnel need to be readily available to work with the faculty and support course development.


Fender, D.L. Student and faculty issues in distance education occupational safety and health graduate programs. Doctor of Education thesis, Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University. Retrieved July 24, 2021 from .

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