To identify institutions and program officials associated with clinical laboratory science (CLS) academic programs available via distance technology; to collect and summarize data from these programs with regard to on-line instructional methodologies; to determine the level of success of educational strategies and methodologies utilized in on-line CLS programs; to determine the feasibility of developing an on-line program at Seward County Community College (SCCC), Liberal, Kansas.
An on-line CLS program survey tool was sent to eight higher education institutions which had previously indicated that they offer a CLS academic program at the associate, bachelor, or master level via distance technology. Program officials were asked to answer questions pertaining to areas such as program format, on-line admission requirements, program costs, student costs, faculty workload, and on-campus versus on-line student performance.
The survey was sent to eight program officials who identified their institutions as having a CLS program available through distance technology.
Responses from current distance technology CLS program officials were collected and tallied. Responses were recorded as 'yes' or 'no' in categories such as program format, program and student costs, and comparison of on-campus versus on-line student performance. The two groups of students were compared in areas of success rate, retention rate, graduation rate, external certification pass rate, employment placement rate, and employer satisfaction level.
The response rate for the survey was 87.5% (7/8). Program officials indicated that various educational methodologies were incorporated in providing CLS education via distance technology. All of the respondents utilize some type of Web-enhanced, Internet based access to deliver course material. Clinical laboratory procedures are taught via instruction within a cooperative laboratory, program clinical affiliate laboratory, or during on-campus student laboratories. Program officials indicated that student enrollment has increased due to the availability of the distance technology. Students enrolled via distance technology perform as well or better than the on-campus students on certification exams and in the clinical setting. Data from these institutions indicate that it is feasible to develop an on-line program at SCCC in an effort to increase student enrollment.
The results indicate that CLS programs which offer the curriculum via distance technology have experienced increased student enrollment thus graduating more students to fill the employment needs. These current distance technology programs are leading the future trends in CLS education of the 21st century.