2.12 DISTANCE EDUCATION OR EXECUTIVE DEGREE PROGRAMS

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1 Criterion 2.12 DISTANCE EDUCATION OR EXECUTIVE DEGREE PROGRAMS If the school offers degree programs using formats or methods other than students attending regular on-site course sessions spread over a standard term, these programs must a) be consistent with the mission of the school and within the school s established areas of expertise; b) be guided by clearly articulated student learning outcomes that are rigorously evaluated; c) be subject to the same quality control processes that other degree programs in the school and university are; and d) provide planned and evaluated learning experiences that take into consideration and are responsive to the characteristics and needs of adult learners. If the school offers distance education or executive degree programs, it must provide needed support for these programs, including administrative, travel, communication, and student services. The school must have an ongoing program to evaluate the academic effectiveness of the format, to assess teaching and learning methodologies and to systematically use this information to stimulate program improvements a Identification of all degree programs that are offered in a format other than regular, on-site course sessions spread over a standard term, including those offered in full or in part through distance education in which the instructor and student are separated in time or place or both. The instructional matrix may be referenced for this purpose. The Arnold School of Public Health offers five distance education degree programs: the MCD Master of Communication Disorders degree through the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and the MPH, the MHA-professional format degree, the DrPH degree in Korea, and the PhD degree in Taiwan through the Department of Health Services Policy and Management b Description of the distance education or executive degree programs, including an explanation of the model or methods used, the school s rationale for offering these programs, the manner in which it provides necessary administrative and student support services, the manner in which it monitors the academic rigor of the programs and their equivalence (or comparability) to other degree programs offered by the school, and the manner in which it evaluates the educational outcomes, as well as the format and methodologies. Master of Communication Disorders The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (COMD) offers the master of communication disorders (MCD) degree exclusively via distance education; the curriculum is essentially identical to that of the campus-based master of speech pathology. The MCD is a part-time degree program that is designed to provide working individuals access to graduate training and clinical preparation for health care delivery in speech-language pathology. As state licensing boards and the national certification organization, American Speech-Language- Hearing Association, require the master s degree as the highest qualified provider, this program allows students across the country to participate in an accredited graduate training program while continuing to work in their respected professions. The distance education program in communication sciences and disorders utilizes distance learning technology to provide students access to course materials, lectures, peers, professors, 121

2 and University resources. The MCD degree is delivered primarily via DVD and is supplemented with web-based instruction, since many of the students live in rural areas without high speed Internet access.. The MCD degree in communication sciences and disorders was initially designed to upgrade bachelor level speech-language therapists working in the public school system in South Carolina. However, beginning in 2006, the program began admitting students without undergraduate degrees in speech-language pathology and/or communication sciences. For students who have an undergraduate degree and/or the required prerequisite course work in speech-language pathology, the MCD degree requires 68-semester hours over three years spanning ten semesters. For students who do not have an undergraduate degree or the required prerequisite course work in speech-language pathology, the MCD degree requires 83- semester hours over four years spanning 12-semesters. The MCD degree program was established in Academic advisement for MCD students is held in fall and spring semesters each year. For courses that have on-campus meetings, these dates are coordinated with course instructors to allow joint scheduling of meeting space and classrooms. The director of distance education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department serves as the academic advisor to all MCD students, communicates with students and course instructors throughout the students enrollment, and arranges the first of three summers of clinical practicum experience. The course instructors monitor student progress within the specific courses that they teach by distance education. The director of external clinical practicum in COMD serves as the clinical coordinator for all MCD students. MPH in Health Services Policy and Management Beginning in Fall 2000, with the cooperation of other departments, the Arnold School delivers all of the courses required for an MPH degree in health services policy and management via one or more of these media: live television to institutional sites in South Carolina, videotape, CDs or DVDs, streaming video over the web, and web-based instruction. Reflecting changes in technology, all current distance education courses are asynchronous and are provided via webbased streaming video or DVD. Student participation in learning discussions is fostered by discussion boards (asynchronous) and chat sessions (live) as well as through . For students working in or conducting practica at remote sites, student presentations may be conducted through teleconferencing or video conferencing using technologies such as AdobeConnect and SKYPE. MHA Professional Format Program The Department of Health Services Policy and Management (HSPM) offers a CAHMEaccredited MHA professional format program. This program offers an opportunity for working professionals to obtain a master s degree in health care administration, without interrupting fulltime careers. Students complete the same 58 hours of course work as traditional students. Students complete course work with part time enrollment, generally six credit hours per semester (fall, spring, and summer). The program may be completed in three and a half years. Program format: Faculty deliver didactic instruction to live classes for the traditional MHA students, which is accessed by web-based video-streaming. Video materials are available on the web within 24 hours of the original presentation. All required and elective courses are 122

3 delivered in distance education studio classes with professional recording and uploading facilities. Adjunct faculty deliver a two-course sequence on management at a local hospital to foster participation and guest lectures by hospital department heads; staff members record these sessions for upload. Students interact with faculty and peers through the Internet via Blackboard. For required presentations, students may elect to come to campus if they live within driving distance. Alternatively, they may present by teleconference with an advance file of their PowerPoint presentation sent to the instructor for projecting to the class. For required examinations, students may either come to campus for exams, or may arrange for proctoring by the student s work supervisor. Instructors hold review sessions with distance education students periodically by phone, as needed. Professional format students are bound by the same syllabus, assignment requirements, and grading process as traditional students. Thus, except for classroom attendance, there is no difference in program content and evaluation of student performance between the traditional students and the professional format students. Eligibility to apply and admission criteria: To be eligible to apply, an applicant should be working full-time in health care or an allied field, and have a minimum of three to five years of experience in health care. While the general admission guidelines remain the same as for traditional applicants to the on-campus program, faculty utilize a portfolio approach in reviewing applicants in order to take into account each candidate s health care experience, possible reduced standardized test scores among non-traditional students who have been in the work force for several years, and the candidate s career goals and motivation for service. Faculty and staff support: A faculty member serves as the MHA professional format director and is responsible for: all advising; individualized follow-up with students to ensure progression towards degree attainment; coordination of instructional activity including arrangements for interaction, monitoring progress, and evaluation of learning outcomes; and oversight of residency projects as faculty preceptor for all MHA professional format students in order to facilitate their effective completion of all residency requirements including quality of products. The MHA professional format director is assisted in this activity by an administrative staff person who dedicates significant effort toward logistic support for this program. Special requirements for the management residency for MHA Professional Format students: Because these students complete their project on the job, they have additional academicpractice requirements to be fulfilled towards the management residency. The following list summarizes the requirements: Project should be clearly defined, apart from routine job activities. All elements of the management residency prescribed for on-campus students, including the report and reporting format are applicable, described in the department s graduate student handbook. All MHA professional format students are required to maintain a management journal during the residency period. Every week the student will document a description of one incident/situation/problem at the workplace during the week. Each case will document how the student/student s supervisor/subordinate handled or reacted to the incident/problem, a management diagnosis, and a structured assessment of how it was addressed. The journal is turned in to the residency project advisor on the day of project presentation. Present status of the program: The MHA professional format program has been offered with cohorts in fall 2004, fall 2005, and fall 2006 for a total of 14 students. Since 2007, the Department has not marketed the program due to a combination of budgetary constraints and reductions in HSPM faculty and inadequate faculty time to provide the needed support for 123

4 increasing student numbers. Of a total of 14 students enrolled, 5 students dropped out after one to three semesters, mostly due to time and effort challenges of balancing work and academic needs. Of nine students, five graduated in spring and fall Four are in various stages of completion. The Department anticipates re-activating the MHA-PF program, with a new cohort to begin in January DrPH Degree Program in Korea The DrPH program in health services policy and management in Korea is structured to provide optimal learning opportunities for practicing health care professionals in Korea. Dr. Whiejong Han, the program director, is responsible for program marketing, student recruitment, coursework design in view of students learning needs, and taking care of all aspects of program management and coordination. In addition, Dr. Han delivers the majority of course lectures face-to-face in Seoul, South Korea and administers the qualifying exam. Applicants to the DrPH program in Korea must be health care professionals with a terminal professional degree (MD, DDS, OMD, PharmD), or relevant master s degree with substantial health administration experience, and be acceptable for admission by the Graduate School. Instead of the 58-credit hour requirement for the on-campus DrPH program, this program requires 61 credit hours to accommodate an additional course on Practice Management to meet the learning needs of health care professionals. The curriculum has the full range of doctoralrequired courses in the same sequence as the DrPH program. Except for the extra course indicated above, the curriculum follows all requirements of the on-campus DrPH program, including the basic building blocks of health policy and management, as well as 12 credits of statistics/research methods coursework. The program allows students to complete coursework in Korea, with University faculty and the department s doctoral alumni in Korea delivering the classes. However, students are strongly encouraged to visit the USC campus once a year. In addition, students are required to visit the USC campus to present their proposal and to defend their dissertation/project. After successful completion of the qualifying examination, students may opt to complete their dissertation at the Columbia campus. Most courses are co-taught by two faculty members, one from USC and one University alumnus or adjunct faculty in Korea. For all courses, there is face-to-face contact time with the professor(s), either in Korea or during the USC on-campus session. As with the traditional DrPh program, students can complete an original project or a research dissertation, as desired. PhD Degree Program in Taiwan The PhD program in health services policy and management follows all the curriculum requirements of the traditional PhD program. The same faculty members who teach on-campus courses also teach courses for these students. Faculty teach about a third of the courses in Taiwan at a location arranged by the Taiwan business partner. The remaining two-thirds are taught on campus over a summer session for which students come to campus. Students come to the USC campus for two weeks each summer for three summers to complete the coursework started in Taiwan, or to get started on courses to be completed later in Taiwan. The director of doctoral programs directs this program and travels to Taiwan to facilitate the doctoral seminars (HSPM 800, 1 credit each for four semesters), administers the doctoral qualifying exams (preparatory to admission to doctoral candidacy), arranges elective course work as needed, and advises these students. Departmental faculty members serve as doctoral dissertation advisors and committee members along with external committee members, as for traditional doctoral students. All Taiwan students come to the USC campus for several weeks prior to their proposal defense and comprehensive exams and prior to their final dissertation defense. All 124

5 credit hour requirements, qualifying exams, and dissertation requirements that are applicable to traditional on-campus students are applicable to Taiwan PhD students. Due to the reduced faculty complement in the Department, no new students have been accepted into the program in recent years. HSPM is currently working to develop an effective business model to deliver the PhD in Taiwan and to develop a market of new student applicants c Assessment of the extent to which this criterion is met. The criterion is met: Strengths The MCD program has dedicated faculty positions for advisement, oversight, and coordination of both academic and clinical components of the degree program (2.12.b). The MPH in Health Service Policy and Management distance education program can reach public health professionals throughout the State and the region. Particularly for younger students who are accustomed to Internet-based communication, the program provides an interactive learning experience while permitting work and study beyond the Columbia campus (2.12.b). The MHA professional format program has enabled working professionals to complete their MHA program without interrupting careers, with minimal differences in learning opportunities. The students active engagement in health administration as working professionals compensates significantly for the lack of in-class interaction with peers. Limited interaction with peers on group projects is compensated by and phone discussions, particularly for students who reside in rural counties at some distance from Columbia (2.12.b). Weaknesses Potential students for the MCD program who live in rural areas of the State have inconsistent access to technology and high-speed Inernet (2.12.b). Current delivery of the MPH in Health Services Policy and Management is challenged by lack of two-way, video-based interactivity and anticipated termination of satellite delivery (2.12.b). The flexible structure of the MHA professional format requires significant self-motivation of the student to be successful, since interaction between instructors and students is more limited (2.12.b). The international delivery of the doctoral programs in Health Services Policy and Management is restricted by fewer elective course options for students (2.12.b). Future Plans Expand the use of technology by instructional faculty in the MCD degree program to expand the student market nationwide. Transition the MPH degree program in health services policy and management to videostreaming delivery and address strategies to efficiently increase student interaction in both master s programs. Expand distance education course offerings throughout the School to offer, at minimum, the MPH in general public health via distance education. 125

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