Winter 2020 - Volume 23 Issue 4


DLA 2021
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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. Rebecca Smith
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. 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 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. Tressa Kelly
University of West Georgia

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

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

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


Dr. Joann Kroll Wheeler
Texas A & M University

Current Issue

Elementary Educators’ Experiences Teaching during COVID-19 School Closures: Understanding Resources in Impromptu Distance Education

Jessica Pryor

by Jessica Pryor
Randal H. Wilson
Melissa Chapman
Felicia Bates

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020, universities, schools, and businesses in the United States closed and moved online (CDC, 2020; “A Timeline of COVID-19 Developments in 2020,” 2020). By April, 2020, it became clear that the school year would end virtually, (Anderson, 2020). Teachers throughout the United States found themselves suddenly teaching remotely. Looking at P-20 context for education, that is the understanding of education as a continuum rather than segmented parts, examining elementary implications for distance education during extended school closures provides additional information about foundational distance learning in younger students and their educators’ responses to distance education. Educators, in this experience, were as much learners as they were teachers, highlighting the P-20 educational continuum. The term Distance Education in this study refers to learning that happens either synchronously or asynchronously while learners and educators are physically distant. Materials can be mail-based, web-based, app-based, or broadcast. Distance education can refer to instructor guided or independent study. Johnston (2020) highlights different terminology for distance education, each emphasizing the ‘education’ aspect of the model. However, limitations of socioeconomic status and of access to technology, both technology-based and non-technology-based elements of distance education are included in this study.

Reflections, Challenges, and Strategies for Online Academic Instruction: A Faculty Perspective on the Rapid Transition from Face-to-face to Online Instruction During the COVID-19 Crisis


by Robbie Bishop-Monroe

The purpose of this paper is to share the challenges faced with the rapid transition from face-to-face to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight successful online teaching strategies. The challenges are presented in a question and solution-based analysis to help educators mitigate barriers for students who are engaged in online instruction. The strategies provide insight into a multitude of practical approaches for teachers and leaders to follow for online academic instruction. This paper also provides personal insight from a Faculty perspective regarding the transition to online class instruction.

Quality Assurance Implementation: How It Works

Barbara Altman
Kay Shattuck
Bethany Simunich
Barbra Burch

by Barbara Altman
Kay Shattuck
Bethany Simunich
Barbra Burch

Change management processes and learning adaptations that accompany quality assurance (QA) in higher education are an understudied phenomenon. This article describes a first-tier, phenomenological qualitative research study on the usability of the Continuum of Excellence in Quality Assurance (CEQA) model as a tool that institutions might use to identify, assess, and strategically embed institution-wide processes and actions for sustainable quality online learning for all stakeholders. Twelve educators with histories of implementation of Quality Matters tools and processes as part of their institutional approach to assure quality online learning were interviewed to gather information about their efforts to implement QA tools and processes and to map to the model. Five emerging themes are discussed.

Inclusive Design Thinking- Model for Inclusive Course Development

Sheryl Ballenger
Norah Sinclair

by Sheryl Ballenger
Norah Sinclair


This article focuses on designing college courses with Design Thinking processes combined with Universal Design for Learning as a rubric to ensure your course is inclusive and provides access for students with disabilities. Creating an inclusive course allows students of all abilities to access the materials and have an equal opportunity to learn. Inclusion begins by understanding your learners and considering user-centric approaches. Through the methods of Design Thinking, recommendations for building-in access throughout course design are discussed.

Free for All: An Open Source Online Based Teaching Template

Rodger Bates
Karen Young
Bryan LaBrecque
Sheryne Southard

by Rodger Bates
Karen Young
Bryan LaBrecque

Sheryne Southard

The increasing cost of textbooks has created a demand for no cost/low cost learning resources for students. The University System of Georgia, through their Affordable Learning Grants has supported the development of no cost/low cost course transformation activities. Faculty at Clayton State University (CSU) have been engaged in the development of a number of Open Education Resources (OER) courses. This past year, an Open Source Online Based teaching template has been developed for the Introduction to Sociology (SOCI 1101) course. This teaching template provides a model for the development of an economical online learning experience that can serve as a model for similar courses at CSU and other institutions.

Supporting Online Doctoral Students to Increase
Persistence and Completion

Kevin Bottomley
Jane Schumacher
Cheryl Burleigh
Pamela Lindsay

by Kevin Bottomley
Jane Schumacher
Cheryl Burleigh
Pamela Lindsay

The literature indicates that approximately 50% of those who seek a doctoral education complete the degree. Research indicates that persistence is one of the key issues that students struggle with and negatively impacts their ability to graduate. Other factors include the ability to maintain enrollment; topic selection; and ability to maintain a dissertation supervisor (Seagram, Gould, & Pike, 1998). The current paper discusses an organizational redesign to support students to increase persistence and completion rates among doctoral students in the online environment.

The Effectiveness of Adaptive Learning Software on Exam and Course Outcomes in Online Precalculus Courses

Marla Wilks

by Marla Wilks

The study examines the effectiveness of adaptive learning technology as a supplemental component in online precalculus courses using data from vendor software and a public university system in the southeastern United States. Outcomes examined include final exam score and course completion with a passing grade. The results highlight that not all students utilize the technology and many will not take exams. Of those who participated in the course as intended, adaptive learning activity shows a modest and positive influence on final exam scores and successful course completion. Results further indicate the importance of aligning vendor and course curriculum and the need for further research that controls for variables that may relate to motivation and participation.

Uncovering the Challenges and Leadership Practices
of Virtual School Principals

David C. Gustafson
MD Haque

by David C. Gustafson
MD Haque

Virtual schools are one of the fastest growing educational options for students in the United States. In spite of the increase in virtual program options and enrollment, limited research has been conducted on how virtual school principals lead their organizations. This qualitative case study explores the challenges facing virtual school principals and how these leaders navigate these challenges. Data were collected through semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with 20 public, private, and charter virtual school principals from across California. The findings from this study identified the essential skills and ways in which virtual principals overcome leadership challenges. These factors included: Being open to new ideas, taking positive risks, staying flexible, empowering staff, communicating effectively, and serving stakeholders. The findings from this study can offer insight to many traditional brick and mortar school leadership that are holding fully online classes due to COVID-19.

Increasing faculty efficacy with targeted preparation for
teaching online: A case study

Jill Simpson
Natasha S. Lindsay

by Jill Simpson
Natasha S. Lindsay

College and university professors typically earn a Ph.D. in the subject in which they teach. Yet, many higher education professors have not been taught the pedagogical practices necessary to be successful in the classroom (Boeher & Sarkisian, 1985; Cahn, 1978; Cook, 1965; Ehrlich & Fu, 2013; Mertz & McNeely, 1990; Trautmann, 2008), much less an online classroom (Marx, Garcia, Butterfield, Kappen, and Baldwin, 2016; Jepsen, Varhegyi, and Edwards, 2012; McCoy and Milkman, 2010; McQuiggan, 2007; Varvel, 2007). The purpose of this case study was to examine instructor efficacy after completion of a university-specific online professional development program incorporating both pedagogical and technological best practices, using the TPACK framework. While the online professional development program is applicable to and may be used for both face-to-face and online instructors, the focus of this case study was in preparing faculty to teach online, and thus data collected is specific to online faculty. Although some constructive criticism was offered, the overall feedback collected from participants of the online professional development program was positive and indicated that all faculty teaching online should have to go through this program.

A Case Study of College of Business (COB) Faculty Attitudes, Perceptions, and Concerns Related to Distance Learning

Stephanie Taylor
Dianne A. Wright

by Stephanie Taylor
Dianne A. Wright

With the continuous advancements in technology, public not-for profit higher educational institutions have experienced a significant increase in the demand for distance learning. As a result, public not-for profit higher education institutions are striving to meet the demand and remain competitive and relevant in the industry of higher education while concurrently ensuring that they are providing the best quality of education that can be offered for purposes of distance learning. When considering faculty in distance learning, faculty play a significant role in ensuring that the quality of education is preserved and reflected throughout curriculums and programs unrelated to the instructional method selected. Therefore, understanding their thoughts and perceptions of distance learning is paramount to uncover areas for improvement since they are the ones that experience the impact of distance learning first hand. Therefore, the results of this qualitative case study of a college within a major four-year public not- for profit higher education institution were used to determine the attitudes, perceptions, and concerns of faculty members who teach in a distance learning environment. Being informed of underlying perspectives that faculty grapple with is imperative for institutions to improve organizationally. As a result, removing obstacles that can hinder change can assist institutions’ administration to discover innovative approaches that foster an atmosphere where distance learning can thrive and increase a greater embrace by faculty.

Replicating Classroom Experiences in an Online Environment in Nigeria: The New Face of Librarian

Najim Akorede Babalola
Kolawole Akinjide Aramide

Najim Akorede Babalola
Kolawole Akinjide Aramide

This paper examines the role of librarian in replicating classroom experiences in an online environment in Nigeria. This article explores the literature that focuses on the adoption of technology in education, various roles being plays by librarians in the 21st century on use of technology for service delivery. The kernel of this article is that advancement in technology has changed not only the nomenclature of librarian but their service delivery from traditional to online mode. The literature reviewed provides a glimpse into how technology can be employed in replicating classroom online with the lockdown of academic institutions as a result of coronavirus as well as possible roles that librarians can play in this wise. This article identifies various tools for online education settings and explains how librarians can collaborate with the stakeholders.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings readers,

As the anxiety-ridden 2020 finally rolls to an end, I’m left thinking about what comes next in online learning. Uncertainty remains, but what we know is that we’re never going back to 2019. Most of us agree that spring 2020 semester was grossly less than ideal as we built online courses and trained faculty in about three to seven days. But we came out of it with increased passion for accessibility and a revitalized appreciation for hybrid delivery.

And as proctored exam systems became overwhelmed, we finally played around with more creative and genuine assessment alternatives. Of course, we were able to achieve just as much or more with remote work and meetings (yes, some were dull), but realized the vast importance of occasional informal hallway small talk.

As we begin to see a glimmer of light ahead, it’s okay to be grateful for the vast opportunities and one-in-a-lifetime lessons these challenges brought. But as for 2020 itself, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Peace and Virtual Hugs to All,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

December 16, 2020

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

Last modified:December 16, 2020