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Development and Alumni Assessment of an Interdisciplinary PhD Program Offered through a Blended Learning Environment

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There is a growing need for doctoral-prepared allied health professionals in health care practice, research, and teaching. This paper describes the development and evolution of the PhD Program in Health Related Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, which was designed to meet the demand for flexible learning environments by working allied health professionals. The program, now on its 14th year, offers interdisciplinary education in allied health fields through a blended learning environment that includes online and on-site education. An alumni assessment of the program was conducted in 2006 and 2008 to understand how well the program trained its graduates and how well the program responded to the needs of students. Six primary areas were reviewed: 1) extent to which program goals were achieved, 2) general skills and knowledge development for the student, 3) adequacy of the advising function of the program, 4) specific skill development for the student, 5) adequacy of instructional technology, and 6) impressions of the overall program. Findings from the alumni assessment led to changes in curriculum, enhanced use of distance education teaching, additional instructor training on distance-based multimedia technologies, and enhanced student–faculty interaction. Assessment of this program identified key areas, such as technology support, student–student interaction, and student–instructor interaction, which should be emphasized in the development or redesign of allied health educational programs offered in blended learning formats.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2011

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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