Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Instructional Design and Tech

Committee Chair

Trey Martindale

Committee Member

Carmen Weaver

Committee Member

Thompson Nicole


Among the faculty of Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, it is perceived that optometry students often enter their clinical assignments with poor clinical judgment. To address this, Understanding the Cranial Nerves--an online-self paced instructional intervention of approximately two hours' duration--was developed. In it, the content is presented in a clinical context, in order to foster development of clinical thinking and factual recall. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of this intervention upon first-year optometry students' clinical thinking and content knowledge. Improvements in these subjects were measured using identical pre-/post-tests, and analyzed with Student's t-tests (n= 66). Both factual recall [t (65) = 15.984, p < .001] and clinical thinking [t(65) = 16.115, p< .001] improved significantly. The study's secondary purpose is to understand students' perceptions of the intervention. These were measured immediately after completion with an attitude survey, which was designed to measure perceptions of the content, aesthetics, and usability. For the 19 Likert-type items on this instrument, the frequency distributions of the repsponses were compared to an expected distribution using Pearson's chi-squared goodness-of-fit tests (n = 61). Significant responses included higher distributions on three course content items [X2 (4) = 14.705, p = .005; X2 (4) = 22.641, p < .001; X2 (4) =23.308, p < .001], and lower distributions on five usability items [X2 (4) = 39.975, p < .001; X2 (4) = 42.476, p <.001; X2 (4) = 60.476, p < .001; X2 (4) = 41.619, p < .001; X2 (4) = 35.105, p < .001]. A cursory analysis of the remaining two free-response items showed general satisfaction with the intervention content but frustration with its usability (n = 25). Semi-structured interviews given several months after completion of the intervention yielded similar results (n = 8). Altogetherm the study suggests that self-paced, online content like Understanding the Cranial Nerves can be useful for improving factual recall and clinical thinking in optometric education. The lack of a control group and short duration of the study call its generalizability into question. Usability concerns must be addressed if the intervention is to be implemented.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.