The Online Learning Consortium's premier journal dedicated to the development and dissemination of new knowledge at the intersection of pedagogy, emerging technology, policy, and practice in online environments.


The library contains articles of Online Learning as of vol. 1(1997) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Flipping e-Learning for Teaching Medical Terminology: A Study of Learners’ Online Experiences and Perceptions

    This study funded by grants from the Ankara University Scientific Research Projects Coordinator and with the 16A0300001 project number.; SENEL TEKIN, Perihan; Ilgaz, Hale; AFACAN ADANIR, Gülgün; Yildirim, Denizer; GÜLBAHAR, Yasemin (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Since e-Learning has become popular in recent years, research studies have been conducted about which instructional methods are the most effective in online learning environments. The purpose of this study is to apply the flipped classroom model to a Medical Terminology Course that was provided fully online as part of a Medical Documentation and Secretarial associate degree program in a vocational college, and to analyze learners’ experiences associated with this application. Based on this method, as asynchronous activities, learners were required to study interactive multimedia content and applications. For synchronous activities, mainly learner-centered approaches, collaborative learning, problem solving and discussion, led the learning process. In the context of this study, learners’ usage of the system, submissions to the study process questionnaire, and academic achievement were collected as quantitative data; whereas, learners’ opinions towards the flipped classroom model were obtained as qualitative data. Hence, the study was designed as a mixed methods research. According to the results, it was found that learners’ academic achievement significantly related to their perceptions of deep learning and their time spent on learning activities. Moreover, learners indicated problematic aspects to the flipped classroom as time expectancies, insufficiency of instructional materials, and lack of advice received from the instructor.
  • Attitudes towards technology among distance education students: Validation of an explanatory model

    Romero Martínez, Sonia J.; Ordóñez-Camacho, Xavier G.; Guillen-Gamez, Francisco David; Bravo Agapito, Javier (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Attitudes towards technology are preconceived notions that have an effect on the teaching-learning process and on the academic-professional performance of students, in particular those who use technology as a means of study. This investigation has two objectives: on the one hand, to test the measuring properties (reliability, factorial structure) of an instrument to measure attitudes and, on the other hand, to propose and validate a model that hypothesizes that digital competence and frequency of use of technologies have a positive impact on same. 1251 students of the Madrid Open University participated. It is a non-experimental, explanatory study using structural equation methodology.  The results show adequate psychometric properties for the test and good adjustment of the proposed model (χ²=163.91, df=37, p<.001) allowing for further exploration of the relationship between use, skill and attitudes in the distance education context and improving the properties of measuring instruments proposed in Spanish.
  • Development and Validation of the Purdue Global Online Teaching Effectiveness Scale

    Purdue University Global; Reyes-Fournier, Elizabeth; Cumella, Edward J.; March, Michelle; Pedersen, Jennifer; Blackman, Gabrielle (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    The currently available measures of online teaching effectiveness (OTE) have several flaws, including a lack of psychometric rigor, high costs, and reliance on the construct of traditional on-the-ground teaching effectiveness as opposed to the unique features of OTE (Blackman, Pedersen, March, Reyes-Fournier, & Cumella, 2019). Therefore, the present research sought to establish a psychometrically sound framework for OTE and develop and validate a measure based on this clearly-defined construct. The authors developed pilot questions for the new measure based on a comprehensive review of the OTE literature and their many years of experience as online instructors. Students enrolled in exclusively online coursework and programs at Purdue University Global, N = 213, completed the survey, rating the effectiveness of their instructors. Exploratory Factor Analysis produced four clear OTE factors: Presence, Expertise, Engagement, and Facilitation. The resulting measure demonstrated good internal consistency and high correlations with an established OTE measure; good test-retest reliability; and predictive validity in relation to student achievement. Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed a good fit of the data and yielded a final 12-item OTE measure. Further refinement and validation of the measure are recommended, particularly with students in other universities, and future research options are discussed.Keywords: online teaching effectiveness, instructor effectiveness, distance learning, student evaluations, asynchronous learning.
  • Introduction to Volume 24, Issue 2 - June 2020

    Shea, Peter (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Introduction to Volume 24, Issue 2 - June 2020
  • Presenting a Validated Mid-Semester Evaluation of College Teaching to Improve Online Teaching

    Byrne, Virginia L; Donlan, Alice E (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Formative feedback from students can help college instructors improve their online teaching practices - especially instructors who are new to online teaching. Prior research indicates that mid-semester formative evaluations of college teaching are a promising, low-cost solution to providing online instructors with in-the-moment feedback. However, existing instruments suffer from issues of validity and bias, and fail to align with evidence-based strategies. In this paper, we present psychometric results from a pilot study of our research-based Mid-Semester Evaluation of College Teaching (MSECT) to assist online educators in gathering student input to improve their online teaching and classroom climate.
  • Making Instant Adjustments in Online Journalism Education: Responding to Continuous Needs Assessments in Asynchronous Courses

    Bright, Amanda C. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    The creation of an ideal learning environment is always a challenge, but when the environment is online and the learners are a diverse group of adults in a specialized content area, the challenges become even more complex. This best practices study used the intersection of the importance of the learner, Knowles’ andragogy concepts, and the Dick and Carey instructional design model to make continuous needs assessment the cornerstone of three, graduate-level online courses during a single summer session. By active engagement in recursive learner analysis, the instructor was able to provide a personal and practical level of engagement in the asynchronous courses that ultimately benefited the students.
  • Community College Faculty Perceptions of the Quality Matters™ Rubric

    Gregory, Rhonda L.; Rockinson-Szapkiw, Amanda J.; Cook, Vickie S. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    This paper reviewed the factors that make up quality assurance including course design, content, delivery, and institutional support, as well as infrastructure in relationship to professional development impact on teaching practice. Building on the assumption identified in literature is the concept of course design being the most critical component impacting both student learning and faculty teaching. Course design affects student learning, faculty satisfaction with the course, establishes a teaching presence, and influences the transactional difference that occurs between the students and the instructor. Using the premise of the critical nature of course design, this study reviewed how the use of faculty professional development through a Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) workshop using the Quality Matters (QM) rubric as a framework to impact course design created specific faculty perceptions and affected teaching practice. Six themes identified from the research related to faculty’s perceived value and rigor of the QM rubric and training are discussed in the conclusion section.
  • Ensuring Online Learning Quality: Perspectives from the State University of New York

    Muller, Kristyn; Scalzo, Kim A; Pickett, Alexandra M; Dubuc, Lisa; Dugan, Lawrence; McCabe, Ryan; Pelz, William; Simiele, Donna (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    As online learning continues to grow within higher education, it is important for colleges and universities to ensure that they are delivering quality online courses and programs. This paper will discuss the evaluation and assessment of online learning from an institutional perspective. Open SUNY, the system-wide office of online education that supports and services the State University of New York (SUNY), has developed a process using the Online Learning Consortium’s (OLC) Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Programs to help SUNY campuses examine and improve the quality of online learning. The first half of this paper will describe the development of that tool and the implementation of the Open SUNY Institutional Readiness Process. The second half of this paper will explain the OLC Quality Scorecard standards for the Evaluation & Assessment section and provide examples of best practices from four different SUNY community colleges.
  • A Ten-Year Review of Online Learning Research through Co-Citation Analysis

    Park, Hyejin; Shea, Peter (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    This study reviewed research trends in online-, distance-, and blended learning over the past ten years through co-citation analysis. The related peer-reviewed research articles in the Web of Science were obtained, and the references in the articles were analyzed. The result showed that literature review and meta-analysis studies on distance education and studies on learners’ discourse in asynchronous discussion were frequently cited in the first half of the ten years. In the second phase, the focus moved to online learners' satisfaction and self-regulation, informal learning, and learning through MOOCs. The Community of Inquiry framework was continually researched. Overall, this study identified features and changes in research trends in online learning. As the first study to present a co-citation analysis of literature in the field, this paper provides a unique contribution to our understanding of publications, researchers, and research themes in online education.
  • Student Perceptions of Their Interactions with Peers at a Cyber Charter High School

    none; Borup, Jered; Walters, Shea; Call-Cummings, Megan (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    K-12 online students are increasingly communicating and collaborating with their peers; however, research on the topic is limited—especially research examining students’ perceptions and experiences. Guided by the Adolescent Community of Engagement framework’s concept of peer engagement, this case study examined learner-learner interactions at a cyber charter high school. Ten students were selected by teachers based on their ability to independently engage in learning activities—five students were more independent and five required more support from others. Each student took part in two, hour-long interviews for a total of 20 interviews. The interviewers covered students’ perceptions an experiences regarding teachers, parents, and peers. This report only focuses on peers. Students found that their interactions with peers allowed them to develop friendships, improve their motivation, receive peer instruction, and collaborate effectively with others. Challenges are also covered.  The article concludes with recommendations for research and practice.
  • From design to impact: a phenomenological study of HumanMOOC participants’ learning and implementation into practice

    Torcivia Prusko, Patrice; Robinson, Heather; Kilgore, Whitney; Al-Freih, Maha (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    The purpose of this research study is to shift the focus on Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) research by changing the narrative surrounding MOOC effectiveness from issues of course completion and certification to the impact of these courses on participants’ actual practices. The “Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning” or HumanMOOC was offered four times with 2,614 participants overall and covered topics on the elements of the Community of Inquiry framework: social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence. Through phenomenological inquiry, literature review, demographics, survey and interviews, the researchers gathered and analyzed information from learners who completed the HumanMOOC. Three themes of the interviews that emerged from the coding analysis process are: learning journeyers, I think I can, and bringing it back to the classroom. The intention to participate and to overcome barriers, and the increase in self-efficacy as a result of personal accomplishment, impacted the participants’ will to implement what was learned into their teaching practice.
  • Irrelevant, overlooked, or lost? Trends in 20 years of uncited and low cited K-12 online learning articles

    Arnesen, Karen; Walters, Shea; Barbour, Michael K.; Borup, Jered (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    In this study, we analyzed a subset of uncited or low cited articles from the data reported in Arnesen, Hveem, Short, West, and Barbour  (2019), who examined the trends in K-12 online learning articles from 1994 to 2016. We identified 62 articles that had 5 or fewer citations, and analyzed them for trends in authorship, publication outlets, dates of publication, and topics that could help explain their low citation numbers. We also analyzed topics to see what contribution they might have made and can still make to the field of K-12 online learning. We found that the majority of these articles had been published in many different, less well-known journals.  We also found that these articles may have attracted fewer readers because they addressed topics that seemed to have a narrow focus, often outside of the United States. The articles were also authored by  both well-known researchers in the field as well as a number of one-time authors. What we did not find were articles that were uninteresting, poorly researched, or irrelevant. Many of the articles described and discussed programs that grappled with and overcame some of the same challenges online learning still faces today: issues of interaction, community, technology, management, etc. Some of the early articles gave interesting insights into the history of K-12 online learning, especially as it involved rural learners and programs. Others addressed less mainstream but still interesting topics such as librarians in online learning, cross-border AP history classes, policies that helped or hindered the growth of online learning, and practical considerations of cost and access.
  • Examining Student Perception of Readiness for Online Learning: Importance and Confidence

    Martin, Florence; Stamper, Brandy; Flowers, Claudia (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    The last two decades have seen a steady increase in the number of online courses in higher education. This survey-based study examines student readiness for online learning in 2018, through the dimensions of importance and confidence as measures of readiness.  An instrument with four subscales of competencies (online student attributes, time management, communication, and technical) that measures student readiness for online learning (SROL) was developed. Reliability of student responses to an online readiness instrument and factors related to student perception are examined. Descriptive statistics and item level means for the competencies are provided. Two repeated measures ANOVAs with one-within subject factor (four subscales for importance and competency) were conducted. Online student attributes, time management, and technical competencies were rated high for importance compared to communication competencies. Students were confident in online student attributes and technical competencies compared to time management and communication. Data was also analyzed based on demographic differences. MANOVA showed significant differences based on the race (white and non-white) of the students and course format (asynchronous, synchronous, and blended) on their perceptions of online learning competencies.
  • Crisis Planning for Online Students: Lessons Learned from a Major Disruption

    Holzweiss, Peggy C; Walker, Daniel W; Chisum, Ruth; Sosebee, Thomas (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    While institutions have crisis management plans, they are often focused on face-to-face students and the physical campus.  In this case study, researchers investigated the crisis response for online students at one institution after Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston, Texas, area in the fall of 2017. While face-to-face students were not severely impacted, more than a thousand online students were in the impact zone and in danger of dropping out. With financial resources and student retention at risk, campus leaders approved a strategy to delay online courses for several weeks.  This study examines the experiences of the front-line staff who implemented the plan.  Findings suggest that institutions need a proactive crisis plan for online students that includes understanding where this population resides, how different campus units can provide support in a crisis, who should lead the crisis response, and what kind of care can be offered to the front-line responders during the crisis period.
  • Detection of Online Contract Cheating Through Stylometry: A Pilot Study

    Ison, David (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Contract cheating, instances in which a student enlists someone other than themselves to produce coursework, has been identified as a growing problem within academic integrity literature and in news headlines. The percentage of students who have utilized this type of cheating has been reported to range between 6% and 15.7%. Generational sentiments about cheating and the prevalent accessibility of contract cheating providers online seems to only have exacerbated the issue. The problem is that there is currently no simple means identified and verified to detect contract cheating, as available plagiarism detection software has been shown to be ineffective in these cases. One method that is commonly used for authorship authentication in nonacademic settings, stylometry, has been suggested as a potential means for detection. Stylometry uses various attributes of documents to determine if they were written by the same individual. This pilot study sought to assess the utility of three easy to use and readily available stylometry software systems to detect simulated cases of contract cheating on academic documents. Average accuracy ranged from 33% to 88.9%. While more research is necessary to further investigate the reliability of the best performing software packages, stylometry software appears to show significant promise for the potential detection of contract cheating.
  • U.S. Faculty and Administrators’ Experiences and Approaches in the Early Weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Bay View Analytics; Online Learning Consortium (OLC); WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET); University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA); Canadian Digital Learning Research Association; Cengage; Johnson, Nicole; Veletsianos, George; Seaman, Jeff (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-06-01)
    Abstract    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and rapid impact on higher education institutions across the world. In this study, we report the findings of a survey investigating the rapid transition to emergency remote teaching in the early weeks of the pandemic at public and private post-secondary institutions in the United States. Participants consisted of 897 faculty and administrators at 672 U.S. institutions. Findings reveal that with few exceptions nearly all reporting institutions transitioned to emergency teaching and learning approaches. Administrators reported that faculty with and without online teaching experience pivoted to online teaching, and nearly all administrators indicated that those who did not have online teaching experience were in the process of learning how to teach online. Regardless of whether faculty had previous experience teaching online or not, many faculty reported that they were using new teaching methods. A majority of faculty reported making changes to their assignments or exams as a result of transitioning to a new mode of delivery. Nearly half reported lowering the expected volume of work for students (including dropping assignments or exams) and/or shifting to a pass/fail model for this semester. The primary areas where faculty and administrators identified a need for assistance related to student support, greater access to online digital materials, and guidance for working from home. This study provides an early snapshot of efforts towards teaching and learning continuity at a large scale and provides some insights for future research and practice.
  • The Role of an Interactive Visual Learning Tool and Its Personalizability in Online Learning: Flow Experience

    Ha, Young; Im, Hyunjoo (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-03-01)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of interactive online learning tools on college student learning using flow as the guiding perspective. Study 1 was conducted to test the effect of online interactivity manipulated by dynamic visual learning tools on student’s flow experience, level of telepresence, actual performance in test, and perceived values of such activities. Study 2 was designed to test the effect of personalizability of difficulty levels in the interactive online activity on students’ learning experience. The results found that interactive online learning tools can facilitate student’s active learning process by increasing attention, curiosity, and interest about the online activity, and by reducing awareness of physical surroundings. In addition, the interactive activity significantly improved students’ test scores. This study also found that personalized difficulty options available in the interactive online activity significantly increased students’ perceived hedonic value (i.e., enjoyment) of and the level of satisfaction with the activity. The results emphasize the critical role of interactive visual learning tool in the online activities in improving students’ flow experience and actual performance. Personalizability of task levels is also recommended to be used in online activities to increase students’ perceived hedonic value and satisfaction with such online activities.
  • The Validity and Instructional Value of a Rubric for Evaluating Online Course Quality: An Empirical Study

    Lee, Ji Eun; Recker, Mimi; Yuan, Min (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-03-01)
    This study investigated the validity and instructional value of a rubric developed to evaluate the quality of online courses offered at a midsized public university. This rubric was adapted from an online course quality rubric widely used in higher education, the Quality Matters rubric. We first examined the reliability and preliminary construct validity of the rubric using quality ratings for 202 online courses and eliminated twelve problematic items. We then examined the instructional value of the rubric by investigating causal relationships between 1) course quality scores, 2) online interactions between students, instructors, and content, and 3) student course performance (course passing rates). A path analysis model, using data from 121 online courses enrolling 5,240 students, showed that only rubric items related to learner engagement and interaction had a significant and positive effect on online interactions, while only student-content interaction significantly and positively influenced course passing rates.
  • Examining How Online Professional Development Impacts Teachers’ Beliefs About Teaching Statistics

    William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Lee, Hollylynne S.; Mojica, Gemma F.; Lovett, Jennifer N. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-03-01)
    With online learning becoming a more viable option for teachers to develop their expertise, our report shares one such effort focused on improving the teaching of statistics. We share design principles and learning opportunities in an online course developed specifically to serve as a wide-scale online professional development opportunity for educators, thus deemed as a massive open online course for educators (MOOC-Ed). In this report we focus on a subset of 412 participants who identified themselves as classroom teachers. We use multiple data sources, quantitative and qualitative, to characterize changes in teachers’ beliefs and perspectives about statistics and identify triggers in the course that appear to influence teachers’ sense making about issues related to teaching statistics. Implications about specific course experiences that served as triggers for critical reflection and change are discussed.
  • A dramaturgical perspective of online university student behaviours in a second year psychology class

    Gilmore, Dawn Marie (The Online Learning Consortium, 2020-03-01)
    This study applies dramaturgical sociology, specifically Goffman’s approach to region behaviour, to explore where students spend their time doing class related tasks in spaces other than the LMS. The context for this research is a case study of a second year psychology class at an Australian university. Data was collected about students’ front stage setting (the LMS) and backstage setting (students’ experiences on Facebook).  Over a 12-week semester 126 students were observed in the LMS. During the semester, 21 students completed fortnightly questionnaires about where they spent their time and with whom. At the end of the semester, 14 students participated in online interviews. The findings that emerged from the data illustrated how the characteristics of the audience in each setting, as well as the timing of communication and duration of each setting, may have impacted a student’s social learning experience.  This knowledge can help online teachers to understand the characteristics of a setting that might determine where students prefer to situate their learning experience. While this paper uses a dramaturgical perspective of online university students in a second year psychology class, the students’ experiences can generally be used to understand how LMS’s, social networking tools, and collaborative technologies support and impede social learning experiences in higher education.

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