Fall 2007 - Volume 10 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

Fall 2007 - Volume 10 Issue 3

Quality Matters: Collaborative Program Planning at a State Level

by Kay Shattuck

Quality in online distance education has been a hot topic in the popular, professional, and academic literature during the past decade. This article describes an innovative response to the problem of assuring quality in sharable online courses encountered by MarylandOnline, a statewide consortium of 19 Maryland community colleges and four-year institutions. Phases of collaborative program development of the Quality Matters program, a replicable system of peer-review for quality assurance and continuous improvement for online courses, are described.

e-Learning Risks: Why Universities Should NOT Go It Alone

Matthews and Schneid

by Tim Matthews
     Gloria Pickar
     Tom Schneid

With $1M, faculty support, and their reputation at risk, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) sought a distance learning partner to assess the MS in Loss Prevention & Safety opportunity, and then market the program to qualified students ready to learn. This compelling case study demonstrates how marketplace demand and competitive advantage can overcome risks and build rewards.


Creating a First Class Experience That's First Class

by Philip A. McNair
     Tedi L. Thompson

The American Public University System (APUS) is currently attracting more than eight hundred new undergraduate students every month, the majority of whom are required to take “Foundations of Online Learning” as their first course. That first course plays a critical role in the academic career of new students and may have a direct bearing on whether they finish their degree. It must introduce students to the institution’s policies, procedures, and processes, develop competency with the online learning management system; develop critical study skills; and initiate the complex and necessary process of building a sense of belonging within a virtual community of learners. This paper examines the critical first class experience from the perspective of an online, open enrollment institution serving primarily adult learners in the military and public service sectors.


Current Administrative Structures Used for Online Degree Program Offerings in Higher Education

by Rocco Paolucci
     Stephen Gambescia

Online distance learning or distributed learning (i.e., learning via the Internet and the World Wide Web) can be regarded as one of the fastest mainstreamed instructional delivery systems and technologies introduced in higher education. Naturally with such a fast introduction of a radically new instructional innovation, major stakeholders were quick to assess distance learning via the Internet for its quality, academic standards, affect on accreditation, institutional strategic opportunities, pedagogical potential, and market value potential. I t is evident that colleges and universities see online distance learning as part of their strategic plans and initiatives. Therefore, more attention should be given to how best to structure distance learning programs within higher education organizations. This study identified the range of general administrative structures that universities are currently using in offering online degree programs.


The Role of Faculty Development in Online Teaching's Potential to Question Teaching Beliefs and Assumptions

by Carol A. McQuiggan

A literature review was conducted to investigate the adult education and faculty development literature and research to discover what is known about changes or transformation in teaching assumptions and beliefs when faculty prepare to teach online or when they are engaged in online teaching, and to uncover any gaps in research involving these changes. There were four primary themes that resulted from the analysis of the articles: moving from classroom practice to online teaching; changes related to online teaching, framing faculty development within adult education; and faculty development models. Critiques and implications are considered in regard to the possibility of faculty development for online teaching as transformative learning.


Scoring Asynchronous Discussions: An Exploratory Assessment Model

by Camilla Gant
Following the theory of situated cognition as proposed by Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1998), this research project tapped into the contextual knowledge of experienced administrators of online programs.  Draft principles of financial sustainability for online programs were developed by an initial team of experienced online educators and then critiqued by seven directors of FIPSE-funded online programs.  The directors added conditions, situations, and caveats to the principles making the final product a rich and comparatively complete list of issues that are important for administrators to understand. 


Challenges and Strategies for Sustaining eLearning in Small Organizations

by John Leary
     Zane L. Berge

The fact that small organizations have been slow to adopt elearning is not because of a lack of need – in fact elearning offers tremendous benfit for small organizations in the form of time savings, captured expertise, improved workflow and improved staff development – but rather because small organizations tend not to have the right components and working atmosphere in place that allow for the aoption of elearning. There are three main ingredients that will enable this to occur for even the smallest of organizations: a learning culture, a web savvy staff, and the presence of at least one good training professional. Economies of scale that often help justify elearning for larger corporations are not applicable for small organizations, therefore managers must therefore take a closer look at how elearning can solve multiple problems faced by the small, busy staff. By integrating elearning into an organization’s strategic plan, and by combining e-learning with a knowledge management system, a virtual network, education partnerships, or other tools and strategies, smaller organizations can improve office efficiency and program effectiveness on a sustained basis with elearning.


From the Editor

This issue includes three highly practical articles which were “Best Papers” presented at our annual Distance Learning Administration Conference in June. Even though our conference this year was held directly on the beach (St. Simons Island), the sun and fun did not seem to detract from the quality of exceptional papers and presentations that we had this year. In “e-Learning Risks: Why Universities Should NOT Go It Alone,” Matthews, Pickar, and Schneid describe how universities are not “set up to function as a business,” and make a compelling case for including a partner to better evaluate marketability, potential revenue, and scalability.

In “Creating a First Class Experience That’s First Class,” McNair (pictured above) and Thompson detail the critical role that their required course, “Foundations of Online Learning,” plays in the retention and success of new online students. This approach is of critical issue to me personally, where I’ve worked closely with our eCore coordinator, Stacey Rowland (also production editor of this journal) to successfully increase our retention rates in certain high-risk courses through a combination of targeted advisement, tested online orientations, and community building.

In the third “Best Paper” article, “Scoring Asynchronous Discussion: An Exploratory Model,” Gant provides a research-based model for promoting quality in online discussions by providing a clear method of analysis. The hybrid model presented is the result of the author’s work in assessing discussion threads over a period of five years.

Melanie ClayI wish to again extend my congratulations to these authors for their awards based on their outstanding work in providing solutions to distance learning administrators and faculty. I hope that many more of you will consider submitting papers for presentation at our next conference, to be held June 22-25, 2008, at Jekyll Island, Georgia.


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
September 15, 2007

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

Last modified: September 15th, 2007