Winter 2010 - Volume 13 Issue 4
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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 2018
June 24-27, 2018
Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, Georgia

Conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World
February 5-7, 2018
Savannah, Georgia

Distance Education
Certificate Program

Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Program Begins
January 22, 2018
Graduation
June 2018

Distance Education
Certified Trainer Program

Registration Begins
Summer 2017
Program Begins
September 25, 2017
Graduation
December 2017

Advanced Technologies for Distance Education Certificate Program
Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Program Begins
January 22, 2018
Graduation
May 2018

Intro to Social Media Marketing Certificate Program
Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Online Program Begins
January 22, 2017
Graduation
March 2018

Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
for providing this webspace

Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief
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
AliveTek


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

The Context of Distance Learning Programs in Higher Education: Five Enabling Assumptions

Don ChaneyElizabeth Chaney and James Eddy

by   Don Chaney
       Elizabeth Chaney

       James Eddy

Over the past ten years, a significant increase in courses and programs taught through distance education technologies has occurred both in non-for-profit and for-profit colleges and universities. During this time, there have been many successes and failures. The researchers hypothesize that the marginal success and/or failure occurs due to program planner(s) not viewing the design, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of distance learning courses and programs in the context within which the distance learning will occur. The purpose of this manuscript is to provide five basic interrelated assumptions for distance learning program planners to consider when designing distance learning courses and programs in college and university settings. These assumptions are offered based on the observation, successes and failures of the authors in their collective 57 years of designing such programs for six different universities across the US, as well as evidence from related literature.

Implementing Blended Learning: Policy Implications for Universities

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Lori Wallace
Fred Hartfield
Jon Young

by   Lori Wallace
       Jon Young

The incorporation of new learning technologies into courses at Canadian universities has been largely undertaken at the initiative of individual instructors, rather than in response to explicit institutional direction or faculty initiatives. This appears to be particularly the case with the migration of individual courses that were formally entirely face-to-face to blended delivery. In this case study, the experience of one university is used to present the types of academic policy and process issues that arose during a pilot project to re-design a single graduate program in order to facilitate the use of blended delivery. Considerations included why and how blended learning was to be used; at what level decisions regarding blended delivery should be made; decision process for individual courses versus entire programs; policy precedents and need for policy modification or new policy. Specific areas examined include course and program approval, resources, and instructor responsibilities and workload. The findings suggest that the work involved in policy updating in a changing environment is important because it surfaces, and opens for review, existing, often taken-for-granted institutional values, norms, and protocols. In some cases, the articulation of these values and norms serves to highlight the importance of respecting them within this new learning context. In others it suggests the need to rethink accepted protocols that may be ill-suited to the educational opportunities that emerging technologies can present.


Overcoming Student Retention Issues In Higher Education Online Programs

David Woolstenhulme
Errin Heyman

by   Errin Heyman

Pressure exists to attract and retain students in higher education. Online educational programs have the potential to increase the number of students who can enroll in degree-bearing institutions. Explored in the qualitative study using a modified three-round Delphi technique was the phenomenon of consistently lower student retention rates in fully online programs in higher education, as compared to student retention rates in ground-based programs. Experts suggested that student self-discipline, instructor engagement and response time in courses, and the need for institutions to offer online students an array of support services contribute to student retention in fully online programs. Panelists revealed concerns and practices that may influence student retention. These practices ultimately relate to social and academic integration.


Factors Influencing a Learnerís Decision to Drop-Out or Persist in Higher Education Distance Learning
David Woolstenhulme
Hannah Street

by   Hannah Street

Previous studies conducted on dropouts within online courses have found inconsistent factors affecting attrition. A literature review was performed, focusing on eight main studies. These studies were performed at both national and international universities. The methodology, participants, research question, and results varied by study. Overall, internal factors of self-efficacy, self-determination, autonomy, and time management along with external factors of family, organizational, and technical support were found to be significant. An additional variable of course factors, which includes course relevance and course design, was found to significantly impact learners’ decisions to persist or drop an online course. These variables were incorporated into a modified version of Bandura’s reciprocal causation theory, which states that each of these variables influences and is influenced by the decision of a student to persist or drop an online course. The model needs statistical testing within the context of an individual study. Further studies are also needed on course factors impacting an online student’s decision to persist or drop an online course.


Enhancing Online Education through Instructor Skill Development in Higher Education
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Tamara Roman
Fred Hartfield
Kathleen Kelsey

by   Tamara Roman
       Kathleen Kelsey
       Hong Lin

Rapid growth of online education and the perceived difference between online and face-to-face instruction has necessitated training and support for instructors transitioning to online delivery. The research reported here resulted from an evaluation of a six-week fully online training program, Preparing Online Instructors (POI), to determine what constitutes an effective online training program.  It was found that online training programs should emphasize both technological and pedagogical skill development, evaluate participants’ training needs prior to the training, and provide ongoing resources and support mechanisms after the training.  The findings from the study inform administrators and professional development providers on how to plan and implement an instructor-training program to enhance online teaching skills.


Instructional Design Processes and Traditional Colleges
David Woolstenhulme
Nichole Vasser

by   Nichole Vasser

Traditional colleges who have implemented distance education programs would benefit from using instructional design processes to develop their courses. Instructional design processes provide the framework for designing and delivering quality online learning programs in a highly-competitive educational market. Traditional college leaders play a pivotal role in the implementation of instructional design processes into their distance education course designs. Leaders must have a communicated and shared vision for their distance education programs and how instructional design processes can help the organization achieve that vision.Traditional college leaders must advocate and implement effective change processes that will ensure that instructional design processes will become part of the organization’s culture.

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The Impact of Design and Aesthetics on Usability, Credibility, and Learning in an Online Environment
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Alicia David
Fred Hartfield
Peyton Glore

by   Alicia David
       Peyton Glore

Previous studies conducted on dropouts within online courses have found inconsistent factors affecting attrition. A literature review was performed, focusing on eight main studies. These studies were performed at both national and international universities. The methodology, participants, research question, and results varied by study. Overall, internal factors of self-efficacy, self-determination, autonomy, and time management along with external factors of family, organizational, and technical support were found to be significant. An additional variable of course factors, which includes course relevance and course design, was found to significantly impact learners’ decisions to persist or drop an online course. These variables were incorporated into a modified version of Bandura’s reciprocal causation theory, which states that each of these variables influences and is influenced by the decision of a student to persist or drop an online course. The model needs statistical testing within the context of an individual study. Further studies are also needed on course factors impacting an online student’s decision to persist or drop an online course.

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Comparing Student Learning Outcomes in Face-To-Face and Online Course Delivery
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Stephen Sussman
Fred Hartfield
Lee Dutter

by  Stephen Sussman
      Lee Dutter

Since the advent of fully online delivery of college-level coursework, a number of issues has preoccupied administrators, educators, and researchers with regard to student learning outcomes or performance vis-à-vis face-to-face delivery. The present study does not seek to demonstrate or to discover which mode of delivery is “superior” or “inferior” to the other. Rather, through a quantitative analysis of performance indicators, it seeks to highlight the differences and similarities in student learning outcomes between the two modes of delivery for an undergraduate, social science course, which focuses on public policy and administration. Thus, primarily through the analysis of real-time course data, which covers four academic years from 2005 to 2009, the study aims to provide a better understanding of the differences and similarities between these delivery modes, as far as the issues of concern to administrators, educators, and researchers are concerned.

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From the Editor

Melanie ClayHello Readers:

Several of the articles in this winter 2010 issue of the OJDLA refer to the importance of student services (admissions, financial aid, etc.) for the online student.  In our quest to meet accreditation standards and principles of good practice, most of us have adequate systems in place.  Often these systems provide the same services provided to traditional students—but through virtual, web-based platforms.  As online learning has reached early maturity, I believe that it’s time to move these support systems beyond a level of just adequacy.  At many institutions with populations of both traditional and online students, current structures and culture result in online students being served as second class.  Online students are not alternative students; they are not second rate students—they are as important to our missions in higher education as the 18 year old freshman who lived in the dormitory, eats in the cafeteria, and joins a sorority.  There often remains a disconnect between the distance learning organization and an institution’s student services departments. Typically, an online student contacts student services offices only to reach a well meaning staff person or administrator who knows little about the needs of the online learner, or tries to apply ill fitting policies designed for traditional students.  I would love to see more research or case studies on student services systems that serve both populations with equal gusto, and include appropriate integration of traditional student services personnel in the online student framework.

Thank you for your continued support of OJDLA in 2010.  Remember the call for proposals deadline for the DLA2011 conference is Dec 17, 2010.  Have a fabulous and safe holiday.


Peace to all,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
Decemberr 15, 2010

To be notified of future publications contact the UWG Distance & Distributed Education Center

Last modified: December 15th, 2010