Spring 2008 - Volume 11 Issue 1


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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

How Institutionalized is Distance Learning? A Study of Institutional Role, Locale and Academic Level

Picture of Anthony Pina
Anthony Piña

by Anthony Piña

The purpose of this study was to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses in the institutionalization of distance learning at colleges and universities.  To accomplish this goal, 30 factors found to influence the institutionalization of innovations were identified from the literature of several area.  These factors were rated by distance learning professionals on how successfully each of the individual factors was being implemented at their respective institutions.  Results were analyzed and compared according to institutional role (distance learning administrators or distance learning faculty), academic level of the institution (associate, masters or doctorate) and institutional locale (rural, suburban or urban).

Exploratory Study of the Relationship between Self-Directed Learning and Academic Performance in a Web-Based Learning Environment

picture of Chen picture of Chou

by Pao-Nan Chou
     Wei-Fan Chen

Through literature review, this paper examines six empirical studies. Three cases are from the United States and the other three are from studies conducted in Asian. The purpose of this study is to identify whether or not self-directed learning is a key factor leading to successful academic performance in web-based learning environments. The in-depth analysis and discussion of each study finds that the effect of self-directed learning on academic success in web-based environments is divergent among six case studies. Follow-up studies should exclude potential problems identified in this paper.


Assessment in Online Distance Education: A Comparison of Three Online Programs at a University
picture of Nari Kim picture of Matthew Smith

by Nari Kim
    Matthew J. Smith
    Kyungeun Maeng

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not the principles of assessment in online education are reflected in the assessment activities used by the developers and administrators of actual online distance courses. Three online distance education programs provided at a large mid-west university were analyzed; the School of Continuing Studies undergraduate distance program, the School of Business distance MBA program, and the School of Education distance graduate program. The results of the study showed that the assessment activities of online distance courses do not strictly follow the principles suggested in the literature.


Financial Bottom Line: Estimating the Cost of Turnover and Attrition for Online Faculty and Adjuncts
Picture of Kristen Betts picture of Sikorski

by Kristen S. Betts
    Bernadine Sikorski

Turnover and attrition of online faculty and adjunct faculty is a reality. While there are no reported national statistics or data on annual turnover/ attrition for online faculty/adjunct, the overall costs of recruiting, training, and replacing faculty/adjunct can be staggering. Moreover, the short and long term effects of online faculty/adjunct who are not properly trained through recruitment and retention plans can result in faculty/adjunct attrition, student attrition, low graduation rates, legal action, and negatively affect the reputation of an institution. Therefore, online programs administrators must be cognizant of “costs” associated with faculty/adjunct turnover/attrition and understand the inherent importance of recruitment, retention and incentive plans related to program sustainability.

Traditional and Non-traditional Students in the same Classroom? Additional Challenges of the Distance Education Environment
Picture ofTracy Skopek Picture of Robert Schuhmann

by Tracy A. Skopek
Robert A. Schuhmann

The new reality of higher education contains a fundamental shift in student demographics. More non-traditional students are seeking educational opportunities and traditional students are seeking out and expecting alternative modes of curriculum delivery. Students, especially older, non-traditional ones seek course delivery through distance education formats such as online or videoconferencing that meet the needs of their lifestyle that includes career, family and other responsibilities. As a result, Universities are moving to meet the needs of this growing contingency of new atypical student populations.


Student Interaction Experiences in Distance Learning Courses:
A Phenomenological Study

Picture of Anthony Pina
Sunny (lu) Liu

by Sunny (Lu) Liu


This paper focuses on one of the most significant challenges in distance learning, the student-to-student interaction issue, by studying the interaction experiences of a group of students who have had a distance education experience. It addresses questions such as the current status of student interactions, the students' perceptions of such interactions, and the pattern emerged from such interaction behaviors. Using a phenomenological method, this study found out that the student interaction phenomenon in distance education was intertwined with many factors and themes. In order to foster an interactive learning community and encourage student interactions, all of the administrators, faculty, and staff in a distance education program need to collaborate with each other at an institutional level.

From the Editor

We dedicate this issue of the OJDLA to the memory of our picture of Dwight Laws holding Melanie's son, Christopher Claydear friend, mentor, and colleague, Dr. Richard "Dwight" Laws, who passed away on March 10, 2008, following a courageous battle with cancer. Dwight served on our OJDLA board for several years, was among our most loved regular attendees of our DLA Conference, and was the first recipient of our Wagner Leadership Award for Distance Learning. Dwight was a most exceptional person whose very presence in a room was calming and awe-inspiring, and made you feel as though you were with a very wise, wonderful, and generous grandpa. In fact, he had nine children, 36 grandchildren, and two great-grand children. In the photo (right), he is at our 2004 DLA Conference holding my own child, Christopher, who was immediately mesmerized by him and did not want him to put him down. Although he leaves a remarkable and inspiring legacy in his work with distance education, it was his humble stewardship and genuine interest in and love for fellow humans that touched the lives of thousands and made him so unforgettable. Dwight was the the Director of Independent Study at Brigham Young University, where he had been employed since 1984. According to his family he showed a "lion's dedication" to teaching children proper principles in living and tried to set an example of how to truly care for others. He is also survived by his wife of 26 years, Linda Heurkens Laws.

picture of Melanie ClayWe will truly, truly miss our friend.

Peace to all,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
March 15, 2008

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

Last modified: March 17th, 2008