Spring 2020 - Volume 23 Issue 1


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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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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. Jeanne Catanzaro
Washburn University

Dr. Micheal Crafton
University of West Georgia

Dr. Muhammet Demirbilek
Suleyman Demirel University, Turkey

Dr. Robert N. Diotalevi
Florida Gulf Coast 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

Dr. Cher C. Hendricks
University of Idaho

Dr. Katy Herbold
Southern Utah University

Mrs. Laurie G. Hillstock
Virginia Tech

Dr. Cathy Hochanadel
Purdue University Global

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. Sarah Kuck

Albany State University

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 Wisconsin Oshkosh


Dr. Lauryl A. Lefebvre

University of Phoenix

Ms. Nancy Lee
University of Nevada

Dr. Elke M. Leeds
Western Governors 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
Henderson 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. Anthony Piña
Sullivan University

Dr. Shawn M. Quilter
Eastern Michigan University

Dr. Ravic P. Ringlaben
University of West Georgia

Dr. Michael Rogers
University of North Georgia


Dr. Beth Rene Roepnack
University of West Georgia, USG eCampus Senior Academic Instructional Support Specialist

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

Melanie Shaw
North central University


Angela Solic
Rush University

Dr. LeAnn McKinzie Thomason
Brownsville, Texas

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

Dr. Thomas J. Tobin
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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

Peeking Under the Hood: A Reflective Case Study of a Unique MOOC Collaboration

Nancy Gibson
William Rayburn
Tracie Campbell
Parishweta Bhatt
Anna Loftus
Loretia Duncan

by Nancy Gibson
William Rayburn
Tracie Campbell
Parishweta Bhatt
Anna Loftus
Loretia Duncan

This case study describes a collaborative process by various teaching and distance support units to create and run a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the subject of Leadership. Whereas typical collaboration arrangements in the literature involve partnerships of various teaching and support units, the collaboration of course developer, instructional designers, librarian, and course facilitator is a missing but needed voice in the MOOC and online learning ecosystem to support student learning and success. This collaborative example combines a case study of the development, implementation, and administration of a MOOC. Documenting and commenting on this collaborative arrangement benefits future course development projects by understanding and encouraging collaboration at any scale.





Instructional Design Leadership and Management Competencies: Job Description Analysis

Lewis Chongwony
Joel L. Gardner
Amie Tope

by Lewis Chongwony
Joel L. Gardner
Amie Tope

Researchers in the field of instructional design and educational technology journals usually focus on the practice of instructional design; however, the management and leadership of instructional design has typically received little emphasis. Recent studies have investigated the competencies associated with effective leadership and management of instructional design from the perspective of those they lead, and from the perspective of leaders in higher education. There is, however, little systematic research into what competencies employers require of leaders and managers of instructional designers in higher education. This research would provide the field with further guidance on training and preparing instructional design leaders and managers. In this study, we explore and report on the competencies required of instructional design managers in higher education by analyzing 30 job descriptions posted by institutions of higher education. Results of this analysis identified major categories with 17 competencies. Communication skills, Instructional Design and Related Areas, and General Leadership and Management Expertise were the competencies noted most frequently within the job posts. We share the results of the study, including typical job titles, common job descriptions, and education and experience requirements. Finally, we briefly highlight the implications of these findings and provide recommendations for future research, practice, and training of future instructional designers and leaders.


Exploring Factors that Impact Faculty Decisions to Teach Languages Online: Is It Worth the Individual Return on Investment?

Joe Terantino

by Joe Terantino

Over the past decade, scholars have explored factors that motivate or impede faculty decisions to teach online in the broader context of higher education (Mitchell & Geva-May, 2009; Shea, Pickett, & Li, 2005; Tabata & Johnsrud, 2008; Wright, 2014; Zhen, Garthwait, & Pratt, 2008). However, comparable research in specific, academic disciplines is limited, especially as it relates to online language learning (OLL). This study investigates the role of faculty demographics, experience, and their perceptions of OLL as they relate to motivating factors, barriers, and the perception of quality. The results identified seven interrelated themes that shaped the participants’ (n = 24) decisions whether to participate in online instruction. Findings related to the personal nature of the decision to teach online and perceived return on investment distinguish this study from others. The article concludes with a discussion of reframing faculty decisions to teach online in terms of individual return on investment and with suggestions for future research.


The Linguistic Deception of the Phrase Best Practices: A Critical Analysis of Articles Discussing “Best” Practices in Online Learning

David Johnson

Jennifer Cox

by David Johnson
Jennifer Cox

This article examines the use of the phrase best practices in academic literature that discusses online learning. Results of our study indicate that, despite the ubiquity of this phrase in academic literature concerning online pedagogy, the majority of articles lack empirical support for promoting certain approaches as best practices. Faculty and administrators would be well advised to critically examine articles that purport to promulgate best practices in online learning.

Determining Carnegie Units: Student Engagement in Online Courses Without a Residential Equivalent

Katherine M. Adler

by Katherine M. Adler

Carnegie Units (CU) quantify the time spent by students in and out of class in terms of content engagement. The rule states that for every one hour spent in a face-to-face setting, students spend an additional two hours of study time or engagement with the material). For colleges offering both online and residential courses with the same content, equating the time online students spend with course content is not difficult – the Registrar aligns online courses with their residentially offered matches. However, what does a college do when 100% of its courses are offered online, with no onsite match? What follows is a discussion of how one college ensured and quantified engagement in online courses.

Learning Strategies for Faculty During a Learning Management System Migration

Lisa Anne Bove

Sheri Conklin

by Lisa Anne Bove
Sheri Conklin

Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide a variety of tools and functions to support teaching and learning that include, but are not limited, to group chats, threaded discussions, document sharing, assignments, quizzes, grading and course evaluations. Migrating to a new LMS can be a challenge for faculty, in fact, changes in technology have been noted as one of the top ten challenges in academia. Training is an integral aspect for faculty acceptance of new technologies, particularly a new LMS. This study compared faculty reported comfort, ease of use and usability with the old (pre-test) and the new LMS (post-test) and the type and amount of training attended. In the pre-test, only the relationship between training and comfort level showed a positive correlation (t = 2.017, ρ=0.046). In the post-test results, there was no correlation between training and comfort level, ease of use or usability scores. In addition, no significance was found when controlling for years teaching or faculty rank. When comparing ease of use pre- and post-test, overall, faculty rated the new LMS more useful to their work (mean pre mean = 2.25, post mean = 2.45), and easier to use (pre mean = 182 and post mean = 2.97). While there was limited significance in this study, it is imperative to offer a variety of support methods such as 24/7 access, one-on-one support in person, and quick reference guides.


Adjunct Faculty Participation in the Centralized Design of Online Courses

Sarah Felber

by Sarah Felber

This literature-based study seeks to identify best practices for adjunct faculty participation in the centralized design of online courses. Literature from 2014–June 2018 relating to faculty participation in course and curriculum design was identified through a search of the ERIC database. Following further examination, nine studies were selected for analysis. These were analyzed within the framework of participative decision-making, by identifying whether participation was format or informal, direct or indirect, long-term or short-term, and high or low access/influence. Findings indicate that faculty participation in course design takes place in a variety of ways and is frequently accompanied by faculty learning and development initiatives. For adjunct faculty, it is particularly important to create a variety of opportunities that meet their willingness and ability to participate. Though online courses, centralized design, and adjunct faculty are each discussed in some of the selected studies, no studies were identified that specifically addressed adjunct faculty participation in the centralized design of online courses. As this context is likely to be important in the future of higher education, further study of effective approaches is recommended.


Librarian Integrated Workflows to Enhance Course
Design & Development

Erin Brothen
Kim Staley
Heather Matson
Jason Smock
Erika Bennett

by Erin Brothen
Kim Staley
Heather Matson
Jason Smock
Erika Bennett

Across the nation, the demand for online teaching continues to steadily increase according to data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, 2018). Currently, about one in six college students is enrolled in a 100% online program and more than 33% of college students are enrolled in at least one online class (NCES, n.d.). Additionally, a great proportion of students take classes that include online components. Our public comprehensive college located in northeastern United States is no exception. Even though many faculty and students profess to prefer face to face classes, the campus is abuzz with talk of new online programs and initiatives — aimed to ensure greater student access — as well as to boost enrollment. Indeed, improving and proliferating online learning is a focal point on campus; central to both the college President’s mission, as well as the vision statement of Chancellor of the State University of New York, under which our college is governed.


From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings readers,

I hope this letter finds you well in this time of uncertainty and angst. Most of us in distance learning administration are working to support a new world overnight that includes a mass entrance into online learning, changes in proctored exam requirements, and training and supporting students in a multitude of situations.

All of this is going on during a time in which we don't know when the storm will pass, and what the impact will be on our health, finances, and future.

Yet, thus far I have seen new levels of resilience come out in our teams, faculty and students. What is delivered to students suddenly thrust online will be imperfect, but it does present a brand-new opportunity for lessons that we can take with us to a brighter day. And what I have learned from the past is that distance learning administrators are willing to share their wisdom and resources as generously as they are able. It reminds me in some ways of our earliest days 20 or more years ago (except we were a couple of decades younger). Please take time to take exceptionally good care of yourself in spite of your heavy load, and ask your friends for help as needed.

I wish you health and peace.


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

March 16, 2020

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

Last modified:March 16, 2020