Winter 2017- Volume 20 Issue 4


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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

Assessing Online Readiness of Students

Raymond Doe
Matthew S. Castillo
Millicent M. Musyoka

by Raymond Doe
Matthew S. Castillo
Millicent M. Musyoka

The rise of distance education has created a need to understand students' readiness for online learning and to predict their success. A review of the extant literature shows that instruments have varying limitations in capturing all of the domains of student online readiness. The present study examined undergraduate students' online readiness using an instrument that was developed by the researchers that included constructs such as information communications technology engagement, motivation, self-efficacy, and learner characteristics.

Evaluating the Impact of Hybrid/Blended Instructional Design on Muslim Student Performance Scores in a Traditional On-Campus Course

Troy A. Rawlins

Rifath Ali

by Troy A. Rawlins
Rifath Ali

Generally, traditional modes of instructional design have been successful in achieving favorable student performance scores for domestic students in Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) degree program courses. EKU’s students of Muslim faith, however, enrolled in OSH 261 Principles of Occupational Safety and Health have achieved lower than average performance scores than their domestic counterparts within a traditional on-campus instructional design. This researcher supposes the major cause of Muslim students lower scores in OSH 261 is related to poor class attendance caused by attending a weekly Friday religious ceremony called Juma’ah. Although there is a university policy regarding course attendance, there is no interpretation, exemptions, or provisions offered which provides guidance for religious accommodations for students of Muslim faith. In this informal mixed-method pilot study of 96 (N=96) Muslim students enrolled in OSH 261 were exposed to a hybrid or blended approach to instructional design over 3 semesters called Adobe Connect to address both the student-learning needs, and adhere the university policy regarding student attendance to ultimately support increases in academic performance scores. The quantitative and qualitative results of this pilot study demonstrated students of Muslim faith average academic performance scores increased by 5 %, and students reported high levels of satisfaction after Adobe Connect was implemented during the end of each semester.

Does Online Learning Deliver? A Comparison of Student Teacher Outcomes from Candidates in Face-to-Face and Online Program Pathways
Dawn Mollenkopf
Phu Vu
Sherry Crow
Chilene Black

by Dawn Mollenkopf
Phu Vu
Sherry Crow
Chilene Black

Although a growing number of students are accessing online learning programs, there are concerns about the quality of these programs. Multiple reports examined online program quality, but many of those studies had methodology and design issues that make it difficult to interpret the findings conclusively. This study attempted to address the methodological concerns by comparing the learning outcomes of college students enrolled in an online early childhood teacher education program pathway with students enrolled in a parallel face-to-face early childhood teacher education program pathway. The study examined the extent to which: (a) content knowledge from an earlier required applied instructional technology course would be retained at the student teaching level, and (b) a significant difference would be found in the learning performance outcomes of student teachers based on program pathway. Student teaching data analyzed over a three-year period indicate that student teachers met expectations in their technology use and in their overall lesson planning and teaching, and that there was no significant difference in student performance in the online program pathway when compared to student performance in the face-to-face program pathway.

A Comparison of Learning Outcomes for Adult Students in On-Site and Online Service-Learning

Jeremy S. Schwehm

Tennille Lasker-Scott

Oluwakemi Elufiede

by Jeremy S. Schwehm
Tennille Lasker-Scott
Oluwakemi Elufiede

As noted by Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory, adults learn best through experiences.  Typically delivered in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting, service-learning integrates the knowledge learned in the classroom with real-world experience and community service.  E-service-learning, service-learning delivered in part or entirely online, is uniquely positioned to provide adult students in online programs with access to service-learning opportunities that might not be as available to them in traditional settings.  Although e-service-learning can increase access to service-learning opportunities for adult students in online programs, it is unclear if there are differences in experiences and learning outcomes attainment for students who participate in online service compared to those who participate in service on-site.  This study utilized a cross-sectional, concurrent, mixed-methods design to examine the experiences of adult students (n=112) who participated in either on-site or online service.  Of the six learning outcome measures examined, a one-way ANOVA revealed a statistically significant difference in learning outcome attainment in civic responsibility.  Students who participated in on-site service reported higher learning outcome attainment in civic responsibility than did their online peers.  An analysis of the qualitative data showed that students in online and on-site service shared similar experiences.  The quantitative and qualitative data established that participants in this study had similar service experiences regardless of online or on-site delivery. 

Determinants of Self-Reflective Learning and its Consequences in Online Master Degree Programs

Yoram Neumann

Edith Neumann

Shelia Lewis

by Yoram Neumann
Edith Neumann
Shelia Lewis

Based on recent studies of self-reflective learning and its effects on various learning outcomes, this study examined the concept of self-reflective learning in the context of the Robust Learning Model (RLM), which is a learning model designed for improving the educational effectiveness of online degree programs. Two models were introduced to assess the efficacy of the self-reflective learning in the first course of the RLM with a spiral curriculum. The first model was aimed at examining the relative strengths of the various learning activities and the quality of faculty feedback in predicting the self-reflective learning at the end of the first course. The second model examined the lasting effect of the self-reflective learning at the first course on final program educational effectiveness. Findings from the first model indicated that self-reflective learning at the end of the first core course in the program curriculum was indeed directly influenced by student performance on threaded discussion, problem-based learning, and the signature assignment as well as by the quality of faculty feedback. In the second model’s findings, there was a long, unique, and lasting effect of the self-reflective learning ability acquired in the first course on the student performance in the program, capstone, the student overall GPA, and reduction in the student time-to-degree. The implications of this overall study were discussed that may contribute to future research.

Examining Perceptions of Online Faculty Regarding the Value of Emotional Intelligence in Online Classrooms

Diane Hamilton

by Diane Hamilton

Due to the growth of interest in soft skills and personality traits in education, the perceptions of the value online instructors place on emotional intelligence (EI), warrants scholarly attention. Organizations have embraced the value of emotional intelligence in employees. If online professors are instrumental in preparing students to be successful in the business world, their perception of the skills that employers value is important. For this study, the definition of EI was based on the components as defined by Reuven Bar-On's model. Thirty-eight faculty members were recruited through Linkedin to provide their value of the EI in online classes. A survey instrument was developed for this purpose. The results indicated that the majority believed flexibility was most important for stress management, problem-solving most important for decision-making, relationship building for interpersonal skills, emotional expression, assertiveness and independence were equally ranked for self-expression, emotional self-awareness was most important for self-perception. If online instructors are the ones who develop and deliver curriculum, it is important for them to understand the components of EI to ensure that students receive an education that includes skills that could improve their chances of success in the workplace.

On the Recognition of Quality Online Course Design in Promotion and Tenure: A Survey of Higher Ed Institutions in the Western United States

Susan Bussmann

Sandra R. Johnson

Richard Oliver

Kerry Forsythe

Miley Grandjean

Michelle Lebsock

Tyler Luster

by Susan Bussmann
Sandra R. Johnson
Richard Oliver
Kerry Forsythe
Miley Grandjean
Michelle Lebsock
Tyler Luster

What constitutes excellence in teaching for university faculty when they are expected or required to create quality online courses? This is a question that will increasingly be asked of members of promotion and tenure committees as market pressures demand entire degrees be delivered online. Developing a quality online course is a significant commitment in time and effort and frequently requires learning new skills and pedagogical methods. Increasingly, faculty are expected to make this commitment, yet it may not be valued in their promotion and tenure process. This study sought to determine to what extent developing a "quality" online course (one that has been reviewed to a set of standards) receives credit in the promotion and tenure (P&T) process for all ranks. A survey across multiple disciplines at 19 western universities found that only 16 percent of the departments that completed the survey specifically include the development of a quality online course in their promotion and tenure documentation. Two hundred and forty-eight departments offering online degree programs from 19 four-year research institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the western United States were invited to participate in this study. Of the 19 institutions (including New Mexico State University), 15 were peers of New Mexico State University (NMSU), with three additional non-peer Western region IHEs being invited to take an online survey. Survey takers were given the option to volunteer for a more in-depth follow-up phone interview.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings,

This edition has several articles focusing directly or indirectly on the quality of our online programs and courses. Are they as good or better than the face-to-face environment? How can we best prepare and support online students? What can instructional designers do to have an even more positive impact?

To these very important questions, I would add concerns about scale. As we make great strides in improving student learning outcomes and satisfaction, how do we keep from losing control over our successful systems as we grow? Three lessons I've learned just in the past two years include: being very cautious about outsourcing items we've handled successfully in-house; never underestimating the importance of a thorough hiring process for new staff, even when desperate to fill many new positions; and focusing and nurturing energies on what one's organization does best, being careful not to impulsively venture into other areas just because someone else is.

We'll have these discussions and many more at our upcoming Distance Learning Administration Conference in Jekyll Island. Registration is now open, and I do hope to see some of you there.

Peace to all,

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

March 15, 2017


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

Last modified: March 15, 2017