Adapting a Programming Model for Cooperative Extension Service Programs Delivered via Distance Education: A National Delphi Study

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Title: Adapting a Programming Model for Cooperative Extension Service Programs Delivered via Distance Education: A National Delphi Study
Author: McCaskill, Kenneth Neil
Advisors: John M Pettitt, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to adapt a model for planning, designing and implementing, and evaluating and accounting for nonformal distance education programs in the Cooperative Extension Service. Zetterburg's five steps were use as a guide in framing this research. The conceptual programming model was adapted through a review of the literature, experts' opinions and advice, and the researcher's experience with nonformal distance education in the Cooperative Extension Service. Data were collected from a panel of experts during two rounds of questionnaires using a modified Delphi technique. Round one was conducted as a web based instrument and the follow up round was conducted by electronic mail. Forty-eight panelists were selected representing the four national Extension regions, rural, urbanizing, and urban states, and the Extension Agriculture, 4-H, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Community Resource Development program areas. Twenty-seven participated in the initial round, a fifty-six percent return rate, and twenty-three participated in round two. The questionnaire contained forty-six processual tasks which were placed on a five point Likert-type scale. A processual task was considered accepted when it met both critical and consensual criteria in the second round. Those processual tasks that had a mean score of 3.5 or higher as rated by the panel of experts were considered critical for programming in Extension nonformal distance education programs. Those processual tasks that were rated by 55% or more of the experts as usually or always important (4 and 5) were used to determine consensus. Only those processual tasks that 55% or more of the experts rated four and five were considered for inclusion in the adapted model. The final panel of experts accepted twenty-one of the forty-six processual tasks and rejected twenty-five. The major findings of this study led to these conclusions: (1) The conceptual programming model provides a framework that guides the programming efforts of the Cooperative Extension Services administration, faculty, and field personnel; (2) The mission and goals of the organization need to be reexamined to determine whether they need to be revised in order to accent the use of distance education as a delivery mode for planned programs; (3) Extension needs to have a dynamic training program that focuses on helping keep state and field faculty abreast of the emerging delivery technologies and the use of the conceptual programming model; (4) Distance education delivery requires the involvement of audiences and other relevant stakeholders that may not have been involved with Extension programs in the past; (5) Cooperative Extension must commit and make available the resources for support of programs delivered via the distance mode.
Date: 2004-06-10
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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