The spring 2013 Issue of Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders contains an article discussing EBP approaches to providing online education in the area of Speech-Language Pathology. There is such limited information on online SLP programs available. ASHA’s EdFind is limited in that it takes you to universities’ websites and even then it’s like a scavenger hunt to find the details.
The article authors, Duddin & Drulia, cite The Sloan Consortium, a well-established online education leader, when discussing the foundation for programs (2013). According to Moore (2005), there are 5 pillars to determine the quality of online education:
- Learning Effectiveness
- Cost Effectiveness
- Faculty Satisfaction
- Student Satisfaction
4 Virginia universities collaborated to create an online program based on evidence and collaboration; it is called The Distance Learning in Virginia Educating SLPs (DLVE-SLP). The thing I loved most about this article was the amount of time and effort the universities took in creating such a program. They considered the evidence, took a risk, and created a program in order to further the profession.
The competitiveness of SLP graduate schools has created a funnel for all those dreaming of becoming an SLP. With this need, also comes the reality that many universities are trying to “catch up” or “tread water” to meet the need. While ASHA accredited schools must meet standards, every school varies in exactly how they carry out the ASHA-rules and regulations. I am impressed with the thought behind the DLVE-SLP program discussed in the article. It made me wonder what went on behind-the-scenes of my university before it began. Did they ever imagine going digital? How many schools are in the works to create completely online programs? Once more, how many of them are using evidence based approaches to build a framework around online education?
My hope is to see more high-quality, research based online SLP/CSD graduate programs in the future. Maybe then the funnel for entering SLP graduate school will be lessened.
Until next time — Greetings from Alaska!