Emergence of Successful Online Courses: A Student and Faculty Shift

Emergence of Successful Online Courses: A Student and Faculty Shift

Amy L. Sedivy-Benton, Andrew L. Hunt, Teri L. Hunt, James M. Fetterly, Betty K. Wood
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5472-1.ch001
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This chapter seeks to investigate the common characteristics that make online courses high quality. With an increase in online education and the increased attention to national standards and accreditation, there is a need for research to focus on the quality of online education. The literature related to online education suggests that more studies compare traditional courses with online courses as well as ways to affect the social climate of online courses and programs than the quality of online education. Questions to be considered range from, “How much time do instructors spend developing online courses compared to traditional courses?” to “What are the students' perspective of the quality of online courses / instruction?” McGorry (2003) suggests seven constructs “to evaluate quality and learning in online courses: flexibility, responsiveness and student support, student learning, interaction, technology and technical support, and student satisfaction” (p. 162).
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The economies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries functioned under what Economist Lester Thurow (1996) calls the classical theory of comparative advantage. This theory holds that product location is a result of the reserves of natural resource and the availability of capital and labor for product development. The top ten industries at the turn of the twentieth century focused on natural resources for their production. However, the top sectors of commerce at the close of the twentieth century are those involved in microelectronics, biotechnology, the new material science industries, telecommunications, civilian aircraft manufacturing, machine tools and robots and computers. The economy of the twenty-first century will continue to accelerate as an economy based on the exchange of information processed into knowledge at a rapid pace. Tapscott (1996) suggests that in order to survive in the market of the new economy, the worker must learn how to gather information and apply know-how. In a 2008 study by Allen and Seaman, Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, the authors states that “…the impact of an economic downturn on the impact of overall enrollments and the demand for online courses” (p. 8) is correlated. “The results show that institutions believe the economic changes will have a positive impact on overall enrollments and specific aspects of an economic downturn resonate closely with increasing demand for online courses with specific types of schools” (p. 8).

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