Volume 20, Issue 3 - September 2016

Introduction to the Special Issue: Best Papers Presented at the OLC 21st International Conference on Online Learning and Innovate 2016

Paige L. McDonald, The George Washington University

Patsy Moskal, University of Central Florida

Anthony G. Picciano,  City University of New York, Hunter College

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) traces its roots to the Alfred P. Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) that emerged in the 1990s when a cadre of early adapters of online learning began to coalesce into a professional community. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this community embarked on a number of activities designed to promote quality in the design and implementation of online and blended learning applications.  In 1995, a one-day meeting of grantees of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Anytime, Anyplace Learning Program met in Philadelphia to discuss their work and share their experiences.  Ninety individuals attended this first event. This meeting grew into an annual event for the next five years.  In 2001, it was decided that the event be expanded into a full conference with paper submissions and reviews, workshops, and exhibit areas.  The University of Central Florida agreed to host the conference in Orlando in November.  That was a fateful decision as the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11 followed by the anthrax scare in Florida in October of that year severely limited the number of people willing to fly to Orlando to attend the conference. Still, three hundred and sixty participants attended to share and discuss research, effective practices, student services, and administrative support for online learning.  Since 2001, the conference has grown and has evolved into the premiere event for presenting current ideas, research, and best practices in online learning. 

In 2015, the Online Learning Consortium celebrated the 21st anniversary of the International Conference on Online Learning.  The theme of the conference, Shaping the Future of Online Learning, focused on the latest developments in online and blended learning. Almost 3,000 individuals attended this conference either in person or virtually.  Six hundred and sixty-eight proposals were submitted for presentation.  

In April, 2016, the Online Learning Consortium initiated a new conference, OLC Innovate: Innovations in Blended and Online Learning.  Almost 2,000 individuals attended this conference and 506 individuals submitted presentation proposals.   Of the 1,172 proposals submitted for both conferences, the nine articles selected for this special edition represent the best presentations as determined by the conference track chairs and editorial staff of the Online Learning Journal.

A National Study of Differences between Distance and Non-distance Community College Students in Time to First Associate Degree Attainment, Transfer, and Dropout

Peter Shea,  University at Albany, State University of New York

Temi Bidjerano, Furman University

Abstract: Previous research indicates that online learning at the community college level results in higher rates of withdrawal, failure, and dropout compared to classroom-based education (Xu & Smith Jaggars, 2011; Smith-Jaggars & Xu, 2010). The primary goal of the current study was to examine national data (US Dept. of Ed....

Job Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, and Turnover Intention of Online Teachers in the K-12 Setting

Ingle Larkin, Laurie Brantley-Dias, Anissa Lokey-Vega, Kennesaw State University

Abstract:  The purpose of this study was to measure and explore factors influencing K-12 online teachers’ job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions. Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1954), Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Satisfaction (1959, 1968), Meyer and Allen’s measure of Organizational Commitment (1997), and Fishbein and Ajzen’s Theory of...

A Study of Faculty Governance Leaders’ Perceptions of Online and Blended Learning

Elizabeth Ciabocchi, St. John’s University

Amy Ginsberg, Long Island University

Anthony Picciano, City University of New York


Abstract: This article reports the findings of a study on the perceptions of faculty governance leaders to online and blended learning. For the purposes of this study, faculty governance was defined as formally established bodies in colleges and universities such as senates, councils, and collective bargaining organizations that are affiliated...

Adaptive Learning in Psychology: Wayfinding in the Digital Age

Charles D. Dziuban, Patsy D. Moskal, Jeffrey Cassisi, and Alexis Fawcett

University of Central Florida

Abstract This paper presents the results of a pilot study investigating the use of the Realizeit adaptive learning platform to deliver a fully online General Psychology course across two semesters. Through mutual cooperation, UCF and vendor (CCKF) researchers examined students’ affective, behavioral, and cognitive reactions to the system. Student survey...

Assessing Readiness for Online Education – Research Models for Identifying Students at Risk

Claire Wladis, Katherine M. Conway, and Alyse C. Hachey

Borough of Manhattan Community College at the City University of New York

Abstract: This study explored the interaction between student characteristics and the online environment in predicting course performance and subsequent college persistence among students in a large urban U.S. university system. Multilevel modeling, propensity score matching, and the KHB decomposition method were used.  The most consistent pattern observed was that native-born students...

Examining Interactive and Metacognitive Processes in Student Learning: Findings from a Hybrid Instructional Environment

Shelly Meyers, Linda Feeney, Stockton University

Abstract This study examines the interaction behaviors and metacognitive behaviors of graduate students in the online portion of a flipped classroom.  For their time outside the face to face classroom, students were given the choice of two online methods for their interactions — synchronous verbal discussions and asynchronous written discussions. ...

Accountability for Students in K-12 Online Learning: Perspectives from Michigan Stakeholders and Beyond

Leanna Archambault, Arizona State University

Kathryn Kennedy, Joe Freidhoff, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Abstract: Policy surrounding K-12 online learning continues to evolve as the field grows exponentially. In Michigan, Section 21f of the State School Aid Act enacted in 2013 strengthened parents’ and students’ ability to request online courses: “A student enrolled in a district in any of grades 6 to 12 is...

“Comfort” as a Critical Success Factor in Blended Learning Courses

Linda S Futch, Aimee deNoyelles, Kelvin Thompson, and Wendy Howard, University of Central Florida

Abstract: There are substantial quantitative research and anecdotal reports on blended learning and blended learning courses.  However, few research studies focus on what happens at the classroom level.  This research study aims to consider the highly contextual environment of effective blended learning courses by identifying the strategies instructors use to...

Developing a Quality Improvement Process to Optimize Faculty Success

Linda Merillat and Monica Scheibmeir, Washburn University

Abstract: As part of a major shift to embed quality improvement processes within a School of Nursing at a medium-sized Midwestern university, a faculty enrichment program using a Plan-Do-Act-Study design was implemented.  A central focus for the program was the development and maintenance of an online faculty resource center identified...

Introduction to Section II

Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York

This issue of Online Learning contains six articles outside the Special Conference Section. This section of OLJ includes papers investigating faculty development, academic dishonesty, the community of inquiry model, online labs, sense of connectivity, and academic performance in an online program....

Development of an Evidence-based Professional Learning Program Informed by Online Teachers' Self-efficacy and Threshold Concepts

Kevin P Gosselin,  Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Maria Northcote, Daniel Reynaud, Peter Kilgour, Malcolm Anderson, and Chris Boddey, Avondale College of Higher Education

Abstract: As online education continues to expand across varied educational sectors, so does the demand for professional development programs to guide academic teaching staff through the processes of developing their capacities to design and teach online courses. To meet these challenges at one higher education institution, a mixed methods research...

An Integrated Approach to Preempt Cheating on Asynchronous, Objective, Online Assessments in Graduate Business Classes

Daniel P Sullivan, University of Delaware

Abstract: Cheating, left untended, erodes the validity of evaluation and, ultimately, corrupts the legitimacy of a course. We profile an approach to manage, with an eye toward preempting, cheating on asynchronous, objective, online quizzes. This approach taps various technological and social solutions to academic dishonesty, integrating them into a technology-centered,...

A Comparative Structural Equation Modeling Investigation of the Relationships among Teaching, Cognitive and Social Presence

Kadir Kozan, Purdue Unviersity         

Abstract: 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....

Comparing Physical, Virtual, and Hybrid Flipped Labs for General Education Biology

Ji Y Son, California State University, Los Angeles

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact on learning, attitudes, and costs in a redesigned general education undergraduate biology course that implemented web-based virtual labs (VLs) to replace traditional physical labs (PLs). Over an academic year, two new modes of VL instruction were compared to the...

Desired and Experienced Levels of Connectivity to an Asynchronous, Online, Distance Degree Program

Shawnda Schroeder, Mary Baker, Katherine Terras, Patti Mahar, and Kari Chiasson, University of North Dakota

Abstract: This study examined graduate students’ desired and experienced levels of connectivity in an online, asynchronous distance degree program. Connectivity was conceptualized as the students’ feelings of community and involvement, not their level of access to the Internet. Graduate students enrolled in a distance degree program were surveyed on both...