Volume 15, Issue 2 - June 2011

Advances in Online Education at For-Profit Colleges and Universities

Jorge Klor de Alva, Nexus Research and Policy Center

Online education has been associated closely with for-profit higher education since 1989, when the University of Phoenix began to offer degrees fully online. Since that time, this modality of education has expanded widely and is now in place or on the drawing boards of most of the nation’s private and public institutions. However, the very fact of its close association with the fast growing for-profit sector has long led a number of academics to question online education’s capacity to deliver quality instruction where effective learning can take place.
The four articles in this issue should mark a turning point in this skepticism, not by showing that online education is “as good as or better” than face-to-face—a fact now too widely accepted to merit defense here—but by illuminating the path by which online education will ultimately make such skepticism more quaint than considered.
From Scarcity to Abundance: IT’s Role in Achieving Quality-Assured Mass Higher Education

Peter S. Smith, Kaplan University

To adapt to the knowledge economy The United States needs millions more educated citizens. New approaches to delivering academic quality and quality assurance in teaching and learning make effective, affordable postsecondary education accessible to more learners than ever before possible....

Online Teacher Education: Exploring the Impact of a Reading and Literacy Program on Student Learning

Barbara Weschke, Walden University
Raymond D. Barclay, Arroyo Research Services
Kirk Vandersall, Arroyo Research Services

This study presents findings from an investigation of the impact of teachers who graduated from a fully online master’s degree program with training in pedagogy and a content-specialization in elementary reading and literacy (oERL) on reading achievement in a large urban public school system in the northwestern United States. The...

An Exploration of Differences Between Community of Indicators in Low and High Disenrollment Online Courses

Phil Ice, American Public University System
Angela M. Gibson, American Public University System
Wally Boston, American Public University System
Dave Becher, American Public University System

Though online enrollments continue to accelerate at a rapid pace, there is significant concern over student retention. With drop rates significantly higher than in face-to-face classes it is imperative that online providers develop an understanding of factors that lead students to disenroll. This study utilizes a data mining approach to...

Using Text Mining to Characterize Online Discussion Facilitation

Norma Ming, Nexus Research and Policy Center
Eric Baumer, Cornell University

Facilitating class discussions effectively is a critical yet challenging component of instruction, particularly in online environments where student and faculty interaction is limited. Our goals in this research were to identify facilitation strategies that encourage productive discussion, and to explore text mining techniques that can help discover meaningful patterns in...