Summer 2015 - Volume 18 Issue 2


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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

What Can the Business World Teach Us About Strategic Planning?

Jonathan S. Spackman
Scott L. Howell

by Jonathan S. Spackman
Jennifer Thorup
Scott L. Howell

The need for a reliable strategic planning framework for distance educators and their institutions has never been greater than it is now. Increased government regulations, accreditation standards, and competition are converging with decreased funding from federal, state, and private sources, and administrators require better strategic planning. A strategic planning model known as the Balanced Scorecard has met with widespread adoption and sweeping success among the business community, but, surprisingly, has not been widely adopted among institutions of higher and distance education. In this article the authors share what they have learned about this strategic planning model through a review of the available literature and their own early efforts to introduce it to their institution, the Division of Continuing Education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Prevailing Attitudes about the Role of Women in Distance Learning Administration

Lori Kupczynski
Marie-Anne Mundy

by Lori Kupczynski
Marie-Anne Mundy

The increasing scarcity of women within higher academic ranks is troublesome, especially as associate and full-professors with tenure are generally those tapped for leadership positions. This study surveyed female administrators in distance education in an effort to thematically analyze their perceptions of distance learning in higher education. Themes that garnered more input from the women included the following: assumptions of gender disparity, the optimistic viewpoint that in the future more women will succeed as administrators in distance education, and the belief that the role of administrators was to provide value and goals in distance education but that change in this arena was too slow and obstructions to the quality of distance learning needed to be eliminated. In addition, it appears that Caucasian (non - Hispanic) women are more prone to suggest that gender disparity is a problem and women who hold a higher level of administration spoke less often about problems with gender disparity and appeared to have a more positive attitude.

When Learning Analytics Meets E-Learning

Betul C. Czerkawski

by Betul C. Czerkawski

While student data systems are nothing new and most educators have been dealing with student data for many years, learning analytics has emerged as a new concept to capture educational big data. Learning analytics is about better understanding of the learning and teaching process and interpreting student data to improve their success and learning experiences. This paper provides an overview to learning analytics in higher education and more specifically, in e-learning. It also explores some of the issues around learning analytics.

Can SPOC (Self- Paced Online Course) Live Long and Prosper? A Comparison Study of a New Species of Online Course Delivery

Sheryne Southard
Joshua Meddaugh

by Sheryne Southard
Joshua Meddaugh
Antoinette France-Harris

Numerous formats exist for online course delivery: pure online, blended or hybrid, flipped and web-enhanced. The literature is replete with comparison studies on the efficacy of online, hybrid and traditional format courses. However, the self-paced online course, a relatively new and rare variation, has received very little coverage in the body of research on this topic. This study examines the components of a self-paced online course specifically designed to incorporate web-based pedagogy to create an engaging and dynamic learning environment. It compares student performance in a self-paced online course, a conventional online course and a traditional in-class course and reveals the potential for students to thrive in a wide variety of online course formats. This study provides useful information to administrators exploring online programming options and online instructors seeking to improve student performance.

Measuring Student Engagement in an Online Program

Paula Bigatel
Vicki Williams

by Paula Bigatel
Vicki Williams

In an effort to measure the effectiveness of faculty development courses promoting student engagement, the faculty development unit of Penn State’s Online Campus conducted a pilot study within a large online Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) program. In all, 2,296 students were surveyed in the spring and summer semesters of 2014 in order to seek their perspectives on (1) the extent of their engagement in the courses and (2) the degree to which their instructors promoted their engagement. The survey comprised three sub-scales: the first and third sub-scales addressed instructional design aspects of the course, and the second sub-scale addressed attitudes and behaviors whereby the instructors promoted student engagement. The results showed a significant difference on the second sub-scale (sig = 0.003) at the .05 level, indicating that students rated instructors with professional development higher on instructor behaviors that engaged them in their courses than those instructors who received no professional development. There were no significant differences found for the first and third sub-scales indicating that the instructional design aspects of the courses under investigation were not influenced by instructors’ professional development. Qualitative data showed that three quarters of the students who had instructors whose background included professional development geared to encouraging student engagement felt that their courses had engaged them. Future research will focus on increasing the response rate and exploring in more depth both the instructional design and qualitative aspects of student engagement.

Employment Status, Teaching Load, and Student Performance in Online Community College Courses

Witt Salley
Melanie Shaw

by Witt Salley
Melanie Shaw

A continued need exists for community college administrators to develop and implement strategies to ensure sufficient staffing to meet demand for online courses and promote student success. The problem this study addressed was threefold. First, online instructors in the local setting are overextended and are consequently unable to implement best practices. Because overextended online instructors cannot offer the presence and feedback needed to promote success, online student performance as measured by final course grades suffers. Another problem was that the current institutional system encourages overload teaching assignments. Finally, increased teaching loads can have negative ramifications on online instructor attentiveness, student performance, and academic rigor. The purpose of this descriptive quantitative study was to collect relevant data to examine the relationships among (a) online instructor employment status, (b) online instructor teaching load, and (c) online student performance at a community college. The study used both comparative and correlational research designs to address the research questions using ex post facto data. No statistically significant correlations were found between student success and employment status. However, a negative correlation was discovered between course overload and student success as measured by final course grades and completion rates. Recommendations for future research include an examinaton of senority and tenure status of faculty and a wider geographic and institutional type study to ensure generalizability of the results.

The Roles that Librarians and Libraries Play in Distance Education Settings

Amanda Corbett
Abbie Brown

by Amanda Corbett
Abbie Brown

This article explores the literature that focuses on the various roles librarians and libraries play in distance education settings. Learners visit libraries either in person or via networked computing technology to ask for help with their online courses. Questions range from how to upload a document with a learning management system, to how to use software and hardware, to more complex questions about how to locate and research articles for term papers. The literature reviewed provides a glimpse into the historical roles, current roles, as well as possible new roles that libraries and librarians may play in the future. This article identifies various library services that are essential to distant learners and distance education settings, and will explain how librarians and libraries are providing these services online.

Online vs. On-Campus: An Analysis of Course Prices of U.S. Educational Institutions

Shouhong Wang

by Shouhong Wang

Pricing online courses is an important issue for managing online education. This research note reports a statistical analysis of price differences between online courses and on-campus courses at 103 US educational institutions based on the data available on the Internet. The finding indicates that educational institutions set significantly lower prices of their online courses than that of on-campus courses, private educational institutions set significantly lower prices of their online courses than public institutions, and small institutions or large institutions set significantly lower prices for their online courses than medium-sized institutions.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings friends,

We returned just a few days ago from our first conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World in Savannah. It was a delightful few days of unwinding, unplugging, and rethinking more holistic strategies as educators and administrators. We plan to repeat this event next year, and will announce dates in the next few weeks.

At the same time, we are preparing for our sixteenth annual Distance Learning Administration Conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia, which starts on June 28. The irony is that in the early years, we once complained about the lack of strong cell phone service and reliable internet on the island. In fact, we were the first ever to arrange for internet service on the remote island back in 2002. Now, I'm actually worried that the service is going to be "up to par," as a respite from 24/7 availability is really necessary, I've learned.

Because of the later date of the DLA Conference, our conference best papers won't appear until the September issue. But I think you'll enjoy a fabulous array of articles in this issue. If I don't see you in Jekyll, have a wonderful summer.

Peace to all,


June 15, 2015


A special thanks to Thinking Cap for being the premiere sponsor of DLA2015!

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

Last modified: June 15, 2015