The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is a peer-reviewed electronic journal offered free each quarter. The journal welcomes manuscripts based on the original work of practitioners and researchers with specific focus or implications for the management of distance education programs.
Regular and Substantive Interaction in Online Courses: Why it Matters for Administrators
Regular and substantive interaction differentiates distance education from correspondence education and can have serious economic ramifications for institutions that fail to include it in their online courses. While ambiguities in its definition and a federal health emergency provided temporary…
Instructional Design Staffing for Online Programs
The purpose of this study was to benchmark the workload of online instructional designers as third-space professionals at 4-year, public institutions. Interview data regarding design team composition, courseload, responsibilities, and decision-making processes was gathered from managers of…
This Is(n't) What I Signed Up For
This paper shares the results of a longitudinal, descriptive study of 675 online students’ expectations and experiences across five years (2016-2021) at an institution in the southern U.S. that is highly ranked in online support services and programmatic offerings. Data included demographic…
Does Removing Quizzes Impact Student Performance in an Online Course?
Data for 295 college online introductory statistics students were examined to determine if removing four module (weekly) quizzes impacted student performance on a cumulative exam. In this research, student performance was not significantly impacted by the removal of the quizzes. The difference…
From the Editor
After a final review of the articles in this edition, I'm pondering why we are still having to prove the worthiness of online learning.
Just as in face-to-face courses, there are engaged instructors who change students' lives. And others who clearly need or want an extended break from the classroom. Most students don't blatantly cheat - but those who do exhibit these same behaviors in the traditional course - and likely in other areas of their lives. Try as we may to provide faculty training, online tutoring and support systems that may actually give an online student an edge, we can't let go of that nagging feeling that it's just not good enough.
So we tend to overcompensate in online courses by cramming them with extraneous content and a dizzying array of busy, busy assignments.
And then we wonder why withdrawal rates are higher.
In the last article of this issue, Griffin looks at how removing some online assignments impacts student success. In the first article, Pina reminds us of the critical importance of substantive interaction.
What remains is what we've known for a long time now. The best online courses have carefully-curated content and assignments with a supersized dose of creative, personalized faculty interaction and presence. Add to that formula some elements of competency-based learning (multiple chances within a semester to demonstrate mastery) and you've created some online classroom magic . . .
Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
September 15, 2023