Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education

First Advisor

Macey L. Edmondson

Second Advisor

Kerry B. Melear

Third Advisor

Heather L. Shirley


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The shift to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way education is delivered. The online environment provides a new avenue for physical therapy education. With a majority of undergraduate students taking at least one course online, their perceptions of online learning are critical in the development of online physical therapy education. This study aims to investigate the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) entry-level physical therapy students’ perceptions of online learning. The study sample will include approximately 150 students comprised of 3 cohorts of 50 students. The study is a multimethod examination over the course of three years. The survey and interview will be issued at the beginning of the summer semester at the beginning of the three-year curriculum. The survey will illustrate the basic demographics of the students, perceptions of course design, the student’s past experience with online courses, positive and negative aspects of online courses, and implementation of online courses in the physical therapy curriculum. The follow-up interview will give the students more opportunities to elaborate on any feedback about course design, values of online courses, attributes of the online course, and recommendations for other online courses. A strong leadership philosophy is essential for guiding leaders in their decision-making and actions regarding online education. My leadership philosophy focuses on four key traits: clear vision, servant's heart, inclusiveness of ideas, and mentoring of colleagues. Utilization of the results of this study along with my leadership philosophy can help other healthcare educators develop online and hybrid courses that meet the needs of the student and produce the same outcomes as traditional face-to-face instruction.



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