Winter 2012 - Volume 15 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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Distance Learning Administration 2018
June 24-27, 2018
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March 2018

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University of West Georgia
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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

Risks Associated With The Choice To Teach Online

Daniel Judd
Thomas Hopewell

by Thomas Hopewell

This article presents findings from a case study related to the risks associated with the choice of traditional, tenure track faculty to teach online. Education offered at a distance via the World Wide Web is on the rise; so too is the demand for university faculty members who will teach those courses. While traditional academic and professional expectations remain unchanged, the new medium presents a new context in which these faculty members live, work, and balance personal and professional decisions. This study provided a multi-dimensional perspective on one college of education’s faculty and administrators as they seek to negotiate this emerging environment. Interviews with faculty, administrators, and faculty peer reviewers were conducted to provide a more complete, triangulated picture of the case.

What Characteristics of College Students Influence Their Decisions to Select Online Courses?

Daniel Judd
John Mann
David Woolstenhulme
Shida Henneberry

by   John Mann
      Shida Henneberry

The primary goal of this study was to identify a wide range of characteristics of college students that may influence their decisions to select online courses. The motivation underlying this study is the realization that online courses are no longer exclusively being taken by non-traditional students (for undergraduates, that would be students age 25 years and older with career, family, and/or social obligations). In fact, there are recent reports indicating that traditional undergraduate students (on-site students that are age 18-24) are now including online courses in their course curriculum. To accomplish the goal of this study, an ordered logit model was developed in which a Likert scale question asking students how likely/unlikely they were to take an online course was used at the dependent variable. The independent variables were based on a wide range of responses to questions regarding student demographic, experience, and preference information (these are the students’ characteristics). The data for this study is from a 2010 Oklahoma State University campus-wide student survey. The results of the study have identified a number of considerations that may be helpful to administrators wishing to improve and/or expand online course offering, as well as areas that can be further investigated in future studies. For example, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in business majors were more likely than those in other majors to select online courses. On the other hand, undergraduate students (traditional and non-traditional) enrolled in engineering majors and graduate students enrolled in anatomy, biochemistry, biology, and botany major were the least likely groups of students to select online courses. Freshman and sophomores were found to be more likely than juniors and seniors to select online courses, and were much more likely than graduate students to select online courses. With respect to residency, out-of-state/non-residents (not including international students) were the most likely to select online courses, while international students were the least likely to select online courses. Finally, a significant and positive relationship was identified between some web 2.0 technologies, such as online social networking (e.g. Facebook) and live video chatting (e.g. Skype), and students’ likelihood of selecting online courses.

Applying Leadership Theories to Distance Education Leadership

Frank Butts
John Nworie

by  John Nworie

The instructional delivery mode in distance education has been transitioning from the context of a physical classroom environment to a virtual learning environment or maintaining a hybrid of the two. However, most distance education programs in dual mode institutions are situated in traditional face-to-face instructional settings. Distance education leaders, therefore, operate in a transition mode which requires some level of flexibility as they authorize and manage change and regularly upgrade their knowledge and skills base to adapt to the constantly changing environment. It is obvious that online distance learning is an evolving learning environment that requires leaders of traditional learning environment to acquire new skills and assume new roles. The requirements for distance education leadership and the dearth of research on how educational and leadership theories influence leaders of distance education programs calls for an examination of leadership theories. Examining various leadership theories provides a theoretical framework for current and prospective distance education leaders. This paper examines theories that can impact distance education leadership. These include transformational, situational, complexity, systems, and adoption and diffusion of innovation theories.

The “Virtual Face” of Distance Learning at Public Colleges and Universities: What Do Websites Reveal about Administrative Student Support Services?
Daniel Judd
Stephanie Jones
David Woolstenhulme
Katrina Meyer

by Stephanie Jones
     Katrina Meyer

This study investigated how higher education institutions support their distance learning initiatives through their institutional websites - their "virtual face." The population was 40 institutions, of which 10 each were doctoral/research, master, baccalaureate, and community college, located in 40 different states.  Using a researcher-developed instrument that included input from distance learning professionals, websites were analyzed based on the location of administrative student support services for distance students from the institution's distance learning office home page.  The descriptive study answered three research questions: (1) How are higher education institutions establishing a "virtual face" for their distance learning initiatives? (2) How well do distance learning offices support distance students?, and (3) What does the “virtual face” of distance learning offices say about the commitment to distance learning students by higher education institutions? Findings indicate that many institutions have centralized distance learning offices and have made a concerted effort to serve their distance students. These efforts can be improved further by providing access to all necessary administrative student support services online from the distance learning office home page. Missing services and information for most of the analyzed sites included distance student retention, success, and satisfaction, as well as assessments for potential students to gauge their distance learning readiness.

Comparing Attitudes of Online Instructors and Online College Students: Quantitative Results for Training, Evaluation and Administration
Daniel Judd
Michael Eskey
David Woolstenhulme
 Marthann Schulte

by Michael Eskey
     Marthann Schulte

The past decade has witnessed an explosion in online learning opportunities for post-secondary students throughout the United States. The university has developed a Faculty Online Observation (FOO) model to allow for an annual observation of online adjunct faculty with a focus on five major areas of facilitation. To test the effectiveness and support of the FOO, a survey related to the observation areas was administered to online faculty and students. The results determined a number of areas of agreement and non-agreement between the groups.  The findings will provide valuable information for future training and professional development needs of online instructors, and processes of teaching based on perspectives of instructors, course developers, students, and discipline managers.

Listening for the Squeaky Wheel: Designing Distance Writing Program Assessment
Frank Butts
Virginia Tucker

by Virginia Tucker

Distance writing programs still struggle with assessment strategies that can evaluate student writing as well as their ability to communicate about that writing with peers at a distance. This article uses Kim, Smith and Maeng’s 2008 distance education program assessment scheme to evaluate a single distance writing program at Old Dominion University. The program’s specific assessment needs include the ability to determine how well students are developing expert insider prose and working together as a virtual community. Kim, Smith and Maeng’s assessment scheme was applied to six courses within the writing program, revealing that programmatic assessment weaknesses included providing varied methods of embedded assessment and encouraging collaboration in writing. Findings further showed that few courses were using summative assessment in the form of exams and quizzes, and several lacked instruments of team or self assessment. The assessment scheme identified other assessment weaknesses across courses, including a lack of opportunities for these distance students to engage in peer discussion or evaluation and a need for greater assessment instrument variety. Applying this assessment method to courses within the single program revealed that electronic graduation portfolios best meet this program's unique interdisciplinary assessment needs.

Student Access to Online Interaction Technologies: The Impact on Grade Delta Variance and Student Satisfaction

Daniel Judd
Mark Revels
David Woolstenhulme
  Mark Ciampa

by Mark Revels
     Mark Ciampa

Online learning has significantly changed the educational landscape in recent years, offering advantages to both schools as well as students.  Despite the fact that some faculty members are not supportive of online learning, researchers have demonstrated that the quality of online learning to be as effective as classroom learning.  It has been stated by researchers that there is a need to use metrics to assess the value achieved through the use of online learning.  This study measured the impact that student access to interactive technologies (discussion boards, e-mail, chats, videoconferencing, etc.) played in an online course.  By restricting these technologies would they have an impact on grade delta variance and the student’s perceived satisfaction? The results of this study seem to indicate that in an online course student access to a variety of student-to-student collaborative technologies had no impact on five of the seven given student survey questions or on grade delta variance.  In fact, lack of access to the interactive technologies only had an impact on two survey questions, namely “I have learned a lot in this course” and “My instructor treats me fairly.”  Students in the restricted class responded more positively on these two questions. 

From the Editor

Melanie ClayHello Readers:

It’s our last day before the holiday break, and it seems that each year we leave with even more tasks unfinished.  Others in the field confirm that we’ve all gotten busier and the work has become increasingly complex.  Nworie’s article on DE Leadership (in this journal edition) is compelling in that it addresses the nature of this work, and applies useful theoretical frameworks.  The author seems to support the notion that “distance education leadership is different from leadership in other areas of higher education,” and to some extent, I agree. While general principles of systems thinking, charisma, and audaciousness are applicable to most leadership roles, distance education is different in part because of the extremely rapid rate of change and need to adapt.  Many of the rock-solid goals we made in August are nearly irrelevant as winter approaches. We rewrite job descriptions constantly, only to respond to emerging new responsibilities before the laser ink dries.  This is surely not a field for those who have strong needs for certainty, are risk-averse, or thrive on having projects completed.  Yet, it is fabulous challenge for those who enjoy a life completely void of laid-back days and repetition.  Best wishes for a wonderful holiday. Take time to enjoy a dull moment or two.


Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
December 15, 2012


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Last modified: December 15, 2012