Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S6-S7, July 2013

Design Considerations in Implementing an Online Master of Public Health in Nutrition Degree Program


      To share how an online MPH in Nutrition program (OL-MPHN) was designed, marketed, and managed; and share student satisfaction outcomes.

      Target audience

      Dietitians; other health professionals.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      The public health nutrition field lacks adequate numbers of trained professionals. Thus, a fully online, part-time OL-MPHN was designed. Few evaluations of online nutrition curriculum models describe design and management features.


      The OL-MPHN follows an accredited curriculum including coursework in public health (15 credits) and nutrition (29 credits). Nutrition courses were designed following the Quality MattersTM Rubric to include clear directions; assure that course objectives, assignments, and assessments aligned; and provide accessible course elements. Classes feature asynchronous discussions, “live” webinars with archived video access, collaborative group projects, and mentored individual research and field experiences. Faculty include resident and nonresident professors. Most courses have 20-25 students. A part-time faculty director and a portion of a full-time administrator manage the program, which enrolls approximately 60 matriculated students.


      Current and former students completed a 23-item online evaluation (n=45). Most learned about the program through online searching. Almost all agreed the OL-MPHN meets learning and professional development needs. Cited OL-MPHN strengths were its convenience and flexibility, applicable content, knowledgeable and accessible instructors, and peer interaction. Weaknesses identified were group work, challenging course load, cost, and lack of face-to-face interaction. Reported “useful” or “very useful” were asynchronous discussions, synchronous webinars, and collaborative projects. Satisfaction with student-faculty and student-student interaction was high.

      Conclusions and Implications

      OL-MPHN participants reported, although the program takes effort, they were highly satisfied and would recommend the program to others.