Fall 2012 - Volume 15 Issue 3


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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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Intro to Social Media Marketing Certificate Program
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January 22, 2017
March 2018

Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
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Editorial Board

Dr. Melanie Clay
University of West Georgia

Managing Editor
Ms. Kendall Dickey
University of West Georgia

Associate Editor
Ms. Julie Stone Ingle
University of West Georgia

Editorial Board
Dr. Mac Adkins
Troy University


Christopher L. A. Ahlstrom
Towson University

David Babb
University of North Georgia

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

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

Ms. Diane M. Burnette
University of Georgia

Erik Burns
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. W. Dean Care
Brandon University

Dr. Jason G. Caudill
King University

Yong Chen
Old Dominion University

Mr. Matthew N. Clay
University of West Georgia

Dr. Sherry A. Clouser
University of Georgia

Bradly Corlett

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

Pamala Dixon
University of West Georgia

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. Cher C. Hendricks
University of West Georgia

Dr. Katy Herbold
Southern Utah University

Mrs. Laurie G. Hillstock
Virginia Tech

Dr. 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

James Kinneer
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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

Melissa Layne
American Public University System

Dr. Andrew Leavitt
University of North Georgia


Dr. Lauryl A. Lefebvre

University of Phoenix

Ms. Nancy Lee
University of Nevada

Dr. Elke M. Leeds
Kennesaw State University


Dr. Amanda E. Major
University of Central Florida

Christopher Mathews-Smith M.A.
Emory University

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. Ravic P. Ringlaben
University of West Georgia

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


Dr. Beth Rene Roepnack
University of West Georgia Associate Director of Online Faculty Development
University of West 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
Author and Speaker

Dr. Joann Kroll Wheeler
Texas A & M University

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

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.

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. Barbara K. McKenzie
University of West Georgia

Dr. Paul F. Merrill
Brigham Young University

Mr. Bob Reese
Reese Consulting Associates, Inc.

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

Mr. Timothy W. Seid
Earlham School of Religion

Dr. Barbara L. Watkins
University of Kansas

Current Issue

Analyzing The Influences Of Course Design And Gender On Online Participation

Frank Butts
Kenneth Anthony

by Kenneth Anthony

Interaction is a critical component of successful online learning and by extension an important component in overall online program quality. The researcher studied the impact of course design on participation in an online university course. The participants were university students’ (n= 62, male= 33, female= 29). Their responses from online discussions were analyzed using repeated measures factorial ANOVA finding a statistically significant decrease in student participation in weeks when major assignments were due. The impact of assignments was similar for female and male participants. Measures of effect size indicated that course design accounted for more variation in online participation than gender. The key finding of the study was that course design can have a significant impact on level of participation and therefore student success in the online course. Ways to prevent or mitigate the impact of the reduction in student participation are presented.

Online Education Vendor Partners: When and How to Select One

Frank Butts
Michael Hoffman

by  Michael Hoffman

Higher education institutions are increasingly looking to online education as a means to broaden their market reach, increase student enrollments and ultimately realize increased tuition revenue. Many institutions, however, find that they have insufficient infrastructure resources to launch one or more fully online learning programs. A small number of corporations now specialize in assisting higher education institutions with both launching and maintaining online education programs. These online education vendor partners typically provide higher education institutions with support in the areas of student marketing, faculty development and technology infrastructure. Such relationships are typically paid for by a share of online tuition dollars and often last for up to ten years. Due to the relatively long timeframes and costs associated with these vendor partnerships it is critical that higher education institutions choose a vendor that is the best fit for the institution. Prior to selecting an online education vendor partner, an institution will likely compare a number of vendors across a variety of dimensions such as cost, level of services, and experience. An online vendor partner decision matrix is one method for objectively acquiring and reviewing decision criteria to assist institutions in selecting the appropriate online education vendor partner.

Exploring Online Teaching: A Three-Year Composite Journal of Concerns and Strategies from Online Instructors

Frank Butts
Hong Lin, Kim Dyer, Yu Guo

by  Hong Lin
      Kim Dyer
      Yu Guo

Using Fuller’s concerns-based model for teacher development, this study identifies concerns and strategies experienced by 103 online instructors in a six-week online professional development course offered multiple times over a three-year period.  The study reveals that online instructors identified concerns related to self, task, and impact.  In the end, this study provides practical strategies for the rapidly rising population of online instructors who aspire to design and deliver effective online instruction.  

Leadership Through Instructional Design in Higher Education
Frank Butts
Kristi Shaw

by Kristi Shaw

The function of leadership is to create a vision for the future, establish strategic priorities, and develop an environment of trust within and between organizations. Great leadership is a process; leadership involves motivational influence, leadership occurs in groups, and involves a shared vision (Northouse, 2010). Instructional designers are ideal leadership candidates for institutions of higher education because of their ability to couple technical and conceptual skills while working collaboratively. This essay will provide the reader with a sense of where distance education is heading and what leadership skills will be required for progress. Specifically, this article will highlight instructional designers’ abilities to provide an organization with the leadership necessary to move institutions into the 21st century and beyond.

An Initial Exploration of a Virtual Personal Fitness Course
Daniel Judd
Brian Mosier
David Woolstenhulme
Susan Lynn

by Brian Mosier
     Susan Lynn

The incredible growth rates and increased enrollments in virtual physical education (VPE), otherwise known as K-12 online physical education, continue to rise. VPE has the potential to service K-12 student learning in independent and self-paced curriculum. However, VPE brings a healthy skepticism among the profession. To this point, it is difficult to make an accurate assessment of VPE due to the lack of research in this area. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which a virtual personal fitness course met the criteria set forth by the NASPE Initial Guidelines for Online Physical Education. This study explored the first and largest VPE program in the southeastern United States. Teacher and administrator interviews, the school’s website, the course shell, annual student external evaluations, and a comprehensive assessment conducted by Florida Tax Watch were used to complete a thorough content analysis. 

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings Readers:

Our first article, contributed by Kenneth Anthony, reveals the findings of a study exploring the impact of course design on student participation.  Most of our institutions are keenly attuned to any differences in online delivery that contribute to student success.  The major variables of online student success, in my experience, are faculty behaviors, the intensity of student support services, and course design. Of these, course design is often overlooked.  Some of the most common mistakes, leading to student attrition and failure, are an abundance of redundant busy work; assessments that are not updated and don’t reflect course content; conflicting instructions or dates on assignments; poorly written instructions; and difficult navigation. Anthony’s work provides a very specific finding on a type of assignment that may lead to decreased student participation and success.  I would love to see further research on other types of online assignments and their impacts – there is a lacuna of valid information in this area. Enjoy this issue, and have a wonderful fall!


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
September 17, 2012


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Last modified: September 17, 2012