Spring 2011 - Volume 14 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

Comprehensive Assessment of Student Retention in Online
Learning Environments

Radwan Ali
Angela Gibson, Wallace Boston, Phil Ice

by Angela Gibson
     Wallace Boston
     Phil Ice

As the growth of online programs continues to rapidly accelerate, concern over the retention of the online learner is increasing. Educational administrators at institutions offering online courses, those fully online or brick and mortars, are eager to promote student achievement. Retention is critically important, not just for student success, but also for the success of these institutions of higher education. Models for understanding student persistence in the face-to-face environment are well established; however, many of the variables in these constructs are not present in the online environment or they manifest in significantly different ways.  With attrition rates higher than in face-to-face programs, the development of models to explain online retention is considered imperative. This study moves in that direction by exploring the relationship between student demographics and interactions, and retention at a large online university. Analysis of data, which included an n of 20,569, provides an illustration of the importance of transfer credit and the consistency of activity in predicting continued enrollment.

View Article

A Review of Paradigms for Evaluating the Quality of Online
Education Programs

Batts, Pagliari and McFadden
Kaye Shelton

by Kaye Shelton

As the demands for public accountability increase for higher education, institutions must demonstrate quality within programs and processes, including those provided through online education. While quality may be elusive to specifically quantify, there have been several recommendations for identifying and defining quality online education that address common areas of program development and administration. This paper explores and compares 13 recommendations and paradigms found in the literature for identifying and evaluating the quality of online education programs in higher education.

View Article

The Role of Online Learning in the Emergency Plans of Flagship Institutions
Connie Reimers-Hild      Katrina Meyer James W. King
Jeffery Wilson

by Katrina Meyer
    Jeffery Wilson

The study researched the websites of the 50 state flagship higher education institutions to investigate whether and how online or distance learning were included in the institutions’ emergency plans as solutions to emergencies such as H1N1. All 50 institutions had identical directions to students and staff on how to handle the H1N1 flu, but two-thirds (n=34) did not include any reference to online learning as a way to continue coursework. One-third (n=16) did include suggestions to faculty to find alternative ways of delivering courses, using technology or specific tools to do so, but only one of these institutions actually mentioned online learning.

View Article

The Leadership Roles of Distance Learning Administrators (DLAs) in Increasing Educational Value and Quality Perceptions

by   Donovan McFarlane

This paper examines the leadership roles of distance learning administrators (DLAs) in light of the demand and need for value and quality in educational distance learning programs and schools. The author explores the development of distance learning using available and emerging technologies in relation to increased demand for education, training, skills, and certification in the global school economy of the 21st century. The paper brings to light the challenge that the value and quality debate poses as competition among colleges and universities increases and the labor market demands more talented knowledge workers in a space where competition affects professional prospects and graduate success. After examining the development and problems and challenges of distance education, the author looks at the critical leadership roles of distance learning administrators (DLAs) using ideals of leadership effectiveness as communicated by a survey of the literature. Using Mintzberg’s theory of informational, interpersonal, and decisional managerial roles and activities, the author identifies the activities across which distance learning administrators could display exemplary leadership functions through sharing their vision, modeling the way, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging and motivating the development and delivery of value and quality teaching and learning practices to capitalize on core and distinct competencies to build lasting competitive advantage.

View Article

Perceived Attributes Predict Course Management System Adopter Status
Connie Reimers-Hild      Gayla Keesee James W. King
MaryFriend Shepard

by  Gayla Keesee
     MaryFriend Shepard

This quantitative, nonexperimental study utilized Rogers’s diffusion of innovation theory as the theoretical base to determine instructors’ perceptions of the attributes (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, observability) of the course management system used in order to predict adopter status. The study used a convenience sample of 137 full-time faculty members at five Historically Black Colleges and Universities in two southeastern states. Logistic regression was used to predict group membership (i.e., adopter status) and to provide information about the relationship and strengths among the variables. The findings of this study provided evidence that faculty in the different adopter categories have different perceptions related to adoption and use of the CMS which can be used to predict adopter status. Identifying faculty attitudes can be used to properly design changes in related programs that will lead to a broader base of users.

View Article

Certification in Distance Learning for Online Instructors: Exploration of the Creation of an Organic Model for a Research-Based State Institution

Connie Reimers-Hild       Lee Graham James W. King
Lisa Thomas

by Lee Graham
     Lisa Thomas

The traditional and most highly utilized manner of instruction in the online Certification Course focuses on training instructors to teach a pre-designed course with common features. This model limits instructional options for faculty to those which are available in the course. Faculty who are accustomed to academic freedom and autonomy may not be willing to accept this production model or this model of instruction for online certification courses, because of the limitations that these models impose. This article explores the possibility of creating an online Certification Course which utilizes the expertise of the faculty and the techniques of brain-based learning and differentiated instruction. There is the possibility that this Organic approach to online Certification could authentically assist faculty in integrating technology into existing courses and/or new online courses at research-based institutions. Faculty members who have completed the courses to this point have made sweeping changes in their online programs and have gained confidence in online teaching and learning.

View Article

Who’s on First in Distance Education?

Radwan Ali
Angela Ansah, Pattie Neill, Jodi Newton

by Angela Ansah
     Pattie Neill
     Jodi Newton

The study sought to assist higher education administrators in investment decisions on distance education programs among its schools. The focus of the study was to determine differences in schools within public 4-year universities in the use of technology-based distance education (TBDE). Specifically, the study examined the differences with respect to interest, knowledge, administration, extension or enhancement; as well as a perceived impact on self, students, and interdisciplinary activities.  The results revealed that a greater proportion of nursing faculty taught using TBDE than faculty of other schools. The nursing and education faculty showed greater TBDE interest, enhancement, and concern for its impact on students and faculty collaboration, than the faculty of the other schools. The findings reflect the characteristics of groups predisposed to the use of TBDE in instruction, i.e., educators inclined to use the facilitative approach in instruction, who have a great need to increase the number of their graduates in the field; and who tend to have adult-learners as students. The faculty of the schools of nursing and to a lesser extent the faculty of the schools of education fit this profile.

View Article

From the Editor

Melanie ClayRather than my typical take-off on one or more of the fabulous articles in this edition, I’m going to tackle the dreaded topic of The Most Totally Inefficient and Twisted Education Regulation in the History of America. Okay, I know that there are others, but this one is giving us in DL a real migraine. This is not just an unfortunate piece of legislation or rain on a sunny day. This is a real deal-breaker.

So, let’s panic about July 1. That’s the day that we (we mean you, me and anybody else from public and private and for-profit institutions) must have state approval from each and every state in which our online students reside. And there’s not one simple mega-form to complete. Every state has its own regulations and its own governing body, and few of them are simple to identify. The good folks at WCET have worked with ADEC, the SREB, and the University of Wyoming to create a starter list of state regulations. This is an incredible place to start, but let’s just look at the very first state on the list: Alabama. For starters, Alabama requires an application fee of $2500 - $15000 (depending on gross tuition an institution receives from Alabama students) and a surety bond. The application is about eight pages long, and appears to require the names of textbooks, the syllabi, and the academic credentials of each and every faculty member teaching online courses. Idaho, on the other hand requires a $500 application fee, plus $150 per course. Idaho also requires an “instructor qualification record” for each instructor as well as copies of all marketing and promotional materials. Maryland adds a different twist. Once you’ve paid your application fee ($5000 for first two programs; $1000 for each additional program), you can expect a review that includes input from Maryland institutions on the “need” for your online program.

Clearly, the idea behind this regulation was well-intentioned and meant to help the consumer (so were subprime mortgages and hydrogenated oils). But the implementation and consequences seemed to have been grossly
overlooked in the consideration phase. So, it’s no surprise that there’s a big-time pushback going on right now. Last week, there was a congressional hearing. Lawsuits are underway. Not only is it practically impossible to achieve this July 1 deadline, there’s no clarity on where to start or even if to start. Do what you need to do, phone a friend, roll out your political swagger, – whatever it takes, we really, really need a Plan B.


On a more positive, super happy note, DLA2011 is just a bit over two months away. See you then.

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
March 15, 2011

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

Last modified: March 15, 2011