The SAGE Encyclopedia of Online Education

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Online Education

Encyclopedias

Edited by: Steven L. Danver

Abstract

Online education, both by for-profit institutions and within traditional universities, has seen recent tremendous growth and appeal - but online education has many aspects that are not well understood. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Online Education provides a thorough and engaging reference on all aspects of this field, from the theoretical dimensions of teaching online to the technological aspects of implementing online courses–with a central focus on the effective education of students. Key topics explored through over 350 entries include: • Technology used in the online classroom • Institutions that have contributed to the growth of online education • Pedagogical basis and strategies of online education • Effectiveness and assessment • Different types of online education and best practices • The changing role of online education ...

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    • Copyright

      List of Entries

      Reader’s Guide

      About the Editor

      Steven L. Danver is Executive Director of the Center for General Education at Walden University. Since 2009, he has been with Walden University, both as a faculty member and an administrator in undergraduate general education, and he has taught at a variety of educational institutions, both traditional and online, since the 1990s. He has been deeply involved in Walden’s efforts to meet its undergraduate students’ academic needs, as well as creating courses and opportunities for students that move forward Walden’s mission of fostering positive social change. Academically, Dr. Danver is a historian of the American West, American Indian peoples, and the interaction of people with the environment. He earned his bachelor’s degree in religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara; his master’s degree in historical studies from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California; and his doctorate in history at the University of Utah. He is the author or editor of nine books and numerous journal articles on a variety of topics related to his academic interests. Among the more recent projects he has edited are Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues (2012) and the Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West (2013). Since 2004, he has been Managing Editor of Journal of the West, a respected journal on the history of the North American West.

      Contributors

      Gabriel E. Abad Fernández United World College of South East Asia East Campus

      Amir Abou-El-Kheir College of the North Atlantic-Qatar

      Tina M. Adams Western Carolina University

      Afolayan Gbenga Emmanuel Federal Polytechnic Ilaro

      Daniel Gelaw Alemneh University of North Texas

      Wendy Andberg Walden University

      Kate Andrews University of Phoenix

      Maria S. Arbelaez University of Nebraska Omaha

      Rolando Avila University of Texas–Pan American

      Nasir M. Baba Usmanu Danfodiyo University

      Brad Alan Bays Oklahoma State University

      Alice Bedard-Voorhees The Constant Learning Organization

      Nicole Bellin-Mularski University of Potsdam

      Josh Bernstein A.T. Still University

      Kimberlee Bethany Bonura Independent Scholar

      Donna Moucha Brackin Victory University

      Kimberly Breitbach CEA Study Abroad

      Lisa Pertillar Brevard Walden University

      Patricia R. Brewer Independent Scholar

      Sally Brocksen Ball State University

      Robert F. Bromber Marine Corps University

      Stefanie Buck Oregon State University

      Bernard Dean Bull Concordia University Wisconsin

      Angela N. Bullock University of the District of Columbia

      John R. Burch Jr. Campbellsville University

      Gary J Burkholder Walden University

      Shirley Burnett Jackson State University

      Heather Caldwell Texas A&M University

      Steve Canipe Walden University

      Andrew D. Carson Carson and Reed, LLC

      Gary W. Carson Walden University

      Sharayi Chakanyuka University of Swaziland

      Debra J. Coffey Kennesaw State University

      Alex D. Colvin Prairie View A&M University

      Maureen Connolly National Center for Higher Education Risk Management

      Lisa J. Cook Walden University

      Deanne Cranford-Wesley Davenport University

      Shaun Curran Liberty University

      Allana Elicia Da Graca Walden University

      Kathy-ann Daniel-Gittens University of Central Florida

      Clare J. Dannenberg University of Alaska Anchorage

      David R. Dannenberg University of Alaska Anchorage

      Steven L. Danver Walden University

      Marietta Daulton Walsh University

      Benedict E. DeDominicis Catholic University of Korea

      Sangeeta N. Dhamdhere Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune

      Jon Louis Dorbolo Oregon State University

      Lyda DiTommaso Downs Walden University

      Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University

      Gulsun Eby Anadolu University

      Marnice Emerson California State University, Sacramento

      Karen Ferreira-Meyers University of Swaziland

      Anne Marie Fowler Independent Scholar

      Heather Frederick Northcentral University

      Yolanda Gayol Fielding Graduate University

      Roberta Gentry University of Mary Washington

      James J. Gigantino II University of Arkansas

      Christopher Gilmer Alcorn State University

      Charalampos Giousmpasoglou University of West London

      Mirac Banu Gundogan Middle East Technical University

      Tricia J. Hackleman University of Georgia

      Barbara Miller Hall Ashford University

      Cynthia S. Handley University of Southern Mississippi

      Ralph Hartsock University of North Texas

      William D. Hayes DeVry University

      Kris Helge Tarrant County College District

      Laura E. Hibbard Ohio University

      Lynne L. Hindman Oregon State University

      Junichi Hiramatsu Institute of Intelligence Studies, Japan

      Carra Leah Hood Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

      Lawrence G. Hopperton Tyndale University College & Seminary

      David R. Howell Cardiff University

      Mary Hricko Kent State University

      Andrew Jon Hund Deceased (previously United Arab Emirates University)

      Dirk Ifenthaler University of Mannheim

      Shaun G. Jamison Kaplan University

      Lisa Johnson Ashford University

      Alfred Kahl University of Ottawa

      Amar Kanekar University of Arkansas at Little Rock

      Martin Kich Wright State University

      Karen Jean Knaus University of Colorado Denver

      Konnie Kustron Eastern Michigan University

      Daria S. LaFave Wayne State University

      Grace Lasker Walden University and University of Washington–Bothell

      Jim Lenio Walden University

      Katura M. Lesane Ashford University

      Miles D. Lewis North Dakota State University

      Chi-Sing Li Sam Houston State University

      Reena Lichtenfeld Walden University

      Donna Gardner Liljegren Elmhurst College

      Yu-Fen Lin University of North Texas Dallas

      Virginia Loh-Hagan University of Pittsburgh

      Longe Olumide Babatope Adeleke University

      Felicia W. Mack Walden University

      Terry Mackey AcademyHealth

      Paul MacLeod College of the North Atlantic–Qatar

      Mark A. Maddix Northwest Nazarene University

      Evangelia Marinakou University of West London

      Paula McBride University of Georgia

      Deanna Melton-Riddle Walden University

      Bethany Mickahail University of Phoenix

      Maryann Morabito Kaplan University

      John Moremon Massey University

      Robin A. Morris UMUC, SNHU, Bay Path

      Virginia Moxley Kansas State University

      Heather M. Nash University of Alaska, Anchorage

      Brian Newberry California State University, San Bernardino

      Paul T. Nleya University of Botswana

      Robin O’Sullivan Troy University

      Joseph K. Pak Taylor University

      Vasileios Paliktzoglou University of Eastern Finland

      Christopher W. Peacock Independent Scholar

      Russell S. Perkins University of Saint Mary

      Svetlana Perovic´ University of Montenegro

      Tammy Lynn Pertillar Walden University

      Sara Plummer Walden University

      Cindy Poore-Pariseau Bristol Community College

      Constance L. Raaz University of Phoenix

      David Ramírez Plascencia Universidad de Guadalajara

      Sherry L. Rankin Jackson State University

      Heather Rasmussen Northcentral University

      Darlene Russ-Eft Oregon State University

      Susan Sanchez-Barnett Baltimore County Public Schools

      Bhaskar Sarmah Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University

      Clara Schumacher University of Mannheim

      Shawn Schumacher DeVry University

      John Sener Sener Knowledge LLC

      Bina Sengar Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad

      Laura Siaya Northcentral University

      Steven E. Silvern Salem State University

      Alex Sklut University of Georgia

      Chris Sorensen Ashford University

      Perry Spann Independent Scholar

      James Spencer Moody Bible Institute

      Robin W. Stewart Wayne State University

      Joshua Jay Stigall Briercrest College and Seminary

      Joanne G. Stuckey Walden University

      Jean A. Stuntz West Texas A&M University

      Alessio Surian University of Padova

      Marie A. Tapanes Nova Southeastern University

      Ed Teall Mount Saint Mary College

      M. O. Thirunarayanan Florida International University

      Jacqueline E. Thomas Kforce

      Kathleen A. Tobin Purdue University Calumet

      Lavanya Vemsani Shawnee State University

      Melissa A. Venable OnlineColleges.net

      Andrés Villagrá Pace University

      Neha Yogesh Virkar ZS Associates

      Olympia Vlachopoulou Anglia Ruskin University

      M. Laurel Walsh Walden University

      Christa Ward Walden University

      Andrew J. Waskey Dalton State College

      Cynthia A. Watson National War College

      Linda S. Watts University of Washington, Bothell

      Stan Weeber McNeese State University

      David J. Weiss University of Minnesota

      Timothy Paul Westbrook Harding University

      Cassandra Hawkins Wilder Jackson State University

      Stacie Williams Ashford University

      Iris M. Yob Walden University

      Helen Zaikina-Montgomery Northcentral University

      Oxana Zemtsova European University Institute

      Introduction

      Online education, the delivery of academic curricula via the Internet—carried out by fully online, for-profit institutions; more traditional colleges and universities; as well as every type of institution in between—has proven to be as controversial as it is revolutionary. A cursory look at the comments written in response to any article touching on online education in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education or websites such as Inside Higher Ed reveals a polarization among instructors, administrators, students, and other interested commenters regarding nearly every aspect of online education. On the one hand, those deeply involved in the creation and growth of online education, such as the massive open online course (MOOC) provider, Udacity cofounder Sebastian Thrun, see it as nothing but a positive revolution in the technology of human education. Speaking at technology news provider VentureBeat’s DataBeat/Data Summit in 2013, Thrun stated,

      If we study learning as a data science, we can reverse engineer the human brain and tailor learning techniques to maximize the chances of student success. This is the biggest revolution that could happen in education, turning it into a data-driven science, and not such a medieval set of rumors professors tend to carry on. (Grant, 2013)

      Others have focused on the potential for online education to open up educational possibilities to populations that have not had ready access to higher education. Whether it is due to the location of the learners, their socioeconomic position, or their busy schedules, online education has accommodated such nontraditional students in unprecedented numbers. In a 2007 report on the growth of online education, researchers working for the Sloan Consortium, an organization of representatives from many colleges and universities coming together to foster excellence in online learning, which in 2014 changed its name to the Online Learning Consortium, noted that “all types of institutions cite improved student access as their top reason for offering online courses and programs” (Allen & Seaman, 2007, p. 2). These technological and andragogic reasons for being bullish on the future of online education led to massive growth in the years between the establishment of the first online universities in the early 1990s and the maturation of numerous modalities of web-based education, such as MOOCs and competency-based education, in the early 2010s, as both the number of students seeking online degrees and the number of institutions offering them increased dramatically. However, this growth came at a cost, with the appearance of many substandard institutions and a rise in the criticisms leveled at online institutions from both the government and the academe. Additionally, some educational models, including MOOCs, so far have been unable to fulfill their promise. MOOCs have run into difficulties meeting the requirements of academic rigor and interaction between the instructor and the student, needed for recognition as credit-bearing courses by accrediting agencies.

      Online education, which evolved out of a tradition of distance education and correspondence courses dating back to the 19th century, gradually took shape as the technology to provide computer-based and, later, web-based educational resources developed. Mail-based courses were first offered by the University of London and had reached the United States by the 1890s. Radio-based courses followed by the 1920s, and televised courses by the 1960s. With the development of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network in 1969, the foundations of what would become the Internet took shape. Though home computers became a reality in the late 1970s and computer-based instruction developed during the 1980s, it was not until the proliferation of Internet access in the 1990s that true online education became a possibility. In 1994, the first web-based curriculum was developed by the Computer Assisted Learning Center, which was created by the proprietary Web services, such as America Online and CompuServe, that dominated online access at the time. In 1997, the California Virtual University (now California Virtual Campus)—a consortium of traditional universities—began offering online courses, and by the end of the decade, Jones International University became the first completely online institution to receive accreditation from the major traditional university–accrediting bodies.

      About the same time, Blackboard, eCollege, and Moodle, three of the major online learning management systems, became available to institutions wishing to offer online courses. In 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began its OpenCourseWare project, which shares the content of nearly all the institute’s courses online. With these developments in the early 2000s, a majority of colleges and universities began offering online courses by the early 2000s, and the number of completely online institutions grew rapidly, as did the number of students they served. In 2008, education professors at the University of Manitoba developed the first MOOC, while online education in all forms continued to grow. By 2010, approximately 5.5 million students were participating in online courses, 3 million of whom were enrolled in online degree programs. Some 70% of these online students were attending for-profit online universities. Though a needed correction took place during the first half of the 2010s, during which many of the weaker for-profit universities fell on hard times and either closed or greatly changed their programs, the number of students seeking online courses as well as the number of universities offering them have only continued to grow, with approximately 95% of all universities offering some form of online educational options by 2014.

      Whereas online education has been touted as the obvious future of education by its promoters, critics both within and outside traditional colleges and universities have been equally outspoken, arguing that online education is just a money grab by for-profit and not-for-profit institutions alike and that it cannot replicate the face-to-face interaction between the instructor and the student that is so central to the traditional educational model. Of course, online institutions have worked hard to ensure that the interaction between students and faculty members is frequent and in enough depth to justify the granting of academic credit, by using discussion threads, interactive text, and video chats. New technologies to personalize this interaction are constantly being developed and implemented in many learning management systems.

      Nonetheless, criticisms of online education filtered their way up to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which investigated for-profit universities to see if the massive federal investment in student aid at these institutions was justified and producing favorable outcomes for students. In 2012, the committee released a scathing report about for-profit educational institutions, most of them online, which concluded that many such institutions “fail to make the necessary investments in student support services that have been shown to help students succeed in school and afterwards, a deficiency that undoubtedly contributes to high withdrawal rates” (Executive Summary, p. 1). Skepticism about both the motives and the academic rigor of online institutions is commonplace in the academe. The fact that a large number of institutions that started or grew rapidly during the period from approximately 2008 through 2012 have failed, have been investigated for unethical student recruitment practices, or have been shown to provide substandard educational rigor, such that the degrees granted do not help students achieve gainful employment, served to entrench this skepticism among many academics.

      Two conclusions can be gleaned from this debate. First, online education is here to stay and has a presence in both for-profit and traditional institutions that is still growing. Some traditional institutions, such as the University of California and California State University systems, have seen an increasing number of students taking introductory-level general education courses online as a cost-cutting measure, with technology being viewed as a means to avoid tuition increases. Many institutions have entered into cooperative agreements with MOOC providers, such as Coursera and edX, which have resulted in courses that they hope can eventually be taken for college credit at a greatly reduced tuition rate. The second conclusion is that the negative attention has resulted in the weeding out of unscrupulous institutions and the tightening up of practices across the for-profit online education sector, leading to the survival of healthier institutions that offer academic programs with sufficient rigor to be considered worthwhile by employers and other educational institutions. As of the mid-2010s, this process is still ongoing.

      The reasons why online institutions have been able to weather the storm brought about by greater scrutiny by the academe and the government are the very same reasons that led to their growth in the first place. Online education meets needs that were not being sufficiently met by traditional institutions before the advent of web-based institutions. A large number of students from both across the United States and around the world are seeking educational opportunities that have the convenience and flexibility to allow them to continue with the rest of the important things in their lives: family responsibilities, career obligations, and other priorities that compete for their time. Students who have unusual work schedules that preclude attendance in traditional classrooms also benefit from online education. But it is not just a matter of convenience. Many online institutions offer students the opportunity to learn from both instructors and fellow students living in diverse cultural settings around the world. Online institutions have used technology to address various learning styles, which may help some students who have not done well in traditional institutions. While traditional instructors might decry the lack of face-to-face interaction in online courses, the development of technological means such as online-moderated discussion boards, and other iterative means of achieving the same outcomes as through in-person discussions, has allowed online classrooms to move beyond simply mimicking traditional classrooms to creating new ways of imparting knowledge to a large number of students by using a variety of pedagogical techniques to adapt to students’ different learning styles.

      From a purely academic perspective, the rise of online education is such a massive change to the educational landscape that an encyclopedic look at the history, technology, pedagogy, learning models, programs, and administrative aspects of online education seemed not only warranted but also necessary. Online education has many aspects that may not be well understood by the public, including the prospective students of such programs, and this work will serve to remedy this by covering the technology used in the online classroom, the institutions that have contributed to the growth of online education, the pedagogical basis for online education, the ways in which the effectiveness of online education is assessed, the different types of online educational offerings, and the changing role of online education within both the American educational system and the educational systems of other nations. From how various forms of media are used to communicate course ideas to the platforms that house online classrooms, the technology of online education and its relationship to the effective education of its students are a central focus of the encyclopedia. In many ways, this is one of the first comprehensive treatments on the evolving world of online education. The perspectives of the scholars writing this encyclopedia, much like the subject itself, are interdisciplinary and useful for readers seeking perspectives from multiple disciplines. The result of these scholars’ efforts is a resource that will be useful to administrators, teaching faculty, and both current and potential students.

      Along with the entries themselves, this encyclopedia contains numerous resources that enhance its utility to everyone who is involved or might become involved in an online educational program. The Reader’s Guide categorizes the entries and makes it much easier for readers to quickly locate materials that will meet their interests. It divides the entries into the following categories (followed by a couple of examples of the topics included in each category):

      • Concepts and Theories (e.g., Constructivism, Heutagogy)
      • Culture, Race, and Ethnicity (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Native Americans and Online Education)
      • Curriculum (e.g., ADDIE Curriculum Model, Adult Education Curriculum)
      • Economic Issues (e.g., Financial Aid, Gainful Employment Rule)
      • Educational Institutions (e.g., Florida Virtual School, Khan Academy)
      • Educational Resources, Technology, and Online Platforms (e.g., Blackboard, Udacity)
      • Evaluation and Testing (e.g., Computer-Based Testing, Peer Assessment)
      • Institutional Practices and Policies (e.g., Academic Integrity, Admissions Policies)
      • Instructional Practices and Pedagogy (e.g., Blended Learning, Reflexive Learning)
      • Interaction in the Educational Process (e.g., Interaction Among Faculty, Interaction Among Students)
      • Legal, Regulatory, and Accreditation Issues (e.g., Higher Learning Commission, Individual Program Accreditation)
      • Online Courses and Degree Programs (e.g., Business Education, Social Science Education)
      • Organizations (e.g., Lumina Foundation, Online Learning Consortium)
      • Research (e.g., Institutional Research, Research on Online Education)
      • Social Media (e.g., Facebook, Second Life)
      • Student Characteristics or Types (e.g., Transfer Students, Veterans)
      • Student Experience (e.g., Student Participation, Student Time Management)

      The appendixes provide additional information, including a list of online programs and their enrollments.

      All of these resources contribute to a greater understanding of the many online institutions that are, by their very nature, innovative and are creating ways of using technology to bridge the gaps between students, instructors, and administrators. However, this is not to say, as some have asserted, that online education will eliminate the need for traditional colleges and universities or make them obsolete. The reason for this is simple: Traditional education and online education provide different experiences for different students at different places in life. Whereas online education struggles to provide the “college experience” that many experienced during their late teens and early 20s, it does extremely well serving the needs of older students who either never attended college during their youth or were not able to complete their degrees and now want another chance to do so at an institution geared to meet their needs. While both online and traditional models will continue to survive into the foreseeable future, there is little doubt that they will influence each other for the better, creating, as George Mason University professor of economics Peter Boettke speculated, a hybrid educational model that will allow students to find the educational experience that best suits their personal needs and at the same time takes best practices from across the educational spectrum, enhancing both models.

      Further Readings
      Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2007). Online nation: Five years of growth in online education. Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED529699.pdf
      Craig, R. (2015, June 23). A brief history (and future) of online degrees. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancraig/2015/06/23/a-brief-history-and-future-of-online-degrees/
      Grant, R. (2013, December 4). How data is driving the biggest revolution in education since the Middle Ages. Retrieved from http://venturebeat.com/2013/12/04/how-data-is-driving-the-biggest-revolution-in-education-since-the-middle-ages/
      Hickey, R. (2014, December 5). 5 most common misconceptions about online education. Retrieved from https://www.petersons.com/college-search/5-most-common-misconceptions-about-online-education.aspx
      Leaf, G. (2013, October 29). Will online education render traditional college obsolete? Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeleef/2013/10/29/will-online-education-render-traditional-college-obsolete/
      Mason, M., McGreevy, P., & Gordon, L. (2014, December 11). Brown, Legislature study ways to avoid UC, Cal State tuition hikes. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-pol-uc-tuition-explainer-20141211-story.html
      Moore, M. (2015). Historical perspectives on e-learning. In B. H. Khan & M. Ally (Eds.), International handbook of e-learning: Vol. 1. Theoretical perspectives and research (pp. 4150). New York, NY: Routledge.
      U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. (2012). For profit higher education: The failure to safeguard the federal investment and ensure student success. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for_profit_report/Contents.pdf
      10.4135/9781483318332.n5
    • Appendix A: Explanatory Sequential Design

      Table 1 Largest Postsecondary Educational Institutions, Fall 2013 1204

      Table 2 Total Numbers and Demographics of Distance Education (2003–2004) and Online (2011–2012) Undergraduate Students 1208

      Table 3 Total Numbers and Demographics of Distance Education (2003–2004) and Online (2011–2012) Graduate Students 1211

      Table 4 Statistics Comparing Primarily Online and Other Institutions, 2013 1213

      Table 5 Overall Higher Education Enrollment, 2014 1216

      Table 6 Enrollment of Students Taking Exclusively Distance Education Courses, Fall 2014 1216

      Table 7 Enrollment of Students Taking Some of Their Courses at a Distance, Fall 2014 1216

      Table 8 Enrollment of Students Taking at Least One Course at a Distance, Fall 2014 1216

      Table 9 Year-to-Year Changes in Distance Enrollments, 2012–2014 1217

      Table 10 Enrollment by Type of Course, 2012–2014 1217

      Table 11 Location of Distance Education Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, 2014 1217

      Table 12 Undergraduate Students Enrolled in Distance Education Courses, 2014 1217

      Table 13 Graduate Students Enrolled in Distance Education Courses, 2014 1218

      Table 14 Distance Enrollments by Size of Institution's Distance Enrollments, Fall 2014 1218

      Table 15 Location of Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, 2014 1218

      Table 16 Location of Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, by Institutional Control, 2014 1218

      Table 1 Largest Postsecondary Educational Institutions, Fall 2013

      Table 2 Total Numbers and Demographics of Distance Education (2003–2004) and Online (2011–2012) Undergraduate Students

      Table 3 Total Numbers and Demographics of Distance Education (2003–2004) and Online (2011–2012) Graduate Students

      Table 4 Statistics Comparing Primarily Online and Other Institutions, 2013

      Table 5 Overall Higher Education Enrollment, 2014

      Institution Type

      Number of Students

      Percentage (%)

      Public

      14,735,637

      71.9

      Private nonprofit

      4,165,426

      20.3

      Private for-profit

      1,605,749

      7.8

      Total

      20,506,812

      100.0

      Table 6 Enrollment of Students Taking Exclusively Distance Education Courses, Fall 2014

      Institution Type

      Number of Students

      Percentage (%)

      Public

      1,382,872

      48.4

      Private nonprofit

      632,341

      22.1

      Private for-profit

      843,579

      29.5

      Total

      2,858,792

      100.0

      Table 7 Enrollment of Students Taking Some of Their Courses at a Distance, Fall 2014

      Institution Type

      Number of Students

      Percentage (%)

      Public

      2,524,030

      85

      Private nonprofit

      328,410

      11

      Private for-profit

      117,594

      4

      Total

      2,970,034

      100.0

      Table 8 Enrollment of Students Taking at Least One Course at a Distance, Fall 2014

      Table 9 Year-to-Year Changes in Distance Enrollments, 2012–2014

      Institution Type

      2013–2014

      2012–2013

      Public

      147,169

      161,242

      Private not-for-profit

      97,574

      98,480

      Private for-profit

      −27,468

      −73,577

      Table 10 Enrollment by Type of Course, 2012–2014

      Table 11 Location of Distance Education Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, 2014

      Table 12 Undergraduate Students Enrolled in Distance Education Courses, 2014

      Institution Type

      Number of Students

      Percentage (%)

      Public

      3,532,884

      72.7

      Private not-for-profit

      609,111

      12.5

      Private for-profit

      720,524

      14.8

      Total

      4,862,519

      100.0

      Table 13 Graduate Students Enrolled in Distance Education Courses, 2014

      Institution Type

      Number of Students

      Percentage (%)

      Public

      374,018

      38.7

      Private not-for-profit

      351,640

      36.4

      Private for-profit

      240,649

      24.9

      Total

      966,307

      100.0

      Table 14 Distance Enrollments by Size of Institution’s Distance Enrollments, Fall 2014

      Size

      Distance Enrollments

      Institutions

      10,000+

      1,738,081

      80

      5,000–9,999

      1,122,932

      167

      2,500–4,999

      1,210,894

      347

      Under 2,500

      1,757,249

      2,730

      Table 15 Location of Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, 2014

      Table 16 Location of Students Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses, by Institutional Control, 2014

      Appendix B: Academic Leaders’ Opinions on Distance Education

      Table 1 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy of My Institution,” 2002–2015 1220

      Table 2 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Overall Enrollment, 2014 and 2015 1220

      Table 3 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Distance Offerings, 2014 and 2015 1220

      Table 4 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Institutional Control, 2006–2015 1221

      Table 5 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Distance Enrollments, 2015 1221

      Table 6 “Online Education Is Significantly Represented in My Institution’s Formal Strategic Plan,” 2013–2015 1221

      Table 7 “Online Education Is Significantly Represented in My Institution’s Formal Strategic Plan,” by Distance Enrollments, 2015 1221

      Table 8 “Faculty at My School Accept the Value and Legitimacy of Online Education,” 2002–2015 1222

      Table 9 “Faculty at My School Accept the Value and Legitimacy of Online Education,” by Distance Enrollments, 2015 1222

      Table 10 “Faculty Attitudes Are a Significant Obstacle to Further Growth of Online Education,” 2015 1222

      Table 11 “Faculty Attitudes Are a Significant Obstacle to Further Growth of Online Education,” by Institutional Distance Enrollments, 2015 1222

      Table 12 “Are Learning Outcomes in Online Offerings Comparable With Face-to-Face?” 2003–2015 1223

      Table 13 “Are Learning Outcomes in Online Offerings Comparable With Face-to-Face?” by Institutional Distance Enrollments, 2015 1223

      Table 14 “Blended Courses Hold More Promise Than Fully Online Courses,” 2003 and 2015 1223

      Table 15 Learning Outcomes in Blended/Hybrid Course Compared With Face-to-Face, 2012–2015 1224

      Table 16 “What Are the Primary Audiences? For Whom Do You Develop Your Online Offerings?” 2015 1224

      Table 17 Role of Massive Open Online Courses at Your Institution, 2012–2015 1224

      Table 1 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy of My Institution,” 2002–2015

      Table 2 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Overall Enrollment, 2014 and 2015

      Table 3 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Distance Offerings, 2014 and 2015

      Table 4 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Institutional Control, 2006–2015

      Table 5 “Online Education Is Critical to the Long-Term Strategy” by Distance Enrollments, 2015

      Table 6 “Online Education Is Significantly Represented in My Institution’s Formal Strategic Plan,” 2013–2015

      2013

      2014

      2015

      42.5%

      45.1%

      41.3%

      Table 7 “Online Education Is Significantly Represented in My Institution’s Formal Strategic Plan,” by Distance Enrollments, 2015

      Table 8“Faculty at My School Accept the Value and Legitimacy of Online Education,” 2002–2015

      Table 9 “Faculty at My School Accept the Value and Legitimacy of Online Education,” by Distance Enrollments, 2015

      Table 10 “Faculty Attitudes Are a Significant Obstacle to Further Growth of Online Education,” 2015

      Agree

      32.1%

      Neutral

      50.5%

      Disagree

      17.4%

      Table 11 “Faculty Attitudes Are a Significant Obstacle to Further Growth of Online Education,” by Institutional Distance Enrollments, 2015

      Table 12 “Are Learning Outcomes in Online Offerings Comparable With Face-to-Face?” 2003–2015

      Table 13 “Are Learning Outcomes in Online Offerings Comparable With Face-to-Face?” by Institutional Distance Enrollments, 2015

      Table 14 “Blended Courses Hold More Promise Than Fully Online Courses,” 2003 and 2015

      Fall 2003

      Fall 2015

      Disagree

      6.1%

      12.1%

      Neutral

      54.7%

      45.6%

      Agree

      39.2%

      42.3%

      Table 15 Learning Outcomes in Blended/Hybrid Course Compared With Face-to-Face, 2012–2015

      Table 16 “What Are the Primary Audiences? For Whom Do You Develop Your Online Offerings?” 2015

      Current student base

      68.5%

      Students in our normal service area

      74.9%

      Students outside normal service area

      58.2%

      International students

      23.7%

      Table 17 Role of Massive Open Online Courses at Your Institution, 2012–2015

      Appendix C: Resource Guide: Books and Journals on Online Education

      Assessment
      Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). Understanding cognitive presence in an online and blended community of inquiry: Assessing outcomes and processes for deep approaches to learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(2), 233250. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01029.x
      Belanger, F., & Jordan, D. H. (2000). Evaluation and implementation of distance learning: Technologies, tools, and techniques. Hershey, PA: Idea Group.
      Bush, M., Dziuban, C., Moskal, P., & Wang, M. C. (2005). Student success in online learning. In R. Nata (Ed.), Issues in higher education (pp. 114). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.
      Chase, A.-M., Robbie, D., Ross, B., & Pechenkina, E. (2015, May 14–15). A cross-institutional initiative in digital assessment. Paper presented at the International Conference on Assessment for Learning in Higher Education, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Retrieved from http://works.bepress.com/anne-marie-chase/8/
      Krajewski, S. (2006). An initial bibliography on online course evaluations. Retrieved from http://web.augsburg.edu/~krajewsk/evals/annotated-biblio.pdf
      Kulkarni, C., Wei, K. P., Le, H., Chia, D., Papadopoulos, K., Cheng, J., … Klemmer, S. R. (2015). Peer and self assessment in massive online classes. In H. Plattner, C. Meinel, & L. Leifer (Eds.), Design thinking research (pp. 131168). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-06823-7_9
      Laumakis, M., Graham, C., & Dziuban, C. (2009). The Sloan-C pillars and boundary objects as a framework for evaluating blended learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(1), 7587.
      McKenzie, W., & Murphy, D. (2000). “I hope this goes somewhere”: Evaluation of an online discussion group. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 16(3), 239257.
      Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
      Meyer, K. A. (2004). Evaluating online discussions: Four different frames of analysis. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8(2), 101114.
      Picciano, A. G. (2002). Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interaction, presence and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 6(1). Retrieved from http://www.anitacrawley.net/Articles/Picciano2002.pdf
      Richardson, J. C., & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses in relation to students’ courses in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(1), 6888.
      Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing social presence in asynchronous text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(2). Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.553.8650&rep=rep1&type=pdf
      Schweizer, K., Paechter, M., & Weidenmann, B. (2003, October). Blended learning as a strategy to improve collaborative task performance. Journal of Educational Media, 28(2–3), 211224.
      Swan, K. (2003). Learning effectiveness: What the research tells us. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of quality online education: Practice and direction (pp. 1345). Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.
      Williams, D., Howell, S., & Hricko, M. (2005). Online assessment measurement and evaluation: Emerging practices. Hershey, PA: Information Science.
      Curriculum, Course Design, and Pedagogy
      Dich, L., McKee, H. A., & Porter, J. E. (2013). Ethical issues in online course design: Negotiating identity, privacy, and ownership. Selected Papers of Internet Research, 3.
      Downing, J., & Herrington, J. (2013). Design principles for applied learning in higher education: A pedagogical approach for non-traditional students in an online course. In J. Herrington, A. Couros, & V. Irvine (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia 2013: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 874881). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.
      Fishman, B., Konstantopoulos, S., Kubitskey, B. W., Vath, R., Park, G., Johnson, H., & Edelson, D. C. (2013). Comparing the impact of online and face-to-face professional development in the context of curriculum implementation. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 426438.
      Gresham, J. (2006). The divine pedagogy as a model for online education. Teaching Theology & Religion, 9(1), 2428.
      Kim, K. J., & Bonk, C. (2006). The future of online teaching and learning in higher education: The survey says. Educause Quarterly, 29(4), 2230. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/TheFutureof OnlineTeachingandLe/157426
      Lapadat, J. C. (2002). Written interaction: A key component in online learning. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 7(4).: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2002.tb00158.x/abstract
      Lawrence, S. A. (2012). Teacher education in online contexts: Course design and learning experiences to facilitate literacy instruction for teacher candidates. In R. Hartshorne, T. L. Heafner, & T. Petty (Eds.), Teacher education programs and online learning tools: Innovations in teacher preparation (pp. 216243). Hershey, PA: Information Science.
      Lebensohn, P., Kligler, B., Dodds, S., Schneider, C., Sroka, S., Benn, R., & Teets, R. (2012). Integrative medicine in residency education: Developing competency through online curriculum training. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 4(1), 7682.
      McNeal, R. B., Jr. (2015). Institutional environment(s) for online course development and delivery. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 3(1), 4654.
      Newberry, B., & Logofatu, C. (2008). An online degree program course template development process. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 4(4). Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol4no4/newberry_1208.pdf
      Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness. (2003). Focus group with instructional designers from Course Development & Web Services. Orlando: University of Central Florida.
      Rohr, L. E., Costello, J., & Hawkins, T. (2015). Design considerations for integrating Twitter into an online course. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(4).
      Schwartzman, R., & Tuttle, H. V. (2002). What can online course components teach about improving instruction and learning? Journal of Instructional Psychology, 29(3), 179188.
      Stavredes, T., & Herder, T. (2013). A guide to online course design: Strategies for student success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
      Swan, K., Matthews, D., Bogle, L., Boles, E., & Day, S. (2012). Linking online course design and implementation to learning outcomes: A design experiment. Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 8188.
      Vai, M., & Sosulski, K. (2015). Essentials of online coursedesign: A standards-based guide. New York, NY: Routledge.
      Varonis, E. M. (2015). From barriers to bridges: Approaching accessibility in course design. International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, 32(3), 138149.
      Waddoups, G. L., & Howell, S. L. (2002). Bringing online learning to campus: The hybridization of teaching and learning at Brigham Young University. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 2(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/52
      Walker, J. D., Dziuban, C. D., & Moskal, P. D. (2012). Transforming education with research that makes a difference. In D. Oblinger (Ed.), Game changers: Education and information technologies (pp. 369372). Washington, DC: EDUCAUSE.
      Watson, J. (2014). “Sizing up” the online course: Adapting learning design to meet growing participant numbers. In S. Jager, L. Bradley, E. J. Meima, & S. Thouësny (Eds.), CALL design: Principles and practice (pp. 408412). (Kindle ed.)
      Faculty, Administrative, and Institutional Matters
      Abdelrahman, N., & Irby, B. J. (2016). Hybrid learning: Perspectives of higher education faculty. International Journal of Information Communication Technologies and Human Development, 8(1), 125.
      Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (with Lederman, D., & Jaschik, S.). (2012). Conflicted: Faculty and online education, 2012. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group.
      Betts, K. (2014). Factors influencing faculty participation and retention in online and blended education. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 17(1).
      Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (Eds.). (2014). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. New York, NY: Routledge.
      Dimcjal, M. M., Walther, J. B., & Swan, K. (2001, November). Presence in mediated instruction: Bandwidth, behavior, and expectancy violations. Paper presented at the Seventh Annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning, Orlando, FL.
      Dziuban, C., Moskal, P., Juge, F., Truman-Davis, B., Sorg, S., & Hartman, J. (2003). Developing a web-based instructional program in a metropolitan university. In B. Geibert & S. H. Harvey (Eds.), Web-wise learning: Wisdom from the field (pp. 4781). Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris.
      Dziuban, C., Shea, P., & Arbaugh, J. (2005). Faculty roles & satisfaction in asynchronous learning networks. In S. R. Hiltz & R. Goldman (Eds.), Asynchronous learning networks: The research frontier. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
      EDUCAUSE. (2005). The pocket guide to U.S. higher education. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/PUB2201.pdf
      Finkelstein, M. J., Frances, C., Jewett, F. I., & Scholz, B. W. (Eds.). (2000). Dollars, distance, and online education: The new economics of college teaching and learning. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.
      Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. London, England: Routledge/Falmer.
      Garrison, R. (2000). Theoretical challenges for distance education in the 21st century: A shift from structural to transactional issues. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 1(1). Retrieved April 18, 2016, from http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan004048.pdf
      Gaytan, J. (2015). Comparing faculty and student perceptions regarding factors that affect student retention in online education. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(1), 5666.
      Groeling, J., & Boyd, K. A. (2009). The impact of distance education on libraries. Theological Librarianship, 2(1), 3544.
      Harkness, S. S. J. (2014). Program administration and implementation of an online learning initiative at a historically black college university. In M. Orleans (Ed.), Cases on critical and qualitative perspectives in online higher education (pp. 4460). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
      Hartman, J. (2002). Models of practice in distributed learning: A catalyst for institutional transformation. Dissertation Abstracts Internationals, 63(11), 3917. (UMI No. AAT 3069446)
      Hartman, J., Dziuban, C., & Moskal, P. (1999, August 16–18). Faculty satisfaction in ALNs: A dependent or independent variable? Paper presented at the Sloan Summer ALN Workshops: Learning Effectiveness and Faculty Satisfaction, Urbana, IL.
      Hartman, J., Dziuban, C., & Moskal, P. (2007). Strategic initiatives in the online environment: Opportunities and challenges. On the Horizon, 15(3), 157168.
      Hartman, J., Moskal, P., & Dziuban, C. (2005). Preparing the academy of today for the learner of tomorrow. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the Net generation. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/
      Kolowich, S. (2013, May 6). Faculty backlash grows against online partnerships. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://chronicle.com/article/Faculty-Backlash-Grows-Against/139049/
      Kolowich, S. (2013). The professors who make the MOOCs. Chronicle of Higher Education, 18.
      Lane, L. M. (2013). An open, online class to prepare faculty to teach online. Journal of Educators online, 10(1), 132.
      Massolini, M., & Maddison, S. (2003). Sage, guide or ghost? The effects of instructor intervention on student participation in online discussion forums. Computers & Education, 40(3), 237253.
      McDaniel, J. A. (2015). Best practices for entering the digital humanities academic community: Engaging and training faculty. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2025&context=sotlcommons
      Mitchell, L. D., Parlamis, J. D., & Claiborne, S. A. (2014). Overcoming faculty avoidance of online education from resistance to support to active participation. Journal of Management Education. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/ 1052562914547964
      Paul, J. A., & Cochran, J. D. (2013). Key interactions for online programs between faculty, students, technologies, and educational institutions: A holistic framework. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(1), 49.
      Perry, B., & Edwards, M. (2014). Exemplary online educators: Creating a community of inquiry. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 6(2).
      Porter, M. (2015, June). Toward an understanding of faculty perceptions about factors that influence student success in online education. Paper presented at the 14th Annual South Florida Education Research Conference, Barry University, Miami, FL.
      Provost, A. L. (2015). Perceived organizational support for online education and its association with motivation, commitment, and satisfaction: A study of online teaching faculty and organizational leaders (Doctoral dissertation). University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
      Robison, R. A. (2004). Selected faculty experiences in designing and teaching blended learning courses at Brigham Young University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 65(9), 3240. (UMI No. AAT 3147153)
      Shelton, K., Saltsman, G., Holstrom, L., & Pedersen, K. (2014). Quality scorecard 2014 handbook: Criteria for excellence in the administration of online programs. Newbury Port, MA: Online Learning Consortium.
      Slade, A. L. (2000). Library services for open and distance learning: The third annotated bibliography. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
      Swan, K., Dringus, L. P., Richardson, J., Vaughn, N., Banner, P., & Shea, P. (2014, October 29–31). What faculty need to know about teaching online. Paper presented at the Online Learning Consortium International Conference, Orlando, FL.
      Truman-Davis, B., Futch, L., Thompson, K., & Yonekura, F. (2000). Support for online teaching and learning [Electronic version]. Educause Quarterly, 23(2), 4451.
      Twigg, C. A. (2003, September–October). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning [Electronic version]. Educause Review, 38(5), 2838.
      Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2005). Creating cognitive presence in a blended faculty development community. Internet and Higher Education, 8(1), 112.
      White, C. J. (2013). Determining faculty perception of ownership rights of online course content in higher education. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.
      Zukowski, J. R., & Terrell, J. D. (2015). Assessment of faculty technology readiness for effective transitioning to online instruction. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1942&context=sotlcommons
      Hybrid and Blended Courses
      Anderson, T. (2001). The buzzword “blended learning” has real meaning. Central New York Business Journal, 15(46), 12.
      Bonk, C. J., & Graham, C. R. (Eds.). (2005). Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
      Bonk, C. J., Olson, T. M., Wisher, R. A., & Orvis, K. L. (2002). Learning from focus groups: An examination of blended learning. Journal of Distance Education, 17(3), 97118.
      Brown, D. G. (2001). Hybrid courses are best. Syllabus, 15(1), 22.
      Cameron, B. (2003, September–October). The effectiveness of simulation in a hybrid and online networking course. TechTrends, 47(5), 1821.
      Carroll, B. (2003). Going hybrid: Online course components increase flexibility of on-campus courses. Online Classroom, pp. 47.
      Christensen, T. K. (2003). Finding the balance: Constructivist pedagogy in a blended course. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), 235243.
      Cottrell, D. M., & Robinson, R. A. (2003). Blended learning in an accounting course. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), 261269.
      Cox, G., Carr, T., & Hall, M. (2004). Evaluating the use of synchronous communication in two blended courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20, 183193.
      Dabbagh, N. (2002, March–April). Using a web-based course management tool to support face-to-face instruction. The Technology Source. Retrieved from http://media.sabda.org/alkitab-1/Pdfs/Dabbagh-UsingaWeb-BasedCourseManagementTooltoSupport FacetoFa.pdf
      Dowling, C., Godfrey, J. M., & Gyles, N. (2003, December). Do hybrid flexible delivery teaching methods improve accounting students’ learning outcomes? Accounting Education, 12(4), 373391.
      Drysdale, J. S., Graham, C. R., Spring, K. J., & Halverson, L. R. (2013). An analysis of research trends in dissertations and theses studying blended learning. Internet and Higher Education, 17, 90100.
      Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., Cavanagh, T., & Moskal, P. (2011). Blended courses as drivers of institutional transformation. In A. Kitchenham (Ed.), Blended learning across disciplines: Models for implementation (pp. 1737). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
      Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., Juge, F., Moskal, P., & Sorg, S. (2005). Blended learning: Online learning enters the mainstream. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
      Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., & Moskal, P. (2004, March 30). Blended learning. EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research Bulletin, 2004(7). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0407.pdf
      Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., & Moskal, P. (2007). Everything I need to know about blended learning I learned from books. In A. G. Picciano & C. D. Dziuban (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives (pp. 265286). Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.
      Dziuban, C., & Moskal, P. (2005, February 11). A look at online teaching and learning at UCF. Presentation at Course Development & Web Services for IDL6543 participants, Orlando, FL.
      Dziuban, C., Moskal, P., Bradford, G. R., Brophy-Ellison, J., & Groff, A. T. (2010). Constructs that impact the Net generation’s satisfaction with online learning. In R. Sharpe, H. Beetham, & S. De Freitas (Eds.), Rethinking learning for a digital age: How learners are shaping their own experiences. New York, NY: Routledge.
      Dziuban, C., Moskal, P., & Hartman, J. (2005). Higher education, blended learning, and the generations: Knowledge is power no more. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of quality online education: Engaging communities. Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education.
      Frazee, R. V. (2003). Using relevance to facilitate online participation in a hybrid course. Educause Quarterly, No. 4, 6769.
      Futch, L. (2005). A study of blended learning at a metropolitan research university (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (Order No. 3193475)
      Garnham, C., & Kaleta, R. (2002, March 20). Introduction to hybrid courses. Teaching With Technology Today, 8(6). Retrieved from https://hccelearning.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/introduction-to-hybrid-course1.pdf
      Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95105.
      Garrison, D. R., Kanuka, H., & Hawes, D. (2004). Blended learning in a research university. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: University of Calgary, Learning Commons: Communities of Inquiry.
      Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles, and guidelines. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
      Ginns, P., & Ellis, R. E. (2009). Evaluating the quality of e-learning at the degree level in the student experience of blended learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(4), 652663. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00861.x
      Graff, M. (2003, October). Individual differences in sense of classroom community in a blended learning environment. Journal of Educational Media, 28(2–3), 203210.
      Graham, C. R. (2005). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
      Graham, C. R., & Allen, S. (2005). Blended learning: An emerging trend in education. In C. Howard, J. V. Boettecher, L. Justice, & K. D. Schenk (Eds.), Encyclopedia of distance learning: Online learning and technologies (pp. 172179). Hershey, PA: Idea Group.
      Graham, C. R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. (2003). Blended learning environments: A review of the research literature (Unpublished manuscript). Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.
      Graham, C. R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and challenges of blended learning environments. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of information science and technology I–V. Hershey, PA: Idea Groups.
      Graham, C. R., & Dziuban, C. D. (2008). Core research and issues related to blended learning environments. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. J. G. Van Merrienboer, & M. P. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
      Halverson, L. R., Graham, C. R., Spring, K. J., & Drysdale, J. S. (2012). An analysis of high impact scholarship and publication trends in blended learning. Distance Education, 33(3), 381413.
      Halverson, L. R., Graham, C. R., Spring, K. J., Drysdale, J. S., & Henrie, C. R. (2014). A thematic analysis of the most highly cited scholarship in the first decade of blended learning research. Internet and Higher Education, 20, 2034.
      Haytko, D. L. (Fall 2001). Traditional versus hybrid course delivery systems: A case study of undergraduate marketing planning courses. Marketing Education Review, 11(3), 2739.
      Hopper, K. (2003, December 15). Hybrids: Reasons to go hybrid. Distance Education Report, 7(24), 7.
      Humbert, J., & Vignare, K. (2005). RIT introduces blended learning—successfully! In J. C. Moore (Ed.), Elements of quality online education: Engaging communities, wisdom from the Sloan Consortium: Vol. 2. Wisdom series. Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium.
      Jamaris-Stauts, C., Emerich, D., Harrer, N., Netzer, B., & Eustis, C. D. (2009). Innovative hybrid online/on-site instruction: Leveraging technology to improve learning success. PowerPoint presentation from ELI Meeting. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/Resources/InnovativeHybridOnlineOnSiteIn/163638
      Johnson, J. (2002). Reflections on teaching a large enrollment course using a hybrid format. Teaching With Technology Today, 8(6), 4.
      Kaleta, R., Skibba, K. A., & Joosten, T. (2009). Discovering, designing, and delivering hybrid courses. In A. Picciano & C. Dziuban (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives (pp. 111143). Needham, MA: Sloan Consortium.
      Kerres, M., & DeWitt, C. (2003, October). A didactical framework for the design of blended learning arrangements. Journal of Educational Media, 28(2–3), 101113.
      Leh, A. S. C. (2002). Action research on hybrid courses and their online communities. [Electronic version]. Educational Media International, 39(1), 3138.
      Levine, S. L., & Wake, W. K. (2000, October 20). Hybrid teaching: Design studios in virtual space. Paper presented at the 2000 National Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists, SVA, New York.
      Lynch, R., & Dembo, M. (August 2004). The relationship between self-regulation and online learning in a blended learning context. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 5. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/189
      MacDonald, J., & McAteer, E. (2003, October). New approaches to supporting students: Strategies for blended learning in distance and campus based environments. Journal of Educational Media, 28(2–3), 129146.
      Marsh, G. E., McFadden, A. C., & Price, B. J. (2003). Blended instruction: Adapting conventional instruction for large classes. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(4). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter64/marsh64.html
      Martyn, M. (2003). The hybrid online model: Good practice [Electronic version]. Educause Quarterly, 26(1), 1823.
      Matthews, H. (December 2002January 2003). Hybrid courses and the future of teaching and learning at UC. Los Angeles: University of California, TLtC News & Events.
      McCray, G. E. (2000). The hybrid course: Merging on-line instruction and the traditional classroom. Information Technology and Management, 1, 307327.
      Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Baki, M. (2013). The effectiveness of online and blended learning: A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Teachers College Record, 115, 147.
      Moskal, P. (2009). Dancing with a bear: One university’s experience with evaluating blended learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(1), 6574.
      Moskal, P., & Cavanagh, T. B. (2013). Scaling blended learning evaluation beyond the university. In A. Picciano, C. Dziuban, & C. Graham (Eds.), Research perspectives in blended learning. New York, NY: Routledge.
      Moskal, P., & Cavanagh T. B. (2014). Scaling blended learning evaluation beyond the university. In A. Picciano, C. Dziuban, & C. Graham (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives (Vol. 2, pp. 3451). New York, NY: Routledge.
      Murphy, P. (December 2002–January 2003). The hybrid strategy: Blending face-to-face with virtual instruction to improve large lecture courses. Los Angeles: University of California, TLtC News & Events.
      Osguthorpe, R. T., & Graham, C. R. (2003, Fall). Blended learning environments: Definitions and directions. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 4(3), 227234.
      O’Toole, J. M., & Absalom, D. J. (2003, October). The impact of blended learning on student outcomes: Is there room on the horse for two? Journal of Educational Media, 28(2–3), 179190.
      Pan, C., Sivo, S., & Brophy, J. (2003, December). Students’ attitude in a web-enhanced hybrid course: A structural equation modeling inquiry. Journal of Educational Media & Library Sciences, 41(2), 181194.
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      Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology: http://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt
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      Appendix D: Distance Education Policy Standards: A Review of Current Regional and National Accrediting Organizations in the United States

      Abstract

      A review of distance education accreditation policies and standards written by the six United States regional accrediting commissions and two national accrediting organizations: the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; the New England Association of Schools and Colleges—Commission on Institutions of Higher Education; the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools—The Higher Learning Commission; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges; the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges; the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools; and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The proliferation of the distance education policies introduced by these accrediting bodies within the last decade creates a need to review how these policies articulate institutional context and commitment; curriculum and instruction; faculty and faculty support; student support; and evaluation and assessment for institutions undergoing or about to undergo accreditation review.

      Introduction

      Distance education accreditation standards and related policies have grown in substance and quantity since the late 1990s, a period when many colleges and universities began offering DE courses for the first time. The U.S. Department of Education has been regularly including distance education in its detailed review of all agencies seeking initial or continued recognition since December 1999. Prior to July 2010, the U.S. Department of Education made a determination as to whether an agency’s scope of recognition included the accreditation of distance education. After July 2010, “at each review for renewal of recognition, an agency will be expected to demonstrate its evaluation of distance education and/or correspondence education in order to retain distance education and/or correspondence education in its scope of recognition.” This series of events prompted the creation of distance education best practices, standards, and policies by national and regional accreditation agencies across the U.S. The accreditation agencies reviewed in this report have published a number of policies/standards and guidelines to evaluate colleges and universities’ distance education programs (U.S. Department of Education, N.D.).

      This article is a review of distance education accreditation policies and standards written by the six United States regional accrediting commissions and two national accrediting organizations. The eight accrediting commissions are:

      • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
      • New England Association of Schools and Colleges—Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)
      • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools—The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC)
      • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
      • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
      • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC-WASC)
      • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), 2013
      • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

      These accrediting agencies are recognized “as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education or higher education programs they accredit” by the U.S. Secretary of Education (U.S. Department of Education, ND).

      As stated above, distance education programs have grown in abundance in the United States since the late 1990s. The first author began her employment at a community college in the southeast, in 1997; the same semester that the college’s first distance education course was offered. Although she had taught courses that were computer-based in the early 1990s at a community college in Ohio; the courses were offered as face-to-face courses. She joined the college’s planning and research department in 2002, as a research specialist and grant writer, to help the college prepare for its reaffirmation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). During this time, the head of her department was preparing a substantive change prospectus as requested by SACS-COC regarding the college’s distance education program. The author prepared statistical reports about distance education courses as documentation for the prospectus. It is important to note that very few policies and guidelines regarding the delivery of distance education programs were available in 2002. A search for distance education guidelines for institutions undergoing the reaffirmation of accreditation in 2002–2003 yields information that is general and very brief.

      The SACS-COC approval of the substantive change prospectus for the college’s distance education program paved the way for its growth and success. In the following years, the author continued her role of preparing accreditation responses and supporting documentation for the college’s fifth-year interim report and then for the next ten-year reaffirmation review. She chose to review accreditation guidelines and policies regarding distance education for this article because of the changes in accreditation review requirements. The immense growth of distance education in higher education and resulting abundance of policies and guidelines has impacted the preparation of accreditation reports in many capacities.

      One of the major resources used for this review and comparison of distance education policies/standards is a publication titled “Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (Online Learning)” (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011), authored by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions. The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) is made up of the following agencies: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, and Western Association of Schools and Colleges: Senior College and University Commission. The Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education Programs (Online Learning) was developed by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) and is based on two documents: a 2006 report prepared by the U.S. General Accounting Office, Evidence of Quality in Distance Education Drawn from Interviews with the Accreditation Community (U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, 2006), and Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education, prepared by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET, 2009). The preceding statement is a quotation from the inside cover page of the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education Programs (Online Learning). Its purpose is “to assist institutions in planning distance education and to provide an assessment framework for institutions already involved in distance education” (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)

      The focus of this review is the accreditation policies on topics that address distance education: institutional context and commitment; curriculum and instruction; faculty and faculty support; student support services; and student identity issues.

      Institutional Context and Commitment

      The book An Administrator’s Guide to Online Education, by Shelton and Saltsman (2005), states in Chapter 2 that “the communication of expectations, desires, and goals to members of the organization is what enables dreams to become a reality.” Institutional commitment to distance education programs should be reflected in the institution’s overarching planning. The Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education Programs (Online Learning), (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011) lists various “hallmarks of quality”; the first hallmark addresses the institution’s mission and purposes. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements include the following:

      • The mission statement explains the role of online learning within the range of the institution’s programs and services;
      • Institutional and program statements of vision and values inform how the online learning environment is created and supported;
      • The office or persons responsible for online learning training programs are clearly identified and have the competencies to accomplish the tasks, including knowledge of the specialized resources and technical support available to support course development and delivery;
      • The institution prepares a multi-year budget for online learning that includes resources for assessment of program demand, marketing, appropriate levels of faculty and staff, faculty and staff development, library and information resources, and technology infrastructure;
      • As appropriate, the institution incorporates into its online learning programs methods of meeting the stated institutional goals for the student experience at the institution; and
      • Senior administrators and staff can articulate how online learning is consonant with the institution’s mission and goals. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)
      Other Policies That Address Institutional Commitment and Context

      Other policies include information about the technical and physical plant facilities such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education policy in Standard 13: “An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: adequate technical and physical plant facilities, including appropriate staffing and technical assistance, to support electronic offerings;” (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2011, page 59). The following table lists many of the guidelines regarding institutional context and commitment (Table 1).

      Table 1 Institutional Context and Commitment

      Institutional Context and Commitment

      Agency

      Date

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: consistency of the offerings via distance education or correspondence education with the institution’s mission and goals, and the rationale for the distance education delivery;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: adequate technical and physical plant facilities, including appropriate staffing and technical assistance, to support electronic offerings; and

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: periodic assessment of the impact of distance education on the institution’s resources (human, fiscal, physical, etc.) and its ability to fulfill its institutional mission and goals.

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      Institutions undertaking the initiation of degrees at a higher or lower level, off-campus programs, programs that substantially broaden the scope of the academic offerings, distance learning programs, correspondence education programs, contractual relationships involving courses and programs, academic programs overseas, or other substantive change demonstrate their capacity to undertake and sustain such initiatives and to assure that the new academic programming meets the standards of quality of the institution and the Commission’s Standards and policies. In keeping with Commission policy, institutions initiating substantive changes seek Commission approval prior to implementation. The institution recognizes and takes account of the increased demands on resources made by programs offered at a higher degree level. (and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2013)

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation Adopted 2005 Revisions Adopted 2011

      Jun-11

      Distance education programs are consistent with the mission and educational objectives of the institution.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Distance education programs are integrated into the regular planning processes of the institution.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      The institution provides sufficient resources – financial, human, physical, technological – to support its distance education programs. (and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2013)

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Operation of distance education programming is incorporated into the governance system of the institution.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      NWCCU practice requires that an institution’s distance education programming be reviewed as part of its comprehensive evaluation. Evaluators who visit an institution that offers distance education are encouraged to review the “C-RAC Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (On-Line Learning).”

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      If an institution offers significant distance and correspondence education, it should be reflected in the institution’s mission.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      The objectives of distance education programs and courses of study must be consistent with the mission of the school and its educational and training objectives, and must be readily available for student consideration.

      The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

      Revised

      7/1/2010

      Curriculum and Instruction

      Online course development has evolved considerably in the past 15 years from courses that were primarily text-based converted to electronic form, to courses designed specifically for the distributed Internet setting. In The Theory and Practice of Online Learning, Anderson (2011) states “As the nature of Internet users evolves, so do their demands and expectations from e-learning,” (page 247). The accrediting agencies’ expectations have also evolved. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements regarding curriculum and instruction include the following:

      • Approval of online courses and programs follows standard processes used in the college or university;
      • Online learning courses and programs are evaluated on a periodic basis;
      • The curricular goals and course objectives show that the institution or program has knowledge of the best uses of online learning in different disciplines and settings;
      • Curricula delivered through online learning are benchmarked against on-ground courses and programs, if provided by the institution, or those provided by traditional institutions;
      • The curriculum is coherent in its content and sequencing of courses and is effectively defined in easily available documents including course syllabi and program descriptions;
      • Scheduling of online learning courses and programs provides students with a dependable pathway to ensure timely completion of degrees;
      • The institution or program has established and enforces a policy on online learning course enrollments to ensure faculty capacity to work appropriately with students;
      • Expectations for any required face-to-face, on-ground work (e.g., internships, specialized laboratory work) are stated clearly;
      • Course design and delivery supports student-student and faculty-student interaction;
      • Curriculum design and the course management system enable active faculty contribution to the learning environment;
      • Assessment of student learning follows processes used in onsite courses or programs and/or reflects good practice in assessment methods; and
      • Course and program structures provide schedule and support known to be effective in helping online learning students persist and succeed. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)
      Additional Policies Regarding Curriculum and Instruction

      Many policies echoing the C-RAC guidelines have been written that reflect the quality concerns and standards for curriculum and instruction. The following tables show many of these policies articulated by national and regional accrediting agencies (see Tables 2a and 2b).

      Table 2a Curriculum and Instructional Delivery

      Curriculum and Instructional Delivery

      Agency

      Date

      (a) Regardless of instructional delivery method, the syllabi must identify the course learning objectives. Each course learning objective must support one or more program learning outcomes. (See Glossary definition of Syllabus.)

      Agency

      Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

      Date

      Effective

      December

      13, 2013

      (b) The course must provide sufficient and appropriate opportunities for interaction between faculty and students and among students.

      (c) Institutions must demonstrate to the Council that the clock or credit hours required and awarded are appropriate for the degrees and credentials offered using a thoroughly developed rationale. Credit award rationales for distance education delivery of courses or programs generally do not use the traditional lecture/laboratory/practicum formulas for credit calculations (See Section 3-1-516, Course and Program Measurement).

      (d) Curriculum must be administered in a way that maintains security of access.

      (e) Institutions must demonstrate that the student who registers for a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit. The verification method, at the option of the institution, may include a secure login and pass code, proctored examinations, and other appropriate student authentication or verification technology.

      Table 2b Curriculum and Instruction

      Curriculum and Instruction

      Agency

      Date

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: distance education or correspondence education offerings (including those offered via accelerated or self-paced time formats) that meet institution-wide standards for quality of instruction, articulated expectations of student learning, academic rigor, and educational effectiveness. If the institution provides parallel on-site offerings, the same institution-wide standards should apply to both; (and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2013)

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: demonstrated program coherence, including stated program learning outcomes appropriate to the rigor and breadth of the degree or certificate awarded; (and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2013)

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: validation by faculty of any course materials or technology-based resources developed outside the institution;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      The institution offering programs and courses for abbreviated or concentrated time periods or via distance or correspondence learning demonstrates that students completing these programs or courses acquire levels of knowledge, understanding, and competencies equivalent to those achieved in similar programs offered in more traditional time periods and modalities. Programs and courses are designed to ensure an opportunity for reflection and for analysis of the subject matter and the identification, analysis and evaluation of information resources beyond those provided directly for the course.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation

      Adopted

      2005

      Revisions

      Adopted

      2011

      Courses and programs offered for credit off campus, through distance or correspondence education, or through continuing education, evening or week-end divisions are consistent with the educational objectives of the institution. Such activities are integral parts of the institution and maintain the same academic standards as courses and programs offered on campus. They receive sufficient support for instructional and other needs. Students have ready access to and support in using appropriate learning resources. The institution maintains direct and sole responsibility for the academic quality of all aspects of all programs and assures adequate resources to maintain quality.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation

      Adopted

      2005

      Revisions

      Adopted

      2011

      The institution’s academic unit exercises oversight of distance education programs, ensuring both the rigor of the program and the quality of instruction.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Courses and programs offered via distance education maintain the same academic standards as those offered on the main campus.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      The faculty assumes primary responsibility for and exercises oversight of distance and correspondence education, ensuring both the rigor of programs and the quality of instruction.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      The technology used is appropriate to the nature and objectives of the programs and courses and expectations concerning the use of such technology are clearly communicated to students.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Distance and correspondence education policies are clear concerning ownership of materials, faculty compensation, copyright issues, and the use of revenue derived from the creation and production of software, telecourses, or other media products.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Academic support services are appropriate and specifically related to distance and correspondence education.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Program length is appropriate for each of the institution’s educational programs, including those offered through distance education and correspondence education.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      For all degree programs offered through distance or correspondence education, the programs embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with the institution’s mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education. (and Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2013)

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      For all courses offered through distance or correspondence education, the institution employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded and justifies the use of a unit other than semester credit hours by explaining it equivalency.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Faculty and Faculty Support

      The role of faculty in the development of distance education programs and the related topic of faculty support has been a key and sometimes thorny issue during the growth of institutions’ distance education programs. Some faculty do not buy into the theory of distance education, others have low technology skills for adapting successfully to online instruction, and “many faculty are unprepared for the fundamental differences in the roles required for teaching online,” (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005, page 59). The C-RAC guidelines and other accreditation policies about faculty and faculty support provide optimal strategies for addressing these issues. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements include the following:

      • The institution’s faculty have a designated role in the design and implementation of its online learning offerings;
      • Evaluation strategies ensure effective communication between faculty members who design curriculum, faculty members who interact with students, and faculty members who evaluate student learning;
      • Online learning faculties are carefully selected, appropriately trained, frequently evaluated, and are marked by an acceptable level of turnover;
      • The institution’s training program for online learning faculty is periodic, incorporates tested good practices in online learning pedagogy, and ensures competency with the range of software products used by the institution;
      • Faculty are proficient and effectively supported in using the course management system;
      • Faculty members engaged in online learning share in the mission and goals of the institution and its programs and are provided the opportunities to contribute to the broader activities of the institution. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)
      Faculty Roles and Faculty Support Addressed in Accreditation Policies

      The following two tables (Table 3a and Table 3b) illustrate some of the regional and national accrediting agencies’ policies concerning faculty roles and faculty support.

      Table 3a Faculty Support

      Faculty Support

      Agency

      Date

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: an ongoing program of appropriate orientation, training, and support for faculty participating in electronically delivered offerings;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised March 2011

      On-campus faculty have a substantive role in the design and implementation of off-campus programs. Students enrolled in off-campus courses, distance learning courses, and/or correspondence education courses have sufficient opportunities to interact with faculty regarding course content and related academic matters.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation

      Adopted

      2005

      Revisions

      Adopted

      2011

      On-campus faculty have a substantive role in the design and implementation of distance education programs.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      The institution has clear criteria for the evaluation of faculty teaching distance education courses and programs.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      RevisedJanuary2012

      An institution offering distance or correspondence learning courses/programs ensures that there is a sufficient number of faculty qualified to develop, design, and teach the courses/programs.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Faculty who teach in distance and correspondence education programs and courses receive appropriate training.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      The faculty assumes primary responsibility for and exercises oversight of distance and correspondence education, ensuring both the rigor of programs and the quality of instruction.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Table 3b Faculty Instructional Support

      Faculty Instructional Support

      Agency

      Date

      (a) The institution must employ academically and/or experientially credentialed faculty to teach online courses appropriate to the subject matter.

      Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

      Effective December 13, 2013

      (b) Faculty hired to facilitate online instruction must be properly trained to utilize the institution’s learning management system for purposes of instruction, communication, and assessment.

      (c) The instruction must provide an accessible and reliable learning management system and technical support to effectively facilitate online instruction and learning.

      (d) The institution must demonstrate that the student/teacher ratio appropriately supports faculty and student interaction, facilitation of interaction among students and interaction with curriculum content.

      (e) The institution must have a faculty development plan on file that is appropriate for each individual. For further information, see Section 3-1-543.

      Student Support

      Effective and well-designed student support services are essential for student success. “Unfortunately, institutions have not been as quick to put student services online as they have online courses,” (Shelton & Saltsman, 2005, page 83). The authors’ experiences as higher education instructors is that gaps and holes exist in the offering of student services for online learners. The gaps in student services can cause a distance education student to feel frustrated and alone. The C-RAC guidelines list administrative as well as practical strategies for providing effective student support services. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements include the following:

      • The recruitment and admissions programs supporting the online learning courses and programs appropriately target the student populations to be served;
      • The students enrolled in the institution’s online learning courses and programs fit the admissions requirements for the students the institution intends to serve;
      • The institution regularly evaluates the effectiveness of the academic and support services provided to students in online courses and uses the results for improvement;
      • The institution’s admissions program for online learning provides good web-based information to students about the nature of the online learning environment, and assists them in determining if they possess the skills important to success in online learning;
      • The institution provides an online learning orientation program;
      • The institution provides support services to students in formats appropriate to the delivery of the online learning program;
      • Students in online learning programs have adequate access to student services, including financial aid, course registration, and career and placement counseling;
      • Students in online learning programs have ready access to 24/7 tech support;
      • Students using online learning have adequate access to learning resources, including library, information resources, laboratories, and equipment and tracking systems;
      • Students using online learning demonstrate proficiency in the use of electronic forms of learning resources;
      • Student complaint processes are clearly defined and can be used electronically;
      • Publications and advertising for online learning programs are accurate and contain necessary information such as program goals, requirements, academic calendar, and faculty; and
      • Students are provided with reasonable and cost-effective ways to participate in the institution’s system of student authentication. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)

      Many of the services mentioned above such as online student orientation, library services, student publications, and various tutorials are time-consuming to develop and can be costly; but once in place they are easily updated and maintained. Tables 4a and 4b provide examples of similar policies published by the regional and national accrediting agencies.

      Table 4a Study Support

      Student Support

      Agency

      Date

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: available, accessible, and adequate learning resources (such as a library or other information resources) appropriate to the offerings at a distance;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised March 2011

      Students enrolled in distance education programs have adequate access to and make effective use of learning resources, including library, information resources, laboratories and equipment.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Students enrolled in distance education programs have adequate access to student services, including financial aid, academic advising, course registration, and career and placement counseling.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Students have access to and can effectively use appropriate library resources.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Access is provided to laboratories, facilities, and equipment appropriate to the courses or programs

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Students have adequate access to the range of services appropriate to support the programs offered through distance and correspondence education.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Students in distance or correspondence programs have an adequate procedure for resolving their complaints, and the institution follows its policies and procedures.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Advertising, recruiting, and admissions information adequately and accurately represent the programs, requirements, and services available to students.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Documented procedures assure that security of personal information is protected in the conduct of assessments and evaluations and in the dissemination of results.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Students enrolled in distance education courses are able to use the technology employed, have the equipment necessary to succeed, and are provided assistance in using the technology employed.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised January 2012

      Table 4b Student Support: Student Services

      Student Support

      Agency

      Date

      Student Services

      1. Student services must be made available to students enrolled in distance education programs or courses of study in accordance with Section VI, Substantive Standards, Standards of Accreditation. The school must ensure that there is adequate supervision of its student services for students enrolled in a distance education program or course of study.

      The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

      Revised

      7/1/2010

      2. The school must provide orientation to the distance education environment for students enrolled in distance education programs or courses of study.

      3. The school must ensure that faculty and staff respond in a timely manner to student questions and concerns, both academic and administrative.

      Evaluation and Assessment

      Shattuck (2012, n.p.) quotes Jung and Latchem as follows:

      Open and distance learning providers who have enjoyed freedom from external scrutiny may resist attempts at external regulation and auditing and look upon QA (quality assurance) as yet another imposition of corporatization and bureaucracy on education. Others see it as a means of establishing a culture of quality, self-reflection and self-improvement. (p. i)

      The statement articulates an opinion shared about quality assurance and distance education. Regional and national accrediting policies also address the topics of quality assurance, evaluation and assessment at the institution level, program level and course level with numerous guidelines. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements include the following:

      • Development and ownership of plans for online learning extend beyond the administrators directly responsible for it and the programs directly using it;
      • Planning documents are explicit about any goals to increase numbers of programs provided through online learning courses and programs and/or numbers of students to be enrolled in them;
      • Plans for online learning are linked effectively to budget and technology planning to ensure adequate support for current and future offerings;
      • Plans for expanding online learning demonstrate the institution’s capacity to assure an appropriate level of quality;
      • The institution and its online learning programs have a track record of conducting needs analysis and of supporting programs.
      • The institution demonstrates the appropriate use of technology to support its assessment strategies;
      • The institution documents its successes in implementing changes informed by its programs of assessment and evaluation;
      • The institution provides examples of student work and student interactions among themselves and with faculty; . . . . The institution sets appropriate goals for the retention/persistence of students using online learning, assesses its achievement of these goals, and uses the results for improvement; and
      • Students express satisfaction with the quality of the instruction provided by online learning faculty members. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011).

      An example of a national accrediting agency’s evaluation policy is show in Table 5a.

      Table 5a Evaluation and Assessment: National Policy

      Evaluation and Assessment

      Agency

      Date

      Institutional Assessment and Improvement

      (a) The school’s institutional assessment and improvement activities must ensure that sufficient facilities, equipment, technology, and other resources and infrastructure associated with distance education are appropriate to the subject matter of the program or courses of study, and are integrated in the long-term institutional assessment and improvement plan and budget of the school.

      The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)

      Revised

      7/1/2010

      (b) The school must directly review and is responsible for the currency and quality of all distance education components as part of its institutional assessment and improvement activities. The school’s institutional assessment and improvement activities must meet all necessary requirements outlined in Section 1 (B), Substantive Standards, Standards of Accreditation.

      Examples of regional accrediting agencies evaluation and assessment policies are shown in Table 5b.

      Table 5b Evaluation and Assessment: Regional Policies

      Evaluation and Assessment

      Agency

      Date

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: planning that includes consideration of applicable legal and regulatory requirements;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: demonstrated commitment to continuation of offerings for a period sufficient to enable admitted students to complete the degree or certificate in a publicized time frame;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised March 2011

      An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate: assurance that arrangements with consortial partners or contractors do not compromise the integrity of the institution or of the educational offerings;

      Middle States Commission on Higher Education

      Revised

      March

      2011

      The institution’s chief academic officer is directly responsible to the chief executive officer, and in concert with the faculty and other academic administrators is responsible for the quality of the academic program. The institution’s organization and governance structure assure the integrity and quality of academic programming however and wherever offered. Off-campus, continuing education, distance education, correspondence education, international, evening, and week-end programs are clearly integrated and incorporated into the policy formation, and academic oversight, and evaluation system of the institution.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation Adopted 2005 Revisions Adopted 2011

      Jun-11

      Institutions undertaking the initiation of degrees at a higher or lower level, off-campus programs, programs that substantially broaden the scope of the academic offerings, distance learning programs, correspondence education programs, contractual relationships involving courses and programs, academic programs overseas, or other substantive change demonstrate their capacity to undertake and sustain such initiatives and to assure that the new academic programming meets the standards of quality of the institution and the Commission’s Standards and policies. In keeping with Commission policy, institutions initiating substantive changes seek Commission approval prior to implementation. The institution recognizes and takes account of the increased demands on resources made by programs offered at a higher degree level.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation

      Adopted

      2005

      Revisions

      Adopted

      2011

      6/1/2011

      Off-campus, continuing education, distance education, correspondence education, international, evening, and week-end programs are clearly integrated and incorporated into the policy formation, and academic oversight, and evaluation system of the institution.

      The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Standards for Accreditation

      Adopted

      2005

      Revisions

      Adopted

      2011

      6/1/2011

      The institution evaluates the educational effectiveness of each distance education program, including assessment of student learning outcomes, student retention, and student and faculty satisfaction, to ensure comparability to campus-based programs.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Publications and advertising for distance education programs are accurate and contain necessary information such as the program’s goals, requirements, academic calendar, and faculty.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Contractual relationships and arrangements with consortial partners, if any, are clear and guarantee that the institution maintains direct and sole responsibility for the academic quality of all aspects of distance education programs. Where the institution has entered into contractual relationships involving credits and degrees, it has obtained Commission approval for the substantive change.

      Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities – Distance Education Policy

      Oct-13

      Comparability of distance and correspondence education programs to campus-based programs and courses is ensured by the evaluation of educational effectiveness, including assessments of student learning outcomes, student retention, and student satisfaction.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      The institution regularly assesses the effectiveness of its provision of library/learning resources and student support services for distance or correspondence education students.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      An institution entering into consortial arrangements or contractual agreements for the delivery of courses/programs or services offered by distance or correspondence education is an active participant in ensuring the effectiveness and quality of the courses/programs offered by all of the participants.

      Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges

      Revised

      January

      2012

      Student Identity

      Most institutions enroll students who receive Federal Student Aid. The U.S. Department of Education requires that institutions have methods in place to verify student identity. There are unique risks inherit in the distance education environment. A final audit report published in February 2014 notes that there are “unique risks” in the distance education environment and includes the following statement:

      Current requirements related to verifying the identities of and disbursing Title IV funds to students enrolled in distance education programs are not sufficient to mitigate the risks of fraud and abuse. As a result, fraud rings are targeting distance education programs to illegally obtain Title IV funds. The fraud rings enroll straw students, which are students who do not intend to complete a distance education course or program but who still receive Title IV funds. Both the ringleader and the straw student receive a portion of any Title IV credit balance disbursed in the straw student’s name. (Office of the Inspector General, US Dept. of Education, 2014)

      Other fraud issues include identity questions concerning academic credit and award of degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The C-RAC analysis/evidence statements include:

      • The institution has in place effective procedures through which to ensure that the student who registers in a distance education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the academic credit. The institution makes clear in writing that these processes protect student privacy and notifies students at the time of registration or enrollment of any projected additional costs associated with the verification procedures.
      • The institution’s policies on academic integrity include explicit references to online learning;
      • Issues of academic integrity are discussed during the orientation for online students; and
      • Training for faculty members engaged in online learning includes consideration of issues of academic integrity, including ways to reduce cheating. (Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)
      Conclusion

      The review of regional and national accrediting policies provides an overview of recent developments and improvements in accreditation policies and guidelines regarding distance education. The growth of accreditation policies and guidelines has impacted the preparation and focus of interim and reaffirmation reports for colleges and universities. Although a review of many of the policies and guidelines is beneficial, one publication in particular, the C-RAC Guidelines, is helpful to faculty and staff implementing distance education programs and for higher education staff who write institutional accreditation statements for five-year and ten-year reaffirmation reports.

      This review is intended to serve as a starting point for further study. As regional and national accrediting bodies add policies and requirements specifically addressing the quality of distance education offered by institutions in terms of faculty preparation, technological support, instructional strategies employed, and evaluation and assessment, we foresee greater challenges within higher education institutions to make effective and meaningful use of these policies and guidelines. Furthermore, we foresee the possible need for higher education institutions’ greater involvement in developing and revising accreditation policies as they relate todistance teaching and learning. Further researchis recommended.(Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), 2011)

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      Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). (2013). Appendix H, Principles and Requirements for Nontraditional Education. In A. C. (ACICS), Accreditation Criteria (pp. 115118). Washington, DC: ACICS.
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