Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Healthcare Genetics

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jane DeLuca

Committee Member

Dr. Luigi Boccuto

Committee Member

Dr. Tracy Brock Lowe

Committee Member

Dr. Stephanie Davis


This dissertation presents an interdisciplinary approach to online genetics education.

Chapter I provides an overview of remote education and a brief history of genetics. While the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a turn to emergency online education, exposure to this form of delivery has led to increased intentional online education.

Chapter II focuses on computer and technology use in healthcare by nursing students. This study investigated nursing students’ perspectives using a modified version of the Pretest for Attitudes Toward Computers in Healthcare (PATCH) assessment scale to explore students’ ideas about computers and technology in healthcare delivery. According to the PATCH scale, the majority of the class had “enthusiastic” or “idealistic” views of computers and students supported technologies, such as electronic medical records, for use in practice.

In Chapter III, nursing students in an interdisciplinary healthcare genetics class completed eight online learning activities designed using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. A mixed-methods survey measured students’ engagement and rating of the online activities. Students embraced online learning activities which were interesting to them, aided studying, and were applicable to future nursing practice. In bonus results, students who scored the highest affinity for technology in healthcare rated online learning activities significantly higher than others.

Chapter IV presents a systematic review of the literature for online education for rare genetic diseases. The review described the studies by subject matter, mode of delivery, and target learners. Although results were limited, studies included quality, interdisciplinary online education developed for both healthcare professionals and the public.

Drawing on the results from Chapters II, III, and IV, Chapter V presents a Model for Online Genetics Interdisciplinary Education (MOGIE). The model integrates principles of community learning, online design, and essential topics in biopsychosocial aspects of rare disease. The model can be applied to online/hybrid-designed courses and provides comprehensive education pertaining to a rare disease and related disciplines such as epidemiology, bioethics, genetic counseling, and clinical care.

In summary, this dissertation examines online genetics education in terms of student attitudes, engagement, and a review of the literature to culminate in a proposed educational model.

Author ORCID Identifier


Available for download on Saturday, August 31, 2024