Undergraduate faculty and department-level administrators have experienced wide variations in success when introducing individual distance-learning courses or distance-learning programs across the State of Ohio's regional-university-campus system. Although student demand for such programs is strong, educators at individual regional campuses approach the process of implementing distance learning inconsistently and with varying levels of commitment from their parent, main-campus institutions. To gain insight into the underlying factors that may be contributing to non-uniform interest in and availability of distance-learning programs within the regional campus system, an Internet-based survey study was conducted across the entire population of undergraduate faculty and department-level administrators employed on Ohio's 24 regional campuses. The primary purpose of the study was to elucidate educators' prior experiences in starting up or participating in distance-learning initiatives on Ohio's regional campuses. The secondary purpose of the study was to derive from those experiences, and from supplementary, qualitative comments by study participants, a set of suggestions or guidelines that could help lower existing barriers to success in implementing distance learning at these institutions. This study revealed that Ohio-based educators having previous direct experience in distance learning are generally supportive of the approach. These educators believe that improvements in resource infrastructure and greater recognition of the time commitment required to implement distance-learning courses are factors imperative to future success. Ohio-based educators not having previous direct experience in distance learning are less supportive of the approach. These educators view resource issues as more critical than do their counterparts with distance-learning experience, and also frequently cite general pedagogical concerns with instructional approaches that take place outside of a traditional classroom setting. Addressing both resource infrastructure issues and pedagogical issues will be necessary to lower the barriers to entry faced by many Ohio-based educators who are willing to offer additional distance-learning choices for their students. The results generated in this study may prove useful to educators, both within the State of Ohio and beyond, as they debate how best to move forward with distance-learning efforts in the future.
|Adviser||Mary I. Dereshiwsky|
|Subjects||Management; Educational administration; Educational technology|
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