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OJDLA Journals & News

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

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


Welcome!!! New edition of the OJDLA Journal - Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Here is our new edition of the OJDLA Journal - Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3(Double click on the article titles to see the entire article).

Here is a letter from our editor:

Greetings OJDLA readers,

Fall brings with it the beginning of a new school year, and there's always a sense of change that comes with the cooler air. This year, more than ever it seems, we've shifted from competitively growing and collaboratively managing our online programs, to seriously re-examining affordability. The caveat is that all of our efforts to increase affordability should not compromise, but yet increase - quality..

A related driver is innovation. Yet, I'm not sure that innovation is so much a product of itself (or a MOOC or personalized learning), but perhaps a different way of thinking about issues such as quality. While quality can be measured to some degree in terms of student success and faculty-student interactions, there are much deeper outcomes related to critical thinking, relationships and authenticity in the college experience that are harder to define, let alone measure. This means that the questions that we are asking ourselves need to be changing, in my view.

Please consider joining me at our third annual conference on Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World next Feburary in fabulous Savannah as we thoughtfully explore these and related issues. Our call for proposals ends on September 30. Hope to hear from you.

Best wishes for a safe and peaceful autumn,

- Melanie

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.

Friday, September 15, 2017

An Organizational Development Framework for Assessing Readiness and Capacity for Expanding Online Education

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Anthony A. Piña

In this article, a popular model for organizational development is utilized as a framework for assessing the organizational readiness and capacity of educational institutions whose leaders wish to establish or expand their online/distance education programs. Examples of institutionalization factors to consider and alternative models for assessing readiness and capacity are also provided.

Forum Quality or Quantity: What is Driving Student Engagement Online?

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Cassandra S. Shaw and Kathleen C. Irwin

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between forum quality and student engagement. It was hypothesized when the forum prompt was of expected quality it would be a driver of student engagement and examined the length of the forum prompt in relation to student engagement. The methodology adopted for this study was quantitative--a regression was performed for the regressor variables, collectively, with each dependent variable. In addition, a standard regression was performed for quality of forum prompt with each dependent variable, separately. Data was collected over an eight-month period from May through December of 2015 from the following programs within the School of Business in an online university: accounting, business administration, government contracting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, human resource management, management, marketing, retail management, reverse logistics management, and transportation and logistics management. We examined the theory established by Salmon regarding the 5-stage model for forum development: (1) access and motivation, (2) online socialization, (3) information exchange, (4) knowledge construction, and (5) development. It was determined stages one and two are critical for student engagement as the more in depth the prompt the less likely students were to engage.

Business Models Associated with Distance Learning in Higher Education

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Shouhong Wang and Hai Wang

Textbook prices are continuously rising in higher education. This paper analyzes a business model which makes commercial textbooks more expensive, and explains why this issue tends to be more severe in the field of distance learning in higher education. It reports a case of adoption of open educational resources (OER) textbook for an online course to tackle the problem of high textbook prices which are associated with the bundled online academic services. Based on an analysis of the business model practiced in this case study, the paper discusses the challenges for implementation of this business model in distance education. It provides suggestions for institutional administrations to engage the distance learning community to reduce the costs of higher education. 

Persistence in an Online Master's Degree Program: Perceptions of Students and Faculty

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Deborah Budash and Melanie Shaw

Persistence in online learning experiences has been perceived as chronically lower than in face-to-face learning, but a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon has proven elusive. As online learning opportunities continue to expand, a better understanding of how learners and faculty perceive persistence is needed to foster this continued growth, and was the objective of this study. This single case study consisted of interviews of eight online master's degree students and six online faculty members from the same program related to their perceptions of persistence. Interviews were completed initially with the students and were triangulated with faculty interview responses. The results provided insights as to how participants viewed persistence in the online classroom and how each participant experienced and managed persistence. Themes emerged related to characteristics of persistent learners, practices of online faculty and staff, online course design techniques and practices, and program-level student support strategies. The results suggest that persistence in the OLE can be attained with structured policies infused with flexibility, open communication, and an engaged learning community. Additional research is recommended with different groups of learners, longitudinal studies, and to relate these findings to existing theory.

Applying Project Management Strategies in a Large Curriculum Conversion Project in Higher Education

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Joel Gardner, Patrick A. Bennett, Niccole Hyatt and Kevin Stoker

Higher education is undergoing great changes that require universities to adapt quickly, and making these changes can be difficult. One discipline that can aid in executing change is project management, which has developed a set of clear processes and strategies for completing initiatives quickly and effectively. Several authors have identified project management competencies as key in the practice of instructional design. However, in our experience it can be difficult to operationalize project management, particularly in instructional design projects that are large in scope and require a quick turnaround. In this case study, we describe our response to an immediate need to convert 53 courses from a 15-week to a 12-week format. We share the project management processes, strategies, and technologies we used to plan, organize, and lead this large course conversion project. We share our experiences working with organizational culture, collaborating with busy faculty, and hiring part-time designers and content experts. Finally, we share our own best practices for managing and leading large, multi-course instructional design projects.

Evaluation of Instructional Design Capabilities of Asynchronous and Synchronous Instruction

Friday, September 15, 2017 5:00:00 -0500

Fall 2017 - Volume 20 Issue 3

by Kristi N. Garrett and Angela D. Benson

From a quantitative perspective, this study examined the instructional design knowledge of higher education instructors and others within the instructional design/technology arena who are members of a global educational based Internet forum. Results showed significant difference in opinions between genders, where males were more inclined to incorporate instructional technology into their asynchronous and synchronous teaching environments. Based on the results, providing training for gender specific groups could foster a more collaborative learning environment. Whether male or female, designing and developing quality instruction for use in online and face-to-face environments is paramount in order to give students an engaging learning experience.