Volume 16, Issue 1 - January 2012

Graduate Students Rate Institutional Websites: The Must Have, Nice to Have, and Delighted to Have Services

Katrina A. Meyer, University of Memphis
Stephanie J. Jones, Texas Tech University

The graduate students admitted to the online and blended programs in higher education at Texas Tech University and the University of Memphis were surveyed about their respective university websites, or the institution’s “virtual face.” A total of 42 students rated 30 web-based services as “must have,” “nice to have,” “delighted to have (but not necessary),” or “I’m indifferent to this service” based on the Kano model of marketing research into customer satisfaction. The majority (11 of 17) of services in the “must have” category are essential for functioning as a student (e.g., course registration, program costs, helpdesk) while the social media services (podcasts and i-Phone applications) were in the “nice to have” category. Items of importance to the institution (history of the university, strategic plan, contributions to community) were in the “nice to have” or “delighted to have” categories. The continuing interest in viewing photos (of the campus, students, athletics) as a “nice to have” is intriguing for students in online and blended programs. Based on this research, several recommendations are offered to institutions.

Thought-Leaders in Asynchronous Online Learning Environments

Jim Waters, Cabrini College

The growth of online learning has exposed fundamental gaps in our knowledge, both theoretical and pragmatic. This research investigated some questions of the role of emergent leaders in online leaning and the influence of different behaviors. Firstly are there any common factors that identify thought-leaders? Secondly does the presence of...

Early Participation in Asynchronous Writing Environments and Course Success

Scott Warnock, Drexel University
Kenneth Bingham, Drexel University
Dan Driscoll, Drexel University
Jennifer Fromal, Drexel University
Nicholas Rouse, Drexel University

Many researchers have documented connections between student motivation/proactive student behavior and academic success. This study investigates if early participation on course message boards is connected with success in online and hybrid courses. Investigating 12 first-year writing classes, eight hybrid and four fully online, the authors found that first posters on...

Reading Between the Lines of Online Course Evaluations: Identifiable Actions that Improve Student Perceptions of Teaching Effectiveness and Course Value

Stephanie J. Jones, Texas Tech University

Students continue to demand and enroll in online courses, but are not always satisfied with their experiences. The purpose of this study was to determine if students’ responses to evaluations for online courses could be used to identify faculty actions that could lead to improved evaluation scores in teaching effectiveness...

The Identification of Competencies for Online Teaching Success

Paula Mae Bigatel, The Pennsylvania State University
Lawrence C. Ragan, The Pennsylvania State University
Shannon Kennan, The Pennsylvania State University
Janet May, The Pennsylvania State University
Brian F. Redmond, The Pennsylvania State University

This exploratory study examined teaching behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs (referred to as tasks) that reflect potential competencies for online teaching success. In this study, teaching tasks are those tasks performed during course delivery. A 7-point Likert scale survey instrument was constructed and distributed to experienced online faculty and staff asking...

Enrollment in Distance Education Classes is Associated with Fewer Enrollment Gaps Among Nontraditional Undergraduate Students in the US

Manuel C. F. Pontes, Rowan University
Nancy M. H. Pontes, Rowan University

The purpose of this research is to determine whether nontraditional undergraduate students in the US who enroll in distance education classes are less likely to have an enrollment gap (enrollment gap=part year enrollment). Previous research has shown that preference for distance education classes is significantly greater among nontraditional than among...

A Synthesis of Sloan-C Effective Practices, December 2011

Janet C. Moore, The Sloan Consortium

Encouraging continuous improvement in the quality, scale and breadth of online education, the Sloan Consortium invites practitioners to share effective practices. This report synthesizes effective practices submitted by Sloan-C members to the online collection at http://www.sloanconsortium.org/effective as of December 2011. The synthesis includes links to detailed postings about practices, including the...