Questions for Those Who Offer a Degree/Certificate Program in Gerontology

I received the following request today from Lynn Dahnke at Coastline Community College.  Chris.Please Respond Directly to Debbie by December 15, 2006 at the Address –

Debbie Secord, professor, department chair, emeritus/health/gerontology/physical education, at Coastline Community College (Fountain Valley, CA) is preparing a grant proposal and needs some information about curriculum in gerontology.  Please assist us by answering the following questions.  Thank you for your assistance.

1) Does your institution offer a degree or certificate in gerontology?  If yes, please provide the following information and describe the program.
  1a) Name of Department overseeing gerontology, human services, psychology, nursing, etc.?
  1b) Please provide the number of units in gerontology, program Web page, if applicable, and anything else that would help describe the program.

2) Was the curriculum you use in your gerontology program developed using the (AGHE) Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Guidelines?

3) Is the degree or certificate undergraduate or graduate level?

4) Can the degree or certificate in gerontology be completed entirely online?

5) Does your institution have plans to develop online courses in gerontology?

6) Name and address of your institution.

7) Are you a community college (2-year) or university (4-year), public or private?

8) Please provide the name and contact information of the person overseeing your gerontology program.  We might like to contact this individual for more program details.

e-mail address:

Lynn M. Dahnke, Director of Marketing, Coast Learning Systems
Coastline Community College
11460 Warner Avenue, Fountain Valley, CA  92708
Direct: (714) 241-6231, Cell: (714) 713-1442
Toll Free: (800) 547-4748, Fax: (714) 241-6286

Questions for Those Who Offer a Degree/Certificate Program in Gerontology

Survey on Distance Learning and Information Technologies: Completion Deadline

Here is a request from David Hutto, a member of ITC’s board of directors. David will be sharing the results of his survey with ITC members so it would be great if you could take a moment to complete it so we obtain the most comprehensive results. Thank you for your time and I hope you all have a terrific Thanksgiving Holiday! Chris.ITC Members: I am the Dean for Technology and Development at Blue Ridge Community College Flat Rock North Carolina. I am conducting a survey of ITC Members and distance educators about distance learning and information technologies within the community college system in the United States. Your thoughtful response in completing this 10-minute survey will be greatly appreciated. All responders will be anonymous. The results of the survey will be distributed in a variety of formats for your convenience.

Here is the link to the survey –

Questions or comments regarding this project should be directed to David Hutto, Dean for Technology and Development, Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock, NC, (ph. 828-694-1880).

Again, thanks for your assistance. If you could respond to the survey by December 11, it would be greatly appreciated.

David Hutto, Dean for Technology and Development Blue Ridge Community College
180 W. Campus Drive, Flat Rock, North Carolina
28731 828-694-1880

Survey on Distance Learning and Information Technologies: Completion Deadline

The Engaged E-Learner, Academic Libraries in 2004 and Broadband Goes Rural

Here is a report that states distance learning students are highly engaged – often more so than their traditional counterparts, one on the state of academic libraries in 2004, and an article on the use of satellites to bring broadband Internet service to rural areas.  Although it doesn’t directly pertain to distance learning, the government affairs office at the American Association of Community Colleges has provided an analysis on how the new Congress could affect community colleges.  Chris.

National Survey of Student Engagement
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, Nov. 13, 2006

Also see the article in Inside Higher Ed by Elizabeth Redden, “The Engaged E-Learner,” and the report in the Chronicle of Higher Ed by Paula Wasley, “Underrepresented Students Benefit Most From ‘Engagement’: Annual survey of involvement in college life also finds high levels of interaction between distance learners and faculty members.” (requires subscription).

Here are the excerpts from the report that relate to distance learning.  Chris.

Compared with campus-based students, distance education learners reported higher levels of academic challenge, engaged more often in deep learning activities, and reported greater developmental gains from college.

Distance Education Students

The 2006 NSSE Web survey asked students to indicate if they were taking all their courses online during the current academic term. Almost 4,000 respondents from 367 different colleges and universities identified themselves as distance education learners – 1,279 first-year students and 2,615 seniors.

The characteristics of distance education students differed from their counterparts in notable ways. For example:

Seventy percent of distance education students were caring for dependents.

Half of distance education students worked at jobs more than 30 hours per week (Figure 2).

Half of distance education students were enrolled part-time compared with only 10 percent of other students.

Distance education students were older on average: The median age of first-year distance learners was 25 and of seniors was 32. Their counterparts were 18 and 22 years, respectively.

Sixty-three percent of distance education students were first generation compared with 42 percent of other students.

Distance education students generally chose this format for reasons of convenience and being able to work at their own pace (Figure 3).

Engagement of distance education learners compared favorably to that of students taking classes on campus (Table 3). While distance education students are comparable to other students in terms of academic activities, they were much less likely to participate in active and collaborative learning activities. Even so, distance education students report greater educational gains and are more satisfied overall with their college experience. These mixed results illustrate that the educational and personal needs of distance education students may differ from those of other students.

The 2006 report from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is based on information from about 260,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 523 four-year colleges and universities. The NSSE study, titled “Engaged Learning: Fostering Success of All Students,” gives schools an idea of how well students are learning and what they put into and get out of their undergraduate experience. The survey findings annually provide comparative standards for determining how effectively colleges are contributing to learning. Five key areas of educational performance are measured: 1) level of academic challenge, 2) active and collaborative learning, 3) student-faculty interaction, 4) enriching educational experiences, and 5) supportive campus environment.

Academic Libraries: 2004
National Center for Education Statistics
Web release Nov. 14, 2006

Based on the 2004 Academic Libraries Survey, NCES has just released this report which summarize services, staff, collections, and expenditures of academic libraries in degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report includes a number of key findings: During fiscal year (FY) 2004, there were 155.1 million circulation transactions from academic libraries’ general collection. During a typical week in the fall of 2004, 1.4 million academic library reference transactions were conducted, including computer searches. The nation’s 3,700 academic libraries held 982.6 million books; serial backfiles; and other paper materials, including government documents at the end of FY 2004. Academic libraries spent $2.2 billion on information resources during FY 2004.

With a Dish, Broadband Goes Rural
by Ken Belson
New York Times, Nov. 14, 2006

The town of Rindge, N.H., is just 70 miles from Boston, but to telephone and cable companies it might as well be at the end of the earth. Many of the town’s 5,500 residents cannot get broadband Internet access from the providers in the area, Verizon and Pine Tree Cable, even though communities nearby have had the service for years.

Craig Clark, who works from home in Rindge, made do with a sluggish dial-up line until he signed up for broadband service from the satellite provider WildBlue Communications last autumn. With a 26-inch dish outside his home and a modem inside, Mr. Clark now connects to the Internet at speeds similar to those offered by the phone company.

“It’s not a perfect technology, but it is one of the best options for those of us in rural areas,” he said.

The Engaged E-Learner, Academic Libraries in 2004 and Broadband Goes Rural

Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006

Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006

This fourth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group in partnership with the College Board, is available online.  The study is based on responses from more than 2,200 colleges and universities.

Inside Higher Ed and the Associated Press have written articles on the report.

Here are some excerpts:

Has the Growth of Online Enrollments Begun to Plateau?

Background:  For the past several years, online enrollments have been growing substantially faster than the overall higher education student body.  However, last year’s study, while reporting the same numeric increase as the previous year, had a lower percentage growth rate.  Could this be an early indicator that online enrollment growth has finally begun to plateau?

The evidence:  There has been no leveling of the growth rate of online enrollments; institutions of higher education report record online enrollment growth on both a numeric and a percentage basis.

Nearly 3.2 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2005 term, a substantial increase over the 2.3 million reported the previous year.

The more than 800,000 additional online students is more than twice the number added in any previous year.

Who is Learning Online?

Background:  There is some evidence that online education appeals to a different type of student from those who do face-to-face instruction.  Online students tend to be older, and often hold additional employment and family responsibilities, as compared to the more traditional student. Do these differences mean that online students are taking different level courses or studying at different types of institutions?

The evidence:  The population of online students is a close match to the general higher education student body, but the mix of schools at which they study is not.

Online students, like the overall student body, are overwhelmingly undergraduates.  The proportion of graduate-level students is slightly higher in online education relative to the overall higher education population.

Online students, especially undergraduates, are more likely to be studying at Associates institutions than are their face-to-face contemporaries.

Have Perceptions of Quality Changed for Online Offerings?

Background:  The first study in this series found that a majority of Chief Academic Officers rated the learning outcomes for online education “as good as or better” than those for face-to-face instruction.  The following year’s report displayed similar results.  Do academic leaders hold the same opinion today, given the rapid growth in the numbers of online students?

The evidence:  By an increasing margin, most Chief Academic Officers believe that the quality of online instruction is equal to or superior to that of face-to-face learning.

In 2003, 57 percent of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.  That number is now 62 percent, a small but noteworthy increase.

The proportion who believe that online learning outcomes are superior to those for face-to-face is still relatively small but has grown by 40 percent since 2003 from 12.1 percent in 2003 to 16.9 percent.

What are the Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Online Education?

Background:  Previous studies in this series have identified a number of areas of concern for the potential growth of online offerings and enrollments.  Academic leaders have commented that their faculty often don’t accept the value of online learning and that it takes more time and effort to teach an online course.  To what extent do these leaders see these issues and others as critical barriers to the widespread adoption of online learning?

The evidence:  Problem areas identified in previous years are still seen as areas of concern among academic leaders.

Only 4.6 percent of Chief Academic Officers agreed that there are no significant barriers to widespread adoption of online learning.

Nearly two-thirds of the academic leaders cite the need for more discipline on the part of online students as a critical barrier.

Faculty issues, both acceptance of online and the need for greater time and effort to teach online, are also important barriers.

Neither a perceived lack of demand on the part of potential students nor the acceptance of an online degree by potential employers was seen as a critical barrier.

Making the Grade: Online Education in the United States, 2006

Question on Full-time Online Faculty from Hutchinson Community College

Here is a question I received from a fellow ITC member.  I know he will greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide.  Please respond directly to him at the e-mail address below.  I would love to see a copy of what you send him and will compile any responses I receive to send to the rest of the membership.  Chris.

We are looking at the possibility of using full-time faculty to teach their entire load with online courses and we are curious to see if any other college or university is currently doing this.

There are several questions we have.

First, how does the faculty meet other contractual obligations such as department meetings, serving on committees, advising students and office hours?

Second, does the faculty member ever have to come to campus?

Third, what methods are used to document work product?  Our faculty are expected to put in 40 hours a week (not just for instruction, but also for other duties). If your faculty is required to meet time-on-the-job, how is this documented for those who teach online full-time?

We appreciate any help we can receive from other institutions that may have already adopted using full-time instructors to teach online full-time.


Larry A. Carver, Director, Instructional Technology & Distance Education
Hutchinson Community College, Hutchinson, KS

Question on Full-time Online Faculty from Hutchinson Community College