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Experiences in the delivery of a flexible education program to military students
Background: The delivery of higher education and professional development programs through a flexible online model has been increasing in popularity for education providers and students alike for some time [Chitkushev Et.Al 2014]. The delivery of these programs to military students comes with a unique set of challenges, especially in the field of health professions education. The University of Tasmania (UTAS) offers a wide range of courses through flexible delivery to military students, with the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice receiving increasing enrolments during the last 12 months. The current evidence base underpinning education delivery to military personnel is limited, with the majority of literature referring to the US military [Bunting 2013], which may have limited application in the Australian military context.
Aim: To investigate the issues affecting military personnel engaged in online education, with the aim of improving the delivery of services to this specific student population.
Methodology: The university undertook a review of any cohort specific challenges faced by students enrolled in the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice (Conversion) in the first semester of 2014.
Results: Currently 20% of the students enrolled in the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice at UTAS come from the Australian Defence Forces. A review of communication with students over the first semester of 2014 has identified a range of challenges faced by both the student population and the university. These challenges can be summarised under five domains; communication; flexibility in content delivery; flexibility in assessment practices; access to technology; flexibility in enrolment policies and procedures.
Discussion: Whilst there are a number of issues that can be resolved internally within the faculty, there are a number of areas that require the development of new or updated policy relating to military students. A similar process occurs in the United States under the Military Friendly Colleges [Lederman 2008] program. This initial review reveals the need to further investigate the barriers and enablers for military students in undertaking further education, taking into consideration the unique nature of the military professional environment.
Conclusion: Universities face challenges in the provision of education to military personnel, due to their unique characteristics in comparison the wider student body. In order to better support the military student, it is important to fully investigate the issues facing this student cohort.
Department/SchoolSchool of Paramedicine
Event titleAustralasian Military Medicine Association 2014 Conference
Event VenueSydney, Australia
Date of Event (Start Date)2014-10-17
Date of Event (End Date)2014-10-19