Fall 2016 - Volume 19 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
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

Factors that Influence Student Attrition in Online Courses

Melanie Shaw
Scott Burrus
Karen Ferguson

by Melanie Shaw
Scott Burrus
Karen Ferguson

Research was conducted to explore predictors for online higher education student attrition. This research was conducted using results from the SmarterMeasure Learning Readiness Indicator to track students in their degree programs. In addition, student outreach was conducted with an experimental group of at-risk students to determine if additional academic support promoted retention. Results demonstrated that verbal and physical learning styles and personal attributes such as procrastination increase the likelihood for attrition, while clear reasons for pursuing a degree and typing skills decrease the likelihood for attrition. Outreach to identified at-risk students did promote greater levels of student success and persistence. Recommendations for future research include comparing results from online and traditional student groups to determine if similar at-risk factors influence the likelihood of student withdrawal, and examining the characteristics of students who withdrawal before completing their first course. Moreover, qualitative research should be conducted to more deeply understand the reasons associated with online program attrition.

Factors for Successful Evolution and Sustainability of Quality Distance Education

Mark G. Angolia
Leslie R. Pagliari

by Mark G. Angolia
Leslie R. Pagliari

Distance education (DE) is entering its fourth generation, requiring universities to consider how to sustain this continually evolving delivery method. Competition from for-profit entities, open-source depositories, and an increasing number of non-profit universities has created a competitive marketplace for academia to navigate. Rather than consider implementation of distance education, this research focuses on defining success factors for DE evolution and sustainability in non-profit, public four-year higher education institutions. It investigates controllable factors, directly influenced by administration and faculty, needed to foster a culture supporting high quality DE. Also investigated are non-controllable factors related to the role and impact of a technology savvy student body.

A metadata analysis presents new insights for university administrators and faculty to sustain and grow existing programs. Theories for technology adoption, acceptance, and use underpin the research and conclusions. The findings suggest that higher education has moved beyond Rogerís (1962) early adopter stage and is now faced with a need to establish a pathway for sustainability and growth in the face of increasing DE enrollment and technology change. Critical success factors were found to be university leadership with respect to infrastructure and faculty support systems. Additionally, faculty should continually challenge teaching paradigms and adapt pedagogy to newly adopted technology for continued success. Recommended strategies are provided along with suggested infrastructure and pedagogy components.

Interview with a Cyber-Student: A Look Behind Online Cheating

Julia Davis

by Julia Davis

This case study offers insights into the motivation and experiences of a cyber-student, an individual who completes all or portions of an online class for the registered student. The cyber-student shares information on the inner-workings of online companies specializing in matching cyber-students with potential clients. A portrait of both a cyber-student and his/her typical client is revealed.

Enhancing the Online Classroom: Transitioning from Discussion to Engagement

Tanae Wolo Acolatse

by Tanae Wolo Acolatse

The discussion board is a tool used in online teaching that allows students to share ideas and facilitate learning. Research suggests that while the discussion board has been an enlightening experience for online students, there is concern that the online classroom has become stagnant and in some cases boring and ineffective. This paper proposes possible solutions for enhancing the online classroom experience by transitioning from discussion to engagement.


Adjuncts Matter: A Qualitative Study of Adjuncts' Job Satisfaction

Telvis M. Rich

by Telvis M. Rich

The extrinsic factors that influence the workplace experiences of 27 adjuncts teaching online were explored. In this qualitative research study, the adjuncts’ lived experiences were examined through in-depth interviews. The results indicated three emergent factors which influenced the participants’ workplace experiences, and the alternative methods adjuncts employed to ensure their professional well-being. The emergent extrinsic factors are 1) Professional Inclusion, 2) Work Schedule, and 3) Resources. In this article, the rich and thick descriptions of the results, implications for practice, and limitations are presented.

Review of Online Programming Characteristics and Pricing at Private Not-for-Profit Two Year Colleges in the United States

Christopher Ahlstrom

by Christopher Ahlstrom

Online programming has expanded greatly within higher education and much attention has been spent on public two year colleges (more commonly known as community colleges) and both private and public four year institutions. This research seeks to expand understanding of the small market of private not-for-profit two year colleges within the United States. The research provides an analysis of 80 such institutions and their pricing strategies for online learning as well as the online programming behaviors within this market. Findings indicate that 48% offer online courses with 32% of them offering online degree programs. Additionally, this market shows a strong preference for setting online programming tuition equivalent to on-campus rates at 87% having this tendency.

Teaching Multiple Online Sections/Courses: Tactics and Techniques

Rodger Bates
Bryan LaBrecque
Emily Fortner

by Rodger Bates
Bryan LaBrecque
Emily Fortner

The challenge of teaching online increases as the number of sections or courses increase in a semester. The tactics and techniques which enrich online instruction in the tradition of quality matters can be modified and adapted to the demands of multiple instructional needs during a semester. This paper addresses time management and instructional design strategies as well as prior planning requirements. It also reviews the integration and management of multiple online courses and discusses recommendations.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayWelcome to our fall edition of OJDLA.

This edition includes an array of important articles on topics from student attrition to adjunct job satisfaction to online cheating, including some articles from award-winning authors.

The topic of online cheating is surely not a new and modern one, but has once again emerged to the forefront of many conversations, perhaps even more so amongst those who are less familiar with quality online education. As the dean of USG eCampus, I occasionally evaluate academic dishonesty cases, and am still surprised with the variety of strategies that some students utilize to enhance their grades.

Yet, I do believe that the perception of online cheating as higher in the electronic classroom is well, just a perception. With technology, we are able to not only more easily verify student identity, but also more quickly recognize unusual patterns. Our roles as instructors, instructional designers, and student support professionals are critically important in minimizing opportunities and in creating an environment that fosters academic integrity.

Often this requires the development of authentic assessments and understanding student motivations to cheat. Are the materials disorganized or overwhelming? What pressures is the student facing outside of the classroom? Is academic assistance provided and readily available? Do we consistently promote honor codes and model the highest levels of character?

If a role of higher education is truly to enhance the mind, increase critical thinking abilities, and prepare students for a life of engaged citizenry, then our approaches to effectively preventing and addressing cheating should be most thoughtfully considered and delivered holistically.

Have a glorious fall.

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

September 15, 2016


A special thanks to D2L for being the premiere sponsor of DLA2016!

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

Last modified: September 15, 2016