Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

School

School Of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science

Faculty

Computing, Health And Science

First Advisor

Dr Jacques Oosthuizen

Abstract

Although online / e-learning is shifting the teaching paradigm at tertiary institutions, there are limited studies that assess the effectiveness of online courses, particularly in the occupational and environmental health field and among mature aged students. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of online "Blackboard" units as compared to traditional "paper based" units taught as part of the Professional Masters in Occupational and Environmental Health at the Edith Cowan University. Unit commencement and completion questionnaires were designed and distributed over two academic semesters (in 2004 and 2005) to evaluate students' perceptions of the effectiveness of the modes of delivery. Some questions about characteristics of the students, their knowledge of technology and their expected learning outcomes were included. To obtain more detailed information, a focus group meeting was conducted. In addition lecturers were interviewed prior to and after teaching in the courses. The interview questions from lecturers provided information about their expectations from the unit content, rationale for selecting online as opposed to traditional paper based methods and their experience in teaching in traditional paper based mode versus virtual teaching methods.

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