Building a diverse speech pathology workforce in the 21st Century classroom: Lessons from a blended online Master of speech Pathology

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Changes in the higher education landscape, accelerated by COVID-19, have resulted in an increase in online health education globally. A blended online Master of Speech Pathology commenced in Australia in 2014, making speech pathology training available across geographic and social boundaries.
Aims: To understand the ‘online speech pathology student’, this project investigated:
• Who are the students undertaking the blended online course?
• What influenced the students to study speech pathology online?
• How do students describe the experience of online learning?
• Where do students plan to work in their future career?
Method: A mixed methods online survey was distributed to students of a blended online Master of Speech Pathology. Descriptive statistics was applied to numeric data (n=44), along with inferential statistics to explore relationships between factors. Content analysis was applied to qualitative data.
Results: A ‘typical’ student was a 30-49 yo female (n=39), with 45.46% (n=20) living in a major city. Without the blended online option, 74.99% of participants (n=33) would not have studied speech pathology. Fit to family, work and lifestyle were key reasons for seeking an online course. Of those who reported their ideal work location (n=41), 82.92% indicated a preference for working within 50km of home, with 53.66% preferring to work in regional, rural or remote locations
Conclusion: This study highlights the role of online speech pathology education in reducing barriers to studying speech pathology and in providing a diverse workforce that is helping address issues of access and equity in service delivery across Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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