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On the Recognition of Quality Online Course Design in Promotion and Tenure: A Survey of Higher Ed Institutions in the Western United States

Susan Bussmann Sandra R. Johnson
Richard Oliver Kerry Foresythe
Miley Grandjean Michelle Lebsock
Tyler Luster

by Susan Bussmann
Sandra R. Johnson
Richard Oliver
Kerry Forsythe
Miley Grandjean
Michelle Lebsock
Tyler Luster

What constitutes excellence in teaching for university faculty when they are expected or required to create quality online courses? This is a question that will increasingly be asked of members of promotion and tenure committees as market pressures demand entire degrees be delivered online. Developing a quality online course is a significant commitment in time and effort and frequently requires learning new skills and pedagogical methods. Increasingly, faculty are expected to make this commitment, yet it may not be valued in their promotion and tenure process. This study sought to determine to what extent developing a “quality” online course (one that has been reviewed to a set of standards) receives credit in the promotion and tenure (P&T) process for all ranks. A survey across multiple disciplines at 19 western universities found that only 16 percent of the departments that completed the survey specifically include the development of a quality online course in their promotion and tenure documentation. Two hundred and forty-eight departments offering online degree programs from 19 four-year research institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the western United States were invited to participate in this study. Of the 19 institutions (including New Mexico State University), 15 were peers of New Mexico State University (NMSU), with three additional non-peer Western region IHEs being invited to take an online survey. Survey takers were given the option to volunteer for a more in-depth follow-up phone interview.

Examining Perceptions of Online Faculty Regarding the Value of Emotional Intelligence in Online Classrooms

Diane Hamilton

by Diane Hamilton


Due to the growth of interest in soft skills and personality traits in education, the perceptions of the value online instructors place on emotional intelligence (EI), warrants scholarly attention. Organizations have embraced the value of emotional intelligence in employees. If online professors are instrumental in preparing students to be successful in the business world, their perception of the skills that employers value is important. For this study, the definition of EI was based on the components as defined by Reuven Bar-On’s model. Thirty-eight faculty members were recruited through Linkedin to provide their value of the EI in online classes. A survey instrument was developed for this purpose. The results indicated that the majority believed flexibility was most important for stress management, problem-solving most important for decision-making, relationship building for interpersonal skills, emotional expression, assertiveness and independence were equally ranked for self-expression, emotional self-awareness was most important for self-perception. If online instructors are the ones who develop and deliver curriculum, it is important for them to understand the components of EI to ensure that students receive an education that includes skills that could improve their chances of success in the workplace.

Determinants of Self-Reflective Learning and its Consequences in Online Master Degree Programs

Yoram Neumann Edith Neumann
Shelia Lewis

by Yoram Neumann
Edith Neumann
Shelia Lewis

Based on recent studies of self-reflective learning and its effects on various learning outcomes, this study examined the concept of self-reflective learning in the context of the Robust Learning Model (RLM), which is a learning model designed for improving the educational effectiveness of online degree programs. Two models were introduced to assess the efficacy of the self-reflective learning in the first course of the RLM with a spiral curriculum. The first model was aimed at examining the relative strengths of the various learning activities and the quality of faculty feedback in predicting the self-reflective learning at the end of the first course. The second model examined the lasting effect of the self-reflective learning at the first course on final program educational effectiveness. Findings from the first model indicated that self-reflective learning at the end of the first core course in the program curriculum was indeed directly influenced by student performance on threaded discussion, problem-based learning, and the signature assignment as well as by the quality of faculty feedback. In the second model’s findings, there was a long, unique, and lasting effect of the self-reflective learning ability acquired in the first course on the student performance in the program, capstone, the student overall GPA, and reduction in the student time-to-degree. The implications of this overall study were discussed that may contribute to future research.

A Comparison of Learning Outcomes for Adult Students in On-Site and Online Service-Learning

Jeremy S. Schwehm Tennille Lasker-Scott
Oluwakemi Elefiede

by Dawn Mollenkopf
Phu Vu
Sherry Crow
Chilene Black

Although a growing number of students are accessing online learning programs, there are concerns about the quality of these programs. Multiple reports examined online program quality, but many of those studies had methodology and design issues that make it difficult to interpret the findings conclusively. This study attempted to address the methodological concerns by comparing the learning outcomes of college students enrolled in an online early childhood teacher education program pathway with students enrolled in a parallel face-to-face early childhood teacher education program pathway. The study examined the extent to which: (a) content knowledge from an earlier required applied instructional technology course would be retained at the student teaching level, and (b) a significant difference would be found in the learning performance outcomes of student teachers based on program pathway. Student teaching data analyzed over a three-year period indicate that student teachers met expectations in their technology use and in their overall lesson planning and teaching, and that there was no significant difference in student performance in the online program pathway when compared to student performance in the face-to-face program pathway.

Does Online Learning Deliver? A Comparison of Student Teacher Outcomes from Candidates in Face-to-Face and Online Program Pathways

Dawn Mollenkopf Phu Vu
Dawn Mollenkopf Chilene Black

by Dawn Mollenkopf
Phu Vu
Sherry Crow
Chilene Black

Although a growing number of students are accessing online learning programs, there are concerns about the quality of these programs. Multiple reports examined online program quality, but many of those studies had methodology and design issues that make it difficult to interpret the findings conclusively. This study attempted to address the methodological concerns by comparing the learning outcomes of college students enrolled in an online early childhood teacher education program pathway with students enrolled in a parallel face-to-face early childhood teacher education program pathway. The study examined the extent to which: (a) content knowledge from an earlier required applied instructional technology course would be retained at the student teaching level, and (b) a significant difference would be found in the learning performance outcomes of student teachers based on program pathway. Student teaching data analyzed over a three-year period indicate that student teachers met expectations in their technology use and in their overall lesson planning and teaching, and that there was no significant difference in student performance in the online program pathway when compared to student performance in the face-to-face program pathway.

Evaluating the Impact of Hybrid/Blended Instructional Design on Muslim Student Performance Scores in a Traditional On-Campus Course

Troy A. Rawlins Rifath Ali

by Troy A. Rawlins
Rifath Ali

Generally, traditional modes of instructional design have been successful in achieving favorable student performance scores for domestic students in Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) degree program courses. EKU’s students of Muslim faith, however, enrolled in OSH 261 Principles of Occupational Safety and Health have achieved lower than average performance scores than their domestic counterparts within a traditional on-campus instructional design. This researcher supposes the major cause of Muslim students lower scores in OSH 261 is related to poor class attendance caused by attending a weekly Friday religious ceremony called Juma’ah. Although there is a university policy regarding course attendance, there is no interpretation, exemptions, or provisions offered which provides guidance for religious accommodations for students of Muslim faith. In this informal mixed-method pilot study of 96 (N=96) Muslim students enrolled in OSH 261 were exposed to a hybrid or blended approach to instructional design over 3 semesters called Adobe Connect to address both the student-learning needs, and adhere the university policy regarding student attendance to ultimately support increases in academic performance scores. The quantitative and qualitative results of this pilot study demonstrated students of Muslim faith average academic performance scores increased by 5 %, and students reported high levels of satisfaction after Adobe Connect was implemented during the end of each semester.

Assessing Online Readiness of Students

Raymond Doe Matthew S. Castillo
Millicent M. Musyoka

by Raymond Doe
Matthew S. Castillo
Millicent M. Musyoka


The rise of distance education has created a need to understand students’ readiness for online learning and to predict their success. Several survey instruments have been developed to assess this construct of online readiness. However, a review of the extant literature shows that these instruments have varying limitations in capturing all of the domains of student online readiness. Important variables that have been considered in assessing the online readiness of students for distance education include attrition and information and communications technology (ICT) engagement. Previous studies have indicated that high attrition rates for online programs can be prevented by assessing student online readiness. The present study examined undergraduate students’ online readiness using an instrument that was developed by the researchers that included constructs such as information communications technology engagement, motivation, self-efficacy, and learner characteristics. The addition of these subscales further strengthen the reliability and validity of online learning readiness surveys in capturing all the domains of student online readiness.

The Pathway Program: A collaboration between 3 universities to deliver a social work distance education (DL) program to underserved areas of California

Teresa Morris Celeste A Jones
Seema Sehrawats

by Teresa Morris
Celeste A Jones
Seema Sehrawats

This paper describes the development of a partnership between three campuses to develop a (DL) education program-serving employees of county and tribal Health and Human Service Departments in remote rural areas of California. Specifically, the program supports the development of a career pathway for students living in isolated regions of Northern California and Inland Southern California. Surveys and focus groups carried out in 2008 and 2009 identified the need for such a program. Title IVE funding (federal funding for training and education of child welfare workers) was granted via the California Social Work Education Center based at the University of California, Berkeley, which also coordinates the program. Course development, outreach, advising, and student admissions began in Chico and Humboldt in the north and San Bernardino in the south. The first phase was considerable outreach to children’s services county agencies whose employees needed to gain a B.A.S.W.and/or M.S.W.This included academic advising and study skills training. Progress on the implementation of each program along with considerable dialogue on the elements of successful collaboration are discussed.

Teaching Online: Where Do Faculty Spend Their Time?

B. Jean Mandernach Rick Holbeck

by B. Jean Mandernach
Rick Holbeck

An understanding of online teaching time requirements provides essential information to inform scheduling, course size and instructor workload; in addition, awareness of the distribution of time across online teaching tasks provides insight to focus faculty efforts and tailor professional development to target instructional needs. The purpose of the current study is to examine the investment and distribution of instructional time as a function of instructor experience, class size and course duration. Findings reveal instructors spend 12.69 hours per week per online course (with an average class size of 22 students); teaching time is distributed across a range of instructional activities with approximately 40% spent on grading and feedback, 30% on discussion facilitation, 10% on asynchronous, one-to-one communication, 10% on synchronous communication, and 10% on content development. While there was a trend for novice instructors to require more time than more experienced faculty, there was not a relationship between instructional time and number of students in the course. Recognizing the ubiquitous nature of the online classroom lacks inherent benchmarks to guide start or stop times, results are discussed in relation to mental anchors that may influence faculty time investment in online teaching.

Student Satisfaction as a Predictor of Retention in a Professional Online For-Profit Higher Education Institution

Eric Page Melinda Kulick

by Eric Page
Melinda Kulick

 

This study expanded on prior satisfaction and retention research by exploring this relationship within the online for-profit sector.  An ex post facto design was utilized at an online for-profit undergraduate institution with programs in the creative arts to explore the relationship between student satisfaction as measured by the Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL) and subsequent student retention status that was collected one year after completing the survey.  Point-biserial correlation and binary logistic regression tests were conducted on a sample of 2729 students that completed the PSOL and found no significant relationships between overall satisfaction and satisfaction on subscales of the PSOL and subsequent retention status one year later.  These tests were repeated at the item-level and the point-biserial correlation test found no significant relationships.  However, the binary logistic regression test found that three items significantly predicted student retention one year later.  Overall, the study concluded that student satisfaction is not a significant predictor of subsequent student retention.  Implications for practice within the online for-profit sector are discussed.

Assessing Faculty Attitudes towards Online Instruction: A Motivational Approach

David J. Prottas, Catherine M. Cleaver, Deborah Cooperstein

by David J. Prottas
Catherine M. Cleaver
Deborah Cooperstein

There continues to be a lack of congruence in the attitudes of faculty and administrators with respect to online or distance education. The authors developed and administered a questionnaire to assess pertinent attitudes and perceptions of full and part-time faculty (n= 421) toward online instruction at their private university in a U.S. Middle Atlantic State.  Responses to thirty-five items were subjected to exploratory factor analysis with four factors emerging labeled as technical resources, self-efficacy, strategic alignment, and contextual suitability. Differences were found based on a number of demographic variables including experience with online instruction, being part-time, working in a professional school, gender, and years teaching. Relationships among factors are also explored and practical implications discussed.

Assuring Student Learning Outcomes Achievement Through Faculty Development: An Online University Example

Shelia Lewis Christopher Ewing

by Shelia Lewis
Christopher Ewing

Asynchronous discussions in the online teaching and learning environment significantly contributes to the achievement of student learning outcomes, which is dependent upon qualified and engaged faculty members. The discourse within this article addresses how an online university conducted faculty development through its unique Robust Learning Model (RLM) and its associated unique pedagogy and learning management system, which is also utilized by the university’s students. The results revealed that shared engagement between faculty members in the faculty development activity similar to the university’s students, honed faculty members’ teaching skills that lend to assuring student learning outcomes achievement in the online learning environment.

Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?

Emily Hixon Casimir Barczyk
Penny Ralston-Berg Janet Buckenmeyer

by Emily Hixon
Casimir Barczyk
Penny Ralston-Berg
Janet Buckenmeyer

This study analyzes nontraditional students’ perceptions of online course quality. Students were categorized into three groups: traditional, moderately nontraditional, and highly nontraditional. A survey instrument designed to assess online course quality and other demographic characteristics was administered electronically. Course quality was measured using the rubric associated with the eight Quality Matters (2008-2010) standards. A total of 3,160 students enrolled in at least one online for-credit course from 31 colleges and universities across the U.S. participated in this study. Based on the results of a series of ANOVAs, it was found that both traditional and nontraditional students rated Standard 3 on Assessment and Measurement as highest among the eight standards. No significant differences between student groups were found. In addition, there were no significant differences between groups for Standard 8 on Accessibility. It was also found that Standard 1on Course Overview and Introduction was rated higher by nontraditional students as compared to traditional students. The same was noted for Standard 6 on Course Technology, where nontraditional students rated this item higher than their traditional counterparts. Similar patterns of higher ratings by nontraditional students were found for Learning Objectives, Resources and Materials, Learner Engagement, and Learner Support, Standards 2, 4, 5, and 7, respectively. Nontraditional, as contrasted with traditional, students have different perceptions of online course quality. Because nontraditional students have multiple responsibilities, they need their online courses to be well designed, consistently presented, easily navigable, and appropriately aligned.

Online vs. Face-to-Face Course Evaluations: Considerations for Administrators and Faculty

Michael P. Marzano Robert Allen

by Michael P. Marzano
Robert Allen

The purpose of this study was to determine whether students evaluate courses differently, and perhaps more critically, when delivered online vs. face-to-face (F2F). Course evaluations are associated with the instructor that taught the course. Course evaluation continues to be a significant assessment vehicle of faculty performance used by many administrators. This analysis attempted to control for variations in instructors and courses, by comparing student course evaluations, where the same instructor taught the same course, in both modalities. Moreover, the study attempted to understand the contributing factors to the course rating. The results of this study confirm that courses taught by the same instructor, using the same course content, were rated lower when delivered in the online modality. The results of the lower ratings, for online courses, have implications for faculty and administrators. Areas potentially affected by the lower ratings include: 1) a drop in the faculty member’s assessed performance; 2) a difficulty to recruit full-time or tenure seeking faculty to teach online courses; 3) potential unproductive attempts to compensate for deficiencies or ‘student dislikes’ with the Learning Management System; and 4) potential morale issues with faculty experiencing less job satisfaction due to lower online course ratings.

Another Simple yet Effective Best Practice for Increasing Enrollments at an Extended Campus

Steven S. Christensen Scott L howell
C. Giles Hall

by Steven S. Christensen
Scott L. Howell
C. Giles Hall

This article is a follow-up to a previous article, “Six Ways to Increase Enrollments at an Extended Campus,” published in this journal (vol. 17, no. 4, winter 2015), wherein a seventh best practice to increase course offerings and increase enrollments at an extended campus is presented. This best practice seeks to identify those areas of greatest student demand in which courses are not consistently offered across all four university semesters. Once identified, these gaps in course availability on the main campus can be filled by offering the courses on the extended campus.

Faculty Professional Development and Student Satisfaction in Online Higher Education

right Melanie Shaw
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.

Winning One Program at a Time: A Systemic Approach

Kay Zimmerman
Adam Schultz Kay Zimmerman

by Adam Schultz
Kay Zimmerman

Many Universities are missing an opportunity to focus student recruitment marketing efforts and budget at the program level, which can offer lower priced advertising opportunities with higher conversion rates than traditional University level marketing initiatives.

Status Tracking and Reporting the Quality Matters Process at the University of North Georgia

Nina Lamson David Babb
Robert Schmidt

by Nina Lamson
David Babb
Robert Schmidt

The University of North Georgia utilizes the internal Quality Matters (QM) process to review all their online courses. As our online course offerings have increased, the need to devise a system to track the QM process, ensure timely reviews, and begin recertification of previously reviewed courses was necessary. As a result, several reports have been devised to capture this process: 1) a master list of all online course offerings, 2) bi-weekly status reports, and 3) QM reviewer status reports. The process that is used and the resulting reports will be shared in this report.

Institutional Characteristics and Student Retention: What Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Reveals About Online Learning

Edward T. Chiyaka Alec Sithole
Fidelis Manyanga Peter McCarthy
Brian K. Bucklein

by Edward T. Chiyaka
Alec Sithole
Fidelis Manyanga
Peter McCarthy
Brain K. Bucklein

Online course delivery continues to grow as a viable means of providing increased educational access to more students, but low student retention rates remain a major challenge. In this study, key institutional characteristics that influence student retention in postsecondary education are analyzed. These are student-faculty ratio, graduation rate, acceptance rate, enrollment rate, institutional aid rate, default rate, and institution type. Using multivariable regression analysis, our findings show that graduation rate, default rate, and college type were significantly associated with retention rate among online degree-granting institutions. Furthermore, graduation rate was found to be strongly positively linearly related with retention rate, while default rate was strongly negatively linearly related with retention rate. Overall these findings have direct implications on the planning and management of online instruction.

Transitioning to the Learning Management System Moodle from Blackboard: Impacts to Faculty

Page Varnell

by Page Varnell
What are the workload impacts to faculty during a Learning Management System (LMS) transition?  What type of support is needed by faculty during an LMS transition? Transitioning to a new LMS may result in faculty problems with learning a new technology platform in addition to teaching. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the impact that an LMS transition had on faculty workload and instructional practices. All faculty interviewed expressed a need for additional support in the form of either a course release, compensation, professional development and/or mentoring. The results of this study can be used to increase alignment between administration and faculty and improve faculty job satisfaction.

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