New opportunities to engage with the OLC Research Center & OLC members


Lynette O’Keefe, Director, Research, Online Learning Consortium

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Research Methods

The OLC Research Center for Digital Learning and Leadership seeks to provide support, transformation, and leadership for the digital learning community through the creation and dissemination of quality research throughout the field.  Over the next few months, the Research Center will be focused on shaping the core research areas to reflect the needs and trends of the current digital landscape and on better serving the online learning community across diverse roles and sectors by providing a variety of resources/resource types and opportunities for the community to engage with OLC and with each other.  

One of the community engagement opportunities will be a dedicated space on the Research Center website for members to share information about their current research and participate in others’ research.  Keep an eye out for these exciting changes and feel free to contact with any questions, feedback, or requests for research to be featured.  

OLC institutional members Scott Hamm (Hardin-Simmons University) and Stephanie Hamm (Abilene Christian University) are currently researching students’ perceptions of online learning environments with a focus on cultural competence.  Cultural competence in teaching is essential for student success, and the increasingly diverse population of students engaged in online learning necessitates a closer examination of cultural competence specific to the online environment.  

Researchers expect to find implications for cultural competence in online teaching, learning and course design, and will also provide an overview of an approach to identify baseline cultural competence and implement strategic steps to increase this critical skill in the global landscape of online education.  Scott and Stephanie’s research will be presented at the 28th ICDE World Conference on Online Learning in early November in Dublin, Ireland.

The researchers would like to offer OLC members the opportunity to participate in their study by distributing a short survey to their students about perceptions of cultural competence in online courses.  The instrument is the Distance Education Learning Environment Survey (DELES) (developed by Dr. Scott Walker and modified by the researchers), and participant data will be aggregated with that of other institutions and will contribute to informing equitable implementation of culturally competent courses and programs.  If you would like to participate, or would like more information, contact the researchers at: or  

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