Effectiveness Evaluation 2010-2011

DISTANCE AND DISTRIBUTED EDUCATION
ANNUAL REPORT 2010-2011

(FY 2011- July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011)

1. Mission

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 students at remote locations and 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.

2. Goals

Goals and functions of this department mirror the institutional distance learning goals (http://www.westga.edu/~distance/):

  • Work with faculty to plan and create 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 and student services are appropriate to meet the needs of distance and distributed learners.
  • 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.

In the past, these goals were reviewed annually by the VPAA's Distance and Distributed Education Steering Committee and revised as appropriate. Beginning in Fall 2008, the VPAA's DE Taskforce replaced the Distance and Distributed Education Steering Committee. In Spring 2010, the VPAA's DE Taskforce was revised to include new members (one from each College, the Library, as well as Distance Ed admin staff) and renamed the VPAA's DL Advisory Committee. In Spring 2011, the VPAA’s DL Advisory Committee once again morphed into the VPAA’s Online Development Taskforce (http://od-taskforce.wiki.westga.edu/).

Statement of Outcomes, Processes to Assess These Outcomes, and Assessment Results Where Appropriate

Goal 1. Plan and create distance learning environments that encourage and support excellence in a personal environment. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:

  • Student and faculty satisfaction with distance and distributed education courses is high.
    • Summer 2010 evaluations showed that 87.6% of distance students agreed that their attitude toward online learning was positive at the beginning of the term (compared to 87% in Summer 2009). 84.9% agreed in Spring 2011. 87.7% in Fall 2010.
    • Summer 2010 evaluations showed that 88.7% of distance students agreed that their attitude toward online learning was positive at the end of the term. 84.6% agreed in Spring 2011. 86.2% in Fall 2010.
    • 72.2% of students (Fall 2010) said they'd like to take more courses in the future that are completely online (compared to 62.8% in Fall 2009).
    • 91.8% (Summer 2010) said that their instructor was positive about the online component of their course (compared to 93% in Summer 2009).
    • Enrollment in distance courses (51-100% online) has grown dramatically over the years, with an FY11 all-time high of 18,415 up from 14,826 just two years ago (FY09).
  • Student retention distance and distributed education courses is comparable to or higher than that of traditional courses.
    • Summer 2010 retention for Distance students was 95.4% for distance students excluding eCore, compared to 94.4% for non-Distance students. Fall 2010 retention for Distance students was 92.5% for distance students excluding eCore, compared to 92.1% for non-Distance students. Spring 2011 retention for Distance students was 94.1% excluding eCore, compared to 92.4% for non-Distance students.
    • Thanks to additional advisement and student mentoring resources, the eCore (courses delivered through the statewide consortium and administered through the UWG DDEC beginning Feb 2009) retention for UWG students improved remarkably to an average of 86.12% for FY2011. Here are some comparatives:
      Summer 2010 91.41% Summer 2009 87.6% Summer 2008 85.2%
      Fall 2010 84.12% Fall 2009 78.9% Fall 2008 79.7%
      Spring 2011 83.99% Spring 2010 83.2% Spring 2009 76.3%
    • Students enrolled in distance courses have access to student services.
    • The UWG Online Connection (http://www.westga.edu/~online/) provides easy web access for distance students to access student services.
  • Student learning outcomes are comparable to those in traditional courses. (ex. http://www.westga.edu/~ncate/)
    • These are generally the same as traditional and are evaluated on a departmental basis.
    • For Spring 2011, students were asked to rank on a 1-5 scale whether or not they felt more comfortable participating in a class online than in a f2f meeting. Only 25.6% of students reported in their distance learning evaluations that they felt more comfortable participating in a face-to-face course than in an online course. Summer 2010 - 28.1%; Fall 2010 - 26.1%.
  • Interaction among student-faculty, and student-student are at least as high as in a traditional course.
    • Faculty demonstrate competence in developing distance courses whose academic standards and student learning are the same as those for other courses delivered.
    • All faculty MUST complete technical and pedagogical training prior to teaching a distance course or certify that previous training or experience meets standards.
    • Academic standards and student learning are evaluated on a departmental basis. The DDEC reviews student surveys, class by class, to assure that overall student satisfaction with the faculty and the course are adequate. Since 1998, there have only been three cases in which the faculty competence seemed questionable based on student complaints. These were referred to the appropriate department head and dean. The faculty members have since left the institution.
  • The number of courses developed and offered through distance media meets the demand of the region’s students.
    • A number of students mentioned in their open-ended responses on the written survey that they need more online courses and online degree programs.

Assessment methods: Written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group with distance students, informal discussions with Distance Learning Steering Committee and distance faculty. Student learning outcomes are assessed by academic units offering instruction.

Goal 2. Maintain the human and technical resources and network infrastructure necessary to successfully support and deliver distance and distributed learning. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:

  • Faculty are trained and prepared to teach distance and distributed courses.
    • All faculty MUST complete technical and pedagogical training prior to teaching a distance course or certify that previous training or experience meets standards.
    • Students and faculty are able to receive immediate technical assistance through telephone or email, as well as face-to-face assistance when possible.
    • The DDEC staff provide immediate response to technical questions from students weekdays from 8 am until 6 pm weekdays. Students may contact a toll-free statewide support line after-hours, 24-hours a day/365 days a year.
    • Satisfaction surveys indicate that callers in July 2010 – June 2011 ranked the amount of time it took them to get help from our student-assistant staffed helpline an average of 9.89 on a scale of 1 to 10. They ranked "overall support" as 9.87
    • In FY11, the DDEC employed nine Graduate Assistants and rotated between the centrally-located Faculty Development Center and an office located in the College of Education so that they would be in closer proximity to the faculty and students needing help with mostly online courses. In FY11, the GAs provided approximately 158 hours of face-to-face contact hours with distance faculty and students (this includes Dr. D’s; Drop-ins; Workshops). There were a total of 502 hours worked by the GAs in FY11.
  • Students and faculty are able to receive assistance through a central point-of-contact .
    • The DDEC provides a central point of contact for support for all UWG distance courses.
  • A variety of delivery methods are available.
    • In addition to the primary online mode of CourseDen (WebCT) Vista, distance courses may also utilize videoconferencing, Web 2.0 technologies, Wimba’s Live Classroom and additional tools for synchronous or archived delivery of lectures featuring voice and visuals, Impatica for simple audio-visual online presentations, Camtasia for more advanced video, audio, and interactive productions.
    • Technology resources were expanded to include an online course evaluation system known as CourseEval, a local audio/video streaming server system, as well as campus-wide license for Respondus (to make CourseDen (WebCT) Vista assessment development easier for faculty), StudyMate (to make the development of interactive Flash modules easier for faculty), Respondus Lockdown Browser and SecureExam (for online exam security), Wikispaces (for online collaboration), Bomgar (for live app share/troubleshooting), VoiceThread (integrates audio/video collaboration/feedback to a presenter's online presentation), and various other online instruction tools. We also collaborated with central ITS to test and purchase a new Helpdesk ticketing system that will be accessible online.
  • Distance courses are easily accessible to a growing number of students and potential students.
    • In Summer 2010 alone, distance education credit hours accounted for 36% of all UWG credit hours.
    • Enrollment in distance courses (51-100% online) jumped by 25% in just two years, from 14,833 in FY09 to 18,415 in FY11.
    • Enrollment in fully online courses courses continues to grow. Not counting eCore or WebMBA enrollments, fully online enrollment at UWG grew from 6,272 in FY09 to 9,072 in FY10 and 9,489 in FY11.
    • The total number of distance courses (51-100% online) offered increased by 12% in FY11, with 908 course sections offered, compared with 808 in FY10, FY09’s 642, FY08's 485, FY07’s 422, a FY06 total of 375, a FY05 total of 292, 243 in 2004, 132 in 2003, and 144 in 2002.
    • The number of fully online UWG courses offered, not counting eCore or WebMBA, saw a 17% increase from 350 in FY10 to 410 in FY11 (up from 181 in FY09).
    • Counting eCore and WebMBA, the number of fully online course offered rose by 24%, from 521 in FY10 to 644 in FY11.
    • The unduplicated head count of UWG students enrolled in at least one online course during FY11 was 8,081, indicating that 60.65% of all students enrolled at UWG during the FY took at least one online course. These figures are up from FY10 totals of 7,695 (51.6%).
    • The number of students enrolled in ONLY online classes during the entire fiscal year also rose slightly from 1,136 in FY10 to 1,207 in FY11.
    • Except for scheduled maintenance, the CourseDen (WebCT) Vista system has functioned without significant interruption since January 2002. Downtime for courses residing on UWG servers is non-existent or minimal, with backup plans in place and utilized as needed. Faculty use CourseDen (WebCT) Vista and Wimba Live Classroom as the primary delivery tools.
    • All former online courses utilize CourseDen (WebCT) Blackboard's Vista 8 Enterprise System as their primary authenticated course portal. The system is housed on a centralized USG server, under the direction of the Board of Regent's GeorgiaVIEW Initiative, their contracts and service level agreements.

Assessment methods: Written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group with distance students, informal discussions with Distance Learning Steering Committee (pre-Fall 2008), the VPAA's DE Taskforce (Fall 2008- Speing 2010), the VPAA's DL Advisory Committee (March 2010 - Spring 2011), the VPAA’s Online Development Taskforce (http://od-taskforce.wiki.westga.edu/) and distance faculty’s departmental annual self-review.

Goal 3. Ensure that academic and student services are appropriate to meet the needs of distance and distributed learners. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:

  • Each distance course or program provides students with clear, complete and timely information on the curriculum, course and degree requirements, nature of faculty/student interaction, prerequisite technology competencies, technical requirements, availability of academic support service, financial aid resources and costs and payment policies. See: http://www.westga.edu/~distance/distancestudents/
    • Information available on web and syllabi for all distance courses and programs.
    • Information also available in online student handbook, and other online points of access for students.
  • Students express satisfaction with the level of academic and student services received when taking distance and distributed courses.
    • In FY 11 distance course evaluations, students expressed general satisfaction. The majority of complaints were course specific.
  • Students are aware of and utilize online resources available to them for academic and student support.
    • According to a telephone survey conducted in April 2011, most students were satisfied with support services (advising, financial aid, career services, registration, and book purchase) or said "did not apply.” 73% of distance students surveyed in April 2011 reported that they used library services, and 79% were satisfied or very satisfied with these services.
    • Enrolled students have reasonable and adequate access to the range of student services and resources appropriate to support their learning.
    • Distance students have access to the range of student services and resources that traditional students do, and also special services such as support from the DDEC, and special services from the library. In FY11, the DDEC provided the Wimba Live Classroom tool for EXCEL and Computer Science virtual advisement, resulting in approximately 2000 hours of virtual advisement.

Assessment methods: Written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group with distance students, informal discussions with steering committees, advisory boards, and VPAA Online Taskforce members, distance faculty, departmental annual self-review.

Goal 4. Conduct continuous evaluation of distance learning and support services to ensure the advancement of the University's .mission. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:

  • Faculty use results of evaluations to improve courses.
    • All distance faculty must complete the Distance Evaluation Summary form, documenting what changes they will make in future distance courses based on their student surveys.
    • Departments use the results of the campus-wide Student Evaluation Instrument (SEI) as one means of reviewing the instructor’s performance, as well as retention rates.
  • Distance learning staff uses results of evaluations to improve programs and services as a whole.
    • The DDEC staff reviews evaluations and completes an annual effectiveness evaluation each June. A staff retreat is also held annually to assess staff quality standards, issues and plan for the next year.
  • The technologies selected are appropriate to meet course or program objectives.
    • The DDEC selects technologies for campus use and support based on student need, recommendations from other institutions and faculty, as well as cost-benefit analysis.
    • Individual departments and instructors select from combinations of the various institutional technologies (for example, CourseDen (WebCT) Vista, videoconferencing, Wimba Live Classroom) based on the program and course objectives.
  • Documentation of evaluations for each course and the overall distance program is available and accessible via the web.
  • Beginning Spring 2008, a new online course evaluation tool called Course Eval was rolled-out, allowing easier access to course-specific data and more granular comparative analysis.
    • Overall evaluations for student written surveys, focus groups, phone surveys, retention and other data is available at the DDEC website
    • Raw survey data is also maintained by the DDEC and each department offering distance courses.

Assessment methods: Faculty summary of evaluations each term, written student surveys at end of each term, annual focus group with distance students, informal discussions with Distance Learning Steering Committee and distance faculty, departmental annual self-review.

Goal 5. Support research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which promote knowledge of distance learning. Accomplishing this goal will ensure that:

  • Our journal, conference, and certificate programs maintain excellent reputations among distance learning administrators in the United States and worldwide.
  • The journal is required reading for many institutional programs, including University of Nebraska's doctoral program in Higher Education, and is referenced in many papers and books.
  • The conference attracts a growing international audience of practitioners in the field.
  • Our Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration continues to increase in readership.
  • The journal's average hits per edition was 15,000 in FY11, up from 8,800 in FY10.
  • In its fourteenth year of production, the OJDLA has built an international following, with readers spanning 87 countries in FY11 (compared to 49 countries in FY07). As of July 2011, the journal's home page has been accessed nearly 604,683 times.
  • UWG faculty conduct research to enhance distance courses at UWG and to provide scholarly information to their field .
  • UWG faculty and staff regularly present research at the DLA Conference and other conferences, including SITE, Educause, and other professional meetings. Many UWG faculty articles and books on distance learning are linked from the distance website.

Assessment methods: Certificate program and conference evaluations , readership data of journal , feedback from readers and participants .

3. Examples of Using of Assessment of Goals and Outcomes to Improve a Process

  • Delivery methods: As a result of reviewing their course evaluations, faculty continuously indicate the need to more easily incorporate use of multimedia in their courses, including audio and video. The DDEC responded by upgrading its Wimba server, which allows for two-way video; by adding a new Wimba Pronto instant messenger that integrates seamlessly with our learning management system and provided virtual helpdesks for various student support units across campus; by upgrading various other software licenses to allow for mobile and for archives to be downloaded as offline mobile files; and by rolling-out a campus-wide collaborative wikispaces service that integrates with our campus myUWG portal. In FY11, the Wimba Live Classroom server was used 10942 times within CourseDen for online instruction, with 6597 hours of instruction taking place in the virtual classroom. In addition, we made available a new suite of products which integrates with CourseDen (WebCT) Vista, enabling audio voice boards, podcasting, and rapid creation of audio files. These enhancements, unlike some several years ago, are seamlessly integrated and have a very low learning curve for both faculty and students. We have also purchased a campus-wide license for a rapid elearning product called StudyMate to enable a content expert to more readily develop professional-looking, interactive content. Some instructors are also beginning to explore podcasting as a way to deliver course content to learners.
  • Faculty training: As a result of formal and informal needs assessments, the DDEC offered “Dr. D housecalls” to faculty who need assistance with distance learning. Support staff were available to visit faculty in their offices, by appointment. Visits were mostly limited to 60-minutes, and support was limited to providing assistance with CourseDen (WebCT) Vista course tools, demos of technologies and software (such as Wimba Live Classroom, Impatica , etc.) and basic course evaluation and improvement. 235 housecalls, totalling more than 232 hours of assistance, were conducted in FY2011 (compared to 225 housecalls and 221 hours in FY2010, 261 housecalls and 220 hours in FY09 and 243 housecalls and 200 hours in FY08). Also, online resources for those instructors who are primarily self-directed are continually developed and updated, group workshops, and webinars offered. Graduate Assistants, funded through eTuition, provided approximately 158 hours of face-to-face contact hours with distance faculty and students (this includes Dr. D’s; Drop-ins; Workshops). There were a total of 502 hours worked by the GAs in FY11.
  • Facilitated Virtual Advisement, Tutoring, and Helpdesk support: As a result of informal assessments regarding the need for virtual advisement, tutoring, and helpdesk support for online or partially online students, the DDEC provided the use of our Wimba Live Classroom and new Pronto Helpdesk features to the UWG Excel Center, Computer Science tutors, Math Department tutors, and for use by our own DDEC helpdesk staff. The DDEC helped set up the initial Live Classrooms, trained one administrative representative from each unit to further create additional rooms, provided training for the tutor presenters, and support for the student users. The result has been the offering of a student service that did not exist before FY09 at UWG - a virtual advisement service with integrated whiteboard, application sharing, text chat, full motion video, audio over IP, an available phone bridge for back-up audio, and archiving of sessions for later playback. In FY11, the system was used a total of 10942 times, including instruction and support, with 2562 events accounting for advisement and virtual office hours. The total advisement hours via Wimba Live Classroom was 14 hours, with an average advisement session of 25 minutes.
  • eCore retention: Resources are increasingly being directed towards meeting the unique advisement and support needs of those engaged in online learning through eCore. With the decision for UWG to administer the eCore program, many of the prior process improvements identified and implemented by UWG have been successfully implemented statewide. Here are current eCore processes and support mechanism for eCore students:
    • All students who want to take an eCore course are required to complete the online orientation (unique to the student’s institution) followed by a quiz that covers all points raised. Students must complete this before being allowing registration into eCore courses.
    • The eCore at-risk intervention program is in place to identify students who are experiencing issues in the eCore classoom. Students are contacted and provided access to resources which may be helpful for course completion and success.
    • The eCore program has expanded its social media presence as another means of staying in touch with students.
    • The UWG eCore retention continues to improve significantly:
      Summer Semester 2010 improved to 91.41%, up from Summer 2009 87.6% and Summer 2008 85.2%.
      Fall Semester 2010 improved to 84.12%, up from Fall 2009 78.9% and Fall 2008 79.7%
      Spring Semester 2011 improved to 83.99%, up from Spring 2010 83.2% and Spring 2009 76.3%.

Though existing UWG DDEC staff have been working on the eCore transition since February 2009, UWG officially took over administration of the state-wide program, as of July 1, 2009. As a result, our gated-registration and other improved processes have been rolled out to all eCore affiliates within the USG.

4. Department Condition

Students: Student satisfaction with distance and distributed courses continues to be high. In Spring 2011, retention for distance courses excluding eCore was 94.1 percent; and overall retention in distance courses (excluding eCore) was higher than or comparable to retention in non-distance courses during every FY11 term. Eighty-seven percent of students reported that they had a positive attitude about distance learning after taking a course in Fall 2010. Eighty-nine percent reported that they found CourseDen (WebCT) Vista easy to use and understand.

Course Offerings: The total number of distance courses (51-100% online) offered increased by 12% in FY11, with 908 course sections offered, compared with 808 in FY10, FY09’s 642, FY08's 485, FY07’s 422, a FY06 total of 375, a FY05 total of 292, 243 in 2004, 132 in 2003, and 144 in 2002.

The number of fully online UWG courses offered, not counting eCore or WebMBA, saw a 17% increase from 350 in FY10 to 410 in FY11 (up from 181 in FY09).

Counting eCore and WebMBA, the number of fully online course offered rose by 24%, from 521 in FY10 to 644 in FY11.

In Summer 2010 alone, distance education credit hours accounted for 36% of all UWG credit hours (compared to 25.6% during Summer 2008).

Resources: As the demand for distance learning courses and services has increased, so has the need for human resources. Student assistants, funded by eTuition have continued to be vital in providing first-level telephone support for distance students. The eCore program provides additional SA support for increasing eCore retention of UWG students, in particular providing assistance for the at-risk intervention program. In FY11, nine Graduate Assistants were rotated between an office in the centrally-located Faculty Development Center and an office located in the College of Education so that they would be in closer proximity to the faculty and students needing help with mostly online courses. In FY11, the GAs provided 158 face-to-face contact hours of service to distance faculty and students. GAs also worked an additional 502 hours on media and other special projects to support online instruction. The GAs provided faculty and student support and training, as well as exam proctoring, digital media production and assistance teaching a fully online Media and Instructional Technology course. As the number of distance course offerings and enrollment continues to climb, department has a highly critical need to add additional full-time support personnel to support existing distance learning courses and expand its programmatic offerings to meet the requirements of university system initiatives. In Summer 2010 alone, distance education credit hours accounted for 36% of all UWG credit hours.

5. Department Achievements, Awards, and Distinctions

  • At the start of FY11, the DDEC supported the offering of nine fully online degree programs, certificates, and endorsements, in addition to serving as a host affiliate for the state-wide online eCore program. In FY11, that number doubled, as a record number of eight new programs in one year, committed to going online. This number includes one of only two online doctorate programs offered in the state and our first online Bachelors degree.
  • The University of West Georgia continued to serve as eCore Administrative Services for the University System of Georgia’s state-wide online core program, thanks to the DDEC team's past success in supporting eCore, proposed changes for an improved administrative model, and winning proposal. The transition from the University of Georgia's Georgia Center to UWG occurred over Spring 2009, with DDEC staff helping to lay the groundwork for the new eCore unit. UWG assumed full responsibility Summer Semester 2009. As a result, the move brought seven new jobs to the Carrollton area in 2009, with an additional position added in FY11.. UWG continues to improve upon administrative processes, student services, and retention to all UWG eCore affiliates. The number of eCore affiliates has increased in FY2011 from three to six.
  • The number of credit hours delivered via distance exceeds goals: In FY11, the percent of credit hours earned via distance education (offered more than 50% online) at UWG far exceeded the Chancellor’s goal of reaching 8% by 2012, with 36% of all UWG credit hours offered via distance in Summer 2010 and an average of 15% in Fall and Spring.
  • Increased enrollment, with three out of five UWG students taking at least one online course and over 1200 students attending UWG completely online during the span of FY11. The percent of all UWG students taking at least one distance education course (more than 50% online) went from 52% (7695) in FY10 to 61% (8081) in FY11. The number of students enrolled in only online classes during the entire FY11 was 1,207.
  • The DDEC continued to make multiple operational improvements, particularly in the area of evaluation and student services for UWG distance students. We conducted 18 face-to-face student orientations for a total of 64 hours, in FY11. As a result, retention in UWG online courses remains comparable to on-campus counterparts; and eCore retention continues to rise. The DDEC faciliated the use of its Wimba Live Classroom tool, to deliver virtual advisement and tutoring services online.
  • With the help of eTuition funds, the DDEC continued to support a Faculty Development Center, centrally located on the campus, brought in expert workshop leaders including ones from the USG Digital Innovation Group, and provided hardware and software resources for online faculty. The DDEC also hired a new Director of Online Faculty Development and will bring on a new Dean of Online Faculty Development and eCore in July 2011.
  • The DDEC delivered a wide-variety and high number of training sessions, professional development opportunities, avenues for support, and scholarly research:
    • The DDEC conducted 54 in-house, one-on-one faculty and staff training sessions. The average training session lasted 1.5-2 hours. This does not include the “Dr. D Housecalls” described below.
    • The DDEC offered “Dr. D Housecalls” to faculty who need assistance with distance learning. Support staff were available to visit faculty in their offices, by appointment. Visits were mostly limited to 60-minutes, and support was limited to providing assistance with CourseDen (WebCT) Vista course tools, demos of technologies and software (such as Wimba Live Classroom, Impatica , etc.) and basic course evaluation and improvement. 235 housecalls, totaling more than 232 hours of assistance, were conducted in FY2011.
    • The DDEC and eCore responded to approximately 4821 Level 1 and Level 2 helpcalls (students and faculty) in FY11. This accounted for more than 40 percent of all technology-support helpcalls on campus in FY11.
    • Published four quarterly editions of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Average number of visits to the site each month is 15,000.
    • The DDEC delivered 64 workshops to UWG faculty and staff in FY11. The average workshop length was typically two hours. Through the DDEC workshops, 251 different faculty and staff were served in FY11.
    • In FY11, delivered three sections of the Distance Learning Certificate Program to 34 participants from 17 states.
    • Delivered two sections of the Distance Education Certified Trainer Program to 16 participants from 7 states and 1 country.
    • Delivered one section of the Advanced Technologies in Distance Education Program to 7 participants from 6 states and 1 country.
    • With the USG eCore program now in its eleventh year, University of West Georgia continues to lead the way in FY '11. This is the second year with UWG as the hosting institution of the eCore program, and the program has grown remarkably. During FY ‘11, UWG’s portion of eCore enrollment is leveling as more eCore affiliates are brought on board. UWG accounted for an average of 53.3% enrollment across three semesters in FY ‘11 (continues to be the largest affiliate), compared to 63% in FY ‘10 and 46% in FY ‘09. UWG eCore enrollment averaged 900 across the three semesters, compared with 888 in FY ‘10 and 659 in FY ‘09/ Resources have been allocated to support the UWG eCore students, providing the unique advisement and support needed of those engaged in this online learning program. A multi-phase evaluation and improvement process has been successful in increasing enrollment and improving retention. For FY ‘11, UWG retention is at an average of 86.1% across three semesters, improving from 83.3% in FY ‘10 and 80.3% in FY ‘09. UWG shares its enrollment and retention processes with all eCore affiliate institutions to foster improvement in the overall program.
    • An amended version of our “What to Expect from an Online Course” orientation and quiz, originally developed to help raise eCore retention, are now being used campus-wide by advisors, to help prepare students for non-eCore online courses at UWG. Customized versions are now being adopted at other USG eCore affiliate schools.
    • Selected for a national program sponsored by MERLOT (http://taste.merlot.org/) and in collaboration with UWG faculty Jeff Rooks, the USG Board of Regents and Georgia Public Broadcasting; the ELIXR project recognizes, records, and shares online multi-media presentations on best practices in instructional technology.
    • Research related to our programs has been published in top tier journals and presented at noted international conferences.

Staff Productivity

DDEC staff members sponsored the 13th Annual Distance Learning Administration Conference at Savannah, Georgia, in May 2011. The conference was attended by more than 220 distance learning professionals representing approximately 33 states, Canada and England. Melanie Clay served as Conference Director, Dawn Senfeld as Conference Manager, Austin Janowski as Recreation Coordinator, and Christy Talley as Technology Coordinator. All DDEC staff contributed to hosting the event.

Based on the merits of the UWG DDEC’s proposal and our previous record of success within the program, 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 FY11 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 to serve as Associate Dean of Extended Degree Programs and USG eCore. She continued to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, DLA2011 Conference Director, and as UWG’s representative on the Regent’s Advisory Committee on Distance Education and the Board of Regents Distance Education Task Force. She served on the the UWG Enrollment Management Committee, and the Learning Resources Sub-committee of the Faculty Senate. During 2010-2011, she successfully led instituional initial and ongoing efforts to comply with new state approvals for distance education regulations, and worked with the Board of Regents to streamline processes for the approval of online degree programs. She also taught one section of American Government at the Newnan Center (50 percent online). She served as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Carroll County Women’s Shelter.

Janet Gubbins continued to serve as the director of Distance & Distributed Education Center and fill the role of primary administrator for CourseDen (WebCT) Vista. She also served as a project manager for eCore proposals to new affiliates, the primary GeorgiaOnMyLine/eCore GeorgiaVIEW administrator, UWG’s representative on the BOR’s Change Advisory Board and as an INGRESS administrator for USG collaborative programs at UWG. She managed UWG's site on the USG Podcasting Server and UWG’s Georgia Public Broadcasting’s United Streaming Service. She contributed as an alternate on the Technology Coordination Council and the Regent’s Advisory Committee on Distance Education. She assisted the UWG Strategic Enrollment Committee, the DLA 2011 conference, and attended the BOR's virtual Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference. She was an invited presenter at the BOR’s Collaborative Digital Education Summit in Macon, where she presented, “ Campus Strategies for Collecting DE Data For ZORELCA.” She also served as an online instructor in the Distance Learning Certificate Program, the Certified Trainer Program, and the eCore American Government course.

Matias Marabotto continued serving as a Student Support Specialist of Distance & Distributed Education Center managing and supervising the Helpline and the Student assistants and Graduate Assistants. Matias continued as tertiary administrator for CourseDen (WebCT) Vista, and implements the end-of-term CourseEval course evaluations for all distance courses; distributing results and information each term and as needed. He continue to manage the Distance Education and eCore website and databases. He contributed to the DLA 2011 conference, attended to BOR’s virtual Rock Eagle Annual Computing Conference. He assists in providing end-user support for distance education technologies, including calls for assistance via phone help, face-to-face, and the web. He also serve as an online Team assistant in the Distance Learning Certificate Program, Advance Technologies and the Certified Trainer Program. In addition, he serves as primary administrator for Wimba, USG podcasting server, Respondus, Wikispaces, Atomic Learning, Smarthinking and iTunesU.

Until his departure in February of 2011, Kevin Mobbs served as Coordinator of Faculty Development. His responsibilities include managing the newly established DDEC Faculty Development Center and administration of faculty training opportunities. In addition, he served as primary administrator for Wimba, the USG podcast server, Respondus, and Wikispaces. Kevin was the secondary administrator for GaView (Vista 8) and implemented the end-of-term CourseEval course evaluations for all distance courses; distributing results and information each term and as needed. He assisted in providing end-user support for distance education technologies, including calls for assistance via phone help, face-to-face, and the web.

In April 2011, David Lloyd joined the distance learning team as Director of Online Faculty Development. His responsibilities include managing the DDEC Faculty Development Center and administration of faculty training opportunities. David assists in providing training and end-user support in distance education technologies including CourseDen, Podcasting, CourseEval, Respondus and others. David also offers training in the use of the educational aspects of various social networking tools such as twitter, Google Docs, YouTube, etc. David serves as the secondary administrator for GaView (Vista 8) and implements the end-of-term CourseEval course evaluations for all distance courses; distributing results and information each term and as needed.

Carlos Araya served as an Instructional Designer as well as offered faculty support in the area of online learning. Carlos worked with various applications including CourseDen, Podcasting, Wimba, Respondus and others. He also assisted in providing end-user support for distance education technologies, including calls for assistance via phone help, face-to-face, and the web.

Julili Fowler continued serving as a UWG eCore Academic Advisor, splitting an average 900 enrollment per semester in FY2011. She supports the eCore student base across the semester cycle and participates in the program’s at-risk intervention activities. She performs eCore data analysis for at-risk, withdrawal and grade comparison studies, as well as departmental data analysis support. She serves as project manager for the eCore annual Fact Book, and she authored academic data sections. She co-authored the eCore presentation for the DLA2011 Conference (instructor effectiveness study), and she delivered the advisor’s presentation for the eCore annual faculty meeting (top 5 things). She provides administrative support for the UWG eCore website and student email notifications. She participates in the UWG campus PAAA Advising group and was elected to Secretary/Treasurer beginning FY2012. She is a member of the NACADA advisor’s national organization and attended the NACADA R4 Conference. She attended the VSU Online Lifeline Conference (2/11). She assisted in DLA2011 Conference support. She is based at UWG Newnan Center.

Dawn Senfeld continued to serve as UWG eCore Academic Advisor in 2011. She advises an average of 300 UWG eCore students per semester. She assists 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. She 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. She is a member of the UWG PAAA (Professional Assocation of Academic Advisors) group. She is the coordinator of DDEC’s 3 certificate programs: Distance Education Certificate Program, Distance Education Certified Trainer Program and Distance Education Advanced Technologies Program. Dawn also serves as Managing Editor of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Dawn also serves as Conference Manager at our annual conference on Distance Learning Administration. This year’s conference, DLA2011, was held at the Savannah Hilton DeSoto Hotel in Savannah, GA May 20-25, 2011.