Fall 2017- Volume 20 Issue 3


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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

Six Ways to Increase Enrollments at an Extended Campus

Steven S. Christensen
Scott L.
Jordan Christensen

by Steven S. Christensen
Scott L. Howell
Jordan Christensen

This is a "best practices" article focused on sharing six new academic scheduling strategies recently employed by the BYU Salt Lake Center to optimize course offerings and increase enrollments. These strategies are generalizable to other academic programs that help extend academic programs at a distance, including online courses. The Center is an extended campus in Salt Lake City, Utah situated 46 miles to the north of the main campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. The distance between the flagship university and its Center pose unique challenges in relation to course and enrollment optimization. Some of these strategies are made possible with the help of new software tools recently licensed by the university to help mine "big course and enrollment data" (current and historical) of a large university with 30,000 students.

A Comparative Study of Competency-Based Courses Demonstrating a Potential Measure of Course Quality and Student Success

Jackie Krause

Laura Portolese Dias

Chris Schedler

by Jackie Krause
Laura Portolese Dias
Chris Schedler

While competency-based education is growing, standardized tools for evaluating the unique characteristics of course design in this domain are still under development. This preliminary research study evaluated the effectiveness of a rubric developed for assessing course design of competency-based courses in an undergraduate Information Technology and Administrative Management program. The rubric, which consisted of twenty-six individual measures, was used to evaluate twelve new courses. Additionally, the final assessment scores of nine students that completed nine courses in the program were evaluated to determine if a correlation exists between student success and specific indicators of quality in the course design. The results indicate a correlation exists between measures that rated high and low on the evaluation rubric and final assessment scores of students completing courses in the program. Recommendations from this study suggest that quality competency-based courses need to evaluate the importance and relevance of resources for active student learning, provide increased support and ongoing feedback from mentors, and offer opportunities for students to practice what they have learned.

Expert Reflections on Effective Online Instruction: Importance of Course Content

Michael Ryan

Christine Jonick

Lee Woodham Langub

by Michael Ryan
Christine Jonick
Lee Woodham Langub

This study seeks to identify common factors that leaders in online instruction consider most critical to successful teaching and learning at a distance. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the teaching philosophy narratives of the nominees for the University System of Georgia Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Online Teaching was conducted. The total number of times a concept was mentioned and the percentage of nominees who cited each concept were computed. The results indicate the relative importance of each concept to these leading practitioners in the field. Rapport, design, engagement, feedback, research, and course improvement emerged as some of the most commonly cited themes, and these correspond with the literature review of best practices for online instruction. However, these instructors also emphasized course content as a significant element, even though this concept is less prevalent in the literature. The emphasis on content by these nominees underscores the importance of this theme and suggests that content is a factor that should be carefully considered in online instruction.

Relationships among Faculty Training, Faculty Degree, Faculty Longevity, and Student Satisfaction in Online Higher Education
Robert Todd Kane
Melanie Shaw
Witt Salley

by Robert Todd Kane
Melanie Shaw
Sangho Pang
Witt Salley
J. Blake Snider

With the ever-increasing availability of online -education opportunities, understanding the factors that influence online student satisfaction and success is vital to enable administrators to engage and retain this important stakeholder group. The purpose of this ex-post-facto, nonexperimental quantitative study was to investigate the impact of faculty professional development, faculty degree status, and faculty longevity upon online student satisfaction and success. A large, archived dataset from an online public state university was analyzed. Repeated measures Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) analysis was used to explore changes in student satisfaction over time. Results showed that both training and degree were not significant predictors of student satisfaction. On the contrary, faculty longevity was found to be a predictor of student satisfaction. Recommendations for future research include incorporating qualitative analysis and expanding the study to diverse institutional types to determine whether findings are consistent.

Faculty Professional Development for Quality Online Teaching


Courtney C.

by Jennifer Alexiou-Ray
Courtney C. Bentley

Meaningful technology use in education continues to improve given an increase in access to available technologies and professional development. For educators, professional development has focused on approaches for technology use that foster content-specific best practices and improve student learning in traditional classroom formats. Meaningful technology integrations are not, however, limited to traditional classrooms. In fact, the push for distance and online education in postsecondary contexts has complicated the issue; faculty must develop and balance content-specific practices with technology pedagogies for asynchronous learning environments to maximize opportunities for student learning. In this article, the authors discuss the findings from a secondary review of research and theoretical applications for faculty development. One model for faculty training based on these findings is posited.

Examining the Elements of Online Learning Quality in a Fully Online Doctoral Program

Nathan R.

Julia N.

J. Ray Thompson

by Nathan R. Templeton
Julia N. Ballenger
J. Ray Thompson

The purpose of this descriptive quantitative study was to examine the quality elements of online learning in a regional doctoral program. Utilizing the six quality dimensions of Hathaway’s (2009) theory of online learning quality as a framework, the study investigated instructor-learner, learner-learner, learner-content, learner-interface, learner-instructional strategies, and social presence in order to explore the frequency and importance of these elements. A likert-style survey administered through Qualtrics was used to report self-perceptions of the doctoral students and faculty members. Descriptive statistics for the survey and subscales indicated alignment with the review of literature. Course design, instructor’s facilitation, and student interaction were factors impacting learning outcomes (Eom, Wen, & Ashill, 2006). Faculty participation was also found to dramatically improve the performance and satisfaction of students (Arbaugh & Rau, 2007; Hrastinski, 2009). Resultantly, five conclusions emerged from the study. First doctoral students and faculty valued the frequency of corporate interaction, clear prompt feedback, and multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate learning. Secondly, instructor to learner interaction has to be an intentional practice. Third, the inclusion of learning technologies is necessary for building relationships, making connections and giving credibility to the learning environment. The fourth conclusion revealed that students were more concerned with the quality of assignments than faculty; and finally, faculty responses to students’ discussions is an area for improvement in the online program.

From the Editor

Melanie ClayGreetings,

Our last issue of 2015 includes a very interesting and useful article from our colleagues at Central Washington University on assessing the quality of competency-based courses. As many of us are in various stages of exploring, planning, or implementing CBE programs, such an instrument is enormously useful not only in reviewing quality and improving courses, but also in the planning of courses.

Not surprisingly, the domains and categories include learning activities, learning resources, support, and the effectiveness of the assessment of competencies. One of the more intriguing criticisms I hear about competency-based learning (or the tremendous emphasis on learning outcomes) is the predetermination of all that will be discovered or explored in a course. In the richest learning environments, there will surely be some discussions that arise that take the interaction or learning in a wonderful direction that was unknown to the instructor or the course designers prior to the course. How does this fit into a competency-based course, and can finding some sort of way to include measure this factor increase quality and decrease concerns?

Today is also the last day of our call for proposals for DLA 2016, coming up in June in Jekyll Island. I have seen a few proposals about competency-based education, and would love to see a few more, particularly in regard to its administration. We may be able to take a handful of late proposals through this week - let me know if you have a great idea or research to share, and I hope to see you there.

Best wishes for a fabulous and safe holiday.

December 15, 2015


A special thanks to Atomic Learning for being the premiere sponsor of DLA2015!

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

Last modified: December 15, 2015