Distance & Distributed Learning
Distance & Distributed Education Center
is a university-wide function at UWG which serves to develop
and enhance the university's ability to deliver education to
students at remote locations, and to meet institutional distance
learning goals. Through intercampus sharing of resources, the
Distance and Distributed Education Center
facilitates collaboration among university colleges and departments
to deliver quality distance instruction, faculty and student
services, and initiatives.
and functions of this department mirror the institutional distance
learning goals (http://www.westga.edu/~distance/
with faculty to plan and create distance learning environments
that encourage and support excellence in a personal environment.
collaboration with other campus and state departments,
maintain the human and technical resources and network
infrastructure necessary to successfully support and deliver
distance and distributed learning, while maintaining the
core values of higher education.
that academic and student services are appropriate to meet
the needs of distance and distributed learners.
continuous evaluation of distance and distributed learning
and support services to ensure the advancement of the university's
mission and adherence to quality standards.
research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which promote
knowledge of distance learning.
These goals are reviewed annually in March, by the Distance
and Distributed Education Steering Committee, and revised
as appropriate. Outcomes and results are also
reviewed at this time, followed by discussions of opportunities
Departmental Statement of Outcomes, Processes to Assess These
Outcomes, and Assessment Results Where Appropriate
1. Plan and create distance learning environments that encourage
and support excellence in a personal environment. Accomplishing
this goal will ensure that:
and faculty satisfaction with distance and distributed education
courses is high.
2003 evaluations showed that 78% of distance students agreed
that their attitude toward online learning was positive
at the end of the term. 69% agreed in Spring 2003. 93% in Summer.
of students (Fall 2003) said they'd like to take more courses
in future mostly online. (Spring 2003 - 63%; Summer 2003 – 76%).
(Fall 2002) said they'd like to take courses in future
completely online. (Spring - 59%; Summer – 60%)
(Fall 2003) said that their instructor was positive about
the online component of their course. (76% in Spring 2002;
85% in summer).
number of faculty using distance technologies continues
to increase. FY03 totals were 319 faculty, compared to
265 in FY02, and 208 in FY01.
retention in distance and distributed education is comparable
to that of traditional courses.
2003 retention for Distance students was 85.2% for distance
students, compared to 90.1% for non-Distance students.
Spring 2002 retention for Distance students was 86.9% compared
to 88.1% for non-Distance students. Fall 2001 retention
for Distance students was 88.1% compared to 88.4%
enrolled in distance courses have access to student services.
UWG Online Connection (http://www.westga.edu/~online/)
provides easy web access for distance students to access
2004 phone survey indicated that less than 8% of students
felt there needed to be improvements for distance students
in the areas of advisement, registration process, and orientation.
This is the same result of the 2003 phone survey.
learning outcomes are comparable to those in traditional
courses. (ex. http://coe.westga.edu/mit/outcomes/index.html)
are generally the same as traditional, and are evaluated
on a departmental basis.
among student-faculty, and student-student are at least as
high as in a traditional course.
responses from written surveys Fall 2003 and Summer 2003
surveys indicate that students appreciate the ability to
interact at flexible times with faculty and other students.
2004 phone survey showed that 40% reported less interaction
in DL course with instructor and other students. This is
down from 48% in February 2003.
demonstrate competence in developing distance courses whose
academic standards and student learning are the same as those
for other courses delivered.
faculty MUST complete technical and pedagogical training
prior to teaching a distance course.
standards and student learning are evaluated on a departmental
basis. The DDEC reviews student surveys, class by class,
to assure that overall student satisfaction with the faculty
and the course are adequate. Since 1998, there have only
been two cases in which the faculty competence seemed questionable
based on student complaints. These were referred to the
appropriate department head and dean. Both faculty members
have since left the institution.
number of courses developed and offered through distance
media meets the demand of the region's students.
phone survey of February 2004 indicates that more than
44% of distance students believe there are not enough distance
courses. This is down from 50% in 2003.
this is improving, a number of students mentioned in their
open-ended responses on the phone survey that they need
more online courses.
Assessment methods: Written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus
group with distance students, informal discussions with Distance Learning
Steering Committee and distance faculty. Student learning outcomes are
assessed by academic units offering instruction. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/data/eval/
2. Maintain the human and technical resources and network
infrastructure necessary to successfully support and deliver distance
and distributed learning. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:
and prepared to teach distance and distributed courses.
faculty MUST complete technical and pedagogical training
prior to teaching a distance course.
are able to receive immediate technical
assistance through telephone or email.
DDEC staff provide immediate response to technical questions
from students weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm weekdays. Students may contact a statewide support
line after hours.
satisfaction surveys indicate that all students in January
2003 – March 2003 ranked the amount of time it took them
to get help at least an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. (The
and faculty are able to receive assistance through a central point-of-contact.
DDEC provides a central point of contact for support for
all UWG distance courses.
- A variety of delivery
methods are available.
courses are easily accessible to a growing number of students and
addition to the primary online mode of WebCT, distance
courses may also utilize Horizon Live for synchronous or
archived delivery of lectures, and Impatica for simple
audio-visual online presentations.
total number of online courses offered in FY03 was 132,
compared to 144 in 2002, and 104 in 2001.
for courses is non-existent or minimal, with backup plans
in place and utilized as needed.
for scheduled maintenance, the WebCT system residing on
the campus server has functioned without interruption since
Written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group
with distance students, informal discussions with Distance Learning
Steering Committee and distance faculty, departmental annual self-review.
3. Ensure that academic and student services are appropriate
to meet the needs of distance and distributed learners. Accomplishing
this goal will ensure that:
distance course or program provides students with clear,
complete and timely information on the curriculum, course
and degree requirements, nature of faculty/student interaction,
prerequisite technology competencies, technical requirements,
availability of academic support service, financial aid resources
and costs and payment policies. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/handbook.html
available on web and syllabi for all distance courses and
also available in online student handbook, and others online
points of access for students.
may receive orientation online, or if coming to campus
for the first course session, receive a live orientation
from their instructor or DDEC staff.
express satisfaction with the level of academic and student
services received when taking distance and distributed courses.
phone survey students expressed general satisfaction. The
majority of complaints were course specific.
of distance students surveyed in Feb. 2004 phone survey
reported that they received prompt and courteous student
support from West Georgia as a distance learner.
are aware of and utilize online resources available to them
for academic and student support.
to Fall 2003 and Summer 2003, most students were either
satisfied with support services, or said "did not
apply." "Did not apply" usually referred
to financial aid or career services, which are not needed
by a large percentage of students.
percent of fall 2003 distance students (up from 48% in
fall 2002) reported that they used library services, but
39% (fall 2003) said they were unaware of library services
available specifically for distance students (down from
46% in 2002). Sixty-four percent of Feb. 2004 phone survey students
also said they used library services. This is up from 48%
in Feb. 2003.
survey indicated that as many as 64% of DL students get
orientation from instructor rather than DDEC or online
information. DDEC has prepared kit for instructors to use
in orientation for those who choose, in order to make sure
that all services are explained.
students have reasonable and adequate access to the range
of student services and resources appropriate to support
students have access to the range of student services and
resources that traditional students do, and also special
services such as support from the DDEC, and special services
from the library. Information regarding services is available
Assessment methods: Written student surveys at end of each
term, annual focus group with distance students, informal discussions
with Distance Learning Steering Committee and distance faculty,
departmental annual self-review. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/data/eval/
4. Conduct continuous evaluation of distance learning and support
services to ensure the advancement of the university's mission.
Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:
use results of evaluations to improve courses.
distance faculty must complete the Distance Evaluation
Summary form, documenting what changes they will make in
future distance courses based on their student surveys.
learning staff uses results of evaluations to improve programs
and services as a whole.
DDEC staff reviews evaluations and completes an annual
effectiveness evaluation each Spring. A staff retreat is
also held each year to assess staff quality standards,
issues and plan for the next year.
technologies selected are appropriate to meet course or program
DDESC selects technologies for campus use and support based
on student need, recommendations from other institutions,
departments and instructors select from combinations of
the various institutional technologies (WebCT, Impatica,
Horizon Live) based on the program and course objectives.
of evaluations for each course and the overall distance program
is available and accessible.
evaluations for student written surveys, focus groups,
phone surveys, retention and other data is available at
the DDEC website (www.westga.edu/~distance/data/eval/
survey data is also maintained by the DDEC and each department
offering distance courses.
Assessment methods: Faculty summary of evaluations each term,
written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group
with distance students, informal discussions with Distance
Learning Steering Committee and distance faculty, departmental
annual self-review. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/data/eval/
5. Support research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which
promote knowledge of distance learning: Accomplishing this
goal will ensure that:
journal, conference, and certificate programs maintain excellent
reputations among distance learning administrators in the
United States and worldwide.
journal is required reading for many institutional programs,
including University of Nebraska's doctoral program in
Higher Education, and is referenced in many papers and
conference attracts a growing international audience of
practitioners in the field.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration continues
to increase in readership.
average edition had 15,000 hits in 2002, up from 8,000
in 2001, and 3,500 in 2000.
faculty conduct research to enhance distance courses at
UWG and to provide scholarly information to their field.
faculty and staff regularly present research at the DLA
Conference and other conferences, including SITE, Educause,
and other professional meetings. Many UWG faculty articles
and books on distance learning are linked from the distance
Assessment methods: Certificate program and conference
data of journal, feedback
from readers and participants.
1999 - 2000
1998 - 1999
1997 - 1998
1996 - 1997
Self Study Response