Current Issue

The Promise and the Pathway: Marketing Higher Education to Adults

Lutz, Stein, Wanstreet and Saunders
Lutz - Stein
Wanstreet - Saunders

by David S. Stein
     Constance E. Wanstreet
     Charles T. Saunders, Jr.
     Michelle L. Lutz

This study analyzed the content of college and university Web site home pages to determine the frequency of marketing messages that might persuade adult learners to enroll at the institution. The findings suggest that colleges and universities in this study do not have adult-oriented marketing messages and are giving scant attention to the decision-making needs of prospective adult learners on their Web sites. The marketing generally appeals to career prospects rather than helping adults make decisions about their futures. The potential of Web marketing to help adults is not being realized. As a result, Web marketing presents the promise of higher education without helping prospective adult learners take the first steps down the pathway. Suggested Web site message improvements include designing messages that appeal to the needs and interests of adult learners; welcoming adult learners through textual content, visual displays, and ease of access to information; demonstrating how an institution will address adult learners’ issues and interests; and convincing prospects that they will achieve their goals by completing their education at the institution.



The Professional Adjunct: An Emerging Trend in Online Instruction

Laurie Bedford
Laurie Bedford

by Laurie A. Bedford

Expanding enrollment in online programs has concurrently created a demand for qualified faculty to assume the increasing workload.   As full-time faculty have been unable to fill the gap due to workload or resistance, organizations are more frequently turning to adjuncts to meet the needs of their online learners.   As a result, there has been increasing dialogue regarding the nature of the adjunct-university relationship as well as the quality, rigor, and consistency of courses being facilitated by part-time faculty.    Complicating this dialogue are a small but growing number of individuals who do not hold full-time jobs but rely on multiple adjunct positions to fulfill their professional needs.  This qualitative study investigates the motivations and demographics of this emerging phenomenon. 



The New (and Old) News about Cheating for Distance Educators

Sorensen, Tippets and Howell
Sorensen - Tippets - Howell

by Scott Howell
     Don Sorensen
     Holly Rose Tippets

Those in distance education are faced with a formidable challenge to ensure the identity of test takers and integrity of exam results, especially since students are physically removed from the classroom and distributed across the globe. This news digest will provide distance educators not only with a better understanding and awareness of issues surrounding cheating but also suggest solutions that might be adopted to help mitigate cheating in their programs. While technologies, including “braindump” Web sites and cell phones, are associated with the more common cheating behaviors today, the problem of cheating will always beleaguer distance educators; it is their responsibility to stay current on latest developments in the field of academic dishonesty, employ fitting interventions to mitigate cheating, and do everything possible to preserve the integrity of distance education.



Using a Web-based System to Estimate the Cost of Online Course Production
He, Gordon and Abdous
He - Gordon - Abdous

by Stuart Gordon
     Wu He
     M'hammed Abdous

The increasing demand for online courses requires efficient and low cost production.  Since the decision to develop online courses is often affected by financial factors, it is becoming increasingly important to determine, upfront, the cost of online course production.  Many of the programs and educators interested in developing online courses underestimate the costs involved in developing and producing an online course.  Efficient and reasonable cost estimates can assist institutions and educators to realize the costs of putting a course online and thus can improve strategic planning and budgeting processes.  In an effort to facilitate, streamline, and improve the cost estimation process for online course development, the Center for Learning Technologies at Old Dominion University (ODU) has designed a web-based cost estimate system.  This online tool enables our institution to determine the estimated costs involved in online course development.



Alternative Uses for Course Management Systems: They Arenít Just for Classes Any More
Jill Ullmann
Jill Ullmann

by Jill Ullmann

Universities are quickly moving from brick and mortar toward online classroom settings. The online setting provides students with increased accessibility and flexibility to attend classes they would normally be unable to attend.  Unfortunately, for those students who never attend classes on campus, many campus resources are not accessible.  Students who attend online are often challenged by a lack of access to on-campus resources such as the ability to contact an academic advisor, retrieve forms, obtain timely information, use the writing lab, and technology assistance.  Additionally, many adult learners are returning to school to further their education after a long period of time.  These students are surprised at their lack of technical skills needed to complete course work.  Virtually all courses in the Purdue University Calumet School of Nursing were either hybrids or totally online.  Thus the School needed to reach all students equally with student supportive services whether they were attending class on campus or through distant learning. 



Supporting Online Faculty - Revisiting the Seven Principles (A Few Years Later)
Maria Puzziferro
Maria Puzziferro
Kaye Shelton
Kaye Shelton

by Maria Puzziferro
     Kaye Shelton

Since 2005, the landscape of online teaching and learning has changed as well as the landscape of the academy, and continues to transform before our eyes. These changes are not only a product of technological innovation, but also a result of new and reconceptualized values of higher education, and so we must reexamine what changes to faculty role, position and perspectives best support these new values.  Drawing on the Seven Principles of Good Practice, this article visits the need for effective faculty support and development in online education.  Online education has forever transformed higher education, and we are learning that quality requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to the changing demands of learners, the new promises of technology, and the new competitive landscape of higher education. If higher education is to remain competitive, we must refocus and redesign our paradigms, as well as design business processes that integrate with quality assurance models.



Point, Click, and Cheat: Frequency and Type of Academic Dishonesty in the Virtual Classroom
Stuber-McEwen
Stuber-McEwen
Phillip Wiseley
Wiseley

by Donna Stuber-    
      McEwen
     Phillip Wiseley
     Susan Hoggatt

Students who feel disconnected from others may be prone to engage in deceptive behaviors such as academic dishonesty. George and Carlson (1999) contend that as the distance between a student and a physical classroom setting increases, so too would the frequency of online cheating. The distance that exists between faculty and students through the virtual classroom may contribute to the belief that students enrolled in online classes are more likely to cheat than students enrolled in traditional classroom settings. The prevalence of academic misconduct among students enrolled in online classes was explored. Students (N = 225) were given the Student Academic Dishonesty Survey to determine the frequency and type of academic dishonest behaviors. Results indicated that students enrolled in online classes were less likely to cheat than those enrolled in traditional, on ground courses. Aiding and abetting was self-reported as the most frequently used method among students in both online and traditional classroom settings. Results suggest that the amount of academic misconduct among online students may not be as prevalent as believed.



Factors Influencing the Acceptance of Distance Learning: A Case Study of Arab Open University in Kuwait
Salah Al-Fadhli
Salah Al-Fadhli

by Salah Al-Fadhli

The recent revolution in information technology (IT) has significantly challenged society’s perception and thinking about the world in which we live. Because of its many advantages, distance learning has been identified by educators, scholars, academicians, and researchers as one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of learning. This study investigates possible factors that affect student acceptance of distance learning at the Arab Open University in Kuwait. The variables examined in the study include computer self-efficacy, technological factors, instructional design, and instructor characteristics. A descriptive quantitative research design and inferential methods analysis were utilized to examine these variables. Findings suggest that in order to enhance the DL system, DL institutions need to address computer self-competency, technological factors, the social environment, and instructor characteristics. 



From the Editor

Melanie ClayThis issue includes an exceptional article on Marketing Higher Education to Adults (Stein, Wanstreet, Saunders, & Lutz). The authors conducted a study, and found that the marketing of higher education is somewhat predictable and often fails to truly appeal to the interests of adult learners. An example of a type of marketing that was scarce was the type that linked learning to the feelings of adult learners. I found this notion so compelling that I actually called a staff meeting to brainstorm exactly what feelings we hope to evoke in our potential learners. Are we looking for feelings of social connection, or does the potential online learner looking more for convenience and a lack of hassles? Do we want to evoke a feeling of safety or adventure? Think about some of your favorite brands (Coca-Cola for example) and how they make you feel. Even products as benign as laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid evoke some sort of emotional reaction for us, based on the advertising we've been exposed to over the years. Clearly, one challenge in marketing our distance programs is to take some lessons from the business world and start thinking on metaphorical levels. On another note, in October we will release our Call for Proposals for our 11th Annual Distance Learning Conference to be held next June at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel (one of my favorite places in the world). Watch our conference website for details!

Peace to all,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
September 15, 2009

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Last modified: September 15th, 2009