Volume 20, Issue 4 - December 2016

Introduction to the Special Issue: Best Papers Presented at the AERA 2016 Online Teaching and Learning SIG

Jennifer C. Richardson, Purdue University

Karen Swan, University of Illinois Springfield

Marquetta Strait, Purdue University

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), founded in 1916, is the premier association of educational research professionals. AERA has more than 25,000 members and is international in scope, with members representing over 85 countries world-wide. It is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. To that end, AERA’s annual meeting includes thousands of juried presentations of substantive research findings across a range of disciplines.
AERA supports 12 divisions and 150 Special Interest Groups (SIGs). One of the latter is the Special Interest Group on Online Teaching and Learning (SIG-OTL). SIG-OTL is a multi- disciplinary community of scholars focused on the creation, use, and evaluation of online learning environments. (For more information see the SIG-OTL website at: http://www.aera.net/SIG035/Online-Teaching-and-Learning-SIG-35.)
At the 2016 Annual Meeting, SIG-OTL sponsored 58 presentations of research in a variety of formats, from a set of over 120 proposals. The papers in this special issue were selected from those accepted papers.

Students’ Perceptions of Learner-Learner Interactions that Weaken a Sense of Community in an Online

Krystle Phirangee, University of Toronto

Despite the growth of its popularity in recent years, online learning has demonstrated high dropout rates compared to dropout rates in traditional face-to-face courses. Prior research attributes attrition to the physical isolation of students from one another and the lack of interaction between and among them—factors which foster feelings of...

Exploring the Effect of Scripted Roles on Cognitive Presence in Asynchronous Online Discussions

Larisa Olesova and Margaret Slavin, George Mason University

Jieun Lim, Purdue University

The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of scripted roles on students’ level of cognitive presence in asynchronous online threaded discussions. A quantitative content analysis was used to investigate: (1) what level of cognitive presence is achieved by students’ assigned roles in asynchronous online discussions; (2) differences...

Culturally Responsive Teaching Knowledge and Practices of Online Faculty

Miranda Jennings, Northcentral University

Cultural differences between faculty and their students can create important challenges that affect the quality and efficacy of online teaching and learning. The objectives of this study were to: (a) create and pilot test an assessment for online faculty to measure culturally responsive teaching knowledge (CRT) and culturally responsive educational...

Analysis of Discussion Board Interaction in an Online Peer-Mentoring Site

Regina Ruane and Vera Lee, Drexel University

This study uses Critical Discourse Analysis and Social Network Analysis to examine an online peer mentoring site created to unite first-year and third-year preservice teachers enrolled in an undergraduate teacher education program.  The peer mentoring site was developed to provide both first-year preservice teachers and more experienced peers the opportunity...

Gender Differences in Online High School Courses

Susan Lowes, Peiyi Lin, Brian R. ​C. Kinghorn, Teachers College, Columbia University

Prior research has suggested that there may be differences in the ways that male and female students approach their online courses. Using data for 802 high school students enrolled in 14 online courses, this study explored gender differences in the interrelationships among online behaviors and course performance. The findings show...

Online TeacherWork to Support Self-Regulation of Learning in Students with Disabilities at a Fully Online State Virtual School

Mary Frances Rice and Richard Allen Carter, Jr., University of Kansas

Students with disabilities represent a growing number of learners receiving education in K-12 fully online learning programs. They are, unfortunately, also a large segment of the online learning population who are not experiencing success in these environments. In response, scholars have recommended increasing instruction in self-regulation skills for these students,...

“More Confident Going into College”: Lessons Learned from Multiple Stakeholders in a New Blended Learning Initiative

Aimee L. Whiteside, University of Tampa

Amy Garrett Dikkers & Somer Lewis, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

This article examined a blended learning initiative in a large suburban high school in the Midwestern region of the United States. It employed a single-case exploratory design approach to learn about the experience of administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Using Zimmerman’s Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) Theory as a guiding framework, this...

Introduction to Section II

Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York; Editor-in-Chief, Online Learning

In addition to the special issue section reflecting papers presented in the OTL SIG at the 2016 conference of the American Educational Research Association this issue also features papers from our standard submission process. These papers investigate issues related to the academic performance of minority students in online settings, experiential...

Relationships Between Minority Students Online Learning Experiences and Academic Performance

Alex Kumi Yeboah, University at Albany- SUNY

Patriann Smith,  Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas

The study investigated the relationship between minority students’ use of technology, social media, the number of online courses, program of study, satisfaction, and academic performance. Participants in the study were a diverse student body regarding age, gender, and educational level, and functioned at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Analysis of...

Using Importance-Performance Analysis to Guide Instructional Design of Experiential Learning Activities

Sheri Anderson, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Yu-Chang Hsu, Boise State University

Judy Kinney, University of North Carolina Greensboro

Designing experiential learning activities requires an instructor to think about what they want the students to learn. Using importance-performance analysis can assist with the instructional design of the activities. This exploratory study used importance-performance analysis in an online introduction to criminology course. There is limited research on experiential learning in...

Evaluation of Online Graduate Epidemiology Instruction and Student Outcomes

Jacqueline Knapke, Erin Haynes, Julie Breen, University of Cincinnati

Pierce Kuhnell, Laura Smith, Jareen Meinzen-Derr, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

In the last two decades, online learning has transformed the field of higher education. Also during this time, institutions of higher education have seen increases in their adult learner populations. The flexibility and accessibility of an online education model is often particularly appealing to adult learners, who bring unique needs,...

Ethos and Practice of a Connected Learning Movement: Interpreting Virtually Connecting Through Alignment with Theory and Survey Results

Maha Bali, American University of Cairo

Autumm Lee Ann Caines, Capital University

Helen DeWaard, Lakehead University

Rebecca Hogue, University of Ottawa

Virtually Connecting (VC) is a connected learning volunteer movement that enlivens virtual conference experiences by partnering those that are at the conference with virtual participants that cannot attend. In looking to articulate the ethos and intentions of VC, a manifesto was developed by a group of core members and presented...