DLA 2012 Fishbowl Proposals
Program and Institutional Affiliation: Fostering Online Students'
Sense of Community Outside of the Classroom
Lauryl A. Lefebvre, West Virginia University
Is a purposive focus on building community in the online course at the expense of developing a sense of community outside of the classroom? This fishbowl session will explore strategies on how to create program and institutional affiliation, broadening the experience of students and alumni beyond their completion of a series of discrete coursework.
The Sloan-C Quality Scorecard, based on the Institute for Higher Education Policy (2000) study, outlines nine quality benchmarks in the administration of online programs (Shelton, 2010). There are four to seventeen quality indicators for eight of the nine benchmarks: Institutional Support (4 indices), Technology Support (6..), Course Development and Instructional Design (12), Course Structure (8), Teaching and Learning (5), Faculty Support (6), Student Support (17), and Evaluation and Assessment (11). However, there is only a single scorecard indicator for the ninth benchmark Social and Student Engagement, with the descriptor “Students should be provided a way to interact with other students in an online community” (Shelton, p. 56). This indicator's relevancy was confirmed Shelton's (2010) six round Delphi study yet has been primarily examined in course settings (Baturay, 2011; Chen, Chen, and Kinshuk, 2009; Yang, Yeh, and Wong, 2010).
Student satisfaction has been linked to class-based learning communities (Tinto, 1997; Uilah and Wilson, 2007). This fishbowl session will provide an opportunity to expand our definition and artifacts of online community beyond the classroom. Towards this end, we will reflect the following questions: What are the stakeholder groups and what type of intragroup interactions do we want to foster? What academic or professional and social support structures can be built with the goal of increasing institutional and program affiliation? What participation modalities best suit stakeholder needs?
Baturay, M.H. (2011). Relationships among sense of classroom community, perceived cognitive learning and satisfaction of students at an e-learning course. Innovative Learning Environments , 19 (5), 563-575.
Chen, I.L., Chen N., and Kinshuk (2009). Examining the factors influencing participants' knowledge sharing behavior in virtual learning communities, Educational Technology & Society , 12 (1), 134-148.
Institute for Higher Education Policy (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in Internet-based distance education , Washington DC: Author.
Shelton, K. (2010). Quality scorecard for the administration of online education programs: A Delphi study, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks , 14 (4), 36-62.
Tinto, V. (1997). Enhancing learning via community, Thought and Action , 13 , 53-58.
Uilah, H., and Wilson, M. (2007). Students' academic success and its association to student involvement with learning and relationships with faculty and peers, College Student Journal , 41 (4), 1192-1202.
Yang, Y, Yeh, H., and Wong, W. (2010). The influence of social interaction on meaning construction in a virtual community, British Journal of Educational Technology , 41 (2), 287-306.
Self-Sustainability in Distance Education: Financial Illusion or Reality
Jodi Rust, Pierpont Community & Technical College
Higher education was created to improve the human condition. Due to higher education's original mission, colleges have not been expected to cover all of their operational costs by student assessments alone. Education has been financially supplemented by grants, alumni and corporate donations, and state and federal funding. To secure additional funding and to reach out to community members and businesses, distance education was developed. Distance or continuing education has traditionally been self-sufficient and receives limited supplemental funding from the college. Formal business plans aid in distance education's ability to be financially self-sufficient (Shelton and Saltsman, 2005; Marsello, 2008; and Flynn, 2011); and any financial profit can be used for technology upgrades and new program offerings. Affording technical upgrades is especially important for distance education as it reaches out to learners in the community.
Distance education has technologically evolved from video conferencing, to online learning, to mobile learning, and may use any combination of these technical devices to deliver education. These technology changes have added to the college's hardware, software, and maintenance costs making self-sustainability challenging. When times are financially difficult, many colleges try to eliminate the non-credit programs in distance education to protect academic credit offerings (Flynn, 2011). Distance education typically offers non-credit and credit offerings in the college catalog; and eliminating course offerings would greatly affect distance education's bottom line.
Is distance education truly self-sufficient and self-sustainable? Does it make business sense for distance education to financially operate as a separate entity within the college system? How can faculty and distance education administrators insure the livelihood or evolution of distance education?
Flynn, W. (2011). Buried treasure – maximizing continuing education to build capacity and revenue in tough budget times. The Catalyst, 40 (3), 26-34.
Marsello, G. (Ed.). (2008). The essentials. River Falls, WI: Learning Resources Network.
Shelton, K. & Saltsman, G. (2005). An administrator's guide to online education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
How Do You Compete With Free?
Bobbe Baggio, La Salle University
In the spring of 2012, MIT will start to give a certificate to students taking free courses and achieving a level of mastery. According to MIT, granting the certificate will cost a minimal fee. Since 2000, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been giving away course content for free through its OpenCourseWare initiative. Both open networked learners and enrolled students are becoming more experienced and their expectations of higher learning online are increasing. So are their expectations of “free”.
Fueled by open source and socially networked ideology, and powered by the tremendous power of global connectivity, people like Stanford University's Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig taught their Introduction to Artificial Intelligence class to 160,000 students, in 190 countries and graduated 23,000. It was such a powerful experience and so life changing that Thrun left Stanford to start Udacity, a new online higher education institution. Can Udacity compete with Stanford? There are some other really big questions not yet answered: Will top quality educators attract more students and have more impact by being divorced from notable institutions? Or will rogue online instructors come crawling back to the educational brands that gave them prestige? Will schools aim to block professors from doing these kinds of projects in the future to prevent losing their star talents?
Open source is all about “free”. Open educational resources (OER) are being made available through foundational grants, from The Hewlett Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and more recently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the UK's Open University, (publically funded) the emphasis is on maximum sharing and reuse. Through Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative free speech recognition software (Sphinx), intelligent instruction and courses are being given away for free. Both private foundations and publicly funded initiatives are providing free, open source, networked, OER. How does the traditional university compete with this? How Do You Compete With Free?
Is the LMS Dead?
Myk Garn, Southern Regional Education Board
Once labeled the “Killer App of the 90s,” Learning Management Software (AKA the LMS) is now itself a target of disruptive innovation – in danger of becoming a passé reminder of a bygone era in online learning. Today, new drivers and new tools are challenging the relevance of a walled-garden teaching platform, one that was modeled on the passive student obeisance of the 20 th Century classroom experience. Striving to break free from these command and control stockades, 21 st Century learners are using, and creating, a serendipitous, chaotic mix of, convention-defying tools to customize their collegiate-level learning.
College students already arrive on campus connecting through Facebook, sharing via text, Twitter, Skype and learning via YouTube. Indeed, these are the informal learning tools of choice for primary, secondary and postsecondary students alike (as well as many faculty). The question is: will these tools become the gravitational catalyst for a new class of individually constructed and configured apps, tools, content and resources that becomes the learning ecosystem for collegiate-level learning?
What would a learner-assembled and driven, Learning Management Ecosystem (LME) look like? Can, will or do learners now have the ability to DIY their own LME?
What are the educational services an LME would need to couple (or cobble) together? Are the necessary technologies and services already available? This session will explore the possibilities; probabilities and potential of a true LME. Bring your best thinking with you to stake your claim to having helped DIY the LME!
More Engagement - Fewer Worries
Jordan Cameron, Kennesaw State University
Distance Learning Administrators and instructional designers can relieve the stress of creating online courses from the technical side
so that faculty can focus on developing activities that are engaging
and worthy of digital-age learners. Providing faculty with user-tested
templates that have research-proven components, gives faculty the
opportunity to explore a variety of pedagogical approaches to learning
in an online environment (as opposed to sitting in trainings to teach
them about creating HTML pages and basic design principals).
Having decided to offer these templates to online developers has freed
our faculty development for online course design to focus on building
community, facilitating meaningful discussions through text-based methods or using new web 2.0 media options, and assessing student
learning outcomes through alternative approaches including project-
based learning. We’ve been pleased to see that this decision has worked
extremely well for the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State
The fish bowl will ask other participants to share their approaches to
keeping technology from becoming a hindrance to the development
process… When the goal is creating high quality courses, whatever instructional designers can do to make that happen is definitely
The Tie That Binds: What is the Role of the Threaded Discussion?
Barbara M. Hall, Capella University
Threaded discussions are a key component of online courses designed within a social constructivist framework. Yet, research demonstrates that these discussions are unsatisfactory to both instructors and learners. So, in what direction should we be moving – towards better design and facilitation or away from threaded discussions altogether?
The question of how to increase and enhance the quality of interaction has been an important research goal (Hannafin, 1999), as extensive research has shown that quality in online discourse remains inconsistent and ephemeral (Hall, 2011). Given the role of the threaded discussion in the construction of knowledge that occurs within an online course (Calvani et al., 2010), the interaction that occurs within threaded discussions is important to achieving the learning objectives of instruction situated within a constructivist environment.
Despite this importance, research has consistently demonstrated that the threaded discussions could offer more substantial benefit to learning in constructivist environments. Researchers have described threaded discussions as distinct presentations (Henri, 1992), information exchange (Salmon, 2000), exploration (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001), shared stories (Romeo, 2001), serial monologues (Pawan, Paulus, Yalcin, & Chang, 2003), consecutive online notes (Hewitt, 2005), or superficial postings (Bures, Abrami, & Schmid, 2010; Ke, 2010).
The learners themselves share this disappointment in the quality of online discussions, according to Chang (2003), who found that two thirds of students considered the discussions to be of insufficient value in supporting their learning. Instructors agree, as a study by Maurino, Federman, and Greenwald (2007) found that less than half of instructors in a small study considered threaded discussions successful in achieving cognitive and social goals.
So, what’s the problem with threaded discussions? Should we be looking at the policies and practices associated with designing and facilitating threaded discussions, or should we be looking at alternatives? Join this “fishbowl dialogue” to share your thoughts.
Examining Cyber-bullying in Higher Education from the Perspectives of the Student, the Instructor, and the Administrator
Cathy Taylor, Dennis Gresdo, Park University
Participants will discuss cyber-bullying in higher education from psychological, ethical, and legal viewpoints. Although bullying in schools is perceived as something that happens in K-12, aggressive behavior increasingly happens in college classrooms. Targets can be either students or instructors. One study found that 60% of students had witnessed one student bullying another. (Chappell et al, 2004)
In the online environment, electronic, impersonal communication lowers inhibitions and creates a feeling of anonymity that can lead to bullying. This anonymity reduces self-restraint and can cause behavior which is not acceptable. Studies have found that online communication by some leads to self-disclosure, a feeling of anonymity and a reduction of inhibitions. This in turn results in a reduction of the feeling of vulnerability and risk. (Bargh & McKenna, 2004; Sproull & Kiesler, 1991)
While most bullying is directed towards fellow students, instructors are not immune from bullying behavior. Adjuncts seem to be more likely victims of bullying tactics than full-time faculty, though a bullying student who feels strongly about a poor grade will lash out regardless.
What are the responsibilities of the university administration? Creating anti-bullying policies and providing training to instructors are proactive measures. Documentation is essential; fortunately, online bullying is in writing.
Bargh, J.A. & McKenna, K.Y.A. (2004). The Internet and social life. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 573-590.
Chappell, M., Casey, D., De la Cruz, C., Ferrell, J., Forman, J., Lipkin, R., Newsham, M., Sterling, M., & Whittaker, S. (2004). Bullying in college by students and teachers. Adolescence, 39(153), 53-64.
Sproull, L. & Kiesler, S. (1991). Connections: New Ways of Working in the Networked Organization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Culture Shock and Distance Education: The W-Curve in Online Learning
Terry Grant, Jason Smith, American Public University System
The W-Curve, a predictable pattern of stages that occurs when a person experiences culture shock, was
initially based on William J. Zeller and Robert Mosier’s (1993) research conducted on students studying
abroad. Zeller and Mosier (1993) later determined that the W-Curve could also be applied to traditional
first-year college students and the phases they go through in adapting to a new culture.
We believe that the W-Curve is also applicable to students enrolling in distance education programs for
the first time. The ups and downs of the W-Curve are normal; however, many students may consider the
first sign of culture shock as a symbol that they have made a mistake; when in reality it is merely a part
of a longer journey.
The five stages of the W-Curve theory combine to resemble the peaks and valleys of a “W”. These stages
are: honeymoon, cultural shock, initial adjustment, mental isolation and acceptance & integration.
Understanding these stages as administrators within Distance Learning is the first step to ensuring
In this fishbowl session, we will determine whether Zeller and Mosier’s (1993) W-Curve can indeed
be applied to the experiences of students new to distance education? Participants will discuss W-
Curve theory, its implications for distance education and explore interventions to assist students in
adapting to the distance education environment. At the end of this fishbowl session, attendees will be
able to discuss W-Curve theory in reference to distance learners, understand how the W-Curve theory
manifests itself in an online environment, and lay the groundwork for new student success in distance
Getting Technology Right
Edward C. Bowen, LeCroy Center
Emerging technologies have been heralded as providing the opportunities and affordances to transform education, learning, and teaching. The picture of how such technologies are used is fuzzy. Teaching in online and blended courses is an extremely complex and challenging function. Failed or troubled implementations of instructional technologies can give the whole idea of ‘ed tech’ a bit of a black eye and result in bad experiences that may take years to forget and move on from. The fact is, technology implementations struggle or flat out fail every day, but the good news is that many of the shortcomings that lead to problems can be foreseen and circumvented. Providing faculty with the structure they need to successfully make the transition to online and blended teaching requires a shift in the understanding of technology, a comprehension of the new online and blended teaching environments, and an understanding of the underlying pedagogy. Much has been written about the potential of Web 2.0 tools and social media to engage learners, add interactivity, and extend the functionality of a course management system. What instructional theories guide the utilization of emerging technologies in online and blended classes? Does the way we use technologies matter more than the tool we use? Does the utilization of emerging technologies transcend academic disciplines? In this fishbowl session, we will explore these questions and discuss the implications of such claims. Come and share your experiences and insights and help us find strategies that guide in the selection of tools that support learning while considering the technical requirements, costs, and benefits.
Faculty Training: Improving and Streamlining
Teresa Williams, Lorraine Sanford, American Public University System
The purpose of this fishbowl session is to discuss the characteristics and ramifications of training for
distance education faculty. Many higher education institutions struggle with hiring and retaining faculty
with specific qualifications. Online faculty members have a unique need for both pedagogy and technical
training, and individuals transitioning into the role of faculty can have experience levels ranging from novice
to expert in these areas. They may have set ideas about their role as an online instructor and will require
guidance on how to incorporate what they know into what is required to fulfill the current organization’s
needs. Faculty members new to teaching online require a wide range of guidance from how to access
and manipulate the LMS to integration of technology into the classroom, while understanding how best
to instruct students. Regardless of faculty members’ previous experience, there are questions that arise
daily about procedures and technologies and faculty training should prepare faculty members for these
occasions. Online higher education institutions must be willing to accept the responsibility of training faculty
while empowering them to offer exceptional learning experiences.
There are many challenges and issues surrounding development of a quality training processes or program
for online faculty. Determining the mode of instruction that works best for a wide range of faculty with exact
and varying needs is tantamount to a program’s continuing success. Developing training programs that will
increase awareness and implementation of best practices for online education instruction is of importance
to all institutions. Administrators must meet these challenges by developing training methods and options
that assist faculty members to reach the ultimate goal of educating students while meeting successful
student persistence rates. What are the best ideas and methods to meet all these requirements.
Matias Marabotto, Debra Robinson, Jason Busbin, University of West Georgia
The purpose of this fishbowl is to create a fast pace interaction between the participants of the fishbowl. Participants sign up at the door and have the opportunity to share their “Go To” resource or tool for distance learning. Due to the nature of the fishbowl we will have up to 9 participants presenting their favorite tool, gadget or software that demonstrates projects they have created/implemented using media, software, and andragogy within 4 minutes (2 minutes for presenting, and 2 minutes for questions/comments). The fishbowl will consist of video, interactive discussions, twitter feeds, and other social media tools. If time allows, we will share some experiences/cool tools that we have found to share with the group as well.
How can we keep online instructors and learners interested while developing skills for online courses? How can instructors, instructional designers, and LMS administrators create learning communities among online learners? How do we deal with mobile, social, and ever changing content streams without going into information overload (for the faculty and for the students)? With so many options available to education, we must cipher through the streams of content and delivery. Sharing projects facilitated by departments, faculty, and the tools they use can help implement online course collaboration on your campus. We’re quick, funny, and techie’s at heart - come and claim your 4 minutes of fame, share your techie side, and pick up some handy resources to increase your toolkit!
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”- Albert Einstein
(Patterned after the Fishbowl Dialogue Session: Smackdown SLAM at the GaETC Conference)
Who IS really completing the work in your online classroom? Maintaining Academic Integrity in the Virtual World
Ronnie Creel, Troy University
Convenience and Access To All continue to be the rallying call for online education. But with these come
the threat of graduates that cannot perform in today’s professional world and diploma mills that provide
the credentials in a “pay-to-play” business model.
“All institutions are required to establish that the student who registers in a distance education course
or program is the same student or person who participates, completes academic work, and receives
academic credit (H.R. 3746 part H).” Accrediting agencies require that all institutions “MUST ensure the
integrity of student work and the credibility of degrees and credits (CS 3.4.6 and CS 3.4.10).”
How can we:
• Provide for student authentication while abiding within the rules of FERPA
• Ensure the integrity while allowing online testing experiences
• Follow the requirements set by the instructor regarding testing environments(open book/open
notes, closed book/closed notes) at a distance
• Allow for group based projects but not group based sharing of exam or critical project
• Disallow Googling or searching the Internet to gain an academically unfair advantage
Today, there are a variety of solutions being marketed to higher education and K-14. What works at
your institution, what did not work at your institution, and do you have recommended solutions to
embrace or recommended solutions to jettison. Join us for a lively discussion.
Understanding Change? Defy Darwin! Plant the seed of innovation in your organization
Hal Kearsley, Gail Poitras, Norwich University
“The only thing constant in life is change” (François de la Rochefoucauld, 1600s). As distance
learning administrators we spend much of our time developing products and services that
change our future. However in this dynamic distance education environment, what was new
yesterday is old today. This ever-changing environment is having a dramatic impact on all of
our institutions. It requires us to be more innovative to remain competitive. To be blunt,
standing still is digging your own grave! We need to be changing faster than the marketplace to
stay ahead. The real key to success in today’s competitive world rests on being different. You
can’t be like everyone else; you have to do things smarter, faster and cheaper. But how do we
foster innovation within our systems that traditionally reside and bask in “tradition”? How do
we shift our strategic models to embrace real innovation? How do we reduce implementation
and delivery time and provide a high quality product to our customers? How do we decide
to expand our offerings, start new initiatives, evaluate new ideas; in short, to let go of what
worked but will soon be out of date? Innovation Engineering is a systematic approach to
implementing cost effective improvements and innovation strategies. This method includes
tools to create, communicate and commercialize unique ideas for more profitable products
and services within your organization. In this fishbowl session we will explore with participants
what is needed to foster innovation in your organization and lay the groundwork for using an
Innovation Engineering strategy to improve your distance education programs. If you’re in the
mood to innovate then join this fishbowl to get your feet wet.