Volume 17, Issue 4 - February 2014

Introduction to The Special Issue on Online Learning: A Universe of Possibilities!

Anthony G. Picciano, Associate Editor: JALN

In November 2013, the Sloan Consortium held its 19th Annual Conference on Online Learning, which attracted almost 3,000 attendees from all over the world. The theme of the conference, Online Learning: A Universe of Opportunities, focused on the growing popularity of online and blended learning as the instructional modalities of choice among students, faculty, and administrators. Historically, the major attraction of this conference has been the depth and breadth of its program. For 2013, over five hundred scholars, researchers, and practitioners presented papers, gave presentations, conducted workshops and poster sessions on the myriad of issues associated with online and blended learning. Three of the eight articles in this special edition reflect the best papers delivered at this conference as selected by the program committee. The other five articles were solicited because they exemplify the extent of issues and possibilities that online and blended learning are having on instruction.

Three Institutions, Three Approaches, One Goal: Addressing Quality Assurance in Online Learning

Marwin Britto, University of Saskatchewan—University Library
Cristi Ford, University of the District of Columbia—Research Academy for Integrated Learning
Jean-Marc Wise, Florida State University—Office of Distance Learning

The rapid growth of online academic programs in higher education has prompted institutions to develop processes and implement strategies to ensure the quality of their online offerings. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, there are quality standards that institutions can effectively implement regardless of context. This paper examines the approaches...

Building a Foundation for Success Through Student Services for Online Learners

Dr. Ruth Newberry, Duquesne University
Catherine DeLuca, Duquesne University

Retaining students in distance education programs requires institutions to field a strategically aligned, cross-unit team able to provide streamlined and effective services to online learners throughout the student’s academic life (from applicant to alumni). If any team member drops the ball during interaction with the online student, the student becomes...

Are We Who We Think We Are? ePortfolios as a Tool for Curriculum Redesign

Gail Matthews-DeNatale, Northeastern University

This paper focuses on the use of ePortfolios to inform the redesign and development of academic degree programs. The practice aligns with the Connect to Learning (C2L) design principles of inquiry, reflection, and integration (IRI), which are nested within C2L’s “Catalyst for Learning” model for successful ePortfolio implementation [1]. In...

A Multimedia-Rich Platform to Enhance Student Engagement and Learning in an Online Environment

T. Scott Bledsoe, Azusa Pacific University
Bruce D. Simmerok, Azusa Pacific University

Utilizing multimedia tools, such as videos and audio clips, can be an effective way to promote student learning and engagement in online settings. This study explores the implementation of a photo-rich comprehensive counseling center environment through which students of a semester-long online graduate psychology class learned about important research methodology...

Khan Academy: The Illusion of Understanding

Marc Schwartz, University of Texas at Arlington

This paper examines the ongoing challenge of defining what learning means from the perspective of the cognitive and learning sciences, especially as it unfolds in online environments. To better define learning as well as offer guiding principles, this paper uses Khan Academy as an example of what some highprofile individuals,...

Conceptual Framework of Blended Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers

Hea-Jin Lee, Ohio State University-Lima

The study presents a conceptual framework of a blended professional development program for teacher success in learning a subject matter and enhancing instructional practice. Twenty-nine middle school teachers (22 first-year and 7 continuing teachers) participated in a year-long, blended professional development (PD) program. Effects of the blended PD program were...

An Analysis of the Research on Faculty Development for Online Teaching and Identification of New Directions

Katrina A. Meyer, University of Memphis

This article presents the results of an extensive review of the published literature on faculty development for online teaching. This review included 68 articles and five books, which were reviewed to identify elements of the training and the findings (e.g., theoretical bases, training aims and organization, content of training, nature...

A Conceptual Framework for Integrating Industry/Client-Sponsored Projects into Online Capstone Courses

Rana Khan, University of Maryland University College
Julie Hill, University of Maryland University College

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 could be applicable to any program at any institution. The research and data used to develop the framework was gathered...