Winter 2014 - Volume 17 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

Conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World
May 27-29, 2015
Savannah, Georgia
DeSoto Hilton Hotel

Distance Learning Administration 2015
June 28-July 1, 2015
Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, Georgia

Distance Education
Certified Trainer Program

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May 5, 2014
Program Begins
September 8, 2014
December 10, 2014

Advanced Technologies for Distance Education Certificate Program
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May 5, 2014
Registration Deadline
June 30, 2014
Program Begins
July 14, 2014
November 13, 2014

Distance Education
Certificate Program

Registration Begins
June 2, 2014
Registration Deadline
September 8, 2014
Program Begins
September 22, 2014
March 26, 2015

Social Media Marketing Certificate Program
Registration Begins
June 2, 2014
Registration Deadline
August 15, 2014
Online Program Begins
August 31, 2014
November 23, 2014

Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
for providing this webspace

Editorial Board

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

Yong Chen
Old Dominion University

Mr. Matthew N. Clay
University of West Georgia

Dr. Sherry A. Clouser
University of Georgia

Bradly Corlett
Canadian Navy

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
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

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
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

An Evaluation of Student Outcomes by Course Duration in Online Higher Education

Melanie Shaw

by Melanie Shaw, Barry Chametzky, Scott Burrus, Kelley Walters,

To facilitate student learning and ensure financial stability, leaders in higher education institutions offering online degrees and programs are adopting flexible course schedules with shorter terms. The literature does not include many evaluations demonstrating how shorter duration terms and courses might affect student achievement. In this quantitative study, data were gathered from six online courses. While the courses were identical in content and number of assignments, half were taught in a 16-week format while the others were taught in an 8-week format. Results show there was no statistical difference in student achievement or engagement between either course duration. These results are potentially encouraging for institutions looking to offer shorter duration courses to meet student enrollment needs and student preferences. Accelerating the number of courses a student can complete by shortening the duration of the term also benefits the institution by facilitating financial stability. Recommendations for further study include examining graduate and doctoral courses as well as face-to-face courses to ensure that results are generalizable to those contexts.

Ensuring Quality in Online Courses: Applying the AACSB International's Distance Learning Quality Issues
Jorge Gaytan

by Jorge Gaytan

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the Distance Learning Quality Issues published by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB-International) to document the various characteristics that high-quality online courses must possess. A content analysis methodology was employed to examine the seven quality issues to develop a high-quality framework to assist business schools' faculty and administrators and other educators in planning, designing, evaluating, and continually revising online courses.

Institutional Continuity and Distance Learning: A Symbiotic Relationship

Rodger Bates

by Rodger Bates

Universities and colleges have been developing institutional continuity plans to protect their ability to function within an environment of increasing uncertainties caused by natural and man-made disasters and events. Within the academic context, distance learning strategies have emerged as critical components for program continuity. This research reviews the strategies and tactics of online learning in institutional continuity planning and preparation. In addition, the necessities of institutional continuity create an important and symbiotic opportunity for faculty training and the integration of distance learning within the fabric of the academic mission of an institution.

Making a Match: Aligning Audience, Goals, and Content in Online Adjunct Training

Julie Shattuck

by Julie Shattuck
Terry Anderson

As increasing numbers of higher education students take online courses, there is a corresponding need for additional instructors to teach these students. The research literature indicates that there are different instructor roles, competencies, and attitudes that are required for teaching effectively online than for teaching in campus-based classrooms. These changes in teaching roles result in a need to provide instructor training that is focused on teaching in online contexts. With the new majority of higher education instructors in the United States being adjunct faculty, training programs are required that are accessible and useful for part-time instructors who may teach at more than one institution. This paper reports the findings of a research study focused on an interinstitutional training course that was designed particularly for adjunct faculty who were preparing to teaching online. The study found that not only the target group of adjunct faculty with no online teaching experience enrolled, but also experienced online instructors, full-time faculty, and nonteaching professionals completed the training course. The study explored the goals the participants had for taking the course and identified strategies for designing training for such a heterogeneous audience.

Designing Instruction for Speed: Qualitative Insights Into Instructional Design for Accelerated Online Graduate Coursework
Anastasia Trekles
Roderick Sims

by Anastasia Trekles
Roderick Sims

The purpose of this exploratory case study was to explore instructional design strategies and characteristics of online, asynchronous accelerated courses and students' choices of deep or surface learning approaches within this environment. An increasing number of university programs, particularly at the graduate level, are moving to an accelerated, time-compressed model for online degree offerings. Through qualitative exploration of triangulated data from the Revised Two-Factor Study Process Questionnaire (Biggs, Kember, & Leung, 2001), student interviews, and course design analysis of an online, accelerated master's program in educational administration, it was found that these adult learners overall approached learning quite deeply despite being pressed for time due to personal and professional responsibilities. As an implication for program and instructional designers, course activities that were engaging, hands-on, practical, and collaborative were found to encourage students to adopt deeper approaches more often. Additionally, courses that were consistent and clear in organization and structure, encouraged opportunities for peers to interact and work together, and limited the use of tests and inauthentic assessment strategies were found to foster deeper approaches which in turn led to reports of deeper learning among student participants.

Capacity Building for Online Education in a Dual Mode Higher Education Institution
Olabisi Kuboni

by Olabisi Kuboni

This paper outlines the strategies employed by the Graduate Programmes Department of the University of the West Indies Open Campus to build capacity among academic staff to facilitate their transition to online teaching and learning. The strategies covered relate to course development and delivery, including activities that emerge at the interface of these two areas. The paper also briefly addresses the monitoring and facilitating skills required in this context. The paper concludes with a few recommendations, including the need for open discussion on the way forward for dual mode institutions.

Academic Persistence of Online Students in Higher Education Impacted by Student Progress Factors and Social Media
Anna Lint

by Anna Lint

This quantitative study evaluated and investigated the theoretical underpinnings of the Kember's (1995) student progress model that examines the direct or indirect effects of student persistence in online education by identifying the relationships between variables. The primary method of data collection in this study was a survey by exploring the relationships among variables. The sample population of this study was 169 students at a public community college in Maryland, USA. The logistic regression and multiple regression analysis were utilized to analyze the survey data. The findings of this study consistently indicated that negative external attribution was a significant factor for student persistence. GPA and academic integration were highly correlated to student persistence. Decreasing external attribution and encouraging higher GPA by increasing the academic integration help students continue to pursue their educational goals. The findings of this study deliver valuable implications in the current phenomena of the online environment regarding student persistence. Social media can be interpreted as the combination of external attribution and social integration of the Kember model. Social media may cause a distractor for academic focus, thus there is a need to increase academic input by increasing academic integration to mediate the interference. The findings of this study reflected student insights for student persistence, which may be a guideline and a reference for the leadership of online education institutes.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayHello Readers:

Oh, how I long for the old quarter system. When my oldest child started college a few years back, she had to take five classes over a 16-week semester to graduate in four years. Juggling five different subject areas seemed to be so much more challenging than I had experienced only tackling three in the quarter system. Now, we're taking these semesters and cutting them in half, offering 8-week sessions to provide for more flexibility, and hopefully - student success. In this edition, Shaw, Chametzky, Burrus and Walters compare student success rates for 16-week sessions and 8-week sessions. In my experiences as dean of USG eCore, I have seen course completion rates at a far better level in our 8-week sessions. Success rates tend to be better overall, but not necessarily across all subjects and types of students. In the research presented in this edition, the authors found no significant difference in terms of student outcomes. I would love to see more research looking specifically at subject areas and variables related to the student. We should also compare students who take full loads through a shorter session to those who take a longer full-load. Finally, we need to which of these groups is most likely to complete, and in what time frame. Overall, I'm a big fan of shorter sessions. Beyond the obvious benefits, having the ability to enroll students later in the term makes a big difference in some specific cases - such as the student who finds she needs one more course to graduate. The holidays are quickly approaching, and I am grateful for another good year at the University of West Georgia. With this journal publication also comes the deadline for proposing a presentation at our annual Distance Learning Administration Conference next June in Jekyll Island. I hope to see you there! Peace to all, Melanie

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
December 13, 2013


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Last modified: September 13, 2013