Policies and Practices in the Utilization of Interactive Television and Web-Based Delivery Models in Public Universities
Online and interactive television courses are, and will continue to be, implemented in most college and university settings. When reviewing educational literature, one is inundated with articles on educational technology and electronic instructional models. Articles addressing distance learning around the globe, within the military, in business and industry, the introduction of 'virtual' universities and high schools, and the benefits of distance learning are numerous throughout the literature (NEA Report, 2000; Gottschalk, 2000; Murphy, 2000; The Chronicle on Higher Education, 2000; Rodrigues, l999).
Creed (cited in Campbell & Smith, 1996, p. 2) states "We are bombarded daily with the hype about the coming technological revolution in higher education. Technology is touted as the most recent panacea; the cure for what ails us." As suggested by Creed, lack of information regarding the technology revolution is not an issue. Rather, while a great deal of general information is available, precise information is not always readily accessible. Creed (cited in Campbell and Smith, l996, p. 3) continued by offering an opinion concurring with many in higher education which suggests that ". . . technology is transforming our lives and will continue to do so. But will it impact our teaching? And if so, how? The question we need to ask is, 'What do we want to accomplish in our courses and can technology advance our teaching goals?' rather than, 'What can we do with technology?'". In other words, higher education is accepting the technological advances in informational and instructional delivery models. The challenge of this study, was to determine how we can most effectively use the technological instructional model to benefit students.
Review of Literature
Based upon professional study in a related area, the Teacher-Service-Scholar Model, interest was sparked in the area of distance learning accountability. DeSpain, Heeney, and Livingston (l998, p. 3) presented research suggesting that even Deans of Colleges of Education offered that there "does not appear to be a great deal of consistency among institutions in the treatment of nontraditional activities, even to the extent of what should be considered a scholarly publication." This research encompassed, among other things, the apparent confusion of "how to treat, in the promotion and tenure issues", materials and activities developed and created for distance learning instructional models (DeSpain, Heeney, & Livingston, l998). Further review of the literature on this subject elicited broad general areas of study. General strands which appeared significant in the literature included copyright and ownership of distance learning materials/courses, increased effectiveness of teaching methodology in distance learning models, faculty and student attitudes relative to distance learning, jurisdiction and/or accountability for accreditation of distance learning instruction, and cost-effectiveness of distance learning models.
Additional support for the initial interest in this area was emphasized by a preliminary perusal of a major academic journal. No less than eight (8) articles within the online journal addressed distance learning and related aspects. These initial steps prompted the final research project addressing distance learning instructional models related specifically to web-supported and interactive television courses.
Expansion/Demand for Distance Education
The literature base offered strong evidence that distance education is becoming an increasingly visible feature of post-secondary education in this country (U.S. Dept. of Education, Lewis, Snow, Farris, Lewin, & Green, 2000). Murphy (2000, p. 1) quoted a study by Market Data Retrieval, a subsidiary of Shelton, Conn-based Dunn & Bradstreet Corp., which found that "seventy-five percent (75%) of the 4,400 post-secondary schools in the United States are offering distance learning classes." This is an increase of one-third from the previous year. Research suggested that this figure will increase until by the year 2002, eighty-four percent (84%) of all four-year colleges and universities will be offering distance learning classes.
A similar study conducted by a Massachusetts based company substantiated these totals with figures predicting that 2.2 million students will be taking on-line classes by the year 2002 in comparison with 700,000 for the l998 school year. Even further substantiating this educational trend, the same study compared the traditional college enrollments which are rising at a one to two percent (l-2%) rate per year as compared to the distance education enrollments which are rising by thirty percent (30%) per year. The concept of a "virtual university" is now being implemented in thirty-three (33) states with eleven (ll) more states strongly considering this option of participation and/or association (CHEA Update, l999). These figures offered a strong indication of the demand for a changing paradigm of instructional methodology (Murphy, 2000).
Effectiveness of distance learning instructional model/cost effectiveness of distance learning model
Acknowledging the distance learning trend as inevitable, pragmatic issues become apparent complications. Integrating the distance learning model into a traditional educational program creates complexities in the areas of effectiveness. While the distance learning model offers immediate savings to students, it produces significant initial cost increases to the sending institutions. Issues such as the integration of additional hardware, equality and quality of the hardware, accessibility to students, maintenance, support costs and personnel issues, infrastructure, and the transmission costs are new aspects which must be considered when implementing a distance learning initiative (Trier, l995; Rodrigues, l999). There may be a misconception that students in the field all have access to the appropriate hardware and transmission accessibility to make the distance learning sequence feasible (Rodrigues, l999). Equalizing the playing field may be an issue for future consideration. A by-product of the cost effectiveness discussion brought about comments from the professorate related to increased work load to implement the distance learning programs without concomitant financial incentives (NEA News Release, 2000). Similarly, Lewis, et al (2000) emphasized that even though distance education is often seen as a cost-savings approach for the attainment of advanced education, the initial costs of development, implementation, and deliverance of coursework are often substantial.
Repeatedly throughout the literature, there was acknowledgment of the appeal for the distance learning model closely followed by statements regarding retooling, retraining, and increased expectations of both students and faculty. (Mulligan & Geary, l999; Murphy, 2000; NEA News Release, 2000; Trier, l995). Supporting the effectiveness of distance learning as a viable instructional model for the 2lst century, a NEA study maintained that the overall population of NEA members in higher education who work with distance learning models see the instructional model as beneficial to students offering opportunities and practical application for a changing world (NEA, 2000). Further research supported this view (Mulligan & Geary, l999; Rodrigues, 1999). Souder (l993) and Austin (l999) presented research that suggests achievement levels in distance learning courses are equal or higher than coursework delivered in the traditional model. Good educational practices - strong organization, clear presentations, student involvement, timely feedback - when provided to students, appear to get the same, or similar results, whether delivered by the traditional method or the technology-based system (Moore & Thompson, l990; Verduin & Clark, l99l; Austin, l999).
Following closely upon the heels of a discussion regarding program effectiveness comes the issue of training and faculty development. Education Week (2000) addressed both the cost effectiveness issue and the instructional effectiveness issues with the suggestion that "the technology is only as good as the instruction behind it. As the demand for distance learning and other instructional technology increases, professors are required to meet the need for the changing instructional paradigm. Consequently, graduate programs with web-based courses (on-line instruction) and interactive television classes have become normal components of many professors' course loads. Interestingly enough, these innovative program are often not within the traditional experiences of many graduate professors, thereby requiring extensive research, re-training, and professional development on the part of the instructors. The literature supported the view that effective teaching practices are fundamentally the same no matter the delivery model. (Austin, l999; Egan, Sebastian, & Welch, l99l; Souder, 1993). Issues specific to distance learning, however, included extensive planning and preparation, hardware which supported the delivery model, and instructor training in the use of equipment and techniques proven effective in the distance education environment (Egan, Sebastian, & Welch, l99l; Wilkes & Burnham, l991).
Murphy (2000) noted that there is a growing consensus that an on-line course may require 30 to 50% more instructor preparation time than the traditional course. This is echoed by other experts (Hereford, 2000; Mulligan & Geary, 1999; Scott, l995 cited in Murphy, 2000) who stated that in addition to preparation time on the 'front-end' of the course, time for assessment, feedback, and interaction with students is drastically increased. As stated by Schlosser and Anderson (l994) instruction via the technologies requires extensive planning and preparation. This is substantiated by Trier (l995) who suggested that extensive pre-planning and formative evaluation is vital. Murphy (2000) further suggested that concerns are expressed regarding the time factor involved in distance learning courses from the professors' view and supported this view with statements from directors of extended learning. Rather than the typical three (3) hour per week lecture course with attendant preparation, the on-line courses are on a "24-7" time frame (Murphy, 2000). Students do not interact with the professor on a standard time or day; rather, they may respond (and may expect a response) any time of the day or night. These concerns are also supported by the NEA study (The Chronicle, 2000). The traditional oral lecture may be taken from written notes in an abbreviated form. This is in direct contrast to the on-line version of the same material which must be fully written - clearly and succinctly - to achieve maximum benefit for both student and instructor. In the same vein, interactive television courses require a great deal of preparation in terms of material preparation, awareness of physical presentation, and forethought regarding provision of materials and assignments to off-site students prior to the course presentation (Trier, l995).
Roger Schmenner, associate dean of the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, cited in Murphy, 2000 (p. 3) presented the concept in this manner. "It does take me a while to type out responses to each, (student) and I end up spending a lot more time than the 75 minutes I'd spend on each session in an actual classroom." Concurring with this view, Susan Scott, director of consortium services for the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System, cited in Murphy (2000, p. 3) described on-line teaching as "hard work". She (Scott, cited in Murphy, 2000) continued by confirming the overall positive attitudes of professors to the technology-based instruction, however, with the view that reflective instruction is taking hold. Instructors are becoming more aware of their material and how best to present it as they work with students' on-line. The Chronicle of Higher Education (2000, p. 2) discussing a report to the Congressional Web-Based Education Commission, quoted Senator Bob Kerrey as stating that "several needs have been identified in the meetings, including training instructors in how to use technology, improving the capacity of institutions to harness the Internet, and increasing government support for research and development." While there are questions and issues related to the cost effectiveness and instructional effectiveness of the model, there is little doubt of the prevalent support for distance learning as an up and coming instructional mode.
Purpose of the study
Accepting that current demand integrates technology as a fundamental piece of the educational process, the same realization must occur with the distance learning models. Online and interactive television courses are, and will continue to be, implemented in most colleges and universities. Based on these facts, an initial investigation began to determine what, if any specific issues appeared to be of interest and/or concern in the implementation of distance learning models. Specifically, the writers based much of the preliminary investigation on DeSpain's previous work in the area of the Teacher/Service/Scholar Model. Based on this research and a summary review of literature (see Appendix A), a survey instrument was developed specifically addressing practices within Colleges of Education as reported by Deans of the colleges. Strands upon which the study centered were faculty ownership of developed courses/materials, compensation/consideration for distance learning instruction, attitudes regarding the distance learning instructional model, faculty training/professional development, and technical support.
The research format was divided into two major sections representing the distance learning areas of interactive television and on-line (web-based) instructional models. The research instrument was comprised of a forty-three (43) question survey including one open-ended response item. The initial tool was piloted with a select group of College of Education and Extended Learning administrators. The final survey instrument was mailed to all Deans of Colleges of Education at public universities in thirteen (l3) mid-western states (total one hundred ten (ll0) surveys). A return of ninety (90) of one hundred ten (ll0) instruments from a single mailing attests to the high interest level on this topic. The return of ninety (90) instruments represents an eighty-two percent (82%) response rate. Eighty-three (83) of the surveys were used in the final tabulation.
Each item on the survey instrument was calculated to attain a statistical mean. Each major section, interactive television and web-based instruction, are presented. Two comments are appropriate at this point. First, the interest level in this research is far greater than originally expected. Second, the results of the survey indicate that compensation, training, and ownership issues are not clearly defined. The results of these calculations are summarized below.
Findings - ITV Instructional Delivery Model
General Information - Interactive Television Instructional Delivery Model. Of the eighty-three (83) survey responses, seventy percent (70%) of the respondents indicated that their college did offer coursework via the Interactive Television (ITV) format with thirty percent (30%) of the participants noting that this was not a method used currently. These results concurred with the general statistics provided in previous studies cited in the review of literature. When asked if professors who taught the ITV courses volunteered or were assigned, seventy-six percent (76%) stated that professors volunteered for the assignment while twenty-four percent (24%) indicated that the positions were not necessarily filled on a voluntary basis. When queried as to whether newly hired professors were expected to teach via ITV, sixty-one percent (61%) responded in the affirmative and thirty-nine percent (39%) in the negative. Continuing in this vein, when asked if current faculty could decline to teach via the ITV distance learning model, seventy-eight percent (78%) responded yes, professors could decline, and twenty-two percent (22%) indicated that refusing to teach via ITV was not an option.
With regard to physical location of the instructing professor, fifty-nine percent (59%) stated that the professor remained at the sending site with thirty-nine percent (39%) indicating the professor did not always remain at the main campus site. Class size was typically controlled at both the broadcast site and the off-campus locations by the majority of the institutions (78%). Enrollment sized ranged from five (5) to fifty (50) students at both the broadcast and off-site classes. The largest number of respondents (36%) indicated that the typical class maximum for both on and off-site would be twenty (20) students.
Tables of ITV Responses
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Institution offer course work via ITV 70.3 29.7 na Professors volunteer for teaching assignment 75.7 24.3 na New professors hired with understanding to teach ITV 6l.3 38.7 na Professors may decline ITV teaching assignment 78.0 22.0 na Primary instructor remain at sending site 59.0 39.3 na Control size of classes 78.3 2l.7 na Maximum enrollment 10 - 20 typical (Range from l -50)
Technical/Physical Facilities for ITV Delivery Model. Technical support is a major factor in the effective delivery of an interactive course. Sixty-five percent (65%) of the respondents indicated that a trained technician was on-site at the sending location with the corresponding thirty-five percent (35%) indicating no technician was available. Conversely, only twenty-nine percent (29%) of the institutions had a trained technician at the receiving sites. Distance of the transmissions ranged from twenty (20) to five hundred (500) miles (the longest range indicating a state-wide program). The largest number of respondents, forty-four percent (44%), indicated that seventy-five (75) to one hundred fifty (l50) miles was the typical transmission distance. The number of sites to which the transmissions were sent ranged from one (l) to ten (l0) with two (2) to five (5) sites being the case sixty-four percent (64%) of the time.
Technical/Physical Facility Set-up for ITV Delivery Model
Faculty Training and Support
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Trained technician available at the
64.5 35.5 na Trained technician available at all sites (broadcast and receiving sites) 29.0 7l.0 na Maximum distance typically delivered 50 - 100 miles (typical) Range: 20 - 500 (state-wide program) Number of sites to which ITV is transmitted 1 - 5 (typical) Range: 1 - l0 Professors provided with training in ITV (distance learning) techniques 67.2 32.8 na Number of hours 2 - 4 hours (typical) Range: 1 - l5 plus
Faculty Training. The issue of training and professional development for faculty working with ITV revealed that sixty-seven percent (67%) of the respondents providing such training. Relative to this issue, the scope and frequency of training ranged from one (l) to fifteen plus (l5+) hours. The greatest number of participants (54%) indicated that faculty training opportunities typically ranged from two (2) to four (4) hours.
Financial Issues/Faculty Compensation. As stated in the literature review teaching via distance learning models may require extensive preparation and additional time requirements. Questions related to these issues elicited interesting data with regard to time allotments in relation to increased work demands. When considering release time for ITV course preparation, only twenty-eight percent (28%) of the responding institutions provided release time prior to the semester in which the course was taught and thirty-nine percent (39%) during the semester in which the course was taught.
With regard to financial consideration, only thirty-nine percent (39%) of the responding institutions offered additional compensation for teaching ITV. Likewise, less than half (44%) of the institutions increased tuition for students enrolling in the ITV courses.
Financial Issues/Faculty Compensation
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Professors teaching via ITV provided release time 27.9 72.1 na Release time - prior to semester in which course is taught 38.5 6.l5 na Release time - during the semester in which course is taught 3l.3 68.7 na Professors given extra compensation/consideration 32.3 67.7 na Tuition increase to students enrolling in ITV coursework 44.8 55.2 na
Attitudinal Reactions. The overall attitudes of both faculty and students toward the ITV instructional model were positive. Faculty results indicated sixty-eight percent (68%) rating their attitudes as favorable to very favorable which was comparable to the student rating of seventy-six percent (76%) on the favorable to very favorable Likert scale range.
Faculty and Students' Attitudinal Reactions
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Faculty attitudes toward teaching via ITV 68.0 Favorable to very favorable Student attitudes toward taking coursework via ITV 76.0 Favorable to very favorable
Findings - Web-based Instructional Delivery Model
General Information - On-line (Web-based) Instructional Delivery Model. From the eighty-three (83) valid responses sixty-one (61), or seventy-three percent (73%), of the participants indicated that on-line (web-based) coursework is in use in their college. For the participants using the on-line model (73%), seventy-eight percent (78%) of the colleges had been using on-line instruction four (4) years or more. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the respondents indicated that they did not currently have on-line instruction in their programs. Of these respondents ninety percent (90%) stated that plans did exist to integrate this instructional model in the future. In terms of courses offered, the greatest range, sixty-four percent (64%), of the responding institutions offer three (3) to five (5) courses per year. The total number of courses being offered per institution ranged from one (l) to (36) thirty-six per year.
Questions relating to the implementers of this instructional design were analogous to the interactive television questions. When asked if professors who taught via the on-line method those who volunteered for the assignment, eighty-six percent (86%) indicated in the affirmative with only fourteen percent (l4%) responding that the teaching assignment was not always voluntary. This was similar to the seventy-six percent (76%) return regarding the ITV responses. Relative to expectations for new faculty, forty-four percent (44%) of the respondents indicated that new professors were hired with the expectation that the on-line/web-supported instructional delivery model would be a part of the course delivery. Participants indicated that professors did have the opportunity to decline to teach via the on-line model with a return rate of ninety-four percent (94%) in the affirmative to this question.
On-Line Instructional Delivery Model
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Institution offering on-line/web-supported coursework 73.0 27.0 na If not, are there plans for future on-line offerings 90.0 10.0 na Number of years on-line coursework has been offered 2 - 5 years (typical) Number of courses offered each year 2 - 5 courses each year (typical) (The majority was a range of two (2) to five (5) each year.) Professors volunteer for teaching assignment 86.2 13.8 na New professors hired with expectation to teach via on-line delivery model 44.6 55.4 na Professors may decline to teach via on-line delivery model 94.6 5.4 na
Technical Assistance and Faculty Training. Deans reported that they considered the professors teaching via the on-line model to be competent and technologically literate sixty-two percent (62%) of the time. Ninety-two percent (92%) of the responding Deans also indicated that technical support was provided. This does not align, necessarily, with the literature review which indicated some concern regarding the training and technical support issues (Austin, l999; DeSpain, Heeney, Livingston, l998; Trier, l995).
Technical Assistance and Training
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Professors develop/teach on-line generally technologically literate and competent to handle details 6l.7 38.3 na Professors develop/teach on-line are provided technical support 9l.5 8.5
Student Issues. In terms of student restrictions with regard to number of courses taken, time frames of the on-line course offerings, regular versus on-line instruction of the same course, and mandates for on-line coursework, the responses varied. Data solicited regarding restrictions on the number of on-line courses a student could take in the institutions' degree program elicited the response that only twenty-two percent (22%) suggested that there were restrictions. The large majority, seventy-eight percent (78%) indicated that there were no restrictions in the number of concerns a student could take in a degree program. Several handwritten comments on the survey concerning this question indicated that it had not been a concern to date. Eighty-four percent (84%) of the participants indicated that the on-line courses were offered as a regular semester course. Registration and completion of the courses were allowed at any time by twenty-three percent (23%) of the responding institutions. Only one (l) institution, less than one percent (l%) of the tabulated data, noted that students were required to take at least one (l) on-line or web-supported course at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and only one other institution indicated that students were required to take one (l) on-line or web-supported course at the undergraduate but not graduate level. This provided evidence that ninety-nine (99%) of the responding institutions did not yet require students to become involved in the technological instructional delivery systems.
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Restrictions on the number of courses students may take on-line in a degree program 22.0 88.0 na Undergraduate (Restrictions on courses taken on-line) Of the 22.0 who placed restrictions - 5.0 placed on undergraduate only Graduate (Restrictions on courses taken on-line) On-line courses offered as a regular semester course 84.4 15.6 na Students register and complete on-line courses at any time 76.7 23.3 na On-line courses are also offered in the traditional on-campus/lecture delivery model 84.0 16.0 na Student required to take at least one on-line course to evidence technological competency 1.0 99.0 na (summary statement/ written remarks)
Copyright/ownership/Usage Agreements for On-line Courses. In the review of literature, this was an area noted, but not discussed extensively in the summary review. As an area of interest, however, based on the DeSpain research, two questions within this study specifically address this issue. Or the eighty-three instruments used for final data analysis, less than half, thirty-nine percent (39%) of the university respondents indicated a formal agreement between institutions and professors which dictated ownership issues of courses created/developed by the instructor. Sixty-one percent (6l%) of the participants did not have a formal agreement relating to the ownership issue. A much stronger piece of evidence documenting this as an area for further investigation was the second question of this section, which studied the professional assignment for the instructor-developed course. This query requested information regarding when the professor developed/created a course, was there any guarantee as to who would teach the course in the future. Only two percent (2%) of the participants noted that there was such an agreement. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the respondents indicated that there was not a guarantee to the developer of the course as to who would be teaching the course in future semesters.
Copyright/Ownership/Usage Agreements for On-line Courses
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Institution have formal agreement between professors and institution dictating ownership issues of created/developed on-line courses 39.3 60.7 na Guarantee for professors who develop/create on-line courses as to course assignment in the future l.8 98.2 na
Financial Issues/Faculty Compensation. Documented in the literature review, faculty compensation or consideration was mentioned as a possible area of concern by faculty involved in the distance learning initiative (Hereford, 2000; NEA Report, 2000; Trier, l995). Therefore, the results relating to this area were viewed with considerable interest. Forty-two percent (42%) of the respondents indicated that there was some form of monetary and/or other consideration given for the distance learning teaching assignment. Fifty-eight percent (58%), however, indicated that there was no consideration given for the non-traditional instructional model. These results were in keeping with the NEA study, which stated that sixty-three percent (63%) of their respondents did not receive additional compensation and eighty-four percent (84%) received no reduction in course load. This was echoed by this investigation which found that forty-two percent (42%) did receive release time prior to or during the distance teaching assignment while fifty-eight percent (58%) did not. Completing the section on financial issues, participants were asked if increased costs associated with the distance learning format were passed on the students in the form of tuition increases. The majority of respondents indicated that tuition increases were not yet a customary part of the distance learning model. Forty-two percent (42%) indicated that tuition costs were increased with fifty-eight percent (58%) stating there was no tuition increase. Of the institutions responding in the affirmative to the tuition increase, thirty-four percent (34%) of those were at the graduate level only.
Of the final four (4) questions presented on the research instrument, three (3) of those inquiries requested a rank order and/or an individual notation of information. Question number forty (40) requested data on the rationale for offering on-line courses. The highest ranking responses were very close in numerical percentage. The highest ranked responses for offering on-line courses were l) recognition of changing needs of consumer pool, 2) providing service to current students who request greater options to courses, and 3) meeting efforts of competitors, thereby keeping current student population. However, with little or no statistical difference in the response rankings, numerical ratings four (4), five (5), and six (6) suggested that many institutions were providing distance learning opportunities because of 4)genuine commitment to the idea that this is a good way to teach college courses, 5) professors want to teach by that venue, and 6) building enrollment by gaining new students. An analysis of the data indicated that there were six primary reasons for the use of distance learning, and all six were considered extremely important across the population surveyed.
The second and third data requests in this section discussed the generation of revenue from the two distance learning venues. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the respondents' institutions allotted the revenues generated by the distance learning venues to the regular academic program. Four percent (4%) of the respondents indicated that the monies were divided between two of the options offered (regular academic program, College of Education, Extended Learning/Continuing Education) with those two typically the regular academic program and the extended learning/continuing education program. The remaining two percent (2%) of the participating institutions divide generated funds between all three of the university components noted.
The final question of the research tool requested information relative to innovative practices being implemented with the technology-related courses. As an open-ended response, the data were analyzed and combined into broad strands of similarities. Generally, the respondents indicated that combined interpersonal and technology-related coursework and/or mixed media were being used to integrate the traditional with the innovative. Five (5) of the eighty-three (83) respondents indicated that collaboration and/or networking with sister institutions and/or community colleges were a part of their distance learning initiatives. Eleven (ll) of the eighty-three (83) institutions noted that instruction on some web-based courses was being provided by two or more professors located at varying institutions throughout the country. Eight (8) of the respondents specifically noted that this was an area of interest, concern, and fast-moving change. Suggestions for further investigation and requests for completed data were also noted.
Financial Issues/Faculty Compensation
Variable Yes (by percentage) No (by percentage) Range Professors teaching on-line receive extra compensation 4l.9 58.l na Professors teaching on-line receive release time 4l.9 58.l na If provided, release time prior to the semester in which the course is taught 36.4 na If provided, release time during the semester in which the course is taught 35.0 na Tuition increase for on-line instructional model 42.0 58.0 na (34%-tuition increase at graduate level) Rank order/information on reasons for offering on-line course delivery No statistical difference
Recognition of changing needs of consumer pool Providing service to current students who request great options to courses Meeting efforts of competitors, thereby keeping current student population
Genuine commitment to the idea that this is a good way to teach college courses Professors want to teach that way Building enrollment by gaining new students
Department/fund revenue generated from on-line courses allotted 94.0 Primary Response:
Regular academic program
Divide between regular academic program, College of Education, Extended Learning/ Continuing Education
Distance Learning Status
Summary. The majority of Colleges of Education Deans indicated that their institutions were offering distance learning opportunities to their service areas. Of the institutions who were not currently using distance learning, the large majority (90%) indicated that plans were in place to implement this delivery model in the near future. This information was supported by other authorities and studies (CHEA Update, l999; NEA Study, l999; Willis, l994).
Analysis of responses indicated that the majority of distance learning courses are taught by professors who are volunteering for the teaching assignment (76% ITV - 86% On-line). An expectation for new professors to become involved in the distance learning instructional model is currently common in the majority of institutions relative to ITV (61%). The expectation for involvement with the on-line instructional model is not as common (44%). In both the ITV and on-line forum, the large majority of respondents indicated that professors may decline to teach via the distance learning model (78% for ITV - 94% for on-line).
In terms of physical location, technical assistance, and class size, participants offering the ITV model provided the following statistics. The majority of professors stayed at the broadcast site (59%). Class size was limited at both the broadcast sites and receiving sites (78%), and class sizes were typically five (5) to twenty (20) students at any site.
Technical assistance was considered a strong support for the ITV instructors with the majority of respondents indicating that technicians were provided at the sending site (65%). The receiving sites, however, did not typically have a technician available (29%). Distance of transmissions ranged from twenty (20) to five hundred (500) miles with the most common response being a range of seventy-five (75) to one hundred fifty (l50) miles.
The majority of Deans responding to the survey indicated that training and staff development were provided (67%). The typical training time was from two (2) to four (4) hours (54%).
As noted in the literature (Willis, l999; NEA Study, l999; Trier, l999), compensation and/or consideration for the added expectation and workload of distance learning was a concern of distance learning instructors. This study presented documentation that the majority of professors did not receive release time or compensation for the increased demands of distance learning instruction (28% release time provided - 39% receiving some form of compensation). Tuition increases for ITV courses were used in less than half of the responding institutions (44%).
Attitudes of both students and faculty toward the ITV instructional model were favorable (68% for instructors - 76% for students) although this is secondary knowledge as reported from Deans.
Three (3) to five (5) courses are the typical range (64%) of the responding institutions as related to on-line courses per year.
The majority of Deans reported on-line instructors were technically competent. Likewise, the deans felt that technical support was provided ninety-two percent (92%) of the time.
Only twenty-two percent (22%) of responding institutions indicated restrictions on the number of on-line classes students could take. The majority of respondents suggested that on-line courses were offered as regular semester courses and twenty-three percent (23%) suggested that students could register and complete on-line courses at any time. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the respondents indicated that students were not yet 'required' to take on-line instruction in order to demonstrate technological competence.
The copyright/ownership/usage agreement segments definitively supported the DeSpain, Heeney, Livingston (l998) research. Less than one-half (39%) of the respondents employed the use of a formal agreement dictating ownership and future usage of instructor created/developed courses. Only two percent (2%) of the respondents indicated use of an agreement that guaranteed who would teach the instructor-developed course in the future.
Comparable results were noted between the areas of ITV and on-line instruction in relation to release time and/or compensation. Forty-two percent (42%) of the deans responding to the survey indicated that their faculties did receive release time for preparation of the distance learning format with the same percentage (42%) indicating extra compensation was awarded. Tuition costs to students were increased concomitantly at the forty-two percent (42%) level.
Distance learning opportunities were provided for several reasons. There were three primary and three secondary reasons indicated. Statistically there was no significant different in the ratings among the three items in each of the two groups.
a) Recognition of changing needs of consumer pool
b) Providing service to current students who request greater options to course
c) Meeting efforts of competitors, thereby keeping current student population
d) Genuine commitment to the idea that this is a good way to teach college courses
e) Professors want to teach that way
f) Building enrollment by gain new students
Revenues generated by the distance learning formats were received into the general fund and then generally distributed to a combination of the three departments noted, l) College of education, 2) extended learning/continuing education, and 3) the regular academic program.
Innovative programming reported by the Deans utilized distance learning techniques centered around a combination of l) interpersonal and distance/technological instruction, 2) collaborations with sister institutions and/or community colleges, and 3) on-line courses taught by two or more professors from various geographical locations.
The response rate indicated the strong interest in this area of study. Distance education is now an integral part of both the undergraduate and graduate educational program. Training and staff development are vital components of effective distance learning instruction. These are being offered by most universities, but additional training should be considered with emphasis on distance learning techniques. Usage agreements and ownership guarantees are not generally in current practice. Policies are becoming more precise, but the general view is that policy development and accepted practices are still extremely nebulous. Copyright issues and ownership of developed materials are issues that need to be addressed. Distance learning, ITV and on-line models, increases instructor demands. Compensation and/or release time are not typically provided to the distance learning instructors despite the increased expectations. While Deans of Colleges of Education feel the instructors are competent to handle the technology, the literature does not support this view. Professors are working to become technologically competent, but still feel additional training and support are needed. The purposes of offering distance learning courses are fairly obvious. Realization of a changing society and the subsequent transition to a diverse consumer pool, service/enrollment, competition, and interest of professors are the primary focus of the distance learning instructional model.
For Further Consideration
The results of this survey of Deans of Colleges of Education are not completely consistent with what the literature indicated was common practice. Because both authors of this study have experience with distance learning and are aware of the rapid transition occurring in the delivery methods via ITV and on-line instruction, the inconsistencies are regarded as simply reflecting the tremendous changes and the speed of those changes. It is felt that there are many policy issues yet to be finalized.
This study of Deans of Colleges of Education enjoyed a strong rate of return of a survey with a single mailing. This fact alone attests to the significance of the issue of the use of distance learning. While some states have statewide programs and guidelines, other state's institutions have little or no involvement with the technology delivery models at all. Issues of compensation/consideration, training, and ownership are still in the development and transition stages in many universities.
Finally, it appears to the researchers that policies and practices currently in place governing the two primary delivery models of distance learning (ITV and on-line coursework) vary so widely among universities as reported by the Deans, that questions may be raised as to exactly what is transpiring in the realm of distance learning instructional models. It is suggested that Deans of other colleges be surveyed to better gauge how wide-spread the usage of distance learning is and to attempt to involve the entire academic community in policy development. Further research and collaboration with sister institutions will be of great benefit to all professors as the technology age continues to expand
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Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume IV, Number II, Summer 2001 State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center Back to Journal of Distance Learning Administration Contents