Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swortzel, Kirk A.

Committee Member

Peterson, Donna J.

Committee Member

Browning, Ned E.

Committee Member

White, Ronnie W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of students and instructors at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) toward a distance learning system for agricultural extension and development programs for participating in the ASEAN community. It was also to determine the difference in attitude between undergraduate students and graduate students toward 9 factors involving the STOU distance learning system and programs. The study used mixed methods. Descriptive survey and focus groups were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and the Mann-Whitney U test. STOU students were employed adults who lived around Thailand who had average and above average levels of knowledge about the ASEAN Community and Open University. Graduate students had higher levels of knowledge than undergraduate students. Students and instructors learned about the ASEAN community via television programs and websites. Students and instructors had a positive attitude toward the program and distance learning system. Textbooks, workbooks and printed-based packages via post-mail, e-Learning and e-Tutorial sessions via the internet, and face-toace sessions via face-toace were very appropriate methods and delivery channels. Electricity, a personal computer, and internet access were important devices to have when participating in distance learning classes. Students and instructors had average and above average skill levels with all devices skills except for English skills and skills about satellite devices. There were 5 different attitudes among undergraduate students and graduate students about students’ qualification, program objectives, program structures, adequacy of learning system, and adequacy of educational services. Recommendations for program improvement and to improve distance learning systems are applied through the 4 perspectives of the Balance Scorecard: student perspective, financial perspective, internal process, and learning and growth perspective. The model of distance education of Open University for agricultural extension program when participating in the ASEAN community (AMEI model) includes 4 stages: analysis stage, management stage, evaluation stage, and improvement and extension stage should be used for distance learning program improvement in Thailand and ASEAN countries.