• A Book Review of Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change

      Rowland, Heidi L (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-06-01)
      This is a book review of Tucker, Wycoff, and Green's Blended Learning in Action: A Practical Guide Toward Sustainable Change. This review will discuss the basic information from the book, the people who would most benefit from reading it, and the portions of the book most applicable to practitioners.
    • A Comparative Structural Equation Modeling Investigation of the Relationships among Teaching, Cognitive and Social Presence

      Kozan, Kadir (The Online Learning Consortium, 2016-06-21)
      The present study investigated the relationships among teaching, cognitive, and social presence through several structural equation models to see which model would better fit the data. To this end, the present study employed and compared several different structural equation models because different models could fit the data equally well. Among the models compared, the results indicated that the model with cognitive presence as a full mediator and the model with social presence as a partial mediator could achieve an equally satisfactory data fit. This conclusion may depend on the level of the presences: The present results indicated a statistically higher level of teaching presence than cognitive and social presence as well as a statistically higher level of cognitive presence compared to social presence. The results further suggested that teaching presence could either have a direct or indirect relationship with cognitive presence thereby increasing it without or with social presence as a mediator between teaching and cognitive presence. The results further suggested that teaching presence efforts spent on increasing cognitive presence can function directly, which may also promote social presence, and indirectly through social presence. Further research comparing different possible structural equation models of the relationships among the presences in different learning contexts is warranted.
    • A Comparison of Non-Mandatory Online Dialogic Behavior in Two Higher Education Blended Environments

      Gorsky, Paul; Caspi, Avner; Blau, Ina (The Online Learning Consortium, 2012-06-23)
      This study compares dialogic behavior in asynchronous course forums with non-mandatory student participation at a campus-based college and at a distance education, Open University. The goal is to document similarities and differences in students' and instructors' dialogic behavior that occur in two similar instructional resources used in two dissimilar learning environments. Quantitative content analysis, derived from the "Community of Inquiry" model, was performed on a year-long course forum from the college. These data were compared with data obtained previously from the Open University course forums. Findings showed that the dialogic behavior in the college forum differed greatly from the dialogic behavior exhibited in distance education forums. Specifically, the frequencies of "social presence", "teaching presence" and "cognitive presence" in the forums differed significantly. However, high frequencies of social presence coupled with low frequencies of cognitive presence at both institutions raise doubts regarding the popular assumption that deep and meaningful learning occurs in asynchronous course forums.

      Khan, Rana (The Online Learning Consortium, 2013-12-23)
      To address the growing need for incorporating experiential learning into online degree programs, this paper proposes a design framework that would integrate industry-sponsored projects into online capstone courses. The design lends itself to be applicable to any program at any institution. The research and data used to develop the framework was gathered from literature review, and a survey of UMUC graduate programs. The proposed framework was tested in two capstone courses using industry/client sponsored projects, in the authors’ disciplines, as the first stage of testing of the model.
    • A Confirmatory Factor Analysis of Teaching Presence Within Online Professional Development

      Miller, Melinda G.; Hahs-Vaughn, Debbie L.; Zygouris-Coe, Vicky (The Online Learning Consortium, 2014-03-06)
      The Community of Inquiry model provides a framework for recognizing and evaluating interpersonal behaviors in online educational settings. One of its three components, teaching presence, describes behaviors that are under the auspices of the online instructor. By examining behaviors through the theoretical lens provided by teaching presence, and by measuring them with the Teaching Presence Scale (TPS), it may be possible to better understand the most effectively online instruction practices. The purpose of the study was to confirm the factor composition of TPS in an online professional development course and to determine the relationship between teaching presence and student satisfaction. Participants (n = 718) were in-service educators enrolled in online professional development. Confirmatory factor analysis results provided strongest support for a three-factor TPA model using 17 of the 28 original TPS items and evidence of a strong relationship between TPS and student satisfaction. The implications for practice center primarily on how enhanced knowledge of teaching presence may be used to develop instructor/facilitators as online educators of adults. It is important that such instructors have a solid knowledge base in their field, as well as knowledge and experience with andragogy.

      Gold, Sanford (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      This article examines the pedagogical role of the teacher in online education. Specifically, the transition from in-class room instruction to online instruction is a complex one involving specialized training in the technical aspects of delivering quality educational materials (or environments) to the students, and specialized training in how to foster knowledge acquisition within this new environment. The article focuses on the pedagogical training that an online instructor needs to become an effective teacher.The article investigates a two-week faculty development pedagogical training course aimed at preparing teachers to operate effectively within an online educational environment. In attempting to orient the teacher to the online environment, the course used a constructivist instructional methodology within an online context. Several types of collaborative exercises were employed such as virtual field trips, online evaluations, interactive essays, and group projects. The sample (N=44) represented veteran college teachers with little online teaching or studying experience. Tenured faculty (30%) and Instructors (25%) composed the majority of the class. The group had well over 13 years classroom teaching experience (53%), and over three-quarters are currently teaching in higher education institutions. Hypotheses were tested through online data collection and surveys to find out the effects of the pedagogical training on the participants. One important finding of the study concludes that teachers exposed to the course significantly changed their attitudes toward online instruction seeing it as more participatory, and interactive than face-to-face instruction. Another major finding is that after the course, teachers saw the online medium as more of an extension of their faculty work. That is, faculty were more willing to use the online medium as an extension of their duties.

      Campos, Milton (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      This article presents a discourse analysis method designed to study networked cognitive communication processes in knowledge communities, such as conceptual change, higher order learning and knowledge building. The method is grounded on genetic epistemology and integrates constructivist and socioconstructivist theoretical concepts. The sentence (understood as judgment) is chosen as the unit of analysis, and the application of the method is further explained. In addition, a study of transcripts in an asynchronous networked community of nurses illustrates the method and demonstrates how conceptual change, collaborative learning and knowledge building can be identified. Advantages and limitations of the method are also discussed.
    • A Core Course on Veterans' Health in an Online RN to BSN Program

      none; Keavney, Elaine (The Online Learning Consortium, 2014-12-01)
      The Joining Forces Initiative challenges nursing programs throughout the country to develop curriculum that address the unique healthcare issues facing veterans. This article describes how the RN to BSN program at American Public University System responded to the Joining Forces Initiative by developing the core curriculum course, Caring for Today’s Veterans. In this course, students have the opportunity to learn about veterans’ healthcare issues through reading, discussion, interviews, and visits within their local communities. Comments from students indicate they have a greater understanding of veterans’ healthcare needs and how they, as baccalaureate-prepared nurses, can help to meet those needs.

      Harkness, William L.; Lane, Jill L.; Harwood, John T. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      Dissatisfaction with teaching a high enrollment introductory statistics course led to efforts to restructure the course to remedy the perceived problems, including lack of student participation, an excessive drain on departmental resources, failure to take into account wide differences in student learning styles, an inability of students to apply statistics after the course, and negative attitudes of students. A cost-effective redesign of the course was implemented that incorporates a learning environment that is student-oriented, involves active student participation and hands-on experience with data analysis, uses technology to reduce costs through labor-saving techniques including low-stakes computerized testing, and sharing of resources enabled by a web site for course management and delivery of course materials. Responsibility for learning basic concepts was transferred to students and motivated by readiness assessment quizzes. The redesign led to about $125,000 in cost savings to the department.
    • A Critical Analysis of Characteristics that Influence the Effect of Instructor Discussion Interaction on Student Outcomes

      Hoey, Rebecca Simon (The Online Learning Consortium, 2017-12-01)
      Teacher presence facilitates students’ social and cognitive presence in online courses. Instructor interaction in discussion forums, a widely adopted instructional strategy, establishes teacher presence but research on the optimal frequency and content of instructor interaction in discussion is underdeveloped. This research evaluated 1625 instructor posts in 36 graduate-level courses in education to determine their impact on students’ perceptions of the quality of the instructor and course, students’ perceptions of their learning, and students’ actual achievement. Findings suggest the frequency of instructor interaction in discussion has no effect on student outcomes, but posts that are instructional improve students’ perceptions of their learning, and posts that are conversational improve students’ perceptions of instructor and course quality and their actual academic achievement. Implications for instructors and policymakers are addressed.
    • A Critical Review of the Use of Wenger's Community of Practice (CoP) Theoretical Framework in Online and Blended Learning Research, 2000-2014

      Smith, Sedef Uzuner; Hayes, Suzanne; Shea, Peter (The Online Learning Consortium, 2017-03-21)
      After presenting a brief overview of the key elements that underpin Etienne Wenger’s communities of practice (CoP) theoretical framework, one of the most widely cited and influential conceptions of social learning, this paper reviews extant empirical work grounded in this framework to investigate online/blended learning in higher education and in professional development. The review is based on integrative research approaches, using quantitative and qualitative analysis, and includes CoP oriented research articles published between 2000 and 2014. Findings are presented under three questions: Which research studies within the online/blended learning literature made central use of the CoP framework? Among those studies identified, which ones established strong linkages between the CoP framework and their findings? Within this last group of identified studies, what do the patterns in their use of the CoP framework suggest as opportunities for future research in online teaching and learning?
    • A Cross-institutional Study of Instructional Characteristics and Student Outcomes: Are Quality Indicators of Online Courses Able to Predict Student Success?

      The contents of this article were developed under grant #84.116Q, P116Q140006, from the U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and one should not assume endorsement; Joosten, Tanya; Cusatis, Rachel; Harness, Lindsey (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-12-01)
      A study was conducted to examine instructional characteristics and their relationship to student outcomes in online courses at a 2-year and 4-year higher educational institution.  Instructional characteristics included learner support, course design and organization, content design and delivery, interactivity (student-instructor and student-student), and assessment and evaluation.  A student survey instrument was created that captures student perceptions of the instructional characteristics of their course, their learning, and their satisfaction with the course.  The data collected from the student survey was merged with data from institutional student information systems (e.g., demographics and course grade).This article examines the relationship between these instructional characteristics, sometimes referred to as indicators of online course quality, and their relationship to student outcomes for all students and for underrepresented students.  Significant findings from multiple regression analyses are reported.  Additional analyses were conducted to examine differences among underrepresented students (minorities, first-generation, low-income, students with impairments/disabilities) using MANOVA.  No significant differences are reported.  

      Wang, Feng-Kwei; Bonk, Curtis J. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      This paper proposes a design framework for constructing a groupware-based learning environment (GBLE) that enables electronic cognitive apprenticeship. The central theme of this framework is that any design of a GBLE must have learning theories as foundations to substantiate the learning effectiveness of this environment. The proposed framework applies the principles of cognitive apprenticeship and case-based learning in designing a learning environment using groupware technology. In this framework, the practice of case-based learning is grounded in cognitive apprenticeship. The theory base of cognitive apprenticeship provides not only more coherent guidance but also opportunities to fine-tune the pedagogy of case-based learning. Groupware tools provide needed functions to enable instructional methods of cognitive apprenticeship. This technological support also facilitates the learning process of learners and thus enhances the effectiveness of case-based learning. Based on this framework, a system titled “Using Notes for a Case-based Learning Environment” (UNCLE) was created to demonstrate the framework's utility.
    • 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.

      Shea, Peter; Pickett, Alexandra M. ,; Pelz, William E. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      This paper is a follow-up study to a preliminary investigation of teaching presence in the State University of New York Learning Network (SLN). In the present studywe review ongoing issues of pedagogy and faculty development, and their relationship to student satisfaction, and reported learning in SLN. We provide an overview of the SLN program,and summarize a conceptual framework for our current research on higher education, online learning environments. This framework integrates research on how people learn, with principles of good practice in higher education and recent research on learning in asynchronous learning networks (ALNs) in higher education. We also present resultsof a follow-up study on one aspect of the model, “Teaching Presence”.The SUNY Learning Network is a proud recipient of two Sloan-C Awards, the 2001 Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development and the 2002 Award for Excellence in ALN Programming. We believe that it is no coincidence that SLN was recognized in this order; that is to say, we feel our efforts to create a systematic faculty development program has allowed us to create an outstanding program of online courses and degrees. A clear vision regarding the prerequisites for a high quality online learning environment, especially prerequisites related to faculty development, is essential to building effective ALN programs. As this special edition of JALN is dedicated to such efforts we would like to focus on our model for learning environments design and share results of research on specific aspects of the model. In past studies we have argued that student-faculty and student-student interaction are among the variables most strongly correlated with student satisfaction and reported learning. In the present study, we focus on one aspect of our model for online learning environments and examine interaction more deeply. Building upon the work of Anderson and colleagues we examine the kinds of activities that comprise and sustain productive interaction. These researchers have categorized interactions that occur in asynchronous learning environments that encourage knowledge creation and identify online behaviors and processes that approximate (and may improve upon) those that occur in face-to-face settings. We look at a key element of their work, “teaching presence,” and present results of a follow-upstudy examining students’ perceptions of this constellation of online faculty behaviors. We also identify the components of teaching presence that correlate most highly with student satisfaction and reported learning.
    • A Formative Case Evaluation for the Design of an Online Delivery Model Providing Access to Study Abroad Activities

      University of Central Florida, Center for Distributed Learning; Howard, Wendy; Perrotte, Gino; Lee, Minyoung; Frisone, Jenna (The Online Learning Consortium, 2017-09-01)
      Despite the pressure from potential employers and higher education administrators to develop students’ global and intercultural competence, traditional study abroad programs simply are not feasible for many postsecondary students (Berdan & Johannes, 2014; Fischer, 2015). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an online delivery model for study abroad activities. Building upon the findings of an initial exploratory program using Adobe Connect web conferencing tools, this evaluative case study was the second in a series of design based research studies intended to identify effective practices and develop recommendations to further refine the model through an iterative evaluation process. Using the Online Learning Consortium’s Quality Framework, each of the Five Pillars that support successful online learning was evaluated through a combination of anonymous surveys, pre/post assessments, observations, and student & instructor interviews. Regarding access, 26 students who were enrolled in an intercultural communication course were able to participate in a study abroad experience in Italy; 10 students participated in the traditional study abroad trip while the other 16 participated virtually. The online students were able to join the live meetings, thus expanding their access to international experiences that normally would be closed to them. In terms of student and faculty satisfaction, both groups of students and the instructor reported specific areas of satisfaction, offered critical feedback, and felt that the concept was a viable one. While the students who traveled to Italy had a far more immersive experience, both groups demonstrated gains in learning. Using Morais and Ogden’s (2010) global citizenship pre/post assessment, both groups showed improvement on the self-awareness and intercultural communication scales, and when comparing the two groups the online students improved more on the social responsibility scale while the students who traveled improved more on the global knowledge scale. Both groups submitted assignments of similar quality, engaged in communications between the abroad and online groups, and interacted with the instructor and experts in the field. In terms of differences in student engagement, students had differing opinions on the interaction with the technology and the online group asked more questions during live meetings. The implications of this pilot study should inform the planning of the next case evaluation and are important for other educators who wish to implement a similar approach to internationalizing the curriculum through online instruction.
    • A Generalizable Framework for Multi-Scale Auditing of Digital Learning Provision in Higher Education

      Ross, Samuel Robert Peter-James; Volz, Veronica Elizabeth; Lancaster, Matthew K; Divan, Aysha (The Online Learning Consortium, 2018-06-01)
      It is increasingly important that higher education institutions can audit and evaluate the scope and efficacy of their digital learning resources across various scales. To-date there has been little effort to address this need for a validated, appropriate and simple to execute method that will facilitate such an audit; whether it be at the scale of an individual programme, department, faculty or institution. The data are of increasing value to ensure institutions maintain progress and equity in the student experience as well as for deployment and interpretation of learning analytics. This study presents a generalizable framework for auditing digital learning provision in higher education curricula. The framework is contextualized using a case study in which the audit is conducted across a single faculty in a research-intensive U.K. university. This work provides academics and higher education administrators with key principles and considerations as well as example aims and outcomes.
    • A Large Sample Comparison of Grade Based Student Learning Outcomes in Online vs. Face-to-Face Courses

      Cavanaugh, Joseph; Jacquemin, Stephen J (The Online Learning Consortium, 2015-02-09)
      Comparisons of grade based learning outcomes between online and face-to-face course formats have become essential because the number of online courses, online programs and institutional student enrollments have seen rapid growth in recent years. Overall, online education is largely viewed by education professionals as being equivalent to instruction conducted face-to-face. However, the research investigating student performance in online versus face-to-face courses has been mixed and is often hampered by small samples or a lack of demographic and academic controls. This study utilizes a dataset that includes over 5,000 courses taught by over 100 faculty members over a period of ten academic terms at a large, public, four-year university. The unique scale of the dataset facilitates macro level understanding of course formats at an institutional level. Multiple regression was used to account for student demographic and academic corollaries—factors known to bias course format selection and grade based outcomes—to generate a robust test for differences in grade based learning outcomes that could be attributed to course format. The final model identified a statistical difference between course formats that translated into a negligible difference of less than 0.07 GPA points on a 4 point scale. The primary influence on individual course grades was student GPA. Interestingly, a model based interaction between course type and student GPA indicated a cumulative effect whereby students with higher GPAs will perform even better in online courses (or alternatively, struggling students perform worse when taking courses in an online format compared to a face-to-face format). These results indicate that, given the large scale university level, multi course, and student framework of the current study, there is little to no difference in grade based student performance between instructional modes for courses where both modes are applicable.

      Mason, Robin; Pegler, Chris; Weller, Martin (The Online Learning Consortium, 2019-03-19)
      This paper outlines an approach to designing a course entirely in learning objects. It provides a theoretical basis for the design and then presents evaluation data from a master’s level course using this design. It also describes several re-uses of the learning objects on other courses and in different contexts. Each learning object is conceived as a whole learning experience, thus avoiding many of the problems associated with assembling components of disparate kinds.
    • A Light in Students’ Lives: K-12 Teachers’ Experiences (Re)Building Caring Relationships During Remote Learning

      Miller, Karyn E. (The Online Learning Consortium, 2021-03-01)
      This study illuminates the experiences of K-12 educators as they strove to (re)build caring relationships with students during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was conducted during a graduate course for experienced K-12 teachers in the spring of 2020 at a four-year comprehensive university in the United States. Data was collected from reflective learning journals and asynchronous peer discussions, which captured educators’ experiences as they transitioned to remote learning in real-time. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify pertinent themes. Findings suggest that remote learning revealed relationships in need of repair. Educators practiced authentic care and cultivated connectedness by 1) acting as warm demanders, 2) responding to students’ social-emotional needs, and 3) trying to bridge the digital divide. The article concludes with implications for practice and areas for future research as schools, districts, states, and countries consider the “new normal” in K-12 schooling.