Effectiveness

DISTANCE AND DISTRIBUTED EDUCATION
ANNUAL REPORT 2012-2013

FY 2012- 2013 Academic Year (Su12-Sp13)

1) Name of department chairperson or director?
Dr. Melanie Clay, Executive Director of Extended Degree Programs and USG eCore

2) Email address of department chairperson or director?
melaniec@westga.edu

3) List departmental mission statement?
The Distance & Distributed Education Center is a university-wide function at UWG which serves to develop and enhance the university's ability to deliver education to campus students, online students, and students at remote locations as well as to meet institutional distance learning goals. Through intercampus sharing of resources, the Distance and Distributed Education Center facilitates collaboration among university colleges, schools, and departments to deliver quality distance instruction, faculty and student services, and other distance learning initiatives

4) List departmental goals for this reporting year.

  • Work with faculty to design, develop, implement, and evaluate distance learning environments that encourage and support excellence in a personal environment.
  • In collaboration with other campus and state departments, maintain the human and technical resources and network infrastructure necessary to successfully support and deliver distance and distributed learning.
  • Ensure that academic, faculty, and student services are appropriate to meet the needs of distance and distributed learners and instructors.
  • Conduct continuous evaluation of distance and distributed learning and support services to ensure the advancement of the University's mission and adherence to quality standards.
  • Support research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which promote knowledge of distance learning, teaching, and design.

Assessment Information

5) List assessments used to measure progress toward departmental goals.

Enrollment reports, customer service surveys, course completion and retention reports, helpdesk reports, written student surveys at the end of each term, instructor summaries of student survey results, random phone surveys of students in online courses, informal discussions with students and faculty, Faculty Workshop evaluations.

Most of these assessments and their results are provided publicly on our website at http://uwgonline.westga.edu (Look under About Us, under the heading Effectiveness)

6) Based on the assessments of departmental goals, discuss any departmental improvements.

  1. Based on assessment data showing students' desire for more online offerings: 93% of students (Spring 2013) said that they would take another online course in the future and 58% of indicated that they would like to see more classes and programs offered entirely online.
    • The number of fully online programs (including degree programs and other online program offerings like eCore  - which is not a degree program but a distinct offering) continues to grow. In FY09, UWG offered 9. By FY13, we had nearly doubled those offerings, reaching a total of 17 and fostering the development of 9 additional fully online programs to be offered in FY14.  The array of UWG Online offerings that the DDEC supports includes undergraduate and graduate degree programs, certificates, and endorsements, in addition to serving as a host affiliate for the state-wide online eCore and WebMBA programs. Currently, we offer two of the three online doctorate programs offered in the state and a third online doctorate program is in development for FY14.
    • The demand for online courses seems to be particularly high during the Summer semesters, with 64% of all UWG students taking at least one online course during Summer 2012 (versus 60% in Summer 2011 and 23% on Summer 2010).  
    • While the percent growth of the total number of distance courses (51-100% online) offered each year appears to be flattening off (FY13 saw a 10% growth (1275) over FY12, while FY12 (1143) offered a 20% growth over FY11 (908)), the enrollment in online courses continues to increase. This appears to be a result of more efficient scheduling (less course sections with more students enrolled).
    • Similarly, the number of fully online UWG courses offered, not counting eCore or WebMBA, saw an 18% increase from 544 in FY12 to 659 in FY13.  FY12 saw a 25% increase from 410 in FY11 to 544 in FY12 (compared to a 17% increase the year prior).
    • The number of students enrolled in ONLY online classes rose from 846 in Fall 2011 (FY12) to 1189 in Fall 2012 (FY13).
  2. To meet the increase in online course offerings and online programs, the DDEC transitioned to support separate DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Success and Student Services Teams. The Faculty Success Team is centrally located on campus and provided faculty help desk, training, instructional design services, and program planning consultations.  Just-in-time support via drop-in was also provided, as well as equipment checkout for online faculty. The Faculty Success Team provided a three-pronged approach in faculty training and development, including extended in-depth training, face-to-face topical workshops, and self-paced online tutorials; created and implemented a DDEC UWG|Online Certification model for online instructors; provided research analysis and basic training for content creation software; and researched nationally recognized institutional review processes which resulted in adding Quality Matters to our institutional memberships which already included SLOAN Consortium.
    • UWG|Online Faculty Success Team disseminated a newsletter aimed at UWG faculty interested in, or already involved in, teaching online. The newsletter brings up-to-date information and resources regarding designing, developing, teaching, and evaluating online/hybrid courses to faculty. The newsletter is disseminated via the ALL-FAC listserv. Four issues of the newsletter have been published in FY13 (http://uwgfdc.wiki.westga.edu/Newsletter).
    • The university formed a university-wide committee (Quality Control of Online Courses) to study and make recommendations. This committee is headed by Dr. Jason Huett and is composed of current online faculty and online program stakeholders. During FY13, the committee has addressed issues related to consistency in language used to identify online courses and programs, and recommendations for required elements in syllabi for online courses. Both issues are expected to be brought before Faculty Senate for approval.
    • As part of the Student Success Team. DDEC’s UWG Online Helpdesk staff responded to approximately 12502 help tickets (students and faculty) in FY13.  Despite the high volume of calls, respondents to the helpdesk customer services survey rated overall support services an average of 9.7 out of 10 in FY13, compared to 9.6 in FY12. 
    • The Faculty Success Team built upon their existing just-in-time support, helpdesk services, and existing menu of highly-rated topical workshops with ‘best practices’ topics in the form of “Did You Know”, custom workshops requested and designed at the program or departmental level, as well as quick self-paced topical video tutorials accessible on the DDEC UWG|Online web page increasing their offerings to faculty by 60% over FY12. The DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center has conducted 109 workshops (excluding cohort sessions), an increase of over 50% over FY12. This equates to over 175 hours of face to face instructional time during the FY13.  Total Attendance for the workshops for FY13 was 610 faculty (2,950% increase over FY12). Attendees rated the workshops as meeting and or exceeding their needs. The increase in attendance is attributed to the change in LMS systems.
    • In FY13,  69 faculty members received DDEC UWG|Online Certified Online Instructor certification and an additional 15 completed the requirements for DDEC UWG|Online Certified Online Course Developer. In addition, two individual colleges requested custom cohorts resulting in an additional 26 faculty members being awarded Online Instructor certification. The initial baseline completion rate for the UWG|Online Certified Online Instructor was established at 54% in FY12. By June13, the completion rate had risen to 70%. As of June13, 36% of identified online instructors have completed the initial certification course.
    • To increase awareness for BlackBoard Collaborate and to support iApollo and the development of collegial relationships, the DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Success Team developed a consistent calendar of one hour synchronous webinars presented live and then archived and made available on the UWG|Online web page. A total of 32 separate sessions have been conducted in FY13 through the end of May13 with an average attendance of 9 participants. This endeavor has been selected the 2013 Collaborate Innovators Award by the Blackboard Collaborate Users Group. Jan13, the UWG|Online Faculty Development Center reactivated and updated the iApollo ListServ and created a corresponding page in Google as a Social Media outlet to meet the needs of current online faculty located both on campus and those at a distance.  There are 155 faculty members included in the ListServ. 
    • The DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Success Team recorded 134 specialized one on one consultations (called Dr. D’s) (down 42) with a total duration of 169 hours for FY13 up to Mar13 (a 67% increase in time over FY12 indicating a more indepth consultation). Ticketing data specifically generated by UWG|Online Faculty Success Team from July12 through June13 indicates that faculty accessed the Faculty Success Team 2,387 times. Project requests were generated an average 99 times per month, with the remainder of tickets being generated for standard helpcalls.
  3. Ongoing reflective course evaluations completed by faculty and students at the end of every semester and research conducted on effective practices, indicated a need to increase knowledge of instructional design and pedagogy for the development of online courses, as well as instructors’ skill with various transformative online technologies.
    • The DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center continued to provide continuous faculty training and support for emerging software, LMS integrated tools. and instructional best practices conducting 92 face to face group workshops integrating both ‘how to’ and effective best practices for online course development.
    • The DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center increasedthe type and scope of training materials to faculty in FY13 by 60% over FY12.
    • The DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center instituted a UWG|Online Certification program to increase faculty awareness of effective instructional design and content development that meets Federal requirements for accessibility and pedagogical standards. 69 (36%) faculty members identified as teaching online have completed the course as of June13.
    • To increase the number of exemplar courses for faculty and to further promote faculty recognized for developing exemplar online courses, DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center increased the submission process for 5 Star Courses to bi-annual. Through FY13, 9 fully online courses have been awarded 5 Star distinctions (a 600% increase over FY12).  Listings of 5 Star Courses with instructor contact information have been added to the UWG|Online Faculty web page.
    • As required by the USG in FY13, the DDEC assisted the university in upgrading from the Blackboard Vista 8 learning management system to the Desire2Learn 10 learning management system. During this migration, the DDEC helped more than 400 instructors migrate and/or redevelop more approximately 8000 online courses; helped instructors and students learn the new sytem; and redeveloped all training, support, and reference materials.
    • In FY13, the DDEC maintained support for the existing Wimba video-conferencing tools, while also introducing the newest version of the package called “Blackboard Collaborate”.  During the transition to the new Desire2Learn LMS, however, the use of Wimba/Blackboard Pronto IM and some of the functionality of other Wimba Tools was diminished due to lack of integration with the new system. Re-integration will be a goal in FY14.
    • The DDEC also continued to be a leader in innovation and technology services by supporting a wide-array of tranformative online education tools - and in some cases providing the tools and their support for campus-wide use. See http://uwgonline.westga.edu/tools-and-software.php
  4. As a result of informal assessments regarding the need for more student support updates, as well as media driven orientations and tutorials integrated directly into CourseDen, the DDEC's Student Services team provided the use of our “FREE Optional Resources - How to Use CourseDen” course. This was built by our staff to provide all UWG students the tools needed to succeed in any online course regardless of the tools/software used by their instructors.
    • As of Spring 2013, 19215 users (students and some staff) were enrolled in the optional online orientation course.
    • The DDEC also utilized an online Ssudent listserv (UWG-Wolf  - “Wise Online Learners Forum”) to provide upcoming news, updates, announcements, and helpful information specifically to those students enrolled in at least one fully online course (an average of 4200 each FY13 semester).
    • The DDEC Student Services Team created 20 new media driven, audio narrated instructional tutorials to give the user personalized orientations to tools/services supported by our department. The mutli-media was disseminated through various social-media anwd web outlets, including the UWG|Online YouTube channel.

7) Attach additional assessment information (not related to student learning outcomes in academic programs which are input in another section of the system), consolidate information into one PDF document and upload it here. Assessment File Upload (No file uploaded)


Please discuss your department's initiatives toward the UWG Strategic Goals
You only need to reply to the goals your department addressed this year

8) Every undergraduate academic program will demonstrate a distinctive blending of liberal arts education, professional competencies, and experiential learning, preparing students to be ethically responsible and civically engaged professionals in the global economy of the 21st century.

USG eCore and distance education are both noted as key components of Complete College Georgia (CCG) in Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan 2012. A main objective of CCG is to “Expand deployment of eCore™ (Georgia’s Core Curriculum Online) and online general education options to ensure that institutions have just-in-time capacity for students’ unrestricted progression through the core curriculum.”

The eCore (USG core curriculum online) course-level learning outcomes (COLAs) continue to be mapped to the General Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes which include critical thinking, global and United States perspectives. The learning outcomes are measured each year during the Fall semester and published in the annual eCore Factbook.   (Christy)

Members of the UWG Online teams played critical roles in furthering UWG’s strategic plan document titled “Grow West: A Strategic Plan for the Targeted Advancement of Online Teaching and Learning at UWG.” This plan outlines seven recommendations to to help UWG further leverage the potential of online learning to better prepare all students for the 21st Century. This plan was unanimously approved by Faculty Senate, and online teaching and learning has been formally recognized as an integral part of our strategic planning and student success.

9) Every undergraduate student will be advised to take advantage of one of multiple available learning communities. Learning communities that are available to students will include communities organized by living arrangement, by year in program, by other co-curricular associations - Honors Program, Advanced Academy, Band, Athletics, Debate, or program in the major.

    • The UWG Online Student Services Team offered face-to-face, live online, and asynchronous online, informal education opportunities for students to learn more about taking online courses. The Student Services Team collaborated with the First-Year Experience and UWG Orientation staff, to provide approximately 44 of the live sessions and over 12 Ignite events around the Carrollton campus.

    • UWG Online established a vibrant presence on Facebook and Twitter in FY13, with over 300 and 700 followers respectively.

    • In FY13, DDEC helped build and support 38 distinct learning community course sites within our learning management system.  Communities ranged from course sites for at-risk students (EXCEL Center) to History majors.

10) The University will endeavor to increase enrollment in and graduation from graduate programs, including doctoral programs, that have as their mark a practical professional purpose, experiential learning opportunities, and an intellectual program informed by a foundation of liberal education.

In addition to other online graduate programs in Education, Nursing, and Applied Computer Science, the UWG Online team members have been instrumental in helping to develop, transition, and support three online/hybrid doctoral programs over the last two years including the current operational  Doctorate of Education in School Improvement and Nursing Education. The third program, the Doctorate of Education in Counseling, began development in FY13 and is expected to start enrolling students in FY14. These programs allowed UWG to obtain a Level VI classification. Level VI is the highest level of SACS classification.

Annual enrollment numbers in our online B.S. in Criminology program grew by 61% from 993 students in FY12 to 1599 in FY13.  FY14 enrollments look promising, with a 39% increase from 310 in Summer 2012 to 430 in Summer 2013.  Across all undergraduate offerings, both the enrollment in fully online undergraduate courses and course sections grew by 5% from FY12 to FY13, while the variety of unique online courses grew by 15%. This growth supports the recommendation of our UWG Online Degrees Task Force that UWG develop additional 100% online degree programs at the undergraduate level in order to increase access and further the aim of Complete College Georgia. Though we have many undergraduate programs moving a wider array of upper-level courses online, the BS in Criminology remains our only officially online undergraduate program.

11) The University will maintain an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.

UWG's online offerings provide students the opportunity to complete undergraduate and graduate courses and degrees online at our accredited university, free from time and location limitations. Instructors receive high-quality training and support, including instructional design guidance including our own 5 Star Course Rubric for self-assessment of curse design and best practices of online teaching. Student support services, including enrollment counseling, bookstore, library services, tutoring, test proctoring and disability services are coordinated through the eCore Administration.

12) The University community will provide a balanced variety of cultural, recreational, leisure, and informal education programming opportunities for faculty, staff, and students that enhance the quality of campus life.

  • Online faculty can participate in subject area and academia discussions via multiple virtual and face-to-face faculty development opportunities year-round. The DDEC UWG|Online delivered 97 face to face workshops, and seven separate UWG Certification opportunities to UWG faculty and staff. The average workshop length was typically 1.5 hours; with the certification courses lasting 9 weeks with 5 online modules and a minimum of 12 hours of face to face synchronous instruction.
  • Online faculty have been added to the iApollo ListServ which was revamped in Jan13 to include Collaborate synchronous sessions held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Sessions are open to all, are archived, and added to the UWG|Online Faculty web page for easy access.

  • To further develop a positive culture of support throughout the campus, the DDEC UWG|Online Faculty Development Center in FY13 introduced the Faculty Success Team to the campus at-large, via video and a dedicated web page which is updated quarterly.

  • In FY13, the DDEC UWG|Online increased their efforts to acknowledge the exceptional work of our faculty by taking an active stance on promoting faculty via social media platforms and actively nominating and promoting faculty for various national, regional, and local awards. Jim Bellon, a member of the COSM faculty, was nominated and received recognition for the 2013 USG Collaborate Innovator of the Year Award by UWG|Online Faculty Development for his development of an online tutorial service for online math students using Blackboard Collaborate. UWG Online staff members, Matias Marabotto and Debra Robinson also won the same award for the UWG Online iApollo program.
  • The UWG Online Student Services Team offered face-to-face, live online, and asynchronous online, informal education opportunities for students to learn more about taking online courses. The Student Services Team collaborated with the First-Year Experience and UWG Orientation staff, to provide approximately 44 of the live sessions and over 12 Ignite events around the Carrollton campus.
  • UWG Online established a vibrant presence on Facebook and Twitter, in FY13 with over 300 and 700 followers respectively.

13) All units will strive to improve the compensation and working environment of faculty and staff in order to recruit and retain the best individuals.

The DDEC provided limited stipends, travel, and equipment funds to faculty completing specified training and course development. Faculty consistently indicated their appreciation for these efforts. Members of the UWG Online team played critical roles furthering the goals of the UWG strategic plan document titled "Grow West: A Strategic Plan for the Targeted Advancement of Online Teaching and Learning at UWG." This plan outlines seven recommendations to help UWG further leverage the potential of online learning including a recommendation to Develop a "System to Incentivize, Train, Support, and Hire Faculty Involved with Online Teaching and Learning." This plan was unanimously approved by Faculty Senate, and should help us improve the compensation and working environment for faculty interested in online and teaching and learning as well as provide direction to recruit and retain the best online teachers.

14) The University will endeavor to increase our overall enrollment to 14,500 by the year 2015.

  • Enrollment in distance courses (51-100% online) rose by 5%, from  22745 in FY12 to 23855 in FY13.

  • Enrollment in fully online courses courses has more than doubled in the last four years. Not counting eCore or WebMBA enrollments, fully online enrollment at UWG grew from 6,272 in FY09 to 15,979 in FY13.

  • The average number of students attending UWG exclusively through online classes each term rose by more than 20%,  from 983 in FY12 to 1247 in FY13.  

15) With our enrollment growth, West Georgia will remain committed to the following targets of academic quality: student to faculty of 18 to 1; average class size of 29; full-time to part-time faculty ratio of 4.4 to 1.

For Fall 2012, the average class size of online courses (courses 50% or more online) stayed low at 20, versus an average class size of 21 during Fall 2011.

16) West Georgia will develop several new facilities to improve quality along with meeting capacity demands due to enrollment growth.

DDEC personnel are housed centrally in the Lower Auditorium (enlarging and undergoing significant renovations), in addition to offices in the Honors House, the Education Building, and the Newnan Center at the University of West Georgia.  To meet local demand, graduate education courses are also offered at a site shared with Georgia Highlands College in Douglasville, Georgia.

17) Capital Campaign: The Development Office will prepare for a capital campaign to assist in meeting the long-term needs of the University of West Georgia.

In FY13, eTuition for fully online courses at UWG generated nearly $4.5 million (up from $3.4 million in FY12) for the institution, while providing scalable operations and faculty incentives for online growth.

18) Communication and Marketing: The Office of University Communications and Marketing (UCM) will internally and externally promote the missions and goals of the strategic plan. This will be achieved by aligning the institution's integrated marketing plan (advertising, visual identity standards, web presence, media relations, etc.) with the strategic plan.

Members of the UWG Online team played critical roles in furthering the UWG strategic plan document titled “Grow West: A Strategic Plan for the Targeted Advancement of Online Teaching and Learning at UWG.” This plan outlines seven recommendations to help UWG further leverage the potential of online learning including a recommendation to “Incorporate Distance Education into UWG’s Advertising and Brand Marketing.” This plan was unanimously approved by Faculty Senate, has already strengthened the working relationship with UCM, and resulted in new and improved marketing materials.

In FY13, extensive marketing efforts were implemented:

  • The DDEC continued marketing "UWG Online" to identify UWG online programs and course offerings as a distinct part of UWG. Logos, wordmarks, and online badges, were all developed as a team effort with UCM.

  • A new database-driven website that is serving as as a template for Admissions, Graduate Studies, and later other academic units, was maintained. (see http://uwgonline.westga.edu)

  • Web 2.0, newspaper advertisements, roadside and digital banners, Google Ad Words, and various SEO (Search Engine Optimization) marketing enhancements have been used. These efforts achieved steady progress in regards to UWG|Online's marketing position. Our Hubspot Marketing Grade ranking rose from the low 60's to a peak of 81 in Jan 2013, with an average ranking of 75 out of 100. The Google AdWords campaign, which ran from July to Sept. 2012, achieved the highest Click Thru Rate of .82% out of 1% in mid August 2012. Efforts are ongoing.

  • The team focuses on four primary goals: -Increasing enrollment (enhance social media and continue recruiting visits) -Enhancing reputation (by highlighting and publicizing the achievements of faculty members) -Increasing course completion rates (by maintaining course revisions and links) -Measuring ROI.

19) Community Relations: The University will engage the local community educationally, culturally and recreationally.

DDEC staff attended over twelve campus orientation events for FY13. These events afforded the opportunity to promote awareness and foster connections for future support opportunities to current and prospective students. The team also planned a one-day conference (The Complete Symposium) on education, including more than 70 representatives from all areas of higher-ed and P-12 education, including public and private schools and the UWG Board of Regents.

20) Describe any notable achievements toward selected goals(s) during this reporting year.

  • UWG Online team members have been instrumental in helping to develop, transition, and support three online/hybrid doctoral programs over the last two years including the current operational  Doctorate of Education in School Improvement and Nursing Education. The third program, the Doctorate of Education in Counseling, began development in FY13 and is expected to start enrolling students in FY14. These programs allowed UWG to obtain a Level VI classification. Level VI is the highest level of SACS classification.

  • Members of the UWG Online team played critical roles in furthering the goals of the UWG strategic plan document titled “Grow West: A Strategic Plan for the Targeted Advancement of Online Teaching and Learning at UWG.” This plan outlines seven recommendations to help UWG further leverage the potential of online learning. To support this plan, UWG|Online has developed a leveled training approach that includes a tiered UWG|Online Certification model for Online Instruction, Course Development, and Evaluation and Mentorship.
  • UWG's DDEC continues to be internationally recognized for the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, the Distance Learning Administration Conference, and several certificate programs for distance educators. See http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/ and http://www.westga.edu/~distance/dla/

  • The eTuition plan that the DDEC proposed, helped to develop, and assists in implementing each year,  generated nearly $4.5 million in FY13 (compared to $3.4 million in FY12), while providing scalable operations and faculty incentives for online growth.

21) List any resources that could have assisted your department with achieving/exceeding departmental goals and how they could have facilitated/improved the work of your the work of your department?

The DDEC would benefit from advanced and automated student tracking and at-risk student software, as well as recruitment management tools. Operationally, the DDEC would benefit from a full-time project manager to serve as the single point of contact for data assessment and the transition and support of the new learning management system.

Other Departmental Information

22) List any changes to the structure or substructures of your department implemented during reporting year.

No changes were made in FY13.

23) List any additional comments about your department based on this reporting year.

DDEC staff members sponsored the 14th Annual Distance Learning Administration Conference at Jekyll Island, Georgia, in  June 2013.  The conference was attended by more than 220 distance learning professionals representing approximately 31 states, Canada and Nigeria. Melanie Clay served as Conference Director, Dawn Senfeld as Conference Manager, Austin Janowski as Recreation Coordinator, and  Christy Talley Smith as Technology Coordinator. All DDEC staff contributed to hosting the event.

Since assuming administrative services responsibility in 2009, UWG continued to excel as the school now in charge of eCore Administrative Services. Though the eCore unit operates and is staffed as its own division, UWG?s DDEC staff continue to provide project management assistance, UWG eCore Advisors, and support specific to UWG?s eCore students. As eCore?s lead affiliate, UWG eCore?s registration and retention numbers for FY13 show that UWG has succeeded in increasing eCore enrollments and retention; UWG eCore continues to enroll more students than any other affiliate.

Dr. Melanie N. Clay continued as Dean of USG eCore and Executive Director of Extended Degree Programs, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and DLA2013 Conference Director. She was active at the system level with active membership on the Board of Regents Distance Education Task Force, the LMS Task Force, the Adult Learning Consortium Executive Committee and served as Chairperson of the Regent’s Advisory Committee on Distance Education. She also served on the the UWG Strategic Planning Committee and on UWG's Complete College Georgia Task Force. During 2012-2013, she successfully led, in partnership with Valdosta State, the implementation of a new USG online program - eMajor.  She also hired a new director for continuing education (this department was added to extended degrees in January 2012), and focused efforts in leading this area to realize its full potential, including the conception and hands-on development of a successful online program in social media marketing. Among her presentations during the year was an invited keynote address at  Union University in Tennessee. She also taught one section of American Government at the Newnan Center (51 percent online).

Dr. Jason B. Huett is the Associate Dean of Online Development and USG eCore; a tenured Associate Professor of Instructional Technology and Design at the University of West Georgia (UWG) in the department of Educational Technology and Foundations; and serves as the 2013 President of the Distance Learning Division of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). During FY 2012-13, he delivered six keynote addresses and invited talks concerning the future of education. Jason taught two fully online graduate courses titled Introduction to Distance Education and The Distance Education Professional. He has aided in the design of numerous online programs and classes from 6th grade through the doctoral level. He presented locally, nationally, and internationally at noted conference and served as a consultant for several virtual schools, universities, corporations, and the State of Georgia. His second book The Next Generation of Distance Education won second place for Information Age Publishing’s Distance Education Book of the Year and was one of the top 25% most downloaded eBooks in the Spring eBook Collection. He was also awarded the Outstanding eLearning Faculty Award: Distinguished Educator—by The Instructional Technology Council for 2013 and recognized by Linkedin as the top 1% most endorsed in the United States for Distance Learning.  He also chaired multiple presidential panel sessions for AECT and integrated a MOOC on K-12 Online Learning into his courses.

Janet Gubbins continued to serve as the director of UWG | Online’s Distance & Distributed Education Center and fill the role of co- administrator for CourseDen - D2L, overseeing the UWG | Online’s user helpdesk, prospective student outreach, marketing efforts through a new data-driven UWG|Online website (http://uwgonline.westga.edu) and various social media efforts, as well as student-centered support initiatives. She also served as a project manager for eCore proposals to new affiliates, the primary GeorgiaOnMyLine/eCore 

GeorgiaVIEW and Southern Regional Electronic Board’s Electronic Campus (SREB/SREC) administrator, UWG’s representative on the BOR’s Change Advisory Board, USG’s representative on the Desire2Learn Advisory Board, and as an INGRESS administrator for USG collaborative programs at UWG. She contributed as an alternate on the Technology Coordination Council and the Regent’s Advisory Committee on Distance Education. She was a member of the UWG Faculty Senate Technology Committee and helped host the DLA 2013 conference. Together with Dr. Melanie Clay and Rebecca Smith, Janet is part of the team responsible for helping to ensure that all UWG online programs comply with all US state distance education authorization rules and that proper documentation is recorded online to share publicly. Janet attended the BOR's Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference, the BOR Georgia Summit, and served as a presenter and host at the 2013 Distance Learning Administration Conference. She was an invited speaker at Nova Southeastern University’ 2013 Conference on Global Leadership, Learning, and Research. She also functioned as an online instructor in the Distance Learning Certificate Program, the Certified Trainer Program, and the eCore American Government course. In her latter role, Janet continued to win recognition for her student retention efforts.

Matias Marabotto worked as an Instructional Designer in the Distance & Distributed Education Center, focusing on faculty development, up until his departure in late May 2013. Matias served as a co-administrator for CourseDen, primary administrator for our video-conferencing solutions, Wimba Classroom and Collaborate. Matias implemented the end-of-term CourseEval course evaluations for all distance courses; distributing results and information each term and as needed. He continued to help manage the Distance Education, eCore website, and associated databases when needed. He attended the USG Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference, the Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2012, and led the bi-monthly UWG iApollo faculty webinars. He assisted in providing end-user support for distance education technologies, including calls for assistance via phone help, face-to-face, and the web. He also served as an online team assistant in the Distance Learning Certificate Program, Advanced Technologies and the Certified Trainer Program; served as primary administrator for Blackboard IM, USG podcasting server, Respondus, Impatica, Wikispaces, Atomic Learning, Smarthinking and iTunesU.

Jason Busbin continued serving as a Student Support Specialist of Distance & Distributed Education Center in September,  managing and supervising the UWG Online Helpline staff and the Numara/Footprints Ticketing System Admin, up until his departure in mid-May 2013.  He coordinated with various members within the department to build and maintain the helpdesk ticketing system and its layout. His responsibilities also included serving as co-administrator for CourseDen; managing and organizing our Annual Student Phone Survey; presenting live, in-person student orientations to new users/students; creating and maintaining the Online Orientation Course and Online Learners Listserv; as well as serving as the student Point-of-Contact for our Wikispaces server. He attended the USG Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference, and the Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2012.  He worked extensively in developing program orientation cohorts to provide new, non-traditional students an intensive orientation covering program information, online learning essentials, and other institution specific information prior to beginning the Fully Online Program. He assisted in providing end-user support for distance education technologies, including calls for assistance via phone help, face-to-face, and the web. He also served as an online team assistant in the Advanced Technologies Course and helps to manage the USG Podcasting Server, Respondus, Atomic Learning, Smarthinking, iTunesU, and Wimba servers/services.

David Lloyd now serves as Faculty Development Coordinator & Emerging Technologies Specialist . His responsibilities include creating and implementing training for faculty in the use of Desire2Learn and effective online instruction. David assists in providing end-user support in distance education technologies including CourseDen, Podcasting, CourseEval, Respondus and others. David also serves as the lead in pursuing new ways to effectively use technology including the use of various social networking tools such as Twitter, Google Apps, YouTube, etc. David serves as the Primary Administrator for CourseDen (Desire2Learn.) Working with Dr. Jason Huett, David also works on online program development. David was a feature presenter at the Heartland Elearning Conference in Edmond Oklahoma, where he taught workshops on “Using Technology to Enhance Education”. He attended the USG Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference as well as the Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2012. Debra Robinson, David  and the entire Faculty Development team also developed the Complete Symposium.

Debra Robinson continued serving as a full time staff member under the title of Instructional Coordinator for Program Compliance and Best Practices focusing on creating faculty professional development opportunities. Debra continued to revise and implement the UWG|Online Certified Online Instructor and UWG|Online Certified Online Course Developer cohort trainings to support and increase the effectiveness of online instruction. She was the initiator for developing and designing the three pronged training approach for faculty development.  She is the Institutional Representative for Quality Matters and the secondary administrator for Blackboard Collaborate. Debra  acted as the lead faculty trainer for the migration to the new learning management system, Desire 2 Learn by creating workshops, print and video tutorials.  Debra presented at the DLA 2013 conference and worked with David Lloyd to develop the Complete Symposium directed at UWG|Online faculty and open to all higher ed and K-12 administrators. She also served as an online instructor for the Certified Trainer Program.

Michael Post joined Distance and Distributed Education in July 2011 as an UWG eCore Academic Advisor and Marketing Assistant to UWG|Online. In his advisor role he advises an average of 850 UWG eCore students per semester. He is available to assist all eCore students with registration, access to courses, proctored exam questions, general advisement, among other issues primarily via phone calls to direct line, eCore help line and emails. He works collaboratively with co-advisors, affiliate institutions, eCore staff members and eCore instructors to contact “At-Risk” students to try to work with them in order to retain them in classes and keep them on the right track for success in their classes. He is a member of the UWG PAAA (Professional Association of Academic Advisors) group and attended the Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2012.  He also assist with the maintenance of the UWG eCore website. Another primary duty with eCore is the development of training materials for Success Team members, eCore students, and Acadmic Advisors across campus. Michael’s time with UWG|Online is focused on assisting with marketing. He worked with Janet Gubbins and UCM to develop various marketing pieces and campaigns to raise the awareness of UWG|Online and its programs; his work was key in raising our social media presence.

Chris Spruck began his position as a Web Applications Developer in January 2012. He has taken on responsibility for numerous development-related tasks on multiple web sites within Distance Education and related units. He was involved with the development of the UWG Online web site upgrade and launch. He was also closely involved with development of the database and data entry tools for the VPAA’s program database and trained several faculty members on the use of those tools. This database is an integral component of multiple campus web sites, including UWG Online, Graduate Studies, Admissions, and future sites. Chris attended numerous professional development conferences and serves as a leader within his field.

Departmental Annual Report - Part II
(Achievements which are not applicable to our department were removed.)
Number of Faculty
46) Number of part-time faculty in your department this year? 1
Faculty Extracurricular Engagement with Students
47) Number of new course developments completed by faculty in your department this year? 1
Faculty Research Productivity
54) Number of shorter works published by faculty in your department this year? 6
55) Number of papers presented by faculty in your department this year? 1
56) Number of other presentations delivered by faculty in your department this year? 10
57) Number of in-house publications published by faculty in your department this year? 8
60) Number of faculty that served in journal editing/reviewing positions this year? 1
61) Number of faculty that participated in notable continuing education efforts this year? 1
Faculty Public Service
64) Number of faculty that held positions in professional organizations this year? 1
66) Number of faculty that participated in cooperative consulting efforts this year? 1
67) Number of faculty that served on institution (UWG) wide committees this year? 1
68) Number of faculty that served on USG system committees this year? 1
69) Number of faculty that participated in public service activities this year? 1