Fall 2017- Volume 20 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 2018
June 24-27, 2018
Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, Georgia

Conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World
February 5-7, 2018
Savannah, Georgia

Distance Education
Certificate Program

Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Program Begins
January 22, 2018
June 2018

Distance Education
Certified Trainer Program

Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Program Begins
February 12, 2018
May 2018

Advanced Technologies for Distance Education Certificate Program
May 2018

Advanced Technologies for Distance Education Certificate Program
Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Program Begins
January 22, 2018
May 2018

Intro to Social Media Marketing Certificate Program
Registration Begins
Fall 2017
Online Program Begins
January 22, 2017
March 2018

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

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

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. Cher C. Hendricks
University of West Georgia

Dr. Katy Herbold
Southern Utah University

Mrs. Laurie G. Hillstock
Virginia Tech

Dr. 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
University of North Georgia


Dr. Lauryl A. Lefebvre

University of Phoenix

Ms. Nancy Lee
University of Nevada

Dr. Elke M. Leeds
Kennesaw State 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
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. Ravic P. Ringlaben
University of West Georgia

Dr. Michael Rogers
Advanced Learning Technologies,
Board of Regents of the
University System of Georgia


Dr. Beth Rene Roepnack
University of West Georgia Associate Director of Online Faculty Development
University of West 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
Author and Speaker

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

An Organizational Development Framework for Assessing Readiness and Capacity for Expanding Online Education

Anthony A. Piña

by Anthony A. Piña

In this article, a popular model for organizational development is utilized as a framework for assessing the organizational readiness and capacity of educational institutions whose leaders wish to establish or expand their online/distance education programs. Examples of institutionalization factors to consider and alternative models for assessing readiness and capacity are also provided.

Forum Quality or Quantity: What is Driving Student Engagement Online?

Cassandra S. Shaw
Kathleen C. Irwin

by Cassandra S. Shaw
Kathleen C. Irwin

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between forum quality and student engagement. It was hypothesized when the forum prompt was of expected quality it would be a driver of student engagement and examined the length of the forum prompt in relation to student engagement. The methodology adopted for this study was quantitative--a regression was performed for the regressor variables, collectively, with each dependent variable. In addition, a standard regression was performed for quality of forum prompt with each dependent variable, separately. Data was collected over an eight-month period from May through December of 2015 from the following programs within the School of Business in an online university: accounting, business administration, government contracting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, human resource management, management, marketing, retail management, reverse logistics management, and transportation and logistics management. We examined the theory established by Salmon regarding the 5-stage model for forum development: (1) access and motivation, (2) online socialization, (3) information exchange, (4) knowledge construction, and (5) development. It was determined stages one and two are critical for student engagement as the more in depth the prompt the less likely students were to engage.

Business Models Associated with Distance Learning in Higher Education

Shouhong Wang
Hai Wang

by Shouhong Wang
Hai Wang

Textbook prices are continuously rising in higher education. This paper analyzes a business model which makes commercial textbooks more expensive, and explains why this issue tends to be more severe in the field of distance learning in higher education. It reports a case of adoption of open educational resources (OER) textbook for an online course to tackle the problem of high textbook prices which are associated with the bundled online academic services. Based on an analysis of the business model practiced in this case study, the paper discusses the challenges for implementation of this business model in distance education. It provides suggestions for institutional administrations to engage the distance learning community to reduce the costs of higher education.

Persistence in an Online Master's Degree Program: Perceptions of Students and Faculty

Deborah Budash
Melanie Shaw

by Deborah Budash
Melanie Shaw

Persistence in online learning experiences has been perceived as chronically lower than in face-to-face learning, but a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon has proven elusive. As online learning opportunities continue to expand, a better understanding of how learners and faculty perceive persistence is needed to foster this continued growth, and was the objective of this study. This single case study consisted of interviews of eight online master's degree students and six online faculty members from the same program related to their perceptions of persistence. Interviews were completed initially with the students and were triangulated with faculty interview responses. The results provided insights as to how participants viewed persistence in the online classroom and how each participant experienced and managed persistence. Themes emerged related to characteristics of persistent learners, practices of online faculty and staff, online course design techniques and practices, and program-level student support strategies. The results suggest that persistence in the OLE can be attained with structured policies infused with flexibility, open communication, and an engaged learning community. Additional research is recommended with different groups of learners, longitudinal studies, and to relate these findings to existing theory.


Applying Project Management Strategies in a Large Curriculum Conversion Project in Higher Education

by Joel Gardner
Patrick A. Bennett
Niccole Hyatt
Kevin Stoker

Joel Gardner
Patrick A. Bennett
Niccole Hyatt
Kevin Stoker

Higher education is undergoing great changes that require universities to adapt quickly, and making these changes can be difficult. One discipline that can aid in executing change is project management, which has developed a set of clear processes and strategies for completing initiatives quickly and effectively. Several authors have identified project management competencies as key in the practice of instructional design. However, in our experience it can be difficult to operationalize project management, particularly in instructional design projects that are large in scope and require a quick turnaround. In this case study, we describe our response to an immediate need to convert 53 courses from a 15-week to a 12-week format. We share the project management processes, strategies, and technologies we used to plan, organize, and lead this large course conversion project. We share our experiences working with organizational culture, collaborating with busy faculty, and hiring part-time designers and content experts. Finally, we share our own best practices for managing and leading large, multi-course instructional design projects.

Evaluation of Instructional Design Capabilities of Asynchronous and Synchronous Instruction

Kristi N. Garrett
Angela D. Benson

by Kristi N. Garrett
Angela D. Benson

From a quantitative perspective, this study examined the instructional design knowledge of higher education instructors and others within the instructional design/technology arena who are members of a global educational based Internet forum. Results showed significant difference in opinions between genders, where males were more inclined to incorporate instructional technology into their asynchronous and synchronous teaching environments. Based on the results, providing training for gender specific groups could foster a more collaborative learning environment. Whether male or female, designing and developing quality instruction for use in online and face-to-face environments is paramount in order to give students an engaging learning experience.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings OJDLA readers,

Fall brings with it the beginning of a new school year, and there's always a sense of change that comes with the cooler air. This year, more than ever it seems, we've shifted from competitively growing and collaboratively managing our online programs, to seriously re-examining affordability. The caveat is that all of our efforts to increase affordability should not compromise, but yet increase - quality.

A related driver is innovation. Yet, I'm not sure that innovation is so much a product of itself (or a MOOC or personalized learning), but perhaps a different way of thinking about issues such as quality. While quality can be measured to some degree in terms of student success and faculty-student interactions, there are much deeper outcomes related to critical thinking, relationships and authenticity in the college experience that are harder to define, let alone measure. This means that the questions that we are asking ourselves need to be changing, in my view.

Please consider joining me at our third annual conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World next Feburary in fabulous Savannah as we thoughtfully explore these and related issues. Our call for proposals ends on September 30. Hope to hear from you.

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful autumn,

- Melanie

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

September 15, 2017


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

Last modified: September 15, 2017