Fall 2021 - Volume 24 Issue 3


Thoughts to share?
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.
Looking for More?
You can easily browse all prior issues or search by topic or author.
We welcome quality manuscripts!  
Click here to find out how to submit your article for consideration in our peer-reviewed journal. Our copyright guidelines can also be found here.
Subscribe to our RSS Feed!
Subscribe to our RSS feed

Subscribe to our Listserv!

If you would like to subscribe to our Listserv please click here.
Events & Learning

Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World
Savannah, Georgia
February 28th - March 2nd, 2022

Distance Learning Administration Conference
 Jekyll Island, Georgia 
July 24-27, 2022

Thanks to the
University of West Georgia
for providing this webspace

Editorial Board

Dr. Melanie Clay
University of West Georgia

Managing Editor
Ms. Rebecca Smith
University of West Georgia

Associate Editor
Ms. Julie Stone Ingle
University of West Georgia

Editorial Board
Dr. Mac Adkins


Christopher L. A. Ahlstrom
University of Maryland Global Campus

David Babb
University of North Georgia

Mr. R. Thomas Berner
Pennsylvania State University


Dr. Diane M. Burnette
South Carolina State University

Dr. Jason G. Caudill
King 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 North Georgia

Dr. Robert N. Diotalevi
Florida Gulf Coast University

Ms. Beth Evans
Brooklyn College

Janet Gubbins
University of West Georgia


Dr. Cher C. Hendricks
The University of Akron

Dr. Scott L. Howell
Brigham Young University

Dr. Jason B. Huett
University of West Georgia

Dr. Thomas J. Hynes
Clayton State University

Dr. Tressa Kelly
University of West Georgia

Dr. Irene Kokkala
University of North Georgia

Dr. Sarah Kuck

Albany State University

Dr. Andrew Leavitt
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


Dr. Lauryl A. Lefebvre

University of Phoenix

COL Philip A. McNair (USA, ret.)
American Public University System

Dr. Anna Obedkova
Towson University

Dr. Abbot L. Packard
University of West Georgia


Dr. Anthony Piña
Sullivan University

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

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

Dr. Thomas J. Tobin
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Randal H. Wilson, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Murray State 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


Dr. Kris Biesinger
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia


Erik Burns
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Beverly L. Bower
University of North Texas

Dr. W. Dean Care
Brandon University


Yong Chen
Old Dominion University

Dr. Muhammet Demirbilek
Suleyman Demirel University, Turkey

Dr. R.-L. Etienne Barnett University of Atlanta (US) Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)

Dr. Catherine L. Finnegan Advanced Learning Technologies,
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

Dr. Larry V. Flegle
American Military University

Ms. Tammy Hamm-Ronsisvalle
Synergy Plus Inc.

Rayma Harchar, Ed. D.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette


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. Nataliya V. Ivankova
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

Dr. Kathleen A. Kraus
State University of New York at New Paltz

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. Dwight Laws
Brigham Young University

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. George E. Marsh II
The University of Alabama


Dr. Barbara K. McKenzie
University of West Georgia

Dr. Jennifer McLean
Pennsylvania College of Technology

Dr. Paul F. Merrill
Brigham Young University

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

Dr. Angie Parker
Northcentral University

Dr. Shawn M. Quilter
Eastern Michigan University

Mr. Bob Reese
Reese Consulting Associates, Inc.

Dr. Ravic P. Ringlaben
University of West Georgia

Dr. M. D. Roblyer
University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Mr. Timothy W. Seid
Earlham School of Religion

Angela Solic
Rush University


Dr. LeAnn McKinzie Thomason
Brownsville, Texas

Dr. Barbara L. Watkins
University of Kansas


Dr. Joann Kroll Wheeler
Texas A & M University

Current Issue

Quality Standards and Accreditation of Distance Education Programs in a Pandemic

John Nworie
Curtis B. Charles


John Nworie
Curtis B. Charles

Quality and reputation are important value indicators for students learning online or in a conventional classroom setting. One of the ways that institutions demonstrate their achievement of quality is through accreditation. Though higher education institutions engage in the accreditation process voluntarily, an institution that is not accredited risks damaging its reputation, denies its students the privilege of attending an accredited institution, denies its students the opportunity to qualify for federal financial aid, impedes the institution's recruitment efforts, and prevents graduates of professional programs from sitting for national licensure examinations. Employers are also interested in knowing if potential employees attended an accredited institution. There are several ways distance education programs maintain quality and assure accreditation. This paper examined the issue of accreditation on distance education programs in higher education institutions and identified the accreditation agencies evaluating those programs. This paper takes a reflective view on the disruption that occurred to the process of quality assurance and accreditation of distance education in colleges and universities during and in the post-COVID-19 era and shares an outlook for action plans necessary to overcome similarly devastating disruptions in the future.

The Impact of a Regional Crisis on Online Students and Faculty

Peggy C. Holzweiss
Daniel W. Walker


Peggy C. Holzweiss

Daniel W. Walker

This study examines the experiences of online students and faculty when a regional crisis disrupted courses. Students could not access online courses for up to a month, threatening both retention and the financial health of the institution. Researchers share the details of the crisis including the institutional response, the challenges online students faced, and the additional demands placed on faculty during the crisis period. Findings suggest that online students experience significant problems with academic continuity, faculty serve as frontline responders in crises involving online students, and institutions need a crisis plan for online students.

Effectiveness of a Virtual Option for a Limited-Residency Online Doctoral Program

Scott W.M. Burrus
Todd D. Fiore
Timothy H. Rice
Melanie E. Shaw

Scott W.M. Burrus
Todd D. Fiore

Timothy H. Rice
Melanie E. Shaw

With the growth of online doctoral programs, administrators are interested in determining the best programmatic structures to support student success. The structures of online doctoral programs vary widely. Some institutions require in-person or virtual residency experiences, while others can be completed entirely online without a synchronous residency requirement. The purpose of this quantitative, ex post facto study was to determine how attending a virtual in-residence affected the progression and completion of students' doctoral research. The study included an exploration of differences in progression between students who attended virtual, or in-person residencies, or a combination of the two to determine which programming resulted in the highest rates of student completion. This study found that on average students participating in a mix of in-person and virtual residency experiences finished their doctoral degree more quickly than student who attended exclusively in-person or exclusively virtual residency experiences. Future research should be conducted to see if these findings are generalizable to other institutions and also to determine if progression rates differ for students in programs that do not require synchronous, residential learning.


Faculty Development for Online Learning: Catalysts for Transforming Practice Across Modalities
Katalin Wargo


Katalin Wargo

This case study explored a university faculty development seminar that prepared instructors to design and teach online courses taking place at a mid-sized liberal Arts & Sciences university in the Southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to examine how faculty development for online teaching may influence changes in thinking about teaching and how that might proliferate throughout instructors’ teaching practice more broadly. Specifically, the study sought to examine if instructional practices would transfer to instructors’ in-person teaching and how faculty development and the experience of teaching online may have facilitated that transfer. Through an analysis of interviews and teaching artifacts, this study found that participants experienced perspective transformations that affected how they perceived their role as instructors and they transferred some online course design and instructional practices to their in-person teaching. These practices included incorporating more digital tools such as Zoom and Blackboard in instructors’ in-person courses, communicating clearly and transparently with students, and designing courses with more intentionality. This study’s findings suggest that a structured course design process, self-reflection activities, opportunities to dialogue with colleagues, and course tours that modelled various instructional practices and offered different perspectives on teaching aided in transfer of practices across modalities.




Coaching for Professional Development for Online Higher Education Faculty: An Explanatory Case Study

Laurie Bedford

Lyda DiTommaso Downs
Melissa McDowell


Laurie Bedford
Lyda DiTommaso Downs
Melissa McDowell

Coaching is increasingly being used in higher education as a mechanism to meet the individualized professional development needs of faculty. Faculty coaching has been associated with positive organizational and pedagogical outcomes. However, missing from the research is insight into why faculty choose to participate in coaching and how the coaching process addresses the faculty members’ individual learning goals. To address these questions, an explanatory case study design was employed to focus on the bounded system of the coaching program within a Teaching and Learning Center of an online university. Data collection included faculty focus groups, responses to written, open-ended questionnaires from faculty coaches, and a review of the coaching registration database. An inductive analysis approach resulted in four themes, Affirmation of Current Practices, Expectations for the Coaching Experience, Reciprocal Institutional Relationships, and Teaching Support, and added to the body of knowledge about faculty coaching in online higher education.




An Analysis of Student Engagement Versus Performance in a Business Statistics Course during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ken Linna
Zack Jourdan
Ken Corley
Wendy Anderson  


Ken Linna
Zack Jourdan
Ken Corley
Wendy Anderson

This research study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, course delivery modality, and student engagement on student performance in data collected from business statistics courses at a medium-sized southeastern public university. Our data analysis suggests student engagement and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are the strongest predictors of overall student performance. While course delivery modality did not seem to have a significant impact on student performance in and of itself, statistical analysis suggests there is a significant impact on the performance of students enrolled in online courses during the Spring 2020 semester despite the fact there were no emergency changes to the delivery modality of their class. An important takeaway for distance learning administrators is “other factors” outside of the time spent engaged in completing course requirements seem to have had a significant, negative impact on student outcomes in the Spring 2020 semester. Further research is needed to better understand the interaction between general societal disruptions caused by COVID-19 restrictions and student outcomes for the online course delivery modality.




From the Editor
Melanie Clay

Dearest Friends,

I'm pleased and thrilled to announce the return of our Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World next February in Savannah. The call for proposals is now open. In these most unprecedented times, never has the need been greater for us to work together to explore mindful strategies to leverage technology in our hybrid and online classrooms.

Our struggles to maintain staffing levels, to engage uncertain students and to nurture positive work environments are more pronounced than we ever thought possible. Yet, these challenges represent opportunities to enhance our compassion and to accelerate our commitment to students and an educated citizenry. There's a calling for each of us to not only adjust but to be intentional partners in both personal and educational transformation. We'll explore this and so much more in late February (when Savannah is at its finest)! I hope to see you there.

Wishing you health and happiness,


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.


September 15, 2021

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

September 15, 2021