Utilization of distance education in council for accreditation of counseling & related educational programs
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In Education, there has been an amplified interest regarding the need for distance education practices over the course of the last century (Allen & Seaman, 2010, 2013, 2014). The purpose of the present study was to explore the attitudes and experiences of counselor educators in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited counseling programs in relation to distance education. A secondary purpose was to gather data about the implementation of distance education activities in these programs. Exploring this phenomenon provided an up to date picture of the lived experiences of counselor educators with distance education. This research study employed a phenomenological design with a quantitative survey and qualitative follow-up interviews. The sample for the quantitative phase of the study consisted of 41 CACREP-accredited counseling programs that successfully completed the researcher-designed survey instrument. Maximum variation purposive sampling for the qualitative phase of the study identified four participants for follow-up interviews. Three themes emerged from participant interviews that described the lived experiences of counselor educators with distance education: external encouragement for implementation, adequate preparation and support for development and delivery, and evolving design for counseling programs and courses. The results of the study indicated that implementation of distance education in counselor education programs was related to both extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors. Factors such as institutional encouragement, incentives, student needs, adequate support services for distance education, competitive program marketability, and university-level teaching experience, were identified as influencing distance education adoption in counselor education programs. The results of the study provided information helpful to counselor educators and university administrators planning to implement distance education in counselor education programs. In order for counselor education programs to serve a larger population and remain competitive, they may need to consider incorporating distance education activities within their curriculum. Counselor education preparation programs may need to further infuse instructional components in their curriculums that prepare graduates with the skill and knowledge necessary to implement distance education. A wide range of support services need to be available to assist faculty that want to develop and implement distance education activities. It is recommended that counselor education programs first use a hybrid model in knowledge base courses and transition to making available full distance education courses that include skilled based coursework.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in COUNSELOR EDUCATION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.