Online Program

Online wellness resources for graduate-level students: Self-directed or facilitated?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Lynda Konecny, D.H.Ed, CHES, College of Graduate Health Studies, A.T. Still University, Kirksville, MO
Joshua Bernstein, PhD, CHES, College of Graduate Health Studies, A.T. Still University, Kirksville, MO
Meg E. Sheppard, PhD, CHES, College of Graduate Health Studies, A.T. Still University, Kirksville, MO
Few studies have been conducted on wellness programs designed for online students. A purpose of this study was to examine levels of participation in online wellness resources for fully online students. Research findings will be compared to a previous study conducted at the same institution. The studies had significant similarities, such as, recruitment procedures (scheduled invitation emails), target population (online graduate-level students), pretests and posttests, and access to wellness resources. The major difference, and point of discussion for this presentation, was the structure and delivery of online wellness resources. In the recent project, students had access to online resources they could explore at their own pace, while students in the comparison study participated in a facilitated course. The recent study consisted of one group (N=43) with 100% completing the pretest, and only 5%;(n=2) completing the posttest. The previous study consisted of two groups: an intervention and a comparison group (N=45). Participants in the intervention group (n=23) were invited to complete a pretest, participated in a facilitated wellness course, then invited to complete a posttest. The comparison group followed the same format as the intervention group; however, they were not granted access to the wellness course. Within the intervention group, 78%;(n=18), completed the pretest, and 43%;(n=10) completed the posttest. Adult learning theory assumes adults are self-directed and internally motivate. The difference in retention between an autonomous vs. facilitated wellness course warrants additional study. The development of wellness resources for 100% online students should be further explored to examine methods to increase program retention.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe participant retention benefits and drawbacks between facilitated and non-facilitated online wellness resources. Explain the importance of developing wellness programming for online graduate-level students. Define wellness dimensions and the influence on online student success.

Keyword(s): Wellness, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator for two research studies in the area of online student wellness, as well as, worked with residential wellness programming. Among my research interests has been the development of wellness programs for online students.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.