DISTANCE AND DISTRIBUTED EDUCATION
ANNUAL REPORT 2013-2014
FY14 (2013- 2014 Academic Year (Su13-Sp14))
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?
3) List departmental mission statement?
Through intercampus sharing of resources, the Distance and Distributed Education Center (UWG Online) facilitates collaboration among university colleges, schools, and departments to deliver quality distance instruction, faculty and student services, and other distance learning initiatives, including promotion of research of best distance learning practices.
4) List departmental goals for this reporting year.
Goal 1: Work with faculty, staff, and university leadership to design, develop, and implement an annual 20 percent increase in partially-to-fully online offerings that encourage and support excellence in a personal environment, by assisting at least 20 faculty with obtaining UWG Online Certified Instructor or 5-Star status each year.
Goal 2: Maintain the human and technical infrastructure and resources necessary to successfully support and deliver distance and distributed learning, by facilitating a 30% annual increase in participation in workshops and webinars, achieving a score of 4.5 (on a 5 point scale) on the training evaluation survey and a score of 9.7 (on a 10 point scale) in overall satisfaction on help-desk tickets.
Goal 3: Ensure that students are aware of available student services and that the services our department provides are appropriate to meet the needs of distance and distributed learners, as measured by receiving an 80% or higher approval rating from students responding to key questions on their Fall end-of-course evaluations and Spring annual phone surveys.
Goal 4: Promote best practices, awareness and scholarship for distance learning research and teaching, advanced by attendance of 200 or more at the annual Distance Learning Administration Conference and increased views of Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration by 10 percent per year.
5) Please include a brief description of the assessment tools or artifacts, the assessment results used to measure your department's progress toward departmental goals, and an analysis of the assessment results for the Annual Report year noted above.
Goal 1: The overall goal of increasing the number of courses and maintaining a minimum number of certified online instructors was partially met. The objective of a 20% increase in the number of distance courses offered was not met. According to Enrollment Reports, the percent growth of the total number of distance courses (51-100% online) increased 7 percent from FY2013 (1275) to FY 2014 (1370). However the objective of assisting at least 20 faculty with obtaining UWG Certified Instructor or 5-Star status was met. The UWG Online Faculty Development Completion Report documents that the number of new faculty obtaining UWG Online Certified Instructor or 5-Star status grew significantly to 37 in FY14 (up from 21 in FY13).
Goal 2: The overall goal of increasing participation in online faculty training and maintaining exemplar user satisfaction ratings was met. The objective of facilitating a 30% annual increase in participation in workshops and webinars was met. The UWG Online Faculty Development Calendar indicates that 164 workshops or webinars were offered in 2014, up from 109 in 2013 - a greater than 50 percent increase. The objective of achieving an average Faculty Training Satisfaction Survey Rating of 4.5 (on a 5 points scale) was met, with an average overall satisfaction rating of 4.7 in FY14. We also met the objective of achieving an average of 9.7 on satisfaction surveys associated with our UWG Online Helpdesk service.
Goal 3: The overall goal of ensuring that students are aware of and approve of available student services was partially met. Student responses on key questions on their Fall End-of-Course Evaluations and Spring Annual Phone Surveys indicate that we have been successful in maintaining at least an 80% approval rating from students on all except for one question related to student's awareness of tutoring.
Goal 4: The overall goal of promoting best practices, awareness and scholarship for distance learning research and teaching was met. Our Engagement Report shows that attendance at our annual DLA conference was above the 200 goal for FY14; and views of our Journal of Distance Learning Administration have increased by more than 10 percent per each year, from 12,100 in FY13 to 13,854 in FY14.
6) Based on the assessment results and analysis noted in question 5, please list departmental improvements you intend to make in the coming year. Specific improvements should be noted even when goals were met.
For Goal 1: Even though the goal was partially met, to increase engagement in online teaching and the quality of training with present and new faculty, the DDEC will offer additional SLOAN's nationally-recognized trainings and certification process.
For Goal 2: Though goals for the number of workshops offered were met, average attendance per workshop was less than 5 faculty. In 2015, an improvement will be to increase attendance in the UWG Online's training meetings with academic departments and to increase the number of support staff who informally seek individual "in the hall" conversations with faculty by walking around departments.
For Goal 3: Since this goal was met with the exception of student's awareness of online tutoring services, our department will collaborate with related campus areas including ITS and First-Year experience to implement a required orientation for all incoming freshmen, whether or not they are enrolled in an online course. Plans are to be fully implemented in the coming year.
For Goal 4: Even though goal was met, in FY15 we will explore the possibility of expanding attendance at our DLA conference by offering virtual attendance options.
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 (View)
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.
Distance education is noted as a key component 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.”
Members of the UWG Online teams played critical roles in furthering UWG’s strategic planning 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 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.
Though UWG Online is not an academic programming department and cannot make decisions about course offerings, we stand ready to support departments and colleges in their advancement of online courses and degree programs.
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.
UWG Online grew its presence on Facebook and Twitter in FY14, with 1006 and 1120 followers respectively. The information shared most often provides key information to help students in using our online learning technologies, information on best practices for student success, timely university reminders, updates on services for online students, and encouraging messages.
In FY14, DDEC helped build and support over 40 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.
Annual enrollment numbers in our online B.S. in Criminology program grew by 23% from 1,599 students in FY13 to 1,966 in FY14. Combined undergraduate enrollment in fully online and partially courses grew by 16.5% from 17,369 in FY13 to 20,241 in FY14, while the variety of unique online undergraduate courses grew by 22%. 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. While the number of of partially online courses is falling, the number of fully online undergraduate courses is rising.
Facilitating the offering of courses with multiple delivery options to serve and attract new students (particularly adult learners, as well as military veterans and their families) has a positive impact on RPG.
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 course 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 academic discussions via multiple virtual and face-to-face faculty development opportunities year-round. The DDEC UWG|Online delivered 164 face to face workshops and offered SLOAN's internationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM)™ Program training as part of UWG's Online's Certification process for online faculty. Since fall 2013, UWG|Online has been facilitating Quality Matters training for faculty, with a total of 33 faculty completing the required 3-course sequence.
Online faculty collaborate via their own exclusive UWG Online's iApollo ListServ which was revamped 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.
In FY14, the DDEC UWG|Online continued 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. Kim Huett, a member of the COE faculty, was nominated and received the 2014 Georgia Board of Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award. Huett is the first educator to ever receive the award in the “Online Teaching” category.
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 grew its presence on Facebook and Twitter in FY14, with 1006 and 1120 followers respectively. Social media messages included information on upcoming cultural, recreational, leisure, and informal education programming opportunities.
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 stipends, travel, and equipment funds to faculty completing specified training and course development, as well as facilitated the process by which 33 FY14 faculty were able to participate in SLOAN's internationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM)™ Program. 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 10%, from 23855 in FY13 to 26263 in FY14.
Enrollment in fully online courses courses has nearly tripled in the last five years. Not counting eCore or WebMBA enrollments, fully online enrollment at UWG grew from 6,272 in FY09 to 18,468 in FY14.
The average number of students attending UWG exclusively through online classes each Fall term rose by more than 20%, from 1189 in FY13's Fall 2012 to 1448 in FY14's Fall 2013.
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 2013, the average class size of online courses (courses 50% or more online) stayed low at 21, versus an average class size of 20 during Fall 2012.
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, 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 FY14, eTuition for fully online courses at UWG generated nearly $4.8 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 FY14, extensive marketing efforts were maintained:
- 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 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. In FY14, the number of unique and returning visit so our website was an all-time high of 122,672; the number of connections with our LinkedIn network grew from 143 in FY13 to 404 in FY14; users following us on Twitter went up from 467 in FY13 to 1120 in FY14; Facebook followers rose from 309 in FY13 to 1006 in FY14; and the number of our YouTube videos viewed climbed from 2,275 in FY13 to 3,807 in FY14. 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 44 campus orientation events for FY14. These events afforded the opportunity to promote awareness and foster connections for future support opportunities to current and prospective students. Four members of the UWG Online staff participated in the 1st Annual Center for Teaching and Learning conference, while all other full-time members participated as attendees.
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 Doctorates of Education in School Improvement and Nursing Education. The third program, the Doctorate of Education in Counseling, began development in FY13 and started 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 $4.8 million in FY14 (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?
As the breadth of online education tools expands and the demand for services increases, the DDEC is struggling to maintain quality service to faculty, students, and staff. With the addition of three FT staff (one business operations manager, one instructional technologist, and one departmental assistant or similar) the DDEC could operate more effectively and provide higher levels of services: more in-depth training for Google Apps for Ed and Accessibility tools; a better course evaluation system and data analytics to support research into student retention; improved and scalable test proctor facilitation services; more efficiency in project management and general business operations.
Other Departmental Information
22) List any changes to the structure or substructures of your department implemented during reporting year.
No changes were made in FY14.
23) List any additional comments about your department based on this reporting year.
DDEC staff members sponsored the 15th Annual Distance Learning Administration Conference at Jekyll Island, Georgia, in June 2014. More than 225 distance learning professionals representing approximately 31 states, Canada and Nigeria, attended the conference. 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.
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 DLA2014 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. In FY14, she successfully led, in partnership with Valdosta State, the implementation of a new USG online program - eMajor. 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 President of the Distance Learning Division of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). During FY 2013-14, he delivered three keynote addresses and invited talks concerning the future of education. Jason taught two fully online graduate courses titled 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 conferences and served as a consultant for several virtual schools, universities, corporations, and the State of Georgia. He also has several book chapters in print and has edited the award-winning book: The Next Generation of Distance Education: Unconstrained Learning as well as one other: Learning and Instructional Technologies for the 21st Century: Visions of the Future both of which are being translated into Chinese. Jason is currently a contributing editor for several journals and blogs for Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Southern Education Desk. He also chaired multiple presidential panel sessions for AECT and integrated a MOOC on K-12 Online Learning into his courses and has coauthored numerous policy documents for UWG for Quality Enhancement, MOOC adoption, and wireless communication among others.
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 2014 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 served as a presenter and host at the 2014 Distance Learning Administration Conference, as well as an Advisory Board Member for Desire2Learn (USG's learning management system). 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.
David Lloyd served 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, the USG Georgia Summit, as well as the Desire2Learn Fusion Conference 2013. David was a presenter a the first annual UWG Center for Teaching and Learning conference during the Spring 2014.
Michael Post joined Distance and Distributed Education in July 2011 as an UWG eCore Academic Advisor and Marketing Assistant to UWG|Online. In July he took over duties as the UWG|Online Help Desk manager. In this new role Michael manages the UWG|Online Help Desk staff and serves as the Numara/Footprints Ticketing System Admin. During his first year as Help Desk Manager he created a internal information sharing and collaboration site (dashboard) and has worked to document all help desk related polices and procedures, ensuring efficiency and consistency of the assistance provided to CourseDen/D2L users. The Help Desk has maintained its high standards of service and satisfaction ratings under his supervision. In his other duties as Asset Manager for the department he has deployed an asset management system that ensures that all departmental assets are properly documented and tracked. Michael also continues his work with Janet Gubbins and UCM to maintain various marketing pieces and campaigns that raise awareness of UWG|Online and its programs.
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 continued development of the UWG Online web site. He was also closely involved with ongoing 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 collaborated with other campus units, such as Admissions, eCore, and ITS, to enhance features and functions of various web sites and data collection methods. Chris attended numerous professional development conferences and serves as a leader within his field.
Wesley Steverson joined the University of West Georgia in February 2011. He serves as the UWG|Onine Academic Instructional Support Specialist, providing faculty and student support for CourseDen and related technologies. Wesley holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and is currently attending the online master program, Master of Education with a Major in Media (Instructional Technology), here at UWG. He has worked for 6 years in web development and 2 years teaching English in the Republic of Korea.
Nakita Hogans joined Distance and Distributed Education in October 2013 as the UWG|Online Student Success Advisor and is the campus eCore Advisor. In her Student Success Advisor role Nakita 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 the direct line, eCore help line and emails. She works collaboratively with Academic Advisors in various departments across campus, university faculty and staff to ensure the success of the students she assists, by using university resources to resolve issues and proactively avoid potential issues. Nakita also coordinates our department's involvement in the UWG Early Intervention Program and serves as an Academic Coach to online students identified by the university as "At-Risk." Additionally, Nakita works collaboratively with eCore affiliate institutions, eCore staff members and eCore instructors as part of the eCore Student Student Success Team, who primarily contacts “At-Risk” students. As part of the eCore Student Success Team, Nakita works with these "At-Risk" eCore students to retain them in classes and keep them on the right track for success in their classes. Nakita also assists with the maintenance of the UWG eCore website and prepares training materials for Academic Advisors and other key student services representatives across campus. She is also a member of the UWG PAAA (Professional Association of Academic Advisors) group.