Building a research community at the National Research Center in Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA)
Concurrent Session 5
Interesting in learning more about who is doing what kind of research in distance ed? Interested in connecting with folks doing research and collaborating on research projects and different intitiaitves to support research in distance education? Then attend this session faciltiated by the DETA Research Center that will look for attendees to share their research, Looking to find a support network and resources to help you design and administer high-quality research studies? Desire to collaborate with other institutions on funding opportunities and research? Come join our community!
Through rigorous, cross-institutional research, the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA, pronounced data) strives to improve student access and success in distance education, in particular for underrepresented students. Launched at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), we released the DETA Research Toolkit in October of 2015, which contains research guides, pertinent survey instruments, data codebooks, shared definitions, and operationalizations of variables. Alongside the release of the toolkit was a request for research proposals that align with DETA’s goals. Through a competitive process, institutions and faculty across the country were awarded grants to conduct quasi-experimental, survey, and meta-analytic studies.
The DETA Research Center seeks to engage a community of individuals interested in or currently conducting research on distance education. The objective of this session is to hear from individuals who are conducting research in distance education at their respective institutions, discuss challenges and opportunities in conducting research, and contemplate ways to collaborate on future research, including funding opportunties.
In previous DETA community discussions, we identified some of the top challenges in conducting research; these included a lack of standardization in the research process, difficulty with adequately incentivizing participation, reliance on self-reported data, absence of a collaborative culture despite the necessity of a team-based approach, and problems accessing individual level data. One key recommendation was to build a community to proffer and provide support. We hope to expand on previous efforts to increase each individual’s and institution’s capacity to carry out DETA Research by building community and implementing solutions. For more, view these posts: Challenges in Conducting DETA Research and Recommendations for DETA Research Support.