CCE Theses and Dissertations


The Viability of a Satellite-based Internet Learning System for the Hospitality Industry: A Case Study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

David Williams


The purpose of this dissertation is to describe and evaluate the Northern Arizona University (NAU) pilot program for delivering training and continuing-education programs to students at homes and hospitality establishments using a combination of satellite and Internet technologies. The NAU School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (SHRM) launched the pilot program in the spring of 2000 to one hotel and three homes.

This investigation used the case study research approach to evaluate the viability of the pilot program. The principal question addressed in this investigation is the following: What is the viability of Northern Arizona University in providing a satellite-based Internet learning system for hospitality employees? The following research questions guided this investigation:

  • Is the satellite-based Internet learning system technically and financially feasible? Why?
  • Is the satellite-based Internet learning system appropriate for the target audience? Why?
  • Is Web-based instruction enhanced when it is augmented with delayed satellite broadcasts of instructor-led class sessions? Why?
  • Is the level of institutional support for the satellite-based Internet learning system, including administrative sponsorship and commitment, faculty involvement and support, and infrastructure availability, adequate? Why?

This investigation used a multiple-case design with embedded units of analysis. Each case was treated as a comprehensive case in and of itself. The data were analyzed and triangulated within the integrity of that case. All of the case patterns were then compared following replication logic. The findings are presented based on their relationship to the research questions and theoretical propositions.

The results indicate that the SHRM pilot program is capable of providing remote hospitality employees with accessible, flexible, affordable, and appropriate educational opportunities for reaching personal and professional goals. The results also show that developments in satellite communications offer new possibilities for streamlining and improving the instructional delivery system. Recommendations are made for professionals who intend to implement similar instructional delivery systems to meet the demand for real-time training programs that can be delivered worldwide to a geographically dispersed workforce.

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