Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration



Lessons Learned From Lessons Learned: The Fit Between Online Education Best Practices and Small School Reality
Al S. Lovvorn, Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

E-learning implementation best practices developed for large institutions must be adapted for small schools. This according to an article in the most recent Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. "Small public schools, on the other hand, are faced with unique challenges in profiting from the advice of these first movers. Small schools are hampered as a result of severely constrained resources, among which are personnel, money, infrastructure, and time." Today: Total:100 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Where's Walter? Adjunct Outreach Strategies to Bridge the Virtual Distance and Increase Student Retention
Maryann Lamer Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

This is a goodish paper describing five strategies for creating engagement in an online environment (though I am not fond of the examples involving 'Walter', which seem forced and fake). The five strategies are: timliness or immediacy, knowledge of the technology, using student names, creating community, and being personable. More articles are available from the current issue of OJDLA. Today: Total:112 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Impact of High School Distance E-Learning Experience On Rural Students' University Achievement and Persistence
Charlene Dodd, Dale Kirby, Tim Seifert and Dennis Sharpe Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

"The results of this analysis," write the authors, "suggest that first year university performance and persistence is significantly different for students who have previous experience with on-line education experiences and those who do not." This is a result that makes sense to me, based on my own work in rural Manitoba. The survey is substantial, "of a census sample of 2,515 first year rural university students enrolled during the 2003-04 through 2005-06 academic years." The authors write, "these results provide support for the provision of on-line education in high school as an alternative to the traditional face-to-face classroom format." Of course, given the greater choices and access e-learning offers, there would be good reason to support e-learning in rural communities even if university-level persistence were the same, especially for those who never make it to university at all. Today: Total:146 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open Access Learning Environments
Kenneth Mentor Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

According to the author, "Although there are logical reasons for moving toward closed environments, we may be erring too far on the side of caution. Educators and administrators are encouraged to consider the advantages of alternative models that respect the need for privacy while opening learning opportunities to a wider population." Reasonable. Via Learning Online Info. Today: Total:84 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Web-Based Courses: The Assiniboine Model
Stephen Downes Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

OK, let's be clear now. I have one last thing to say about this Blackboard patent. Yeah, I know, half the educational community was working on the LMS in the 1990s. But for me, this Blackboard patent feels pretty personal. Here's why.

In the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume 2, Number 2, Summer, 1999, I published this paper based on a presentation I had originally made in 1997. It describes how to design and build a learning management system. It goes into a great deal of detail, including things like online registration, tests and exams, communications, personalized home pages, and much more. The paper, moreover, describes code I actually built at Assiniboine Community College and which was used to deliver a number of courses at the college.

Now, the Blackboard patent was filed June 30, 2000. Here it is. Read both and judge for yourself. But let me say this: what Blackboard claims to have invented in 2000 is almost an exact clone of what I described in 1997 and published in 1999. Now Blackboard may be suing a company today - a Canadian company, naturally. But my response to Blackboard is this: where do you get off taking my invention, which I shared freely with the rest of the world, in order to advance learning, and claiming it as your own? Is this the model of learning to which you subscribe, to use the legal system to deny learning to people who cannot afford it?


Today: Total:320 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Forgotten Faculty: Stress and Job Satisfaction Among Distance Educators
Jennifer McLean Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Useful study which conforms generally to my own experience. The author writes, "it is important to recognize that distance educators view themselves as dedicated almost exclusively to instruction. The traditional triad of higher educators sharing their time between teaching, service and scholarship is not perceived as applicable." Moreover, "the strong independence shown by this panel makes conformity to institutional regulations less likely among distance educators." You mean I was not supposed to partition the institution server and set up my own private multi-user environment? Heh. See more papers from the current Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Today: Total:80 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Literature Review – Faculty Participation in Online Distance Education: Barriers and Motivators
Loréal L. Maguire Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

The spring, 2005, edition of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is now available. I list three papers, beginning with this one. Good overview of some articles in this topic highlighted by a chart added as an appendix, though I wish the author had surveyed more papers and reports (thirteen are surveyed). Though the papers are surveyed are all over the map (which raises questions about methodology, since presumably they are studying the same subject) they cluster around two major points: lack of technological support, and lack of time. Of course, I phrase these differently: a need for better technology, and a need for a more efficient design and delivery process. Today: Total:136 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Best Practices: A Triangulated Support Approach in Transitioning Faculty to Online Teaching
Sarah Egan Warren Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

The triangle, in a sentence: "Successfully moving faculty to a new instructional paradigm requires the support of the department, faculty peers, and university support staff." the paper is a reasonable if conservative assessment of these three types of support. Today: Total:68 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction
Linda F. Cornelious Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Some people will like this paper, which is why I'm including it, but I didn't. From where I sit, it's a classic case of drowning the reader through needless citations (do we need Volery (2000), for example, to tell us that "online delivery is a form of distributed learning enabled by the Internet?"). This close attention to citation comes at the cost of common sense. I see no correlation between holding a PhD and being a successful online instructor, but the authors state the need for this qualification. And while I agree training in WebCT should be more user friendly, I am puzzled as to why this criticism of a specific product appears in a general paper. And I find the suggestion that "Instructors need to take courses to better understand technology" to be ludicrous. Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Thirty-two Trends Affecting Distance Education: An Informed Foundation for Strategic Planning
Nathan K. Lindsay Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

The title of this piece is interesting - I think I'll start plugging my own work in the titles ("a amart review of learning", "a wise critique of metadata..."). I also consider the methodology odd, consisting as it does of (mostly) citations in offline sources. That said, the paper otherwise delivers what it promises: thirty-two trends (current as of about two years ago). Many of the trends persist: student demographics, for example, suggesting an older, more diverse, and more selective population. Others, less so: with blogs, online communities and more, instructors are not isolated as they once were. Some trends have reversed: while staff training continues to be a need, it is not so clear that this need is still growing. And the 'merger' or public and private institutions documented by the authors appears to have come to a complete halt with the failure of several high profile initiatives. The advent of blogs, self-publishing, institutional archives, learning communities and many other current trends do not find mention at all. Today: Total:102 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Six Factors to Consider when Planning Online Distance Learning Programs in Higher Education
Suzanne Levy Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

The important message in this article isn't contained in the conclusion, though it should be: "It is recommended that the institution give equal consideration to all six areas as their ODL program is designed and developed, and to not let the development of the program be driven by those instructors who want to teach online or the software that is the most readily available for student support services." Discussion of the six factors - planning, curriculum, staff training, student services, student training, and copyright - constitutes the bulk of this paper and shows that the issues surrounding online reach well beyond merely placing courses online. Today: Total:54 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Does Policy Make a Difference? An Exploration into Policies for Distance Education
Katrina A. Meyer Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Study of distance edeucation policies and enrollments at five west and midwest U.S. colleges (generalize at your own risk). The answer to the question posed above is, "Yes, but not as much of an influence as you might think." Early adopters and early majority indtructors will adopt distance learning no matter what the policy says; indeed, they tend to thrive in a policy vacuum. Incentives and support play some role in assisting the more reluctant majority to adopt distance learning. Today: Total:44 [Comment] [Direct Link]

How Can Instructors and Administrators Fill the Missing Link in Online Instruction?
Jack Klotz Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

This is old news, isn't it? "This paper supports the idea that students benefit from personal contact and access to the professor and learning is enhanced in courses with high degrees of interactivity among students." The author recommends the use of chat, email and discussion boards to facilitate communication. Today: Total:46 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Moving Past Time as the Criteria
Ryan Watkins Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

At first I tried to convince people to think of time as a unit of information. That didn't work. More recently I have been urging people to abandon time altogether as a measurement of instruction. An hour of reading, say, for one person is very different from an hour of reading for another. Now this article proposes a replacement for time, the Capabilities-Based Educational Equivalency (CBEE) Units model. As the authors write, "While allowing time and location to vary across courses and degrees, the CBEE Units approach permits the valid and useful comparison of student achievement by holding student capabilities relatively constant." Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]


(Still working on this)