Summer 2014 - Volume 17 Issue 2
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The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is a peer-reviewed electronic journal offered free each quarter over the World Wide Web. The journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of practitioners and researchers with specific focus or implications for the management of distance education programs. Click here to access our readership stats.
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Events & Learning

Distance Learning Administration 2014
June 8-11, 2014
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June 30, 2014
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July 14, 2014
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November 13, 2014

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July 7, 2014
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July 21, 2014
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October 27, 2014

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June 2, 2014
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September 8, 2014
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September 22, 2014
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March 26, 2015

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June 2, 2014
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August 15, 2014
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August 31, 2014
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November 23, 2014


Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
for providing this webspace

Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Melanie Clay
University of West Georgia
Melly's DLA Blog


Managing Editor
Ms. Dawn Senfeld
University of West Georgia


Associate Editor
Ms. Robin Stewart
University of West Georgia


Editorial Board
Dr. Mac Adkins
Troy University

David Babb
University of North Georgia

Dr. R.-L. Etienne Barnett University of Atlanta (US) Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)

Dr. Michael Beaudoin
University of New England

Mr. R. Thomas Berner
Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Kris Biesinger
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Dr. Beverly L. Bower
University of North Texas

Erik Burns
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. W. Dean Care
University of Manitoba

Dr. Jason G. Caudill
King University

Mr. Matthew N. Clay
University of West Georgia

Dr. Sherry A. Clouser
University of Georgia

Dr. Ken Corley
Appalachian State University

Dr. Micheal Crafton
University of West Georgia

Dr. Muhammet Demirbilek
Suleyman Demirel University, Turkey

Dr. Robert N. Diotalevi
Florida Gulf Coast University

Bruce Doney
Mercer University

Ms. Beth Evans
College Library of the City University of New York

Dr. Catherine L. Finnegan Advanced Learning Technologies,
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Jan Flegle
American Public University System

Dr. Larry V. Flegle
American Military University

Tanacha Gaines
University of West Georgia

Dr. Katy Herbold
Southern Utah University

Mrs. Laurie G. Hillstock
Virginia Tech

Mrs. Cathy Hochanadel
Kaplan University

Dr. Genell Hooper Harris
Centenary College of Louisiana

Dr. Scott L. Howell
Brigham Young University

Dr. Jason B. Huett
University of West Georgia

Dr. Thomas J. Hynes
Clayton State University

Dr. Sallie J. Johnson
USAF Air University, Air Command and Staff College

Dr. Harold J. Kearsley
Norwich University

Dr. John J. Ketterer
Jacksonville State University

Dr. James W. King
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Irene Kokkala
University of North Georgia

Olabisi Kuboni (retired)
The University of West Indies

Dr. Sally Kuhlenschmidt
Western Kentucky University

Ms. Elizabeth D. Larzelere M.S.
New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Andrew Leavitt
North Georgia College & State University

Ms. Nancy Lee
University of Nevada

Dr. Elke M. Leeds
Kennesaw State University

Christopher Mathews-Smith M.A.
Georgia Perimeter College Online

Dr. Barbara K. McKenzie
University of West Georgia

Dr. Jennifer McLean
Pennsylvania College of Technology

COL Philip A. McNair (USA, ret.)
American Public University System

Dr. Marc D. Miller
Augusta State University

Dr. Nancy Griffin Mims, Ed.D.
University of West Georgia

Dr. Mary Jo Muratore
University of Missouri - Columbia

Anna Obedkova
University of Texas of Arlington

Dr. Abbot L. Packard
University of West Georgia

Dr. Angie Parker
Northcentral University

Dr. Shawn M. Quilter
Eastern Michigan University

Dr. M. D. Roblyer
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Dr. Ravic P. Ringlaben
University of West Georgia

Dr. Michael Rogers
Advanced Learning Technologies,
Board of Regents of the
University System of Georgia

Dr. Peter J. Shapiro
Director of Creative Learning Services
Florida State College at Jacksonville

Dr. LeAnn McKinzie Thomason
Brownsville, Texas

Mitzi P. Trahan, Ph.D.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Thomas J. Tobin
DeVry University

Dr. Joann Kroll Wheeler
Texas A & M University

Past OJDLA Editors
Dr. Stephen J. Anspacher
The New School

Ms. Diane M. Burnette
University of Georgia

Dr. Michael Beaudoin
University of New England

Dr. Elizabeth Bennett
University of West Georgia

Janet Gubbins
University of West Georgia

Ms. Tammy Hamm-Ronsisvalle
Synergy Plus Inc.

Dr. Cher C. Hendricks
University of West Georgia

Rayma Harchar, Ed. D.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr. Nataliya V. Ivankova
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Kathleen A. Kraus
State University of New York at New Paltz

Dr. Dwight Laws
Brigham Young University

Dr. George E. Marsh II
The University of Alabama

Dr. Paul F. Merrill
Brigham Young University

Mr. Bob Reese
Reese Consulting Associates, Inc.

Mr. Timothy W. Seid
Earlham School of Religion

Dr. Barbara L. Watkins
University of Kansas

Current Issue
Training Your Faculty about Copyright When the Lawyer Isn't Looking
Thomas J. Tobin
Thomas J. Tobin

by Thomas J. Tobin

At one point in the spy-caper parody film Goldmember, Austin Powers and his friends are chasing the movie's villain through Japan. Their car gets stuck inside a giant foam dinosaur, which then drives through a crowded square. Panicked citizens scream and run. The scene then focuses on two Japanese men in business suits:

Man 1 [Brian Tee]: Run! It's Godzilla!
Man 2 [Masi Oka]: It looks like Godzilla, but due to international copyright laws, it's not.
Man 1: Still, we should run like it is Godzilla!
Man 2 [to the camera]: Though it isn't.
Both: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (Godzilla Scene, 2006)

View Article

Build It But Will They Teach?: Strategies for Increasing Faculty Participation & Retention in Online & Blended Education
Kristen Betts and Amy Heaston
Kristen Betts and Amy Heaston

by Kristen Betts and
Amy Heaston


The need for online and blended programs within higher education continues to grow as the student population in the United States becomes increasingly non-traditional. As administrators strategically offer and expand online and blended programs, faculty recruitment and retention will be key. This case study highlights how a public comprehensive university utilized the results of a 2012 institutional study to design faculty development initiatives, an online course development process, and an online course review process to support faculty participation and retention in online and blended programs. Recommendations based on this case study include replicable strategies on how to increase faculty participation and retention in online and blended programs using collaboration, support, and ongoing assessment. This case study is a compendium to the 2012 Armstrong institutional study highlighted in the article "Factors Influencing Faculty Participation & Retention In Online & Blended Education."




Harvesting Alternative Credit Transfer Students: Redefining Selectivity in Your Online Learning Program Enrollment Leads

Bradly Corlett
Bradly Corlett

by Bradly Corlett

Several recent issues and trends in online education have resulted in consolidation of efforts for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), increased Open Educational Resources (OER) in the form of asynchronous course repositories, with noticeable increases in governance and policy amplification. These emerging enrollment trends in alternative online education are highlighted as a means of tackling the overarching question of how best to deal with accepting these online courses and credentialing. Barriers to acceptance and a policy framework are discussed, as well as key recommendations for spearheading marketing efforts for institutions of all sizes, in an effort to create wider acceptance and implementing competency-based transfer credit policy among distance learning administrators and institutional leaders.


What Online Students Want Compared to What Institutions Expect

Jeffrey Bailie
Jeffrey L. Bailie

by Jeffrey L. Bailie

The purpose of this study was to examine whether a set of instructional practices commonly prescribed to online faculty in the higher education setting were consistent with the expectations of a group of experienced online student participants. Online faculty performance conventions were collected from 20 institutions of higher learning located in the United States. The collective practices yielded three primary domains related to administrative faculty performance expectations in online instruction: Communication, Presence/Engagement, and Timeliness/Responsiveness. Undergraduate participants representing a cross section of colleges and universities in the United States were surveyed to determine their expectations for online faculty as compared to scaled items derived from the lists of participating institutions. The results of this investigation offer practitioners insight into how administrative instructional guidelines relate to the user demands of an informed group of undergraduate online students.

Identifying and Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Online Students in Higher Education

Jeffrey Bailie
Bonny Barr

by Bonny Barr

89% of colleges and universities in the United States offer online courses and of those institutions 58% offer degree programs that are completely online (Parker, Lenhart & Moore, 2011).Providing online student services is an important component of these distance programs and is often required by accrediting bodies. Health and wellness services for online students are especially essential, as college students are accessing mental health services for severe problems at increasing rates on college campuses (Gallagher, Sysko, & Zhang, 2001). This paper outlines how institutions of higher learning can prepare faculty to identify mental health needs of online students and suggests effective administrative policies and programs to address these student needs.

Online enrollments were less than 10% of all students in 2002 when the Sloan Foundation began their annual surveys on the topic.By 2011, 32% of all enrolled post-secondary students were taking at least one online course and the numbers have been increasing steadily (Allen & Seaman, 2013). The rising percentage of online students has led to awareness by college administrations that these students have the same needs as students in a traditional classroom setting. Students who want to learn online also want to access their student services online. For learners enrolled in online programs, and living in geographically distant locations, internet access to student services is essential. These students' needs have resulted in revision of college and university policies and the creation of extensive web-based services for technical support in online courses, enrollment services, financial aid, and library resources.

An area of student services that is lagging behind in online availability is Health and Wellness, especially Mental Health services (Jones, 2006). In 2012, the American College Health Association (ACHA) annual survey found that some of the factors students reported as impairing academic performance included anxiety (20%), depression (12%), stress (29%), and alcohol/drugs (6%). The survey did not distinguish between online and face to face enrollees. A student experiencing mental health difficulties that affect his/her attendance, coursework, and grades may be enrolled in either type of course. All students can experience periods of stress-related anxiety and mood alteration; and early intervention can prevent these issues from worsening. Severe mental illnesses such as Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety disorder, Schizophrenia and Panic disorder occur in 26% of the U.S. population in all age groups (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005). In fact, 75% of mental illnesses first occur before age 24; the average age of onset is 18 to 24, when young people are often attending college (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005).

Retention of online students is also a priority concern for administrators of distance education programs and 5% of students who fail to complete degree programs drop out due to mental health problems (Kessler, 1995). In college students who have a diagnosed mental illness, 85% never complete a degree (Kessler, 1995). The 5.6 million students participating in online education have lower incomes, and are of a minority race, at rates much higher than that of on-campus classroom students (Schaffer, 2011) which puts them at greater risk for mental health issues (World Health Organization (WHO), 2012).

In a traditional classroom setting faculty have the ability to visually observe students, and interact face to face. This direct, experiential contact with students enables faculty to perceive mental health warning signs such as deterioration in hygiene, tardiness and absences, mood changes, bizarre behaviors, and altered levels of attention. In online educational settings the direct sensory contact with students is missing and the student is often at a distant geographic location. Thus, online educators need strategies for identifying mental health problems in their students, resources available to offer the distance student, and institutional policies addressing mental health and student performance. This article focuses on these topics.

What Really Matters? Technological Proficiency in an Online Course
Stacy Hendricks
Scott Bailey

by Stacy Hendricks
Scott Bailey


As the student population becomes more diverse, university administrators are challenged with meeting those needs in a variety of settings. Specifically, most universities are offering courses through three delivery methods: face-to-face, hybrid, and online. Although all three methods have existed for quite some time, pedagogical concerns regarding online instruction continue to be at the forefront of discussions regarding effective instruction. According to Ronsisvalle and Watkins (2005), assessing the technological skills students possess is a crucial first step in online education. Therefore, this study specifically focused on the technological skills needed by students for an online course. The lack of technological skills could quickly affect the success of the student in the online learning environment. Maintaining academic integrity and high levels of student learning are of utmost importance (Armstrong, 2011); therefore, it is essential to better understand the technological skills necessary for a student to be successful in an online course.

The professor's role and technological proficiency are equally as important as that of the student. The teaching responsibility of the professor changes with online courses (Baran, Correia, & Thompson, 2011). Not only must the professor design the course, facilitate discussion, and directly instruct students (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001), he/she must also be technologically savvy. Thus, it is also important to investigate the technological role and responsibility of the professor. The purpose of this study was to explore the necessary technological skills a student must possess in order to be successful in an online course. The intent of this study was to find possible stumbling blocks that could be averted before the student ever begins the online program.

It is (More) About the Students: Faculty Motivations and Concerns Regarding Teaching Online
H. David Hunt
Kim Davies
Maureen Akins
Deborah Richardson
Georgina Hammock
Laura Russ

by H. David Hunt
Kim Davies
Deborah Richardson
Georgina Hammock
Maureen Akins
Laura Russ

There is increasing interest, if not demand, from universities and students for faculty to teach using online technologies. However, many faculty members are reluctant to teach online. In this paper, we examine data collected from a broad range of faculty (part-time, tenure track, new and more experienced, in education, business, and liberal arts) to explore the relationship between faculty attitudes, experiences, self-perceived preparedness, and concerns about teaching online courses. In particular, we examine whether faculty who have taught online courses, feel more prepared and more motivated to teach online and have more positive attitudes about online teaching than those who have not taught online. Our findings indicate that while there are a number of concerns about teaching online among the faculty we surveyed, concerns about students are among the most important. We end with some policy and procedural implications for why faculty may or may not use new technologies to teach.

Online Faculty Perceptions on Effective Faculty Mentoring: A Qualitative Study
Teresa Williams   Melissa Layne   Phil Ice

by Teresa Williams
Melissa Layne
Phil Ice


When higher education leaders give little thought or offer little mentoring to their faculty members, there is risk of driving faculty members from teaching online and of them having a poor experience in online teaching. Without mentoring support, faculty members may feel disconnected and unsupported. The purpose of the study was to examine the mentoring processes reported by faculty members teaching at online institutions of higher education in order to understand the processes of mentoring that these educators purport to be most beneficial to them in their faculty roles. Data from exploratory, opened-ended, and anonymous survey items completed by 26 faculty members generated a vivid picture of the needs of mentoring faculty members. Results of the survey indicated that faculty members need and want mentoring. The participants reported that they value communication as a critical component on a number of levels. When faculty members feel that what they do is valued, they are more to continue working and want to continue improving as educators. Future quantitative studies could further add breadth to these new understandings of what faculty members need and want in terms of mentoring and training, thereby laying the groundwork for the development of an online faculty-training model.

A National Study of Theories and Their Importance for Faculty Development for Online Teaching
Katrina Meyer
Katrina Meyer
Vicki Murrell
Vicki Murrell

by Katrina A. Meyer
Vicki S. Murrell


This article presents the results of a national study of 39 higher education institutions that collected information about their practices for faculty development for online teaching and particularly the content and training activities used during 2011-2012. An instrument of 26 items was developed based on a review of literature on faculty development for online teaching and analyzed in Meyer (in press). The study found that 72% (n=29) organizations used learning style theory as a basis for their training activities, followed by 69% that used adult learning (Merriam, 2001) and self-directed learning (Knowles, 1975), 64% that used Kolb's (1984) experiential learning model, 59% that used Knowles' (1975) andragogy theories, and 54% that used various instructional design models. Models of good practice were strongly favored (79%) over research on online learning (31%) or theories of learning (23%) in faculty training. Pedagogies of online learning were most important to 92% of the respondents, while research about online learning was most important to only 23% of those who completed the survey. Differences based on Carnegie classification were also found.

Managing Communication and Professional Development in Online Graduate Programs with Electronic Portfolios
Craig E. Shepherd
Doris U. Bolliger

by Craig E. Shepherd
Doris U. Bolliger


Four years ago, two online graduate programs at a mid-size university in the western United States implemented ePortfolios to foster communication and connectedness among students and faculty, develop community that extends beyond course boundaries, and promote professional goal formation and achievement among students. This article describes choices made by administrators prior to and during implementation that resulted in current practice. It highlights successes and challenges associated with ePortfolio development in online programs, including coaching needs for students and faculty, access to ePortfolio content, and sustained production. Suggestions are provided for practitioners wishing to implement similar activities in their own online, graduate programs.

The number of online courses and programs offered by educational institutions in the United States (U.S.) has steadily grown over the years and continues to increase in order to meet demand. Online enrollments grew 21.1% from fall 2008 to 2009. Almost 5.6 million higher education students enrolled in an online course in fall 2009 and approximately 30% of students in higher education took at least one online course (Allen & Seaman, 2010).

Undergraduate students make up the majority of higher education students who enroll in online courses. However, in the academic year 2006-2007, over 1.7 million (14%) online students enrolled in graduate-level courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S. (Parsad & Lewis, 2008). Numerous accredited universities offer online graduate certificate, master, and doctoral degree programs.

Although online degree programs are comparable in quality and rigor to face-to-face programs (Tabatabaei, Schrottner, & Reichgelt, 2006), geographic distances between faculty and students can create difficulties with communication, feelings of isolation, or perceived support (McInnerney & Roberts, 2004; Rogers, 2003). In an effort to reduce potential problems and promote learning communities, some programs recently introduced electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) (Authors, 2010; Chen & Chen, 2009; Gaytan & McEwen, 2007).

The implementation of ePortfolios is not an easy task. Portfolios in traditional programs require buy-in from faculty and students. Faculty must align portfolios with course and program goals, communicate expectations pertaining to the selection of artifacts, and develop assessment criteria (Delandshere & Arens, 2003; Zeichner & Wray, 2001). This paper describes how faculty members at a research university integrated ePortfolios into graduate-level online education programs to facilitate a programmatic, systematic graduate student supervision approach.

Interaction Patterns in Synchronous Online Calculus and Linear Algebra Recitations
Dr. Greg Mayer
Greg Mayer
Dr. Cher Hendricks
Cher Hendricks

by Dr. Greg Mayer Dr.
Cher Hendricks


This study describes interaction patterns observed during a pilot project that explored the use of web-conferencing (WC) software in two undergraduate distance education courses offered to advanced high-school students. The pilot program replaced video-conferencing technology with WC software during recitations, so as to increase participation in the program from schools systems unable to afford the equipment that the established model required. We report on the experiences of 16 high-school students who had enrolled in this pilot through survey, focus group, and quantitative log data. Despite technical challenges that the participants and teaching assistant encountered, students in the pilot demonstrated they were able to succeed in this alternate format. Implications for the design of online group work are discussed.

Non Traditional Education: A View From The Market
Barry Mayhew

by Barry Mayhew

For many decades America enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a leader in technological innovation and creativity and most countries of the world looked toward the United States for indications of what was likely to become the next global trend. Clearly, America's pre-eminence in many areas of technology has been challenged by such countries as Japan, Germany and more recently China. However, many innovations and developments of a socio-economic nature also tend to have their origins in the U.S. and are frequently a harbinger of what is likely to occur in three, five or even ten years hence in other parts of the world.

The Acceptability of Online and For-Profit Nursing Degrees: A Study of Hiring Gatekeeper Perceptions
James W. Kinneer
James W. Kinneer

by James W. Kinneer

A national survey of health care recruiters was used to compare their attitudes toward four different RN-to-BSN degree options based on the method of instruction (classroom, online) and the type of college (traditional, for-profit). The analysis was based on the data received from 116 respondents who completed the questionnaire. The study findings revealed significant differences among the four degree options, with respect to the perceived advantages of the hiring process, credibility, concerns about credentials, and likelihood to recommend hiring. More specifically, the study participants favored degrees from traditional colleges and classroom instruction over those earned at for-profit colleges and through online instruction.

View Article

Instructor Social Presence within the Community of Inquiry Framework and its Impact on Classroom Community and the Learning Environment
Andre Swanson
Andree Swanson     Maria Minor    Bill Pollard

by Andree Swanson
Maria Minor
Bill Pollard


A change in the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework with an addition of an instructor social presence is suggested. The sample included 137 students in the School of Business of an online university. The independent variables were teaching and social presences from the COI framework and instructor social presence from an instrument developed for this study. Dependent variables were community and the learning environment as measured by the Rovai Classroom Community Scale. Instructor social presence reflected a significant impact on community and the learning environment. A need for more research into the impact of instructor social behavior in online and blended formats exists.

The Community of Inquiry (COI) framework has become a significant tool for online and blended educational research (Swan & Ice, 2010). Following the first decade of the framework, Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2010) noted that the keynote article for the framework was cited in over 600 scholarly publications. Maddrell, Morrison, and Watson (2011) reported that the original article by Arbaugh et al. (2008) had over 1,050 citations in Google Scholar. Recently, researchers have called for a critical examination of the components of the COI framework (Annand, 2011; Shea & Bidjerano, 2009; Xin, 2012). This study followed that call and suggests a COI framework that includes an instructor social presence (ISP).

View Article

From the Editor

Greetings,

Melanie Clay I just returned yesterday from our annual DLA Conference in beautiful Jekyll Island, and what a glorious joy it was to see so many friends and colleagues. This was the 15th year of the conference, and I had the special pleasure of seeing Dr. Thomas Tobin, who had been away from the conference for a few years he left higher education for a time. Dr. Tobin was the only DLA 2014 participant (other than staff) who was at our very first conference at Callaway Gardens in 2000. Dr. Tobin has long been a renowned scholar, presenter, and writer, and his award-winning conference paper is in this edition of the journal.

DLA 2015 will begin on June 28 next year at Jekyll Island, and the call for proposals will be released in October. I am also pleased to announce that the OJDLA and the University of West Georgia will sponsor a second and different conference next May in Savannah. The conference will be called "Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World." Distance education teachers and leaders, along with instructional designers, psychologists, librarians, and health practitioners will be invited to explore how to live and learn with technology in ways that add authentic value to our lives and to the world. Among the tracks will be Reconciling Humanity and Technology in the Classroom, Humanistic Instructional Design, Work-Life-Learning Balance, Health & Wellness in the High-Tech Workplace, Sustainable Technology Solutions; Social Equity & Educational Access, and more.

Much more information on both of these will be forthcoming. Wishing you a very safe and most splendid summer.

Peace to all,
Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
June 13, 2014

 

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