Current Issue

Assessing Retention in Online Learning: An Administrative Perspective

  David Woolstenhulme
Wallace Boston, Phil Ice

by 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 illustration of the importance of transfer credit and the consistency of activity in predicting continued enrollment.

The Adult Learner: A Change Agent in Post-Secondary Education

Frank Butts
Erik Burns

by   Erik Burns

While online universities and career colleges are experiencing increasing enrollment trends, the enrollment for traditional universities and colleges appears to be declining. Recent data shows that there is a slight decline in enrollment to the tradition 4-year college, while there is a steady increase within the technical and vocational institutions (Institute for Community Inclusion, 2006).  This paper will explore the rise in demand of postsecondary education and how one small Catholic college in the upper mid-west, The College of St. Scholastica, is responding to this demand from adult learners.

Assessing Facilitator Performance as an Influence on Student Satisfaction

Daniel Judd
Scotty Dunlap
David Woolstenhulme
David May

by  Scotty Dunlap
      David May

Growth in class size within the online environment has resulted in a facilitator model in which an instructor teaches the class with the assistance of facilitators who interact with students in smaller groups. This research sought to determine the effectiveness of a structured performance evaluation for facilitators and the correlation to student satisfaction.

Distance Education Technology: Higher Education Barriers During the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century
Daniel Judd
Angela Ansah, Patti Neill, Michele Haralson

by Angela Ansah
     Patti Neill
     Michele Haralson

In the twenty-first century, despite the expanded opportunities technology affords in student-access to higher education, most institutions of higher education are hesitant to offer technology-based distance education (TBDE).  The prohibiting factors include cost, accessibility, faculty concerns, state mandates, academic administrative actions, and unit operations. Differences exist in the prohibitive factors prevalent at the start and at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Knowledge of the differences may aid higher education TBDE administrators identify or allude to barriers pertinent to their institution. Higher education administrators of institutions relatively new or limited in the use of TBDE are most likely to experience the gamut of TBDE prohibitive factors of the first decade of the 21st century. Whereas higher education administrators of institutions not new to the use of TBDE or who are at an innovative stage in the use of TBDE are most likely to experience TBDE prohibitive factors of the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century. In this paper prohibitive TBDE factors prevalent at the start of the 21st century and those prevalent a decade afterwards are discussed.

Faculty Online Technology Adoption: The Role of Management Support and Organizational Climate
Kristen Betts
Huang, Deggs,
Jabor, Machtmes

by Rui-Ting Huang
     David Deggs
     M. Khata Jabor

     Krisanna Machtmes

Although there is a plethora of online learning studies, relatively few studies have probed into teachers’ online technology adoption. It is suggested that faculty resistance to technology be one of the key hindrances to the future development of distance learning. Several studies have argued that teachers’ resistance to technology, one of the key issues and challenges, could remain a difficult problem in educational field. Thus, the primary purpose of this study is to understand the key factors that influence teachers’ intention to adopt online technology.

Implementing e-Learning at the University of Botswana: the Practitioner's Perspective
Frank Butts
Regina Masalela

by Regina Masalela

The University of Botswana (UB) is undergoing transformative changes in response to internal and external influences in higher education.  These include attempts to transition towards institution-wide deployment of on-line learning strategies to enhance the educational experience. An external review consultancy commissioned in 2007, recommended that, “the university involvement in distance learning should be confined to online learning programs...”  In response, UB embarked on the Masters in Project Management. Unfortunately, due to a “top-bottom” approach, the pilot failed.  Additionally, there was lack of a comprehensive institutional strategy based on shared vision; the absence of situational analysis of the environment to assess the viability of the project in terms of resources; facilitator attitudes and user preparedness. LASO (the leadership, academic and student ownership and readiness) model would have been suited for this endeavour because it integrates top-bottom and bottom-up initiatives where leadership incorporates with academic.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayHello Readers:

We just returned a few days ago from our DLA2010 Conference in Jekyll Island.  I am happy to report, for those of you who couldn’t make it, that many people told us that this was the best year yet and that it is their all-time favorite conference.  We don’t do a lot to promote the conference, because keeping it small allows for DL administrators to really get to know one another during those four sunny days by the intercoastal. Since the internet and cell phone access was sketchy outside of the conference areas  (really tough for DL administrators), many of us learned how to talk face-to-face all over again! Almost 97 percent said on their surveys that it is likely they’ll attend next year (when we’ll be in beautiful Savannah) – we’ll do our next Call for Proposals in October. This year it seemed that the hottest topics, both in and outside of the presentation rooms, had to do with evaluation, accreditation, and strategic planning.  These are certainly the things that occupy most of my time! In this issue of the OJDLA, we have nine quality articles – three of them were awarded “Best Papers” at the conference.  Enjoy your summer reading!


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
June 15, 2010

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Last modified: June 15th, 2010