Subscribe: OJDLA Journals & News
http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/rss/newsfeed.xml
Preview: OJDLA Journals & News

OJDLA Journals & News



Welcome to the University of West Georgia Online Journal of Distance Administration news feed. Here you can find a variety of articles and news pertaining to OJDLA.



Published: Friday, 15 December 2017 5:00:00 -0500

 



Welcome!!! New edition to the OJDLA Journal - Winter 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

Here is our new edition to the OJDLA Journal - December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 (Double click on the article titles to see the entire article)

Here is a letter from our editor

Greetings readers: As 2016 draws to a close, I reflect on the rapid change, progress, and surprises that the year has brought. MOOCs, CBEs and other alternative pathways are having an affect less in their own right and more in terms of indirectly enhancing traditional online education. Continued emphasis this year has been placed on the economic sustainability of online learning, and many experiments of the past couple of years have clearly failed to provide a significant return. And now, with the political landscape changing in America and in Europe, there are new uncertainties regarding accessibility, affordability, regulation and the roles of different types of higher education providers. What we must remember is that the foundations of higher education are strong and its role in the betterment of society is deeply entrenched. What is variable is the perspective of which citizens amongst us should engage in which types of education or training. My hope for 2017 is that we, as distance learning administrators, continue to support systems that provide for both creative and practical approaches to the multiple avenues of career preparation, enlightenment, and an educated citizenry.

Peace to all, Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

December 15, 2017



Continuous Improvement in Online Education: Documenting Teaching Effectiveness in the Online Environment Through Observations

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by Jennifer W. Purcell, Heather I. Scott, Deborah Mixson-Brookshire

Teaching observations are commonly used among educators to document and improve teaching effectiveness. Unfortunately, the necessary protocols and supporting infrastructure are not consistently available for faculty who teach online. This paper presents a brief literature review and reflective narratives of educators representing online education at multiple organization levels within a comprehensive university.  Each vignette presents strategies for implementing observations among online faculty, including considerations for teaching faculty, their peers and supervisors, and online education administrators.



How Five Newly Created Reports Using Analytics Informed and Surprised One Distance Learning Administrator

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by Scott L. Howell and Beihe Le

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain the best practice of using “big data” reports to help distance learning administrators better understand their own programs and represent them to stakeholders. The authors examine five reports: (1) the number and percentage of graduates from the main campus who also take classes at the branch campus; (2) an understanding of how enrollment patterns can aid in decisions to cancel or retain classes; (3) an analysis of the number of non-matriculated students who eventually matriculate; (4) a comparison of the number of students who retake classes at the branch and main campuses; and (5) the correlation between courses offered and courses required for the main campus majors and minors. The reports are designed to answer specific questions and to dispel inaccurate assumptions by creating data to use in evaluating programs and their effectiveness.



Common Practices for Evaluating Post-Secondary Online Instructors

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by: Jonathan E. Thomas and Charles R. Graham

This literature review explores current post-secondary practices for evaluating online instructors. As enrollment of students in online courses has steadily increased over the last few decades, instructor evaluation has lagged behind. Through a thematic analysis of existing literature, this review seeks to answer these questions: (1) How are online instructors evaluated?  (2) When and why are online instructors evaluated? (3) What are institutions evaluating? This review reveals that many unresolved problems still exist among online instructor evaluations. One of the more significant problems raised in the research is whether evaluation instruments used to evaluate traditional face-to-face instructors are appropriate to evaluate online instructors. Another significant finding of this review is that current practices of post-secondary institutions evaluate instructors based on course design. These and other findings indicate that evaluation of online instructors is a field that requires additional research.



The Effect of Online Discussion Board Frequency on Student Performance in Adult Learners

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by Adam L. Selhorst, Mingzhen Bao, Lorraine Williams, Eric Klein

TClassroom discussion boards are a vital part of the online educational experience, providing a venue for peer to peer and student to faculty interactions. However, institutional feedback from students at a large open enrollment university has shown that excess focus on online discussions may lead to fatigue, resulting in lower student satisfaction, and in turn, performance. As such, researchers hypothesized that a reduction from two to one required weekly discussions by program administrators would improve student grade point average (GPA), withdraw rate, fail rate, and progression. Using a variety of revision techniques, program administrators revised seven courses over multiple disciplines to reduce required discussion interaction from two to one discussion per week. Resulting data from over 900 students showed that across all courses, no significant differences were seen in average GPA, fail rate, and progression between experimental and control groups (p > 0.47). However, a trend was observed for decreased withdraw rates as courses shifted from two weekly discussions (9.6%) to one (7.2%) (p = 0.19). The method of course revision appeared to effect the GPA and fail rate across some individual courses. Combining two discussions into one larger discussion and pooling assessment points seemed to have negative impacts on withdraw rates and fail rates, while shorter discussions with lower point values were correlated with increased achievement. Based on the study, it appears that adult learners in online courses prefer one weekly discussion over two as illustrated by the decreased withdraw rate in experimental groups. Additionally, students show improved performance with greater assessment weight focused on assignments over discussions. Results suggest that program administrators and faculty might benefit from structuring programs focused on adult online learners with one minimally weighted discussion board per week.



Hidden Aspects of Administration: How Scale Changes the Role of a Distance Education Administrator

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by Sarah J. Stein and Bill Anderson

Distance education research literature tends to focus on building economies of scale as a way to improve efficiency and effectiveness. However, the smaller scale distance education operation has a place and there are institutions, such as the one where the current study was set, that, while being keen to improve efficiency and effectiveness practices, do not wish to scale up. This paper reports an investigation of the unique small scale distance education context at one university in New Zealand. The purpose was to reflect on the operations from the perspectives of those involved in distance education at the institution. Interviews held with students, lecturers and administrators of distance courses provide insights about how those groups experience distance education and how distance education ‘works’ in the institution. Analysis of the data revealed that it is the administrators who play a key role in areas of relationship-building, mediation and bridging. The outcomes contribute to the ongoing review and reflection of practices at the institution. In addition, the study adds to the current literature about distance education, because it provides insights into the key, often hidden role of staff providing administrative support that is needed to ensure high quality courses and student experience. In this way, the study provides some much needed evidence about small scale distance education and how it can be organised to contribute to the achievement of institutional and national imperatives, as well as student learning needs.



African American Males and Online Education: A Review of the Literature

Friday, 15 December 2017 00:00:00 -0400

December 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 4 edition

by Susan Salvo, Kaye Shelton, Brett Welch

Online education is continuing to grow in popularity with students with more and more institutions offering fully online degrees. In addition, online education potentially offers a color free environment where students are less likely to be judged by race and treated more equally as this is one of the benefits of online education. However, African American male students are not as likely to enroll in online classes. This literature review examined factors related to African American male students and the online course environment including general characteristics of online learners, attrition rates among online courses, and gender gaps in both onsite and online courses within higher education. In addition, African American student online enrollment trends, characteristics of African American online learners, achievement gaps in both onsite and online courses within higher education, the influence technology and user skills as well as economics and academic influences that may have contributed to African American male online learners’ positive experience were reviewed.