SUNY Research Abstracts

Abstracts and Full Text links for SUNY Faculty Research

Bridges and Barriers to Teaching Online College Courses: A Study of Experienced Online Faculty in Thirty-Six Colleges
Building Knowledge Building Communities: Consistency, Contact and Communication in the Virtual Classroom

 

The Community of Inquiry Framework Meets the SOLO Taxonomy: a Process-Product Model of Online Learning

 

Community of Inquiry as a Theoretical Framework to Foster ‘‘Epistemic Engagement” and ‘‘Cognitive Presence” in Online Education

 

Course Design Factors Influencing the Success of Online Learning

 

Developing Learning Community in Online Asynchronous College Courses: The Role of Teaching Presence

 

The Development of Virtual Learning Communities

 

Examining the Extent and Nature of Online Learning in American K-12 Education: The Research Initiatives of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

 

Factors Influencing Faculty Satisfaction with Asynchronous Teaching and Learning in the SUNY Learning Network

 

A Follow-Up Investigation of “Teaching Presence” in the SUNY Learning Network

 

Increasing Access to Higher Education: A Study of the Diffusion of Online Teaching Among 913 College Faculty

 

Learning Presence: Additional Research on a New Conceptual Element Within the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework

 

Learning Presence as a Moderator in the Community of Inquiry Model

 

Learning Presence: Towards a Theory of Self-efficacy, Self-regulation, and the Development of a Communities of Inquiry in Online and Blended Learning Environments

 

Measures of Learning Effectiveness in the SUNY Learning Network Online Education

 

Measures of Quality in Online Education: An Investigation of the Community of Inquiry Model and the Net Generation

 

Online Instructional Effort Measured through the Lens of Teaching Presence in the Community of Inquiry Framework: A Re-Examination of Measures and Approach

 

Online Learner Self-Regulation: Learning Presence Viewed through Quantitative Content and Social Network Analysis

 

Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Classroom-based Instructional Transformation

 

A Re-examination of the Community of Inquiry Framework: Social Network and Content Analysis

 

Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning with On-line Courses: Principles and Examples from the SUNY Learning Network

 

Student Satisfaction and Reported Learning in the SUNY Learning Network

 

A Study of Students’ Sense of Learning Community in Online Environments

 

A Study of Teaching Presence and Student Sense of Learning Community in Fully Online and Web-Enhanced College Courses

 

Teaching Presence and Establishment of Community in Online Learning Environments

 

Understanding Distinctions in Learning in Hybrid, and Online Environments: an Empirical Investigation of the Community of Inquiry Framework

 

Using Focus Groups to Study ALN Faculty Motivation


Bridges and Barriers to Teaching Online College Courses: A Study of Experienced Online Faculty in Thirty-Six Colleges

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 11 (2), 73-128, 2007

Author: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract:This paper reports on initial findings from a research study of factors that enable and constrain faculty participation in online teaching and learning environments. It is noted that demand for higher education continues to grow in the United States. It is argued that the nature of the higher education student population will likely continue to transform towards a non-traditional profile. These two trends drive an increased demand for alternative routes to a college degree and have fueled dramatic growth in online learning recently. The study identifies faculty acceptance of online teaching as a critical component for future growth to meet this demand and ensure quality. Through analysis of data from 386 faculty teaching online in 36 colleges in a large state university system, the most significant factors that support and undermine motivation to teach online are identified. The top motivator is a more flexible work schedule. The top demotivator is inadequate compensation for perceived greater work than for traditionally delivered courses, especially for online course development, revision, and teaching. However, respondents in this study chose to teach online for a wide variety of reasons many of which were associated with demographic and contextual differences. These distinctions are reviewed in light of their implications for future quality of online education. Additionally, through factor analysis, underlying constructs for online faculty motivations are identified. Finally, recommendations are made for policy, practice, faculty development and future research.

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Building Knowledge Building Communities: Consistency, Contact and Communication in the Virtual Classroom

Journal of Educational Computing Research 23 (4), 359-384, 2000

Authors: Karen Swan, University at Albany, State University of New York
Peter Shea, Eric Fredericksen, Alexandra M. Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
William Pelz, Herkimer Community College
Greg Maher, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: This article looks at factors affecting the success of asynchronous online learning both through a review of the research literature and through an empirical investigation of student perceptions and course design factors in one of the largest asynchronous learning networks in the country. It finds that three such factors consistency in course design, contact with course instructors, and active discussion have been consistently shown to significantly influence the success of online courses. It is posited that the reason for these findings relates to the importance of building knowledge building communities in asynchronous online learning environments.

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The Community of Inquiry Framework Meets the SOLO Taxonomy: a Process-Product Model of Online Learning

Educational Media International 48 (2), 101–113, 2011

Authors: Peter Shea, Mary Gozza-Cohen, Sedef Uzuner, Ruchi Mehta,
Anna Valentinova Valtcheva, Suzanne Hayes and Jason Vickers
University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: This paper presents both a conceptual and empirical investigation of teaching and learning in online courses. Employing both the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI) and the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy, two complete online courses were examined for the quality of both collaborative learning processes and learning outcomes. The study examines evidence beyond learner reported satisfaction and learning, instead measuring both learning inputs and outcomes. Analysis of input includes quantitative content analysis of discussions using the CoI framework. Analysis of outcomes looks at both the quality of student learning artifacts such as case studies using the SOLO taxonomy as well as instructor-assigned grades of specific related assignments. Results suggest that understanding of online instructional effort, processes, and learning outcomes can be improved through this more comprehensive, conceptually driven approach.

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Community of Inquiry as a Theoretical Framework to Foster ‘‘Epistemic Engagement” and ‘‘Cognitive Presence” in Online Education

Computers & Education 52 (3), 543–553, 2009

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University

Abstract: In this paper, several recent theoretical conceptions of technology-mediated education are examined and a study of 2159 online learners is presented. The study validates an instrument designed to measure teaching, social, and cognitive presence indicative of a community of learners within the community of inquiry (CoI) framework [Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2, 1–19; Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7–23]. Results indicate that the survey items cohere into interpretable factors that represent the intended constructs. Further it was determined through structural equation modeling that 70% of the variance in the online students’ levels of cognitive presence, a multivariate measure of learning, can be modeled based on their reports of their instructors’ skills in fostering teaching presence and their own abilities to establish a sense of social presence. Additional analysis identifies more details of the relationship between learner understandings of teaching and social presence and its impact on their cognitive presence. Implications for online teaching, policy, and faculty development are discussed.

link to full text via ScienceDirect (PDF, SUNYConnect subscription)

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Course Design Factors Influencing the Success of Online Learning

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), ERIC Number: ED448760 November 2000

Authors: Karen Swan, University at Albany, State University of New York
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Eric E. Fredericksen, Advanced Learning & Information Services, State University of New York
Alexandra M. Pickett, Advanced Learning and Information Services, State University of New York
William E. Pelz, Herkimer County Community College

Abstract: This paper looks at factors affecting the success of asynchronous online learning through an investigation of relationships between student perceptions and course design factors in the SUNY (State University of New York) Learning Network, one of the largest asynchronous learning networks in the country. It finds that three such factors–consistency in course design, interaction with course instructors, and active discussion–have been consistently shown to significantly influence the success of online courses. It is posited that the reason for these findings relates to the importance of building community in online courses.

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Critical Thinking for College Learners: Blended and Online Activities in Multiple Disciplines
Edited by Lynae E. Warren

Teaching activities for online or blended learning classes that have been developed & implemented by college faculty in a variety of disciples including:
Nursing Education,
Educational Leadership
Science Education
Technology Education
Mathematics Education

Included in each chapter is an analysis of the effectiveness of the activity and strategies for modification.

Contributors include: Jeffrey Linn, Elizabeth Heavey, Frank McDonald, Kimberly Roff and Lynae E. Warren.

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Developing Learning Community in Online Asynchronous College Courses: The Role of Teaching Presence

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 9 (4), 59-82, 2005

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Chun Sau Li, University at Albany, State University of New York
Karen Swan, Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University
Alexandra Pickett, SUNY Learning Network, State University of New York

Abstract: This paper builds on the model we have developed for creating quality online learning environments for higher education. In that model we argue that college-level online learning needs to reflect what we know about learning in general, what we understand about learning in higher-education contexts, and our emerging knowledge of learning in largely asynchronous online environments. Components of the model include a focus on learner roles, knowledge building, assessment, community, and various forms of “presence.” In this paper we focus on two components—teaching presence and community—and review the rationale and benefits for an emphasis on community in online learning environments. We argue that learning is social in nature and that online learning environments can be designed to reflect and leverage the social nature of learning. We suggest that previous research points to the critical role that community can play in building and sustaining productive learning and that teaching presence, defined as the core roles of the online instructor, is among the most promising mechanism for developing online learning community. We present a multi-institutional study of 2,036 students across thirty-two different colleges that supports this claim and provides insight into the relationship between online learning community and teaching presence. Factor and regression analysis indicate a significant link between students’ sense of learning community and their recognition of effective instructional design and directed facilitation on the part of their course instructors—and that student gender plays a small role in sense of learning community. We conclude with recommendations for online course design, pedagogy, and future research.

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The Development of Virtual Learning Communities

Monograph: Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks, 239-260, 2005

Authors: Karen Swan, Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York

Description: An intimate community of learners: Strange as it may sound, one instructor after another notes the surprisingly close relationships that they have developed with their online students. They say that it is common for participants in online courses to develop a strong sense of community that enhances the learning process.(Kassop, 2003)

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Examining the Extent and Nature of Online Learning in American K-12 Education: The Research Initiatives of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Internet and Higher Education 15 (2012), 127–135, 2012

Authors: Anthony G. Picciano, City University of New York
Jeff Seaman, Babson College
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Karen Swan, University of Illinois

Abstract: In 1992, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation began its Anytime, Anyplace Learning Program, the purpose of which was to explore educational alternatives for people who wanted to pursue an education via Internet technology. Part of this grant activity was a research award to the Babson College Survey Research Group to examine online learning in American K-12 education. Three studies were conducted based on national surveys of school district and/or high school administrators. The focus of these studies was twofold: one, to examine the extent and nature of online learning in K-12 school districts; second, to examine the role of online learning in high school reform initiatives. The purpose of this article is to share the endings from these studies and to look critically at what they mean for the future of online learning in American K-12 schools

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Factors Influencing Faculty Satisfaction with Asynchronous Teaching and Learning in the SUNY Learning Network

Online Education: Learning Effectiveness and Faculty Satisfaction 7 (2), 239-270, 2003

Authors: Peter J. Shea, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Alexandra M. Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
William E. Pelz, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network

Abstract: “…100% of faculty reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the SUNY Learning Network.”
Spring 1999 SLN Faculty Satisfaction Survey

The State University of New York (SUNY) Learning Network (SLN) is the on-line instructional program created for the 64 colleges and nearly 400,000 students of SUNY. The foundation of the program is freedom from schedule and location constraints for our faculty and students. The primary goals of the SLN are to bring SUNY’s diverse and high-quality instructional programs within the reach of learners everywhere, and to be the best provider of asynchronous instruction for learners in New York State and beyond. We believe that these goals cannot be achieved unless faculty receives appropriate support. This paper will examine factors that have contributed to the high level of faculty satisfaction we have achieved in the SLN. The analysis will be done on several levels. This first section will look at the SLN at a program-wide level and will provide information regarding the systemic implementation of our asynchronous learning environment.

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A Follow-Up Investigation of “Teaching Presence” in the SUNY Learning Network

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 7 (2), 61-80, 2003

Author(s): Peter J. Shea, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Alexandra M. Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
William E. Pelz, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network

Abstract: This paper is a follow-up study to a preliminary investigation of teaching presence in the State University of New York Learning Network (SLN). In the present study we review ongoing issues of pedagogy and faculty development, and their relationship to student satisfaction, and reported learning in SLN. We provide an overview of the SLN program, and summarize a conceptual framework for our current research on higher education, online learning environments. This framework integrates research on how people learn, with principles of good practice in higher education and recent research on learning in asynchronous learning networks (ALNs) in higher education. We also present results of a follow-up study on one aspect of the model, “Teaching Presence”.

The SUNY Learning Network is a proud recipient of two Sloan-C Awards, the 2001 Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Development and the 2002 Award for Excellence in ALN Programming. We believe that it is no coincidence that SLN was recognized in this order; that is to say, we feel our efforts to create a systematic faculty development program has allowed us to create an outstanding program of online courses and degrees. A clear vision regarding the prerequisites for a high quality online learning environment, especially prerequisites related to faculty development, is essential to building effective ALN programs. As this special edition of JALN is dedicated to such efforts we would like to focus on our model for learning environments design and share results of research on specific aspects of the model.

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Increasing Access to Higher Education: A Study of the Diffusion of Online Teaching Among 913 College Faculty 

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 6 (2), 2005

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Chun Sau Li, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: Online learning environments provide an unprecedented opportunity to increase student access to higher education. Accomplishing this much needed goal requires the active participation and cooperation of university faculty from a broad spectrum of institutional settings. Although online learning has seen rapid growth in recent years, it remains a relatively small percentage of the entire curriculum of higher education today. As a relatively recent development, online teaching can be viewed through the lens of diffusion of innovation research. This paper reports on research from 913 professors from community colleges, four-year colleges, and university centers in an attempt to determine potential barriers to the continued growth in adoption of online teaching in higher education. It is concluded through factor and regression analysis that four variables are significantly associated with faculty satisfaction and their likelihood, therefore, to adopt or continue online teaching – these include levels of interaction in their online course, technical support, a positive learning experience in developing and teaching the course, and the discipline area in which they taught. Recommendations for institutional policy, faculty development, and further research are included

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Learning Presence: Additional Research on a New Conceptual Element Within the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework 

The Internet and Higher Education 15 (2), 89–95, 2012

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Suzanne Hayes, Empire State College, State University of New York
Sedef Uzuner Smith, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Jason Vickers, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Mary Gozza-Cohen, University at Albany, State University of New York
Jane Wilde, University at Albany, State University of New York
Shoubang Jian, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: This paper presents an empirical study grounded in the Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison, Anderson Archer, 2000) and employs quantitative content analysis of student discourse and other artifacts of learning in online courses in an effort to enhance and improve the framework and offer practical implications for online education. As a theoretical framework the purpose of the widely referenced CoI model is to describe, explain, and predict learning in online environments. The current study grows out of an ongoing research agenda to understand student and faculty experiences in emerging technology-mediated education systems and to make recommendations for theory and practice. The major question addressed here is whether the CoI model adequately explains effective learner behavior in fully online courses and to articulate a new conceptual element — learning presence. Results indicate that learning presence is evident in more complex learning activities that promote collaboration and is correlated with course grades.

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Learning Presence as a Moderator in the Community of Inquiry Model

Computers & Education 59 (2), 316–326, 2012

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University

Abstract: This study of over 2000 US college students examines the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI) in its capacity to describe and explain differences in learning outcomes in hybrid and fully online learning environments. We hypothesize that the CoI model’s theoretical constructs of presence reflect educational effectiveness in a variety of environments, and that online learner self-regulation, a construct that we label “learning presence” moderates relationships of the other components within the CoI model. Consistent with previous research (e.g., Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2009; Shea & Bidjerano, 2011) we found evidence that students in online and blended courses rank the modalities differently with regard to quality of teaching, social, and cognitive presence. Differences in help seeking behavior, an important component of self-regulated learning, were found as well. In addition, results suggest teaching presence and social presence have a differential effect on cognitive presence, depending upon learner’s online self-regulatory cognitions and behaviors, i.e. their learning presence. These results also suggest a compensation effect in which greater self-regulation is required to attain cognitive presence in the absence of sufficient teaching and social presence. Recommendations for future research and practice are included.

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Learning Presence: Towards a Theory of Self-efficacy, Self-regulation, and the Development of a Communities of Inquiry in Online and Blended Learning Environments

Computers & Education 55 (4), 1721-1731, 2010

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University

Abstract: In this paper we examine the Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) suggesting that the model may be enhanced through a fuller articulation of the roles of online learners. We present the results of a study of 3165 students in online and hybrid courses from 42 two- and four-year institutions in which we examine the relationship between learner self-efficacy measures and their ratings of the quality of their learning in virtual environments. We conclude that a positive relationship exists between elements of the CoI framework and between elements of a nascent theoretical construct that we label “learning presence”. We suggest that learning presence represents elements such as self-efficacy as well as other cognitive, behavioral, and motivational constructs supportive of online learner self-regulation. We suggest that this focused analysis on the active roles of online learners may contribute to a more thorough account of knowledge construction in technology-mediated environments expanding the descriptive and explanatory power of the Community of Inquiry framework. Learning presence: Towards a Theory of Self-efficacy, Self-regulation, and the Development of a Communities of Inquiry in Online and Blended Learning Environments.

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Measures of Learning Effectiveness In the SUNY Learning NetworkOnline Education

Online Education 2, 31-54, 2001

Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Eric E. Fredericksen, Advanced Learning & Information Services, State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
William E. Pelz, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Karen Swan, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract
This paper provides an overview of the SUNY Learning Network (SLN) and reports on research conducted to determine whether and how students are learning within this asynchronous learning environment. The three studies reported here indicate that, for the several thousand students who responded to their respective surveys, SLN was both highly satisfactory and an environment conducive to high levels of learning. These reports point to the centrality of the sense of community created and supported by faculty-to-student and student-to-student interaction in asynchronous learning networks.

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Measures of Quality in Online Education: An Investigation of the Community of Inquiry Model and the Net Generation

Journal of Educational Computing Research 39 (4), 339-361, 2008

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerno, Furman University

Abstract: The goal of this article is to present and validate an instrument that reflects the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000, 2001) and inquire into whether the instrument and the model it reflects explain variation in levels of student learning and satisfaction with online courses in a higher education context. Additionally this study sought to examine the effects of two other variables–age and students’ registration status–on levels of satisfaction and learning in online courses. The issue of age and the “net generation” has generated considerable interest recently with a number of contradictory predictions made for younger students engaged in text-based, technology-mediated learning environments. Previous research indicates that student registration status serves as a relatively reliable predictor of commitment to degree and likely persistence in higher education (Horn & Neville, 2006)–does commitment to degree predict satisfaction and likely persistence with online learning in the same manner? We sought to inquire into the amount of variance these variables predict relative to constructs in the Community of Inquiry Framework. Results indicated that the instrument provides a coherent factor structure that reflects the Community of Inquiry Model. Other findings provide new insight into additional variables that account for variation in students’ satisfaction, reported learning, and cognitive presence in text-based, asynchronous online environments. (Contains 5 tables.)

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Online Instructional Effort Measured through the Lens of Teaching Presence in the Community of Inquiry Framework: A Re-Examination of Measures and Approach 

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11 (3), 2010

Authors: Peter Shea and Jason Vickers, University at Albany, State University of New York
Suzanne Hayes, University at Albany & Empire State College, State University of New York

Abstract: With more than 4 million students enrolled in online courses in the US alone (Allen & Seaman, 2010), it is now time to inquire into the nature of instructional effort in online environments. Reflecting the community of inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) this paper addresses the following questions: How has instructor teaching presence (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001) traditionally been viewed by researchers? What does productive instructor effort look like in an entire course, not just the main threaded discussion? Results suggest that conventional research approaches, based on quantitative content analysis, fail to account for the majority of teaching presence behaviors and thus may significantly under represent productive online instructional effort.

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Online Learner Self-Regulation: Learning Presence Viewed through Quantitative Content- and Social Network Analysis 

International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learningl 14 (3), 2013

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Suzanne Hayes, Empire State College, State University of New York
Sedef Uzuner Smith, Lamar University
Jason Vickers, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University
Mary Gozza-Cohen, Widener University
Shou-Bang Jian,University at Albany, State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Jane Wilde, University at Albany, State University of New York
Chi-Hua Tseng, Empire State College, State University of New York

Abstract: This paper presents an extension of an ongoing study of online learning framed within the community of inquiry (CoI) model (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001) in which we further examine a new construct labeled as learning presence. We use learning presence to refer to the iterative processes of forethought and planning, monitoring and adapting strategies for learning, and reflecting on results that successful students use to regulate their learning in online, interactive environments. To gain insight into these processes, we present results of a study using quantitative content analysis (QCA) and social network analysis (SNA) in a complementary fashion. First, we used QCA to identify the forms of learning presence reflected in students’ public (class discussions) and more private (learning journals) products of knowledge construction in online, interactive components of a graduate-level blended course. Next, we used SNA to assess how the forms of learning presence we identified through QCA correlated with the network positions students held within those interactional spaces (i.e., discussions and journals). We found that the students who demonstrated better self- and co-regulation (i.e., learning presence) took up more advantageous positions in their knowledge-generating groups. Our results extend and confirm both the CoI framework and previous investigations of online learning using SNA.

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Online Teaching as a Catalyst for Classroom-based Instructional Transformation

Elements of Quality Online Education 3,103-123, 2001

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
William Pelz, Herkimer County Community College
Eric Fredericksen, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network

Abstract: How does the experience of teaching an online course impact classroom teaching? In Part I  of this paper we present results from a study in which we heard from 255 online teachers  from 31 colleges in the SUNY Learning Network about the effects of conceptualizing, developing, and teaching a complete online course on different aspects of their classroom  instruction. Questions focused on instructional design, pedagogical reflection, alternative means of instruction and assessment, and the overall effect on classroom teaching.

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A Re-examination of the Community of Inquiry Framework: Social Network and Content Analysis

The Internet and Higher Education 13 (1–2), 10–21, 2010

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Suzanne Hayes, Empire State College, State University of New York
Sedef Uzuner Smith, Lamar University
Jason Vickers, University at Albany, State University of New York
Mary Gozza-Cohen, Widener University
Jane Wilde, University at Albany, State University of New York
Chi-Hua Tseng, Empire State College, State University of New York
Ruchi Mehta, University at Albany, State University of New York
Anna Valchova, University at Albany, State University of New York
Prahalad Rangan, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: This study provides a simultaneous examination of all components of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000; Anderson, Rourke, Garrison & Archer, 2001; and Rourke, Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 1999) and seeks to extend previous work into the nature, development, and relationships between the constructs of “presence” hypothesized in the model. To accomplish this goal we use content and social network analysis to examine the discourse produced among all participants in two semester-length online asynchronous college courses. Coding for the existence and relative intensity of forms of presence we identify patterns and relationships between instructors’ and students’ teaching presence and social presence and the corresponding quantity and levels of the cognitive presence that emerges. The study reveals complex relationships between these variables that have implications for the development of higher order thinking and meaningful learning in online environments. Study findings also have implications for online teaching practice and ongoing research on the CoI framework.

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Student Satisfaction and Perceived Learning with On-line Courses: Principles and Examples from the SUNY Learning Network

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 4 (2), 7-41, 2000

Authors: Eric Fredericksen, State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
William Pelz, Herkimer County Community College
Karen Swan, Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University

Abstract: The State University of New York (SUNY) Learning Network (SLN) is the on-line instructional program created for the 64 colleges and nearly 400,000 students of the SUNY. The foundation of the program is freedom from schedule and location constraints for our faculty and students. The primary goals are to bring SUNY’s diverse and high-quality instructional programs within the reach of learners everywhere and to be the best provider of asynchronous instruction for learners in New York State and beyond.

We believe that these goals cannot be achieved unless learning effectiveness is given top priority. This paper will examine factors that have contributed to the high levels of learning and learner satisfaction that students have reported in the SLN. The analysis will be done on several levels. The first section will look at the SLN at a program-wide level and will provide information regarding the systemic implementation of our asynchronous learning environment.

The second section examines issues that contribute to learning effectiveness from a faculty-development and course-design perspective. This section will present the evolution of the four-stage faculty development process and a seven-step course design process that was developed by SLN and comment on lessons learned.

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Student Satisfaction and Reported Learning in the SUNY Learning Network 

State University of New York, 2001

Authors: Eric Fredericksen, State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York

Abstract: In the Summer of 2001 students in the SUNY Learning Network completed surveys regarding their level of satisfaction and reported learning in an entirely on-line learning environment. A goal of the research was to relate student satisfaction and reported learning in the online environment to established principles of good practice in the “offline” environment. For the most recent term, data was collected from 935 students, adding to the largest ongoing study of on-line student attitudes to date, which includes responses from more than 8000 respondents over a five year period. Results again indicated that a number of variables were significantly correlated with high levels of satisfaction and perceived learning. These included the quantity and quality of interaction with the instructor and classmates, prompt and quality feedback from the instructor and the communication of clear expectations. The report includes an explanation of the results relative to social learning theory and established principles of good practice in higher education.

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A Study of Students’ Sense of Learning Community in Online Environments

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 10 (1), 35-44, 2006

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany – State University of New York

Abstract: This paper looks first at some of the often unspoken epistemological, philosophical, and theoretical assumptions that are foundational to student-centered, interactive online pedagogical models. It is argued that these foundational assumptions point to the importance of learning community in the effectiveness of online learning environments. Next, a recent study of 2314 online students across thirty-two college campuses is presented. This study reports on learners’ sense of community and it is concluded through factor and regression analysis that elements of the Community of Inquiry model—specifically learners’ recognition of effective “directed facilitation” and effective instructional design and organization on the part of their instructor contributes to their sense of shared purpose, trust, connectedness, and learning—core elements of a community of learners. Gender also appears to play a small role in students’ sense of learning community with female students reporting higher levels than their male classmates. Implications for online learning environments design are discussed.

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A Study of Teaching Presence and Student Sense of Learning Community in Fully Online and Web-Enhanced College Courses

The Internet and Higher Education 9 (3), 175-190, 2006

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany – State University of New York
Chun Sau Li, University at Albany – State University of New York
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network

Abstract: This paper focuses on two components of a model for online teaching and learning—“teaching presence” and “community”. It is suggested that previous research points to the critical role that community plays in academic success and persistence in higher education. Through a review of recent literature it is proposed that teaching presence–viewed as the core roles of the online instructor–is a promising mechanism for developing learning community in online environments. This investigation presents a multi-institutional study of 1067 students across 32 different colleges that further substantiates this claim. An instrument to assess instructor teaching presence (“The Teaching Presence Scale”) is presented and validated. Factor and regression analysis indicate a significant link between students’ sense of learning community and effective instructional design and “directed facilitation” on the part of course instructors, and highlights interesting differences between online and classroom environments. Alternative hypotheses regarding student demographics associated with variables such as age (the “net generation” effect) and gender are also examined. Despite recent assertions that younger students are or soon will be too sophisticated to “feel at home” in largely text-based asynchronous learning environments, no significant effects were found by demographic differences examined. Recommendations for online course design, pedagogy, and future research are included.

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Teaching Presence and Establishment of Community in Online Learning Environments

Sloan Consortium Summer Workshops, 2004

Authors: Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Karen Swan, Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University
Alexandra Pickett, State University of New York, SUNY Learning Network

Abstract: This paper builds on the model we have developed for quality online learning environments. In that model we argue that online learning needs to reflect what we know about learning in general, what we
understand about learning in higher-education contexts, and our emerging knowledge of largely asynchronous online environments. Components of the model include a focus on learner roles, knowledge building, assessment, community, and various forms of “presence”. In this paper we focus on two components – teaching presence and community – and review the rationale and benefits for an emphasis on community in online learning environments. We argue that learning is social in nature and that online learning environments can be designed to reflect and leverage the social nature of learning. We suggest that previous research points to the critical role that community can play in building and sustaining productive online earning and that teaching presence, defined as the core roles of the online instructor, is the most promising mechanism for developing learning community. Finally we briefly describe a study now in progress that will evaluate this claim.

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Understanding Distinctions in Learning in Hybrid, and Online Environments: an Empirical Investigation of the Community of Inquiry Framework

Interactive Learning Environments 21 (4), 355-370, 2013

Authors: Peter Shea, Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Temi Bidjerano, Furman University

Abstract: This study of 723 college students seeks to assess the adequacy of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework for describing and explaining differences in learning outcomes in hybrid and fully online learning environments. Hypothesizing that the CoI model’s theoretical constructs of presence reflect educational effectiveness in a variety of environments, this article seeks evidence of whether students in varying learning environments are likely to rank them differently with regard to teaching, social, and cognitive presence. The study utilizes factor-, hierarchical-regression-, and path analyses to determine the validity of the CoI constructs as well as to characterize the nature of relationships between them. Results suggest that the model is coherent and accounts for the small but significant differences recently reported in the literature regarding the superiority of hybrid environments relative to fully online environments (Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2009). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development). Recommendations for future research and practice are included.

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Using Focus Groups to Study ALN Faculty Motivation

Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 11 (1), 107-124, 2013

Authors: Starr Roxanne Hiltz, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York
Eunhee Kim, Northern State University

Abstract: What are the most significant factors that motivate and inhibit faculty with regard to teaching in online environments? And what are the specific kinds of experiences that underlie and explain the importance of these factors? One goal of this study was to add to understanding of these issues, but the primary purpose of this study is determining how well these questions can be answered using the method of structured focus groups. This paper describes the methods and results of a pilot study conducted using four focus group interviews of faculty experienced in teaching using “Asynchronous Learning Networks” (ALN) at one university, and a single focus group at a second university in order to explore generalizability. For the university at which four group interviews were conducted, the rank orders of leading motivators and demotivators were quite consistent. Leading motivators include the flexibility allowed by being able to teach “anytime/anywhere;” better/more personal interaction and community building supported by the medium; the technical and creativity challenges offered by this mode of teaching; being able to reach more (and more diverse) students; and better course management. Major sources of dissatisfaction are more work, medium limitations, lack of adequate support and policies for teaching online, and the fact that the medium is not a good fit for some students. Very similar results were found through the replication focus group conducted at a different institution.

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