Fall 2020 - Volume 23 Issue 3


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The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is a peer-reviewed electronic journal offered free each quarter over the World Wide Web. The journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of practitioners and researchers with specific focus or implications for the management of distance education programs. Click here to access our readership stats.
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Events & Learning

Distance Learning Administration Conference
 Jekyll Island, Georgia 
July 25-28, 2021

Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World
Savannah, Georgia
September 13-15, 2021

Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
for providing this webspace

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
Director of Naval Requirements

Canadian Armed Forces

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
Florida State College at Jacksonville

Melanie Shaw
Northcentral 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

Advising the Online Student: A Breakout of Advising Frequency, Preferences, and Satisfaction of Online Students

Maeghen MacDonald Kuhn
Brittani Wyskocil Garcia


Maeghen MacDonald Kuhn
Brittani Wyskocil Garcia

This breakout study reviews the findings of a 2017 study of Penn State University’s World Campus undergraduate online students.  The study surveyed students to report demographic, academic, preferences, and satisfaction information and sought to develop relationships between these variables by their levels of academic success.  This breakout study focuses on the findings related to three of the study’s variables: academic advising frequency, interaction preference, and satisfaction of undergraduate online students.

Strategic Hiring: Using Job Analysis to Effectively Select Online Faculty

Laura Lohman



Unlike training and professional development, hiring faculty for online teaching remains underexplored by scholars. It is imperative that faculty hiring be approached thoughtfully and strategically so that institutions can deliver quality online instruction in alignment with their missions, visions, and values. To address this need, this article illustrates how to use job analysis as the foundation of an institution’s effective, strategic selection of online faculty. As institutions clarify the place and shape of online instruction given their approaches to market differentiation and branding, a future-oriented, strategic approach to job analysis is an asset in faculty hiring. To equip distance learning administrators with the knowledge to contribute to strategic job analysis at their institutions, this article outlines human resources practices in conducting job analysis, illustrates their application to faculty jobs with online teaching responsibilities, and elaborates how job analysis shapes effective, valid, and legally defensible recruitment and selection processes. With these techniques in hand, distance learning administrators can promote effective hiring of faculty for online teaching aligned with their institutions’ missions, visions, and values.

I've Been There! Fostering Student Academic Leadership in the Online Environment

Krista Allison
Elizabeth Johnson

Krista Allison

Elizabeth Johnson

Fostering student academic leadership in an online environment can be challenging. How can a program provide peer support to students while equipping them for current and future leadership roles? Discussion will include an analysis of the Doctoral Graduate Assistant Program and Doctoral Advisory Board opportunities at American College of Education.


A Comparison of Student Technology Acceptance between Traditional and Non-Traditional Students Using Online Learning Technologies
Anthony Robinson


Anthony Robinson

Online learning has changed higher education, emerging as a primary source for delivering courses and programs to students. As online learning has grown, more non-traditional students have entered college, many for the first time. Consequently, many of these non-traditional are experiencing online learning, and the technologies that deliver them, for the first time. Retention rates for online non-traditional students have been low and therefore understanding technology acceptance of these students is crucial to deploying online learning systems that help drive student success and retention. This quantitative research study developed and tested technology acceptance of online learning technologies using the technology acceptance model (TAM) with variables perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived usefulness (PU), attitude (A), and intention to use (IU). The TAM variables were compared against the two dependent variables, traditional students (TS) and non-traditional students (NTS). Findings from 80 valid responses, 40 TS and 40 NTS, in an online survey and Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), showed that PEOU had a significant effect on PU, which is consistent with TAM. Findings showed that PEOU had no effect on (A) for TS but did have a significant effect on (A) for NTS. Further, PU had a significant effect on (A) and (A) had a significant effect on IU, which is consistent with TAM. Comparing TAM variables showed that there was a difference in technology acceptance between TS and NTS.



Design, Development, Implementation, and Support (DDIS): Supporting Online Doctoral Candidates

Donna Russell


Donna Russell

This paper describes a protocol for an effective response to nontraditional online doctoral candidates based on the development of advanced cognitive processes, academic writing skills, and functional knowledge. The Design, Development, Implementation, and Support (DDIS) protocol is a three-phase protocol that integrates the requisite skills, concepts, and expertise with mentor and candidate response, interactions, technologies, projects, and assessment procedures. The protocol is based on constructivist, sociocultural, and problem-based learning models.  The protocol defines productive asynchronous and synchronous interactions that develop the cognitive processes, skills, and knowledge needed to complete the dissertation process. The protocol includes support templates and technologies to facilitate the work of online doctoral candidates. The protocol provides guidelines for supporting and empowering online nontraditional doctoral students to promote the graduation of these students and reduce attrition rates.



A Participatory Approach to Developing Online Course Quality Standards in Health Professions Education
Anita Samuel
Kelsey Larsen
Ronald Cervero
Lauren Maggio


Anita Samuel
Kelsey Larsen
Ronald Cervero
Lauren Maggio


Online programs are growing in number, and their success and sustainability are dependent on the quality of the courses they offer. Online program administrators need to ensure the quality of individual courses and the program as a whole. While several course quality rubrics and evaluation instruments are available, administrators need to select an instrument that would best suit the needs of their institution. In addition, administrators need to get faculty "buy-in" of the process to ensure its sustainability. This paper presents a participatory approach to developing a course quality rubric and designing a review process at the individual course level and the programmatic level.



Dissertation Committee Chairs' Current Practices to Support Doctoral Students in an Online Doctoral Program
Debra Burrington
Rae Denise Madison
Alexa Schmitt 


Debra Burrington
Rae Denise Madison
Alexa Schmitt 

The purpose of this research study was to explore dissertation chair experiences and current practices for meeting with and providing feedback to doctoral students pursuing a scholar-practitioner terminal degree in an online doctoral program. A qualitative methodology using an exploratory design was employed to interview 11 participants using semi-structured interviews. The findings included the importance of providing frequent feedback through various modes of communication, emphasizing a tailored approach to the students' needs. Timely, thorough feedback was supported, stressing effectiveness and relevancy, which was most commonly achieved through one-on-one communication. Additional considerations focused on trust building and caring behaviors; individualized coaching and guidance; and balancing institutional requirements and student needs.


Increasing Student Success with Team Projects in the Virtual Classroom

Jack Deem

Stephen Beyer

Heather Dana

Rhonda Chicone

Ilene Ringler

Susan Ferebee

Dennis Strouble


Jack Deem
Stephen Beyer
Heather Dana
Rhonda Chicone
Ilene Ringler
Susan Ferebee
Dennis Strouble


Virtual teams have become a major component in the delivery of online courses at Purdue University Global (PUG) and in higher education in general (Olson, et. al, 2015).  To help provide employers with qualified candidates for their talent needs, teamwork has been established as one of the six professional competencies that Purdue University Global (PUG) students are assessed for in all programs. Virtual teams in the classroom have become a major source of student and faculty complaints.  This resulted in virtual team projects being removed from some classes. Cross functional working teams were established to review the team project processes.   The objective of these teams was to develop recommendations for improving team projects in the curriculum. Initial results showed the main factors impacting student satisfaction with team assignments in the virtual classroom included; poor communication within the team, time schedule issues; and, lack of training for both students and faculty.

From the Editor
Melanie Clay


I am pleased to announce that we have scheduled our 2021 meetings of the Distance Learning Administration Conference and the Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World Conference.

Due to concerns about the pandemic, DLA2020 was canceled for 2020. Our next meeting will be at the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel July 25-28, 2021. This will be the 21st meeting of this unique event. The call for proposals will begin in late October.

Our Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World has historically been conducted in February. However, the 2021 meeting has been postponed, and is scheduled in Savannah on September 13-15, 2021.

We really look forward to seeing you in person again next year. Mark your calendars, and let's make it a date!

Take care, Melanie

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.


September 15, 2020

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

September 15, 2020