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Are We Ready for Online Doctorates?. Jim Flowers, Prof. & Director of Online Ed. Holly Baltzer, Former Research Assistant Ball State University, Muncie, IN. Supported in part by the Council on Technology Teacher Education Research Incentive Grant Program

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Are We Ready for Online Doctorates?


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    1. Are We Ready for Online Doctorates? Jim Flowers, Prof. & Director of Online Ed. Holly Baltzer, Former Research Assistant Ball State University, Muncie, IN Supported in part by the Council on Technology Teacher Education Research Incentive Grant Program Association for Career & Technical Education Annual ConventionLas Vegas, NV, Dec., 14, 2007 http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007acte/AreWeReady.ppt

    2. Technical Education • Technology Education • Career & Technical Education

    3. Ball State University • Long history of Technical Education • Decision to offer two master’s online in 2002 • MA in Technology Education • MA in Career & Technical Education

    4. 2000 Nationwide Demand Surveyfor Placing Master’s Online • Informed the decision to go online. • Was used to pave the way for acceptance. • Provided data on a new target population. • Became a model for other program proposals. • Flowers, J. (2001). Online learning needs in technology education. J. of Technology Education, 13(1), 17-30. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/v13n1/pdf/flowers.pdf • Instrument: http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007distance/OnlineLearningNeedsInstrument01.htm

    5. Since Going Online in 2002 • Analysis: Flowers, J. (2005). The effect of online delivery on graduate enrollment. J. of Industrial Teacher Education, 42(4), 7-24. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JITE/v42n4/pdf/flowers.pdf • Update: http://www.bsu.edu/iandt/official/report2006-2007.htm • Inquiries about possibly offering an online or hybrid doctoral degree • Enrollment growth

    6. Online Education • Online Education in the US is growing • Enrollments are increasing.* • Becoming a part of many institutions’ long-term strategies.* • However, it is not growing uniformly • Doctoral programs have the least program penetration (institutions offering the same program face-to-face and online.)* • Technology education fits this trend. • * Source: Allen, I. E., and Seaman, J., (2005). Growing by degrees: Online education in the United States, 2005. Needham, MA: Sloan-C. Retrieved October 18, 2006 from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/pdf/growing_by_degrees.pdf

    7. 2005 Program Penetration Rates Highest penetration of any level program occurred at doctoral institutions. • the “proportion of institutions that offer a particular type of face-to-face course or program [and] provide the same type of offering online” (p. 5) • Bachelor’s: 29.9% • Master’s: 43.6% • Doctoral: 12.4% Source: Allen, I. E., and Seaman, J., (2005). Growing by degrees: Online education in the United States, 2005. Needham, MA: Sloan-C. Retrieved October 18, 2006 from http://www.sloan-c.org/publications/survey/pdf/growing_by_degrees.pdf

    8. Technical Education Online?

    9. Technology Education Online • Technology education has begun to utilize online education in Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. • Despite the critical need for researchers and university faculty in the field, Doctoral level distance programs have only recently begun to emerge (e.g., Old Dominion.) • There is still much concern over the employability of those with a doctoral degree earned at a distance. (Adams, J., & DeFleur, M. (2005). The acceptability of a doctoral degree earned online as a credential for obtaining a faculty position. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(2), 71-85.)

    10. Difficulties in Hiring TE Faculty Source: Brown, D. (2002). Supply and Demand Analysis of Industrial Teacher Education Faculty. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 40(1), 60-73.

    11. Difficulties in Hiring TE Faculty • 75% of Brown’s (2002) respondents found applicant pool “inadequate.” Source: Brown, D. (2002). Supply and Demand Analysis of Industrial Teacher Education Faculty. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 40(1), 60-73.

    12. 4-Phase Study: • Perceived demand for an online or hybrid doctoral program from a survey of prospective students • Hiring attitudes towards those with a doctoral degree earned online • Status of current doctoral programs • Models for online and hybrid doctoral education

    13. Limitations Online surveys used self-selected samples not representative of the field. This is a snapshot of evolving attitudes.

    14. Phase 1:Perceived demand for an online or hybrid doctoral program from a survey of prospective students • Flowers, J., & Baltzer, H. (2006). Perceived demand for online and hybrid doctoral programs in technical education. J. of Industrial Teacher Education, 43(4), 39-56. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JITE/v43n4/pdf/flowers.pdf

    15. Survey Sample (spring 2006) • Survey sample: Membership of • International Technology Education Association (ITEA: P=2737, S=398) • Association of Technical Education (ATEA: 700) • Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE declined our request to survey its members.) • Sample was divided into those who had (DOC) and those who had not previously earned (ND) a doctoral degree.

    16. Return • Of those who had not earned a doctoral degree, only data from respondents who indicated they had a desire to pursue a doctoral degree (ND) were analyzed. • Overall return rate was 14% (532) • 281 discarded because of no interest in doctoral studies • 181 in ND group • 70 in DOC group

    17. Instruments • Online survey items included: • Demographics such as highest degree earned, number of years to retirement; • Motivations for doctoral studies; • Perceived obstacles to doctoral studies including suggestions to overcome obstacles; • Appeal of face-to-face vs. online delivery; • Likelihood of pursuing a doctoral degree based on the method of delivery (ND only); and • Open-ended comments

    18. Instruments • Pilot Testing • Examples • http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007distance/ITEAPNonDoc.htm • http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007distance/ITEAPDoc.htm

    19. Demographics • ND • Majority were secondary school teachers, minorities of lecturers, professors and graduate assistants. • 74% had completed a master’s, 24% a bachelor’s. • Median years to retirement between 21-25. • DOC • Majority were professors or deans. • Median number of years since the doctorate was earned was 15. • Median years to retirement fell between the 5-10 and 11-20 year ranges.

    20. Reported Motivation • When asked about primary motivation with answer choices: ‘pay raise,’ ‘status/position advancement at current job,’ ‘to be eligible for a new job,’ ‘personal fulfillment,’ and ‘other.’ • Both groups indicated that ‘personal fulfillment,’ and ‘eligibility for a new job,’ were statistically greater motivations than ‘pay raise,’ and ‘status/position advancement at current job.’ (p ≤ .001)

    21. Opportunity? Are programs currently designed to meet the needs of the profession, rather than needs based on personal fulfillment? Might it be possible to attract applicants primarily motivated by personal fulfillment and increase the pool of doctorates?

    22. Perceived Obstacles • Found all three obstacles from Rogers (2002)*, time commitment, location of nearest university, and financial costs to be ‘moderate.’ • When asked how a university might overcome their most insurmountable obstacle, ND overwhelming support for flexibility in time and space and DOC suggested ways of taking financial burden off. • An illustration: Both groups were asked an item concerning the amount of time, not during the summer, they would have to devote to doctoral studies. *Rogers, G. (October, 2002). Technology education doctoral programs: Key factors influencing participation. The Technology Teacher-e.

    23. Discrepancy that indicates: • The need for more flexibility in time by programs • The need for a reality-check by prospective doctoral students

    24. Perceived Appeal • “Compared to a face-to-face doctoral program, how much more or less appealing is an online doctoral program?” • ND indicated appeal was significantly greater than neutral (p < .001) • DOC indicated appeal was significantly less than neutral (p < .001)

    25. Likelihood to Pursue • ND group was asked three questions concerning the likelihood that they would pursue a doctoral program that was face-to-face, hybrid or online.

    26. 150 • A decrease in the required time on-campus increases the likelihood this sample will enroll in doctoral studies (n=181). 81 20

    27. Reduced Tuition? • Are/Would you have been you more likely to consider an online doctoral program if it offered reduced tuition: • Non-Doc: 90% Yes (n=181) • Doc: 41% Yes (n =68)

    28. Graduate Assistantships? • Are/Were you limited to an institution that awarded graduate assistantships to students pursuing a doctorate? • Non-Doc: 34% Yes (n = 180) • Doc: 52% Yes (n = 68)

    29. ND Comments • ND group was mostly in cautious support of the idea of a distance doctoral program in technical education. • Strong concerns over the quality of the program, and seemed more in support of a hybrid model over a full online model despite the previous graph

    30. ND Comments “I think it is an excellent idea!!!” “A program [where] core course work could be completed online and elective course work completed in workshops and summer residencies would be ideal for many working student/educators.”

    31. Doc Comments • DOC group was in opposition to distance doctoral program. • Extremely concerned over the quality of program, especially because of the lack of personal contact with an advisor

    32. Doc Comments • “How will this online program prepare the graduates for the professorship without mentorship?” • “I feel any program that is 100% online cannot possibly be as effective as one that involves face-to-face interactions with colleagues UNLESS the goal is to produce graduates who will teach online courses exclusively.”

    33. Perceived Demand Conclusions • This study found demand for an online or hybrid doctoral program from prospective students, • with more support for a hybrid model from prospective students, and more tolerance for a hybrid model from those who had attended a traditional doctoral program.

    34. Phase 2:Hiring attitudes towards those with a doctoral degree earned online • Flowers, J., & Baltzer, H. (2006). Hiring technical education faculty: Vacancies, Criteria, and Attitudes toward Online Doctoral Degrees. J. of Industrial Teacher Education, 43(3), 29-44.http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JITE/v43n3/pdf/flowers.pdf

    35. Hiring Attitudes • The need for higher education faculty in technical education is greater than the supply of doctoral educated candidates. (Brown, D. (2002). Supply and demand analysis of industrial teacher education faculty. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 40(1), 60-73.) • Applicants in various fields with doctoral degrees earned face-to-face are preferred over applicants with doctoral degrees earned at a distance. (Adams, J., & DeFleur, M. (2005). The acceptability of a doctoral degree earned online as a credential for obtaining a faculty position. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(2), 71-85.)

    36. Purpose • This study was aimed at determining if the stigma against those who earned their doctoral degree at a distance holds true in the field of technical education, and if so, what justifications for this stigma are given from those who make hiring decisions.

    37. Survey Sample (spring 2006) • Survey sample was chairs and coordinators for bachelor’s and master’s level programs in technical education who are directly involved in their departments hiring practices. • Sources: ITE Directory, NAIT directory, ITEA site, Petersons.com, Gradschools.com – verified on program websites • 28 out 94 possible candidates returned the survey (22 offered online courses).

    38. Instrument • Online survey items included: • Current and predicted faculty vacancies; • Factors in hiring decisions; and • Respondents’ perceptions of the likelihood that their institution would hire an individual with an online doctoral degree • Online Instrument: http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007distance/Hiring.htm

    39. Results: Vacancies • Average tenure track vacancies: 1.0 • Anticipated tenure track vacancies over next three years: 2.0 • Respondents indicated that it would be ‘moderately difficult’ to attract qualified applicants to these positions.

    40. Hiring Criteria • The survey asked respondents to rank criteria hiring decisions based on importance between 1- ‘very little’ and 5- ‘very much.’ • ‘having a doctorate or ABD’ mean = 4.86 • ‘ability to teach particular course work’ m = 4.64 • ‘ability to communicate effectively’ m = 4.64 • ‘ability to work well with others’ m = 4.64

    41. Hiring a Candidate with an Online Doctorate?. • Respondents were asked, “Do you believe your institution would be less likely or more likely to hire an individual to a tenure track [non-tenure track] position because their doctorate was earned through an online program?” • The sample indicated their institutions were significantly less likely. • Tenure track p = .001 • Non-tenure track p = .006

    42. Justifications • Main justifications given from respondents for bias against hiring those with an online doctoral degree: • They did not feel an online doctoral degree has the same level of credibility or quality that a face-to-face program would have. • They felt that personal interaction is critical part of doctoral education that cannot be adequately achieved online.

    43. Comments “Online programs do not provide for the personal interactions of a classroom environment that enrich one’s preparation nor do online programs encourage development of personal/social interaction skills.” “We value the PhD experience that a student receives in a formal PhD program. Research is too important to our new faculty to take a chance on them learning research techniques online.”

    44. Comments “How the degree was obtained is less important than the credibility of the degree and the granting institution.” “Doesn’t matter the delivery… the content is what matters.”

    45. Phase 1 & 2: Conclusions • There is demand from prospective students for a distance doctoral program. • Concerns over quality must addressed to the satisfaction of potential employers if those earning such a degree are to be competitive. • Suspicion: There may be misconceptions about online education harbored both by potential doctoral students and by university chairs.

    46. Recommendations • Quality assurance of a distance doctoral program must be rigorous. • Greater flexibility in time is likely to be attractive to potential students of a distance doctoral program. • A hybrid model that incorporates personal face-to-face contact may be one way to help those earning the degree be employable. • Evolving attitudes should be revisited.

    47. Update on Phase 3: Status of Doctoral Programs in TE 19 diverse programs Historic problems (funding, staffing) Growing online elements Hiring preferences against online docs Baltzer, H., Lazaros, E., & Flowers, J., (2007). Review of doctoral programs in technical education. J. of Industrial Teacher Education, 44(2), 37-59.

    48. What’s next? • P1: Demand: Good • P2: Employability: Poor • P3: Status of Doc Programs: Diverse • P4: Models for Online Doctoral Ed.? • More programs going online. • Ball State: Not pursuing an online or hybrid doctoral offering in TE at this time. • Tenure of Faculty-at-a-Distance?

    49. Success • Model to gather data to inform a decision to go online • Better-informed decision making • Documentation that could be used to support proposals

    50. Are We Ready for Online Doctorates? Jim Flowers, Prof. & Director of Online Ed. Holly Baltzer, Former Research Assistant Ball State University, Muncie, IN Email: jcflowers1@bsu.edu Homepage: http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu This Presentation: http://jcflowers1.iweb.bsu.edu/pres/2007acte/AreWeReady.ppt