Challenging Our Assumptions about Online Learning: A Vision for the Next Generation of Online Higher Education
Puzziferro, Maria, Shelton, Kaye, Distance Learning
At many higher education institutions, traditional ones in particular, the development and advancement of online degree programs have occurred on the periphery of the academic, financial, and administrative units. For many, online learning has been marginal and slow to become a missioncritical institutional objective. As a result, it has not been fully leveraged as a strategy to increase access to higher education, improve learning outcomes, adapt the culture and values of current and future students living and navigating in a technology-complex and interconnected world, and meet enrollment goals. There are many reasons for this slow progression of online learning into the mainstream academy - some a matter of opinion, some a matter of history; however, many reasons are a matter of culture and our own assumptions about online learning.
Online education, as we know it today, is really still in the final stages of its first generation. We have made great strides in establishing online programs across public and private institutions of higher learning. But, as we are stabilizing our assumptions and policies into an established culture of online education, the world around us is changing. Whether we are ready or not, we must be thinking about the next generation of online education.
In order to build our culture of online education and integrate it within the academy, we have adopted many assumptions about various aspects of online teaching and learning. We have chosen to focus on these assumptions around the design of the online learning environment, learning theory, quality in online learning, online faculty, students, and the future of online learning. Therefore, the following questions will guide this article:
1. The online learning environment: Are our online learning environments really student-centered and interactive?
2. Learning theory: Which theories really apply to online learning and are they accurate?
3. Quality in online learning: Do we understand what quality is, and do our policies and practices support quality?
4. Online faculty: What is the real role of faculty in the online learning environment?
5. Students: Is there such a thing as a profile of the ideal online student?
6. The future of online learning: Will online learning transform the academy?
ABOUT THE ONLINE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
LEARNING IS "STUDENTAND STUDENTS ARE IN OF THEIR OWN LEARNING
This is one of the most oft-cited descripof the essential nature of online The student-centered approach online learning is applied in many conincluding learning environment marketing to students, and the to student services. However, examine who may really be in control. recent data paint an interesting picof the priorities that academic leaders in online education:
1. A recent Sloan-C survey reported that the most cited factor (64%) by academic leaders on barriers to widespread adoption of online learning was that "students need more discipline" to succeed in online courses (Allen & Seaman, 2007).
2. A 2008 survey by the New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE asked academic leaders to select the top challenges posed to higher education institutions by new technologies, and these were:
a. Ready access to online facts and research increases the risk that students are graduating without foundational knowledge in some subjects (56%);
b. Potential increase in student plagiarism (51%);
c. Students will be more distractible in the classroom due to cell phone and laptop use (49%);
d. Potential increase in student cheating (48%);
e. Fragments the traditional sense of campus community (33%);
f. Too much faculty and administration time is required to adapt coursework for the online environment (19%); andlncrease in discourteous language or behavior among students toward faculty (11%) (Johnson, Levine, & Smith, 2008).
As we think about the concepts of learner control and student-centered learning, it is interesting that the top concerns among academic leaders are focused on lack of control over student learning (foundational, content knowledge), concerns regarding students cheating, distracted students, and what appears to be a lack of faith in students' ability to learn independently. These concerns don't really support our belief that learning should be student-centered.
What about course design? Is there evidence of an orientation toward learner control? In order to answer this question, we need to examine the essential features of the "environment" of online learning. It is typically facilitated through a "learning management system," such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and others. Note the key word: "management."
These systems clearly evolved from the need early on to replicate the face-to-face environment online and "manage" content and remote students. In some ways, learners have even less control in the online environment than in the face-to-face environment. Learners have no control over the presentation of content, how the course is structured, what content they see, and in many cases, the sequence in which they move through the course. In addition, there are very effective tools for tracking, monitoring, testing, and literally following every move of the learner; to the point of knowing how long a learner spent on each page of content. One has to wonder who really has the "control" in the online environment?
Common online instructional approaches do not tend to leave much room either for learner control when courses employ "set" content and assessments, such as requiring a certain number of postings and replies each week, traditional textbooks, prescribing multiple written papers, research papers, and tests.
This leads us to the next assumption.
ONLINE LEARNING IS INTERACTIVE, COLLABORATIVE, AND ENGAGING
These are also common words used to describe the online learning environment. But, is online learning really interactive? Before answering this, consider this: Do students log into their Facebook page more or less often than their online course? And, do students have more interaction within Facebook, or within their online course?
The fundamental questions in this assumption are what is interaction, and how can it be measured. Is interaction measurable in terms of a certain number of clicks, a magic number of e-mail contacts, or a specific number of discussion board postings? Yet, this is how we structure, measure, and evaluate interactivity in the online environment. In many online courses, the heart of interaction is within the discussion board. The current obsession with discussion boards can be reminiscent of being called on in class, not necessarily knowing what to say, but knowing you need to say something!
There needs to be more attention to "authentic" interactivity, and new ways of evaluating the outcome. Students seek this kind of interactivity when their creativity and curiosity are stimulated by a learning experience. This may be indicated by following links via the web, spontaneous conversations with others, and the magical learning experiences that often occur outside of the online classroom, where we unfortunately can't measure it quantitatively.
The truth is that "engagement" is not the same thing as "participation." Participation can be an indicator of engagement, but in environments where numbers of postings are required for a grade, it is hard to determine whether the participation is an indicator of a requirement or of student engagement. Certainly, engagement cannot truly be calculated by a quantitative formula of participation. Our over-reliance on discussion boards is such that we may be missing many opportunities to redefine learner engagement and interactivity in ways that are more "authentic."
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE LEARNING THEORY
ONE LEARNING APPROACH FITS ALL
Does one learning approach fit all students? Most of us would answer this question with an unequivocal no. However, let us examine how higher education is organized on the degree level, and then at the online course level.
With what we know about the diversity of learning approaches, the diversity of experiences that learners bring to the classroom, and the multiplicity of learning styles, it is very surprising that higher education is still using the "course-focused" approach to learning. A degree is an organized and mostly sequenced collection of discrete courses. Often, courses overlap, are irrelevant to each other, and taught by faculty who are only familiar with their own courses and disciplines. If a prior course in the sequence loses its relevance, the opportunity to update the knowledge is lost. It may be time to reexamine the approach to learning, and redefine how degrees are defined in an increasingly complex world.
This "course-focused" approach enables and perpetuates the eompartmentalization of learning, and allows no context for the interrelationships among the disciplines. In online environments, this disconnect is compounded by the heavy use of adjunct faculty, who may not participate actively in the faculty culture or have opportunities to interact with each other around academic issues and topics. Many forums for online adjunct faculty interaction are built around online pedagogy (teaching tips and strategies), and not enough around academic, interdisciplinary policies and issues.
The next logical question is why we care whether courses are discrete units and faculty are isolated from each other?
One important reason we should care about this question is because new ways of learning push us to think differently about our "product" (degrees) and our "delivery" (faculty). If so, what is the best method for online learning? Constructivism has been a buzzword in the literature, and linked to effective online learning approaches that incorporate active learning and knowledge construction. The Web 2.0 environment supports constructivist techniques, and with general success, we typically implement pedagogical strategies such as discussions, case studies, and group work to engage students in the process of knowledge construction. However, it may be time to look beyond constructivism and consider what we know about instructional design and how the resources within the digital world may support learning theories, approaches, and cognitive strategies.
Instructional designers are the experts when it comes to designing learning experiences that support learning, and are informed by theories such as constructivism, connectivism, and multiple intelligences. However, in many academic settings, online course design and development is largely faculty driven and instructional design staff act as a resource in service to faculty - not in a leadership capacity. Team-based approaches with more involvement and leadership from instructional designers may help to improve the effectiveness of online courses.
The next generation of online learning will undoubtedly be more connectivist, self-directed, active, and personalized. This next generation of online learning will likely see a move away from the "learning management system" as we know it. Active learning will become more personalized. Personalized learning environments (PLEs) hold much promise for active learning, and may be a bridge from constructivism to connectivism. In fact, the 2009 Horizon Report noted the "personal web" as one of six technologies most likely to impact individuals' social, professional, and educational activities (Johnson, Levine, & Smith, 2009).
This personal web concept is observed as the desire to reorganize content, rather than just view it and the expectation is that there will be new tools to enable users to customize, organize, and manage content.
Imagine a setting where we take on a less compartmentalized view of courses and faculty collaborate to create shared learning objects, courses that build on each other, learning environments where students can select their own content, bookmark their content into their PLE, refer back to it, apply and integrate content from previous courses to current and future problems.
Possible places to begin:
1. Universities begin to "let go" of their content and not see it as a proprietary product,
2. Not "shutting off access" to previously completed online courses,
3. Finding ways to utilize technology to enable students to save content that they may want to use again, and
4. Creating more collaboration and connection between discrete courses in degree programs and faculty teaching those courses.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT QUALITY IN ONLINE LEARNING
STANDARDIZED COURSE SHELLS CONTROL QUALITY
Do standardized course shells control quality? For many institutions, a great deal of time, effort, and money go into the development, design, and control of standardized online courses. The selection of content, assessments, interactive activities, reflective activities, and constructivist techniques comprise a very extensive and lengthy course development process. In fact, educators are passionate about organizing things. When we organize, however, what we do is compartmentalize, categorize, separate, sequence, structure, define, and then enforce students in our version of the "course." Embedded in the existing course development approach is a very instructivist hierarchy (an esteemed "content" expert develops the course, instructional designers assemble the course into a series of learning experiences intended to "teach" students the specific content, and the "institution" then owns it. Once the institution owns the course, instructors - often adjuncts - dispense the courses to students.
What does this mean for the role of instructors in the online environment? Using a rather extreme example to convey a subtle point, consider this phenomenon in the framework of Marx's Theory of Alienation. Marx believed that in modern industrial, capitalistic settings, workers eventually lose control over their work. They create the work and it becomes the property of someone else. The worker begins to feel like a cog in the production wheel, while armies of hired operatives perform the monotonous tasks built upon the basic model. The result is alienation, where the process of production, by its very nature, separates workers from their products (extensions of their creative self), and the very relationships they have with each other. The most tragic result of this is that all workers become estranged from their very human nature, which Marx defined as the freedom to creatively produce, own, and benefit from one's own work. This raises larger and broader issues of how to define curriculum, intellectual property, ownership of content, and the role of the instructor in the learning process. These issues and questions can only be resolved in the context of the institution itself.
Standardization can provide students with a consistent look and feel, and eliminate issues related to course navigation. However, the impact on teaching and learning must be better understood. "Course shells" do minimize the amount of work involved in preparing courses, and maximizes the volume of course offerings while controlling quality where quality is defined as control over the "product." This practice does stabilize quality, but begs the question of what we assume quality to be.
Two, perhaps unintended, effects of standardized course shells are what can be seen as the routinization of online education, which has pros and cons, and the impact on faculty ability to provide effective instruction. Standard curriculum creates a routine, scalable process, and reduces faculty workload in the content area. In fact, in most settings, faculty are not motivated, permitted, or invited to enhance online course "shells." The benefit of this policy may be that faculty are able to concentrate more on interaction and engagement. However, a potential negative consequence is that some faculty may be like the monotonous operatives in Marx's world, and their interaction patterns as they teach courses over and over again are routine. If you define quality as passionate teachers who are committed to engaging students in authentic learning experiences, then there could be a problem with this approach.
Don't misunderstand us - we know that standardized course shells and the linear organization of curriculum are important ways that we control quality and provide a standard measure of student achievement. In fact, we cannot imagine a world without "course shells"; however, we must continue seeking ways to allow faculty and students to bring their talents into the online classroom.
COMPARING FACE-TO-FACE AND ONLINE COURSES IS A GOOD WAY TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ONLINE LEARNING
Why does the "no significant difference" phenomenon exist? Could it be because there is no significant difference?
There may be more similarities between online and face-to-face environments than there are differences. Let us look at how are they different and how are they alike.
In a recent study, Kim and Bonk (2006) found that when asked how online quality will be most efficiently measured in the future, 44 % of respondents answered that a comparison of online student outcomes with those of face-to-face student outcomes would be the most effective. The implications of this are interesting: clearly, respondents believe that face-to-face instruction is superior, such that online can and should benchmark against it in order to measure effectiveness.
This question may help us think beyond the traditional indicators of quality and look at more authentic ways to measure more authentic learning interactions. For example, we appear to be locked on the following components and assessment methods, not mattering if we are in a faceto-face environment or an online environment:
1. Interaction = measured by discussion/ participation
2. Critical thinking = measured by case studies, papers, and reflective essays
3. Comprehension of content = measured by online quizzes and exams
4. Synthesis = measured by research papers.
These are classroom-based benchmarks, and as we release these and redefine online learning assessments, then we can begin to think about new ways to evaluate learning in the online environment, and not just within the "Blackboard" environment. Some new ways to begin to think about online learning benchmarks are:
1. Student ability to spontaneously and intuitively apply course material in real contexts.
2. Interaction that is motivated by interest, rather than quantitative participation requirements.
3. Interaction beyond the discussion board and beyond the course.
4. Collaboration that is individuallydriven and comfortable; rather than forced groupwork with assigned groups that hasn't worked in the faceto-face classroom, and is even worse in the online classroom.
5. More emphasis on student-created content, and less on static, instructordeveloped, or "canned" content.
6. Student ability to make connections between disciplines and knowledge domains.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ONLINE FACULTY
ONLINE INSTRUCTORS SHOULD BE THE "GUIDE ON THE SLDE/' NOT THE "SAGE ON THE STAGE"
If you are taking a course, do you really want your instructor to be the "guide on the side?" This phrase has been used extensively in online education to define the "proper" role of the instructor in online learning environments. However, what it suggests is an instructor who is on the side, not in a leadership position.
We know now that one of the most significant complaints of students in the online environment is not receiving enough direction from the instructor, a lack of responsiveness of the instructor, and a lack of feedback. Have instructors taken the "guide on the side" too far? Some have, in spite of research that shows when teaching presence is high, students are more successful, feel more connected, and learning outcomes are improved (Shea, Li, & Pickett, 2006).
This assumption needs to be examined from two perspectives - first, what is the culture of faculty development, and how are faculty engaged in the culture, and second, there may be no single role of the instructor.
Our faculty development, orientation, and evaluation methods create a culture that faculty must identify and can reconcile their role with. For example, some areas of cultural alignment are:
1. Attitudes toward nontraditional students.
2. Views about how to balance flexibility and academic integrity.
3. Strategies for working with "difficult" students.
4. Perceptions about the various roles of the faculty member in an online classroom.
The role of the instructor may be more a matter of culture than an "either/or" question. Anyone can learn how to use a learning management system, but the understanding of the culture of online learning, and how to move between roles in a collaborative way is something that needs attention and careful development.
To this end, we would propose that we move away from "training" faculty to be neither a "sage," nor a "guide." Other words have also been used to describe the role of the instructor in the online learning environment, such as a mentor and facilitator. There are indeed many roles that faculty must play in the online environment and at different times; therefore, they need to have the skill and ability to know when to be a leader, a guide, an authority, a scholar, a manager, and an advisor.
As we develop faculty and faculty culture, it is important to cultivate an environment of shared and collaborative decision making. This will mean that we get out of the mindset of "training" faculty and into a mindset of "developing" faculty.
FACULTY WORKLOAD ISSUES DO NOT APPLY TO ADJUNCTS
Does it take more time to teach online? There is perhaps no other issue in online education more controversial than faculty workload. Compared to face-to-face teaching, the time it takes to develop and teach online may be greater, though by how much is unclear. This aspect of workload (i.e., it takes more time to teach online) is often cited by fulltime faculty as a deterrent to online teaching.
Much of our online load in higher education is taught by adjunct faculty. This raises two obvious questions:
1. How do online adjunct faculty manage the workload, many of whom are "professional adjuncts" teaching as many as 10 courses concurrently?
2. If we know it takes more time, then why do we continue to raise class size?
So, how do instructors do it? Especially, how do online faculty who are teaching multiple classes and perhaps even holding down a fulltime job manage such workload? Though most of us will not admit it, they essentially cut corners, and we tend to see the symptoms of this in student evaluations. Faculty responsiveness and quality of student feedback remain the critical quality issues in online education.
Most troubling is that many institutions have increased class sizes, which translates to an unrealistic workload for faculty, and ultimately compromises their ability to give extensive and meaningful feedback to students let alone build the learning communities and student engagement that we value and seek to create. Consider a typical 25-student class with a weekly student workload of two short papers, and discussion participation with a minimum of 2 posts per week per student. This translates a single week of work into 50 papers, a minimum of 50 discussion postings to read and respond to at least half of them, and 25 sets of discussion postings to grade.
These are problems that, in order to solve, require a much more holistic review, rather than simply evaluating the problems as faculty performance issues. In reality, we should do more to understand the impact of workload issues on adjunct faculty, their professional lives, and their instructional practices.
These points are not intended to advocate for a reduction in all class sizes, as there are many factors that play into the decision, but we must review faculty workload issues with a realistic eye, and consider the issues in the context of the quality of the student experience. Still, many online courses contain "busywork" for students, which translates to "busywork" for faculty, and both faculty and learners are distracted from the transformative process of teaching, learning, and building collaborative communities. As administrators, we must ensure that our expectations are not only reasonable, but support the accomplishment of the goals we intend.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT STUDENTS
THERE IS A "PROFILE" OF THE ONLINE LEARNER
Is the profile of the online learner a smiling single mom, holding a baby in one hand and a laptop in the other? It is quite possible that we have unduly categorized online learners into a strangely happy and homogenous group. This is obvious in marketing materials, which tend to portray young people juggling groceries, babies, files, and a laptop - yet smiling and seemingly unstressed as they are reaching their educational goals in their pajamas.
According to a 2002 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) report, nontraditional students make up 73% of all students enrolled in undergraduate programs, and 39% of all undergraduate students are 25 years or older (Choy, 2002).
We typically define nontraditional students as having at least one or more of the following characteristics:
1. Delayed entrance or later return to higher education,
2. Attends part time,
3. Works full time,
4. Is considered financially independent,
5. Has dependents other than self,
6. Is a single parent,
7. Has a GED.
Defined in this way, nontraditional students can be anyone and everyone. There is no homogenous profile of the online learner, but what does this mean for online education?
First, it means that we must not allow marketing materials to influence our assumptions about online learners. The stress of balancing education with life does not produce smiling people holding babies and laptops.
Second, we must continue to learn more about our students and how to best meet their educational and professional needs. The diversity of demographic characteristics and experiences that online, nontraditional students bring to the classroom are invaluable, but we must help faculty know how to leverage this diversity, rather than allow it to become a detractor or challenge in the learning environment. We can also look forward to the online classroom becoming more diverse and multicultural, and we should be continuously examining and reexamining the learning environment, student support services, course design, and faculty development for ways to serve an increasingly diverse student body.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF ONLINE LEARNING
THOSE WHO OPPOSE, DOUBT, OR RESIST ONLINE LEARNING MUST BE CONVERTED
Are there two "camps" in your organization - those who adopt online, and those who resist? Do you feel like it is your mission to convert the resistors?
First of all, online learning is not about technology. It is about a new paradigm of learning - what learning is, how we define it, how we assign value to it, and what purpose it serves to society. The question of how we facilitate it is secondary.
Sometimes, "online advocates" forget that we are all in this together. While we may believe that we are a special, more enlightened group, we do need to recognize that the "resistors" (who happen to also think they are a special, more enlightened group) want the same things as we want. As we are all serving students, it is important to shift the focus from process (teaching) to outcomes (learning). As educators, we tend to value process, not product. All of our salient issues in higher education are about process. Curriculum committees, governance structures, regulatory processes, evaluation systems, tenure and rank issues, intellectual property issues, which technologies to use.... All of these issues are part of the complex web of the sometimes very contentious and adversarial relationships between administration and faculty over the issue of controlling the process.
Perpetuating this rift in the academy does not move us closer to understanding learner goals and innovative ways to meet those goals. While we continue these squabbles in the ivory tower, this may very well be the reason the traditional academy is lagging in entering the online market, and for-profit higher education is a burgeoning business. They clearly understand learner outcomes and have built processes to support those outcomes, but we cannot get past the process arguments to even realize that we all want the same outcome. Understanding that there is no "conversion" necessary will help us to have the dialogue and conversations that will develop healthier understandings and build shared visions and shared goals.
ONLINE LEARNING WILL TRANSFORM THE TRADITIONAL ACADEMY
Will online learning transform higher education and the traditional academy? The bottom line is that we need new values to support new learners. In fact, the growing complexity of the modern world cannot be ignored, and we experience it in the changing demographic landscape, the evolving job market, economic development initiatives, the demand for workforce and executive leadership programs, and more adult (or career-oriented) students participating in higher education. Clearly, a major factor is that in the changing global economy, the competitiveness and success of the United States depends on educating and re-educating the workforce and this propels more adult students into higher education. Online education works quite well for adult students, for the obvious reasons of time, convenience and geography. However, the presence of adult and nontraditional students in higher education has created some interesting challenges to the university, as we know it.
Online communications technology has inarguably reached a critical mass. In fact, a 2009 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 74% of all American adults and 93% of teens use the Internet (Jones & Fox, 2009). Further research from the Pew organization has noted that 82% of Americans have cell phones and 69% have used cloud computing (Horrigon, 2008). Because of this, the pedagogical, financial, and philosophical implications for higher education are vast. However, online learning is still slow to become a mission-critical initiative at many higher education institutions. There are many reasons for this apparent slow progression of online learning into the mainstream academy - some a matter of opinion, some a matter of history - but many a matter of culture.
Culture is the collective expression of shared values. Here is an example: in the traditional academy, "quality" is characterized by slow, thoughtful, careful action and only after much collaborative deliberation and debate. Committees, meetings, the precision of filing forms, and task forces are all concrete examples of how the traditional academy enforces quality. If something takes a long time, the assumption is that it must have gone through a rigorous, quality process. However, the paradox is that the quality process impedes its own purpose, especially when you define quality education as the provision of access to high-quality, career-relevant degree programs that truly serve the evolving needs of our learners and our future workforce.
Interestingly, private, for-profit postsecondary institutions continue to experience the highest percentage of growth among nontraditional students (Choy, 2002). In the 2008-2009 Almanac edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Phoenix was reported to enroll more students than any other university in America. A recent US News and World Report reported that the largest business program in the United States is offered by the University of Phoenix ("The Largest Online Grad Programs," 2009). Among education programs, the largest five, in order, are Waiden University, University of Phoenix, National University, Nova Southeastern University (private, not-for-profit), and Capella University.
Whatever you think of for-profit, proprietary schools, the fact remains that nontraditional students choose (remember, they have many choices . . . some a lot less expensive) to go there to meet their academic goals.
It may be a stretch to predict that online learning, let alone nontraditional students, will change the traditional academy. If we look at the essential values of higher education, we can see a clear mismatch between the values of professional, adult, and nontraditional students and those of the traditional academy. Table 1 presents a few of the ways in which these values clash.
So what part do we play in this? As distance learning administrators, we need to consider the following implications:
1. How can we make online learning more student centered?
2. Is this the end of the "learning management system" and the rise of the "personalized learning environment?"
3. What new assessment measures are needed to assess engagement, interaction, self-directed learning, and learner control?
4. What new theories of learning are needed to propel us to the next generation of online learning?
5. Have we boxed the definition of quality into only the things we can measure?
6. Is there no significant difference between face-to-face and online learning because there is no significant difference?
7. How can we best support faculty in moving toward a less defined and more dynamic role in the online classroom?
8. What is the future of online learning for traditional higher education?
9. Should traditional universities just step aside and leave it to the for-profits to step in and serve nontraditional students?
We need to seriously contemplate these questions. Why? We don't want to lose our relevance. According to a recent Chronicle Research Services report, The College of 2020: Students, "colleges that attempt to cram their styles down students' throats on the basis that it is "good for them" may quickly find themselves uncompetitive in the new higher-education universe" (Van de Werf & Sabatier, 2009, p. 7). While some may believe this is just hype, can we afford not to take it seriously?
"... COLLEGES THAT ATTEMPT TO CRAM THEIR STYLES DOWN STUDENTS' THROATS ON THE BASIS THAT IT IS 'GOOD FOR THEM' AAAY QUICKLY FIND THEMSELVES UNCOMPETITIVE IN THE NEW HIGHER-EDUCATION UNIVERSE."
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2007). Online nation: Five years of growth in online learning. Needham MA: Sloan Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/ pdi/online_nation.pdf.
Choy, S. (2002). Findings from the condition of education 2002: Nontraditional Undergraduates (NCES 2002-012). U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics. Washington, DC: US. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http:// nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/2002012.pdf
Horrigon, J. (2008). Use of cloud computing applications and services. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www .pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/ 2008/PIP_Cloud.Memo.pdf.pdf
Johnson, L. R, Levine, A., & Smith, R, S. (2008). 2008 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2008-HorizonReportpdf
Johnson, L. R, Levine, A., & Smith, R. S. (2009). 2009 Horizon Report. Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2009-HorizonReportpdf
Jones, S., & Fox, S. (2009). Generations online in 2009. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/ topics/Generations.aspx
Kim, K., & Bonk, C. J. (2006). The future of online teaching and learning in higher education: The survey says . . . EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 29(4), 22-30. Retrieved from http:// net.educause.edu/irAibrary/pdf/eqm0644.pdf
Shea, P, Li, C, Swan K., & Pickett, A. (2006) A study of teaching presence and student sense of learning community in fully online and web-enhanced college courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 9(3), 175-190.
Siemens, G (2004). Connectivisim: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles /connectivism. htm
The largest online grad programs. (2009, May). U. S. News & World Report, 52-53.
Van der Werf, M., & Sabatier, G. (2009). The college of 2020: Students. Washington, DC: Chronicle Research Services.
Vice President of Academic Affairs,
Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design,
1600 Pierce Street, Denver, CO 80214.
Dean of Online Education,
Dallas Baptist University,
3000 Mountain Creek Parkway,
Dallas, TX 75211.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Challenging Our Assumptions about Online Learning: A Vision for the Next Generation of Online Higher Education. Contributors: Puzziferro, Maria - Author, Shelton, Kaye - Author. Magazine title: Distance Learning. Volume: 6. Issue: 4 Publication date: July 1, 2009. Page number: 9+. © Information Age Publishing, Inc. 2007. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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