An exploration of on-line criminal justice course delivery at the community college level
Renee Michele Douglas, George Mason University, United States
George Mason University . Awarded
In today's law enforcement community, there is the belief that higher educational standards can help to professionalize police work and improve police performance by giving officers additional skills. During the 20th century, colleges and universities became more responsive to the educational needs of police officers as police agencies began to take steps to assist their officers in their pursuit of higher education.
The increasing emphasis on higher education as an indication of police professionalization, and the increasing demand for college educated officers, led to community colleges playing a role in the development of higher education for law enforcement. Beginning in the 1930s, community colleges have offered criminal justice courses and program curriculums on their campuses. By the 1990s, community colleges were offering criminal justice courses and program curricula through distance education. The on-line delivery of criminal justice courses is one form of distance education at the community college.
This project explored the role of higher education in the movement toward the professionalization of law enforcement and focused on the issues surrounding distance education for police officers. The project presented original data about the attitudes of instructors and officers about these issues. A case study design was used in this project that included historical and document analysis as well as interviews and observations to explore issues surrounding distance education for police officers.
Interviews conducted with criminal justice faculty members and police officer graduates from the Virginia Community College System revealed that both groups of participants acknowledged that there were advantages and disadvantages in the use of the on-line course delivery format. However, neither group indicated that this format was preferable to the traditional classroom setting. Although both groups agreed that on-line criminal justice courses provided police officers greater flexibility in earning their degrees, neither of the groups supported the use of on-line criminal justice courses as a replacement for traditional classroom course delivery.
Douglas, R.M. An exploration of on-line criminal justice course delivery at the community college level. Ph.D. thesis, George Mason University.
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