2. What the Research Tells Us

Research on online learning effectiveness, student satisfaction, faculty satisfaction and access dates back more than a decade and a half at this point. Professor Karen Swan leads the discussions this week as we delve into what we know, how we know it, and what we hope to yetstill need to learn about online learning. Professor Swan is the James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Illinois Springfield. She is known for her research in learning effectiveness, and most recently, the Community of Inquiry (CoI).  

Karen will be joined on the panel by two other CoI (among many other things) researchers, Phil Ice, VP of Research at American Public University System, and Ben Arbaugh, Professor of Business at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  All three were instrumental in the development of the CoI survey, a theory-based instrument which measures student perceptions of learning processes in online courses (http://communitiesofinquiry.com/methodology). Please visit their Academia.edu sites (see below) to read some of their work on these issues.

In preparation for the Thursday panel, we invite you to tell us what you think are the most important findings in online research, the most promising methodologies, and what we still need to know about online learning.  And of course feel free to add topics in online learning research you think are important.  Join the discussions:

in the What the Research Tells Us Study Group (wiki) at:
in Google Groups at: 

or in Moodle at:

We will try to incorporate your ideas in the panel discussion and summarize the discussions at the end of our week.

Live presentation
View the recording of the live session.

On Thursday, July 7, at 2:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 pm Central, noon Mountain; 11:00 am Pacific time in the U.S. - 7:00 pm London time, we will host a live Web conference on the weekly topic. 
We plan to provide hundreds of streams of the "live" Thursday sessions in both flash format and non-flash (mobile) format so that participants can view the panels.  A Twitter back channel will also be encouraged for ongoing discussion of the panel.  The hour-long conversation will be recorded and the URL for the recording will be made available the following day, July 8th. 

Panelists will be addressing three general questions:
  1. What are the most important findings to date coming out of online learning research?  (What do we know?)
  2. What methodologies have been most commonly used in online learning research and what promising methodologies are emerging? (How do we know it?)
  3. What are the most pressing questions that still remain unanswered?  Where is online learning research headed in the near term? (What do we still need to know?)

Joining us for the live session will be:
Karen Swan, Moderator, Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Illinois Springfield
Karen Swan is the Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield.  Karen has been doing research in the learning sciences for 25 years and has published over 100 articles and book chapters and presented extensively in the area of educational technology and media.  She has been involved with online teaching and learning for over a decade, both as an instructor and as a researcher, and is well known for her research on learning effectiveness and interactivity in online environments. Dr. Swan was the 2006 recipient of the Sloan-C award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual, and in 2010 was inducted into the inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows. 

Find out more about Dr. Swan and access some of her papers at: http://ui-springfield.academia.edu/KarenSwan

Phil Ice, Vice President, American Public University System
Phil Ice is the VP of Research and Development at American Public University System (APUS) and Vice President of Research & Development for Sage Road Analytics, LLC. His research is focused on the impact of new and emerging technologies on cognition in online learning environments. Work in this area has brought him international recognition in the form of three Sloan-C Effective Practice of the Year Awards (2007, 2009 and 2010), the AliveTek/DLA Innovation on Online Distance Learning Administration Award, and the Adobe Higher Education Leaders Impact Award. The importance of Phil's vision for the future of technology in higher education is also demonstrated by his inclusion on the advisory council for the 2011 NMC / ELI Horizon Report and his role as Principal Investigator on a $1.05 million WICHE/WCET grant to explore online retention patterns across six institutions.

Find out more about Dr. Ice and access some of his papers at: http://apus.academia.edu/PhilIce

Ben Arbaugh, John McNaughton Rosebush Professor of Management, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Ben Arbaugh is a Professor of Strategy and Project Management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Dr. Arbaugh currently is Editor of Academy of Management Learning & Education and a past chair of the Management Education and Development Division of the Academy of Management. He was the 2009 GMAC Management Education Research Institute Faculty Research Fellow, and was recently named as a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Rosebush Professor. Dr. Arbaugh’s online teaching and learning research has won best article awards from the Journal of Management Education and the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education along with numerous conference best paper awards. In 2008 he won the UW Oshkosh College of Business Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award. He has provided his expertise in online teaching and learning for a number of activities within and outside the UW System, including teaching in the UW MBA Consortium, developing Shareable Content Objects as part of a UW System FIPSE grant, advising for the Kent State University Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future Program and evaluating the Accelerated Online BSN program for UW Oshkosh’s College of Nursing.

Find out more about Dr. Arbaugh and access some of his papers at: http://uwosh.academia.edu/BenArbaugh

Live Sessions

Live panel discussion sessions will be held each Thursday at 2:00 pm eastern daylight, 1:00 pm central daylight, noon mountain daylight, 11:00 am pacific daylight and 7:00 pm London time. They may be viewed live online at:

Your screen will look like this:  

The audio of the panel and slides will appear on the left of the screen.
For this session we will be using the Twitter hashtag #edumooc2.  The Twitter back channel feed will appear center screen.
A Twitter compose gadget will appear on the right for those with Twitter accounts to upload tweets.

The session will be recorded and be made available online for those who wish to view later.

You are encouraged to visit these resources as we examine the topic of the week. Our weekly lists are not comprehensive, but rather they are a sampling of the range of resources available for each weekly topic. All of the sites we list are open; that is, they do not require paid subscriptions. Please take advantage of your Google Groups eduMOOC membership to discuss these sites and recommend addtiions.  Please also visit the Academia.edu sites for our three panelists to read some of their work and take this opportunity to discuss it with the authors:


Sites and Organizations
  • USDoE / SRI meta study http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf

  • Introduction Community of Inquiry http://communitiesofinquiry.com/

  • ADEC (American Distance Education Consortium) http://www.adec.edu/
    A consortium of state and land grant institutions for the creation and provision of high quality, economical distance education programs and services to diverse audiences

  • CNIE (Canadian Network for Innovation in Education) http://www.cnie-rcie.ca/
    Formerly the Canadian Association for Distance Education (CADE). Formed by the merger of two associations, CNIE is a national organization of professionals committed to excellence in the provision of innovation in education in Canada.

  • CREAD (Inter-American Distance Education Consortium) http://www.cread.org/
    CREAD is an inter-American non-profit distance education consortium, based at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in South Florida, which supports the mission of CREAD in developing distance education at an inter-American level through inter- institutional cooperation.

  • EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network) http://www.eden-online.org/
    A nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

  • eLearning Guild http://www.elearningguild.com/
    A membership community of practice for designers, developers, and managers of e-Learning.

  • iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning) http://www.inacol.org/
    A membership organization to facilitate collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning.

  • ODLAA (Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia) http://odlaa.org/
    A nonprofit professional association of members interested in the practice and administration of distance education and open learning.

  • SLOAN-C (Sloan Consortium for Quality Online Education) http://sloanconsortium.org/
    An institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education

  • USDLA (United States Distance Learning Association) http://www.usdla.org/
    A non-profit association formed to promote the development and application of distance learning for education and training.

  • More... http://depd.wisc.edu/html/organs3.htm

Ezines, Journals and Articles
  • Willinsky, John. Book Chapter. The New Openness in Educational Research

  • AJET (Australasian Journal of Educational Technology) http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet.html
    AJET is a refereed journal publishing research and review articles in educational technology, instructional design, educational applications of computer technologies, educational telecommunications and related areas, including many articles on online learning

  • EJEL (Electronic Journal of E-Learning) http://www.ejel.org/
    The Electronic Journal of e-learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-learning initiatives. The journal contributes to the development of both theory and practice in the field of e-Learning.

  • EURODL (European Journal of Open, Distance, and E-Learning) http://www.eurodl.org/
    EURODL, supported by EDEN, the European Distance and E-learning Network, presents scholarly work and solid information about open, distance and e-learning as well as new dimensions of technology-enhanced learning and contributes to the Open Content movement since 1995

  • IJEDICT (International Journal of Education and Development using ICTs) http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/
    IJEDICT  is an online journal that strengthen links between research and practice in ICT in education and development in low and middle income countries and and rural and remote regions of high income countries. The emphasis is on providing a space for researchers, practitioners and theoreticians to jointly explore ideas in order to transfer best practice, policy development and theory creation.

  • IRRODL (The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning) http://www.irrodl.org/  
    First published in July 2000, IRRODL is a refereed, interactive online journal published by Athabasca University. The purpose is to contribute and disseminate to practitioners and scholars worldwide scholarly knowledge in each of three areas: theory, research, and best practice in open and distance learning.

  • OJDLA (Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration) http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/
    The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration is a peer-reviewed electronic journal offered free each quarter over the World Wide Web. The journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of practitioners and researchers with specific focus or implications for the management of distance education programs.

  • JIOL (Journal of Interactive Online Learning) http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/
    The Journal of Interactive Online Learning focuses on providing a venue for manuscripts, critical essays, and reviews that encompass disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in regards to issues related to higher-level learning outcomes.

  • JOLT (Journal of Online Learning and Teaching) http://jolt.merlot.org/
    Journal of Online Learning and Teaching is a peer-reviewed, open access, online publication addressing the scholarly use of multimedia resources in online education. It is published by MERLOT, the premier repository of online learning materials.

  • JTLA (Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment) http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/jtla/
    The Journal of Technology, Learning and Assessment is a peer-reviewed, scholarly on-line journal addressing the intersection of computer-based technology, learning, and assessment. Hosted by Boston College, it is also supported by the Hewlett Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

  • SLOAN-C SURVEY REPORTS http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/index.asp
    Sloan-C produced a series of reports on the extent and quality of online learning in the United States from 2003 to 2010 which give probably the best quantitative assessment of the extent of online learning during that period


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This work by Center for Online Learning, Research and Service - University of Illinois Springfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.