Spring 2009 - Volume 12 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

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Fall 2017
Program Begins
January 22, 2018
June 2018

Distance Education
Certified Trainer Program

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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

Academic Fidelity and Integrity as Attributes of University Online Degree Program Offerings

Stephen F. Gambescia
Stephen F. Gambescia
Rocco Paolucci
Rocco Paolucci

by Stephen F.

     Rocco Paolucci

As stakeholders continue to discuss, debate, and advocate their positions related to the value of online learning at colleges and universities, one element that will continue to be discussed, regardless of the specific issue at hand, is academic integrity and fidelity. Academic fidelity of online degree program offerings is defined in this study as the extent or level to which university leaders have considered, involved, and entrusted their current academic assets to produce the new educational program offering. Academic fidelity measures the nature and extent of integrity or equivalency between on campus programs and online degree programs. This study aimed to determine the prominence of academic fidelity attributes in the online degree program offering, as presented to prospective students via universities’ official websites.

The Impact of High School Distance e-Learning Experience on Rural Students’ University Achievement and Persistence

Charlene Dodd
Charlene Dodd
Dale Kirby
Dale Kirby

by Charlene Dodd
     Dale Kirby
     Tim Seifert
     Dennis Sharpe

The rapid growth of information technologies has influenced the way in which education is delivered and experienced. Little is currently known about the impact of distance education experience at the secondary level of the educational system on subsequent educational pursuits in the post-secondary education system. This research utilized archival data to explore the impact of high school on-line education experience on students’ performance and persistence in the first year of university. The results of this analysis suggest that first year university performance and persistence is significantly different for students who have previous experience with on-line education experiences and those who do not.

Employer Perceptions of Online Degrees: A Literature Review

Norina L. Columbaro
Norina L. Columbaro
Catherine Monaghan
Catherine Monaghan

by Norina L.
    Catherine H.

This literature review explores research regarding the perception of potential employers or “gatekeepers” about online degrees in comparison with those earned in a traditional format. This review contributes to the field of knowledge because higher education can benefit from understanding how these perceptions affect students’ employment opportunities and, in turn, affect the institutions granting the online degree. In addition, research in this area potentially contributes to the field of knowledge by helping prospective students, as consumers of higher education, make informed choices about their degree attainment paths.

Factors Influencing Faculty Use of Technology in Online Instruction: A Case Study
Johnson - Osika - Buteau
Johnson - Osika - Buteau

by Elizabeth Reed Osika
     Rochelle Y. Johnson
     Rosemary Buteau

Online education has become a staple of higher education institutions.  In the latest survey conducted by the Sloan Foundation, it was found that over two-thirds of higher education institutions were offering a variety of online courses and programs.  According to Allen and Seaman (2008), over 20% of all students took at least one online course in 2006 and this is projected to continue to increase over time.  However, observations at a specific urban university in the mid-west, shows vast variation in terms of faculty who choose to utilize online instructional technologies and a significant lag in desired online development.  With the importance of online instruction, the question was asked was “how can an institution encourage their faculty members to move forward with online instruction?”  This article outlines the answer to that question by determining what factors were found to influence a faculty member’s decision whether or not to integrate online technologies into his or her course.  The factors considered centered on areas such as: 1) perceptions of online instruction, 2) past experience with online technologies, and 3) specific experiences at the university.  These findings, as well as the initial strategies developed to increase faculty participation in online instruction are discussed in the article. 

The Faculty Perspective Regarding Their Role in Distance Education Policy Making
Loréal Maguire
Loréal Maguire

by Loréal Maguire

Many times distance education policy is created after an institution has already begun offering online courses and programs. In addition, faculty members may be left out of the discussions about and creation of distance education policy, yet expected to willingly teach online courses. A recent study exploring faculty perceptions of the distance education policy development process found a strong interest of faculty in having a role in the development of that policy. Furthermore, the results of the study provide contextual effects on faculty participation in the policy development process which inform distance learning administrators with program planning.

Developing a Survey to Measure Best Practices of K-12 Online Instructors
Erik Black
Erik Black

by Erik Black
     Meredith DiPietro
     Richard Ferdig
     Nathanial Polling

Limited data exists related to teaching and learning in K-12 virtual schools.  This paper builds upon a recent study related to successful practices of K-12 online instructors. The paper describes the utilization of a survey built upon qualitatively derived best practices of K-12 online instructors and provides the opportunity to relate these practices to teacher’s perceived professional development needs. Outcomes indicate that virtual school instructors identify online presence, diligent student monitoring and an enjoyment of technology among factors that contribute to virtual school instructor success. Instructors also identified face-to-face student mentors as a key component for success. Respondents felt that they would benefit from professional development focused on technological skills, content-based technological integration and evaluative resources for online learners. The paper concludes with a call for additional research to refine and implement the assessment.

Introducing Online Learning at a Small College through a Faculty Learning Community
Janas - Long - Kay
Janas - Long - Kay

by Lori K. Long
     Debra L. Janas
     Lalene Kay
     Cassandra August

As online learning in higher education continues to grow, the diversity of institutions offering such options also grows.  However, small private institutions have been the slowest to adopt online learning (Allen & Seaman, 2006).    The challenge for the smaller institution is often the lack of technological resources and support for faculty.   The demand for online learning requires that smaller institutions find creative ways to successfully introduce online learning options.  This paper examines the use of a Faculty Learning Community to introduce online learning at a small college and shares the outcomes of the process. 

From the Editor

Melanie ClayI am encouraged as I reflect on how the various debates surrounding online learning have changed and evolved over the last decade. The questions used to focus mostly on whether or not an institution should engage in offering online courses, or simply avoid distance learning and hope that it would “go away.” Remember when some of our colleagues believed that online learning was a trend? Now that most institutions, public and private, traditional and non-traditional, have gotten their online programs well underway, there is a renewed focus on quality and specific policy issues. Just last week, I got into a discussion about whether or not online courses should be designated as such on a student’s transcript. I was frankly a bit surprised by the question, really believing that online learning has become so mainstreamed (even Harvard offers online courses now) that most do not consider quality to be a function of the delivery medium. Rather, quality is more associated with the quality of the instructor and the support systems, and is strongly perceived as being associated with the reputation of the institution. In this issue, Gambrescia and Paolucci provide some very useful standards for assessing academic integrity and fidelity. They also reveal how institutions use these attributes, and others, to promote and market their programs. In a related article Columbara and Monaghan presents a literature review of how employers perceive online degrees and courses. This brings me back to my earlier thoughts on how online courses should appear on a student’s transcript. During a one-hour perusal of university websites, I failed to find any institutions that still differentiated the online component on a student’s transcript – though I know some do exist. Surely, those of us who have taught online courses, taken online courses, or earned degrees online through accredited institutions, would agree that the delivery medium is not what makes any course (online or f2f) a good one or a bad one. It makes far less sense to include the delivery medium on the transcript than to include other more relevant factors – such as the highest degree of the instructor who taught the course or how the student ranked in relation to other students who took the same course. And obviously, these are not included. While we are making progress in so many areas, we must tread carefully not to take steps backwards as we revisit some of our older, established online course policies.

Peace to all,

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

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

Last modified: March 15th, 2009