Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044367/00001

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Title: Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels Perspectives of Early Adopters in Online Honors Education
Physical Description: 1 online resource (202 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Johnson, Melissa L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: honors -- online -- phenomenology
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (CUI) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of five faculty members from across the United States who had taught an honors course in a fully online environment. In describing a relatively new phenomenonin undergraduate honors education, these five innovators or early adopters of online honors education participated in a series of three individual interviews. Interviews focused on the participants’ design, implementation, and reflection of their online teaching experiences. Using van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological analysis, findings were presented in two different manners. First they were presented as a series of in-depth teaching experiences, focusing on designing the course, teaching the course, and reflecting on the course. Commonalities from these in-depth descriptions across participants were included. Then findings were presented as the overarching themes present in their experiences with online honors education. Themes included serving as an early adopter, experimenting with online learning in honors, and moving online learning forward. The results of this study have the potential to challenge current assumptions about the place of online learning within undergraduate honors education. A discussion of the experiences as compared with relevant literature, as well as implications for the undergraduate honors community, and recommendations for future research and practice are included.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melissa L Johnson.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Dawson, Kara M.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044367:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044367/00001

Material Information

Title: Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels Perspectives of Early Adopters in Online Honors Education
Physical Description: 1 online resource (202 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Johnson, Melissa L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012


Subjects / Keywords: honors -- online -- phenomenology
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (CUI) thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of five faculty members from across the United States who had taught an honors course in a fully online environment. In describing a relatively new phenomenonin undergraduate honors education, these five innovators or early adopters of online honors education participated in a series of three individual interviews. Interviews focused on the participants’ design, implementation, and reflection of their online teaching experiences. Using van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological analysis, findings were presented in two different manners. First they were presented as a series of in-depth teaching experiences, focusing on designing the course, teaching the course, and reflecting on the course. Commonalities from these in-depth descriptions across participants were included. Then findings were presented as the overarching themes present in their experiences with online honors education. Themes included serving as an early adopter, experimenting with online learning in honors, and moving online learning forward. The results of this study have the potential to challenge current assumptions about the place of online learning within undergraduate honors education. A discussion of the experiences as compared with relevant literature, as well as implications for the undergraduate honors community, and recommendations for future research and practice are included.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melissa L Johnson.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Dawson, Kara M.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044367:00001

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2 2012 Melissa Leigh Johnson


3 To my grandmother, Velma Simpson Redd


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I have always known that I wanted to work in academia. When I took career assessments in elementary school, education always came up as a match. While other kids spent time outdoors playing, I was creating lesson plans from textbooks I found in my grandmot school, I listed college professor as my intended career on the PSAT score report. The road to completing my PhD has not always been easy, but I would not trade this experience for anything. I am very fortunate to have had the support, generosity, and kindness of so many people along the way. I want to thank Dr. Cathy Cavanaugh who was instrumental in helping me gain admission into the educational technology program. Her continued guidance and support, even from afar, have been so much appreciated. Dr. Kara Dawson has been my doctoral committee chair since December 2011, and I feel so fortunate that we have been able to work together. She has been a wonderful coach and guide through this entire process. Every meeting and email exchange with her has been encouraging and her feedback has been so constructive and helpful. thank you for sticking with me through not one, but two qualifying exam procedures in different departments. Dr. Matheny has not only served as my external committee member, but also as a colleague through our connections in academic advising on campus Dr. Albert Ritzhaupt and Dr. Erik Black have been wonderful committee members, always asking good questions and encouraging me to seek professional opportunities within our field.


5 I want to thank my participants for their generosity in time and spirit. T hroughout all three interviews with them, I felt so encouraged and validated in my work with technology and undergraduate honors education. It was a joy to discuss their online teaching experiences with them, and I cannot wait to continue sharing their sto ries. It is my h ope that we can open the dialogue about honors and online education with the rest of our colleagues. My colleagues in the University of Florida Honors Program have been incredible particularly my supervisor, Dr. Kevin Knudson. With his sup port and encouragement, he empowered me to get this body of work done. Having the flexibility to spend time thinking and writing and reflecting when I needed it most made all the difference in completing this study in the timeline that I did It was my col league, Dr. John Denny, who first encouraged me to start taking classes again back in 2007 As he recently completed his doctoral work in May 2012 in the higher education program, I have enjoyed sharing this journey with him. My students have been absolute ly amazing in their support for me. Whether it was in class, over email, or on Facebook, the encouragement they have shown for me cannot be forgotten. This past spring semester I was occupied with data collection, analysis, and writing, and could not be as available to my students as I had in the past. Thank you to the students who understood my schedule constraints and worked with me via email or squeezed into my available appointment times. Sometimes I think they for almost as long as I have. I could not have gotten this far without the support of my friends and colleagues. My original SAGE group in the educational technology program, Dr. Kathryn Kennedy


6 and Dr. Feng Liu especially, made me feel at home in my new of Nicola Wayer and Nate Poling has made doctoral work an entertaining ride to say the least. Knowing I could always talk to the two of them has been such a blessing. Ela Kaye Eley has been another supportive colleague and I always enjoy talking to her. My #sadoc friends, particularly Laura Pasquini and Dr. Michelle Rodems, have been amazing. We met on Twitter, connected at ACPA, and have bee n writers, collaborators, cheerleaders, and friends ever since I have had a long list of mentors and teachers throughout my life who have inspired me to do the work that I do. The late Meg Manning Combs was the first to tell me when I first arrived at the University of Florida back in 2001 that I would ne ver be happy until I got back into the classroom. She was right, of course, as she was about so many things. Krispin Barr was my orientation supervisor as a graduate student at UNCG and truly made me believe that higher education was where I belonged. To t he faculty of the UNCG classical studies department Dr. Susan Shelmerdine, Dr. David Wharton, and Dr. Hugh Parker you have modeled for me what a faculty member should be. That more students do not choose to get to know their faculty members has always been a mystery to me after developing such an incredible relationship with each of you. Last, but not least, my parents Jim and Cindy Brusca thank you for putting up with me. Even though I am your favorite child, I know I have not always been the easie st to deal with. Thank you for listening to me rant on the phone, for commenting on every single Facebook post about my dissertation progress, and for never letting me quit anything ever


7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 13 Purpose of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 19 Research Que stion ................................ ................................ ................................ 20 Significance of Study ................................ ................................ .............................. 20 Delimitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 20 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 21 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 22 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 23 The Framework: Diffusion of Innovations ................................ ................................ 23 The Social System: Undergraduate Honors Education ................................ ........... 27 History of Honors Education ................................ ................................ ............. 27 Classifications of Honors Education ................................ ................................ 29 Distinctions between Honors Programs and Colleges ................................ ...... 30 Honors Education at 2 Year and Community Colleges ................................ .... 31 Honors Courses ................................ ................................ ............................... 32 Honors Instructors ................................ ................................ ............................ 33 Experiential Education in Honors ................................ ................................ ..... 33 The Innovation: Online Lea rning from the Faculty Perspective ............................... 35 About Online Learning ................................ ................................ ...................... 35 Who is Teaching Online and Why ................................ ................................ .... 37 Barriers to Teaching Online ................................ ................................ .............. 38 Faculty Development ................................ ................................ ........................ 41 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 43 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 44 Foundations for Conducting Phenomenological Qualitative Inquiry ........................ 44 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 47 Population and Setting ................................ ................................ ............................ 47 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 51 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 53 Subjectivity ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 56 Methods of Rigor ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 58


8 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 59 Participants and Setting ................................ ................................ .................... 59 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ 60 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 61 4 INDIVIDUAL DESCRIP TIONS OF TEACHING ................................ ...................... 63 ................................ ................................ ............... 64 ................................ ................................ ................ 71 ................................ ................................ .................. 80 ................................ ................................ ................... 88 ................................ ................................ .................. 96 Commonalities ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 107 Designing the Course ................................ ................................ ..................... 107 Teaching the Course ................................ ................................ ...................... 108 Reflecting on the Course ................................ ................................ ................ 1 10 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 112 5 THEMATIC FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ......................... 114 Serving as an Early Adopter ................................ ................................ ................. 115 or is it? ................................ ................................ ...................... 115 ................................ ................................ ......................... 116 Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels ................................ ................................ 117 A Desire to Share ................................ ................................ ........................... 119 Experiment ing with Online Learning in Honors ................................ ..................... 121 Fulfilling a Need ................................ ................................ .............................. 121 Honors Students in the Online Environment ................................ ................... 124 Meeting the Aims of Honors Education ................................ .......................... 127 Moving Online Learning Forward ................................ ................................ .......... 130 Addressing Concerns of Peers ................................ ................................ ....... 130 Suggestions for Implementation ................................ ................................ ..... 132 Implications for Undergraduate Honors Education ................................ ......... 134 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 135 6 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 137 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 139 Participants as Innovators and Early Adopters ................................ ............... 140 Faculty Development and Support in the Online Environment ....................... 142 Addressing Faculty Concerns with Online Learning ................................ ....... 144 Implications for Undergraduate Honors Education ................................ ............... 148 Creating Access ................................ ................................ ............................. 148 Meeting the Aims of Honors Online ................................ ................................ 150 Blending Online Instruction into Honors ................................ ......................... 156 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ............................... 161


9 Recommendations for Practice ................................ ................................ ............. 163 Final Thoughts ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 165 APPENDIX A BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A FULLY DEVELOPED HONORS PROGRAM 167 B BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A FULLY DEVELOPED HONORS COLLEGE 170 C CONSENT FORM ................................ ................................ ................................ 172 D RECRUITMENT EMAIL ................................ ................................ ........................ 173 E INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS ................................ ................................ .................. 174 F EXAM IN DEPTH TEACHING DESCRIPTIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 177 G EXAMPLES OF COMMONALITIES AMONG IN DEPTH TEACHING EXPERIENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 186 H SHARED THEMES RELATED TO DIFFUSION OF ONLINE LEARNING ............ 187 I COPYRIGHT PERMISSION FROM NCHC ................................ .......................... 189 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 190 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 202


10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Participant demographics ................................ ................................ ................... 62 4 1 ............................... 113 5 1 Summary of thematic findings ................................ ................................ .......... 136


11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy PIONEERS, GUINEA PIGS, AND REBELS: PERSPECTIVES OF EARLY ADOPTERS IN ONLINE HONORS EDUCATION By Melissa Leigh Johnson August 2012 Chair: Kara Dawson Major: Curriculum and Instruction The purpose of this study wa s to describe the experiences of five faculty members from acro ss the United States who had taught an honors course in a fully online environment In describing a relatively new phenomenon in undergraduate honors education, these five innovators or early adopters of online h onors education par ticipated in a series of three individual interviews Interviews focused on the participants reflection of their online teaching experiences were presen ted in two different manners. First they were presented as a series o f in depth teaching experiences focusing on designing the course, teaching the course, and reflecting on the course. Commonalities from these in depth descriptions across participants we re included. Then findings were presented as the overarching themes present in their experiences with online honors education. Themes included serving as an early adopter, experimenting with online learning in honors, and moving online learning forward. Th e results of this study have the potential to challenge current assumptions about the place of online learning within undergraduate honors education. A discussion of the


12 experiences as compared with relevant literature, as well as implications for the unde rgraduate honors community, and recommendations for future research and practice are included.


13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION There has been an increased interest in revitalizing undergraduate education, specifically at research focused institutions (Boyer, 1998; 2001). Boyer (1998) called for using more innovative methods of course delivery, moving away from the traditional lecture and toward inquiry based learning. The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), the professional association for under graduate honors programs and colleges across the United States, believes that undergraduate honors education is one arena where pedagogi cal innovation is taking place. NCHC the professional home to almost 650 honors programs and colleges (internal members hip database) prides itself on spearheading innovative and experiential pedagogies within the field of honor s; signature NCHC programs such as Honors Semesters, City as Text, and Partners in the Parks are prime examples. Honors Semesters were developed in 1976 to provide honors students across the country a semester long opportunity for active, collaborative learning focused on multi disciplinary, site specific inquiry (Braid, 2000; Daniel, 2000). City as Text (CAT) has been a feature of the Honors Semeste rs since 1981, but it also takes place as a mini feature of annual NCHC conferences. Literally intended to use the city (or location in general) as the text for a learning experience, CAT allows 2000, p. 14). Partners in the Parks (PITP) is a collaborative effort among NCHC, Southern Utah University and the National Park Service to create outdoor experiential learning opportunities in the national parks (Partners, 2 010). Begun in 2008, PITP allows honors students across the country to study the educational, recreational, and


14 stewardship opportunities in the parks from honors faculty and National Park Service park rangers. The honors community often notes that what ma that honors courses serve as laboratories of curricular innovation and experiential learning (Braid, 2001; Braid, 2007; Bruce, 2008; Hutgett, 2003; Lacey, 2005; Schuman, 2001; Strikwerda, 2007; Werth, 2005; Wolfensb erger, van Eijl & Pilot, 2004). E xemplary honors courses should include participatory learning, an emphasis on primary sources, Schu man, 200 6, p. 36). NCHC has devoted an entire monograph to providing examples of how experiential learning including elements of the nationally led programs such as City as Text, have been implemented into ho nors courses (Machonis, 2008). The honors community is divided on how the use of technology fits into the innovative, experiential features of honors courses (Albert & Bruce 2002; Allen, 2010; Braid, 2002; Carnic om, Harris, Draude, McDaniel, & Mathis, 2007; Clark & Crockett, 2002; Cobane, 2002; Doherty, 2010; Fuiks & Clark, 2002; Gresham, Bowles, Gibson, Robinson, Farris, & Felts, 2012; NCHC, 2012; Otero, 2008; Schuman, 2001; Schuman, 2008; Schlenker, 2002 ; Spurrier, 2002) Schuman (2008) does not mention technology in his handbook for developing honors progra ms and colleges. In the monograph Teaching and Learning in Honors (Fuiks & Clark, 2002), only one chapter is devoted to teaching with technology. In that chapter Clark and Crockett (2002) utilize web pages as a good resource to post course syllabi, schedul es, and resources. They also describe the now defunct National Satellite Seminar Series, which was an annual hour long live


15 telecast for honors faculty across the country. The first of these satellite seminars took place in 1995 (Spurrier, 2002). The NCHC Technology and Honors committee was formed that same year, having grown out of the Task Force on Teleconferencing and Distance Learning Technology. As of 2012 that technology committee no longer exists ( NCHC 2012 ). Perhaps there is a fear that technology will take away from the aims of liberal education, such as the cultivation of communication and analytical skills, responsibilities to the greater world, and an understanding of a global society (AAC&U, 2007) the primary focus of honors education (Braid 2001; Schuman, 2001). Online courses are sometimes seen as the antithesis of the small, intimate settings of traditional honors courses (Cobane, 2008). Perhaps there is a lack of understanding of how technology might be implemented in the honors classro om. Otero (2008) notes that honors classrooms of the future utilizing technology might resemble Star Trek or The Magic School Bus Her vision of the honors classroom of the future also includes wireless technology, sequenced instruction, contextual problem solving, and large scale collaboration with colleagues around the world. While these advances are currently present in many college classrooms, it seems as though they have not made their way into the honors classroom. Perhaps there is a lack of understan ding of technology by the honors field as a whole. Aside from the short lived NCHC technology committee and the satellite series, logy have included hosting an e mail listserv for members since 1992, a web site s ince 1996, and Internet access at annual


16 conferences since 1 998 (Spurrier, 2002). As of 2012 those technological offerings remain virtually unchanged, with few new additions. A small body of literature has emerged, primarily descriptive, on the values of technology in the honors classroom. Albert and Bruce (2002) note that technology can add, not replace traditional classroom experiences. Carnicom, Harris, Draude, McDaniel and Mathis (2007) connect the concepts of pedagogical innovation as stated in Schum classroom. Carnicom et al. (2007) agree with Albert and Bruce (2002) in noting the ability of technology to augment, not replace teaching. Curious about the current usage of techn ology in honors courses, I embarked on a qualitative study d uring t he summer of 2010 with five instructors at a large, public research university in the southeastern United States regarding the ir use of technology in their honors courses (Johnson, 2011) T heir fields of study included economics (two instructors), physics, mathematics, and communication studies. All instructors had taught honors courses for several years and had taught in their respective fields for at least a decade. The most common use of technology in the honors classroom was for communication or course administration Four out of the five instructors had built a course website for the purpose of posting the syllabus and other course resources. All five instructors noted that they used em ail to communicate with students in their course. Two of the instructors used PowerPoint or the Internet during their lectures, while another commented that he had tried PowerPoint once and did not enjoy using it. One only used an overhead projector during his lectures. Two instructors introduced optional


17 software to help with homework assignments but did not require its use. One instructor required students to use editing software to complete peer reviews of papers. I asked these instructors if there was a place for technology in the honors classroom. Three instructors resolutely stated that the nature of small classes in honors meant that technology was not necessary. In fact, one said that he did not think that in a small classroom, anything would replace interaction with an expert. Another commented that he could interact with each student individually in his honors course, so he did not see an immediate advantage of using technology. The third instructor agreed that the access to the instructor in a smal l class was so great that he did not see a need for technology. Of the other two instructors, one said she would use more technology in an non honors course because those students needed access to more course resources, Finally, I asked the instructors if their colleagues were discussing teaching with technology at conferences, or if teaching with technology was mentioned in the research literature for their fields. Four instructors noted that technology was being di scussed in their fields. Two knew that there were journal articles dedicated to teaching with technology, although they were not following them. One observed that there were a lot of panels on technology at her national conference, although she had not att ended them. The other instructor said there was quite a bit of discussion on teaching with technology in his field of mathematics primarily regarding teaching online courses, and nearly all comments had been negative. The last comment from the instructor intrigued me. Although he was referring to general math courses and not honors courses, I wondered how online honors courses


18 worked how they were designed, how they were being utilized, how they might be different from traditional, face to face honors c ourses, and how they maintained the spirit of honors education While there was little data on the use of technology in the honors classroom, there was even less data on the nature of online honors courses. The former NCHC technology committee distributed a survey of member institutions to determine how technology was utilized in their honors courses (Schlenker, 2002). Out of 139 responding institutions, only 9 offered fully I nternet based courses. Seven institutions offered distance education via interacti ve television, and 7 offered distance education vi a a combination of satellite, e mail, compressed video and video conferencing. Because the technology committee is now defunct, an updated survey has not been released. With very little data beyond that NCHC technology survey, I continued with my search and began to consider the possibilities of online courses within undergraduate honors education. Soon after I had collected data for my study on technology and the honors classroom the following comments appe ared on the unofficial NCHC email listserv responding to a query from an honors director about online honors courses: I am guessing that a distance learning honors course is almost a contradiction in terms. One of the great strengths of honors education is the one on one contact students have with teachers in a smaller seminar class where the interdisciplinary and interactive aspects are crucial. It would be difficult if not impossible to duplicate this in a distance education model. Another important aspec t of honors education is the community of scholars that the honors students become a part of. Once again, this is next to impossible to duplicate in distance education. Since the ability to work in teams is becoming more important in all aspects of the wor k place, it may be that if honors education retains it s current model, learning teamwork will become one of the crucial selling points for honors. Having distance education courses might run counter to working in teams and dilute the


19 honors brand. I am sure there are high quality distance education classes, but it does not seem to me that the honor s model would fit with distance learning (Allen, 2010). Similar negative views toward online learning in honors have been noted in recent articles by Doherty ( 2010) and Gresham, Bowles, Gibson, Robinson, Farris, and Felts (2012). Doherty (2010) noted the bias towards face to face learning as prevalent in undergraduate honors education, as well as the view that online le arning was less rigorous. Gresh a m et al. (2 012) also observed negative comments about online learning both at the NCHC annual conference and on the unofficial listserv. In both articles, the authors believed there was a need to reexamine the potential benefits of online learning. It was clear to me in this case that more informat ion and education were needed about the nature of online learning, as well as how online courses might be adapted to fit the aims of honors education. I also determined that more examples were needed to showcase how online l earning currently was being used in the honors setting. By interviewing some of the few instructors of online honors courses those in the field could learn more about the phenomenon of online education, including how those courses might provide similar cu rricular innovations that serve as the hallmarks of undergraduate honors education Purpose of Study The purpose of this study wa s to describe the phenomenon of online honors courses from the perspective of the instructors teaching them. Through this qualitative study, I describe d how instructors perceive d the design, implementation, and reflection process of teaching online honors courses.


20 Research Question This study wa s guided by the following research question: How do instructors describe their experience teaching online honors courses? Significance of Study Currently there is a dearth of empirical literature on most aspects of the undergraduate honors experience (Achterberg, 2005; Long, 2002; Rinn, 2005; Singell & Tang, 2012 ). From 1987 2006, there were only 49 dissertations published on honors education, with only 10 authors publishing follow up articles or reviews on their top ics (Holman & Banning, 2012).Particularly relevant to this study is the lack of information on the use of technology in honors courses, specifically related to online courses. None of the dissertations reviewed by Holman and Banning (2012) focused on the t opic of this study This study has the potential to add to this work by describing how instructors design, implement, and reflect on their online honors courses. By providing these experiences, the honors community may begin to see how online courses could be one mor e outlet of the innovative classroom techniques that are the hallmark of honors. By describing how these participants were able to create online courses, future honors instructors and administrators may consider designing their own online course s or at least opening a dialogue about the utility of online courses for honors students. Delimitations This study wa s designed to describe the experiences of five honors i nstructors. As participants were recruited via the NCHC and other honors related l istserv s, participation wa s limited to instructors who had access to the se listserv s or we re notifi ed of the study by someone who wa s a listserv member. Due to the qualitative nature of


21 this study, results of this study are only applicable to the context d escribed in this study. While the findings may be of interest to other honors faculty and administrators, readers will need to determine those connections to the findings themselves. And finally the riences as an instructor and adminis trator for an honors program also impact ed how she approached described further in Chapter 3. Definition of Terms The following terms used throughout the study are defined below: Faculty development: Activities designed for faculty members to improve student learning, as well as their own competencies in teaching and scholarship (Eble & McKeachie, 1985). Honors college: An honors college includes all of the characteristics of an honors program, but exists as a s eparate academic unit as other colleges and schools at an institution headed by its own academic dean. Students in an honors college typically take a larger percentage of coursework within honors than in an honors program (Schuman, 2006). Honors course : Common features of honors courses include s mall class sizes, interdisciplinary themes, highly qualified students, stimulating faculty, challenging course topics and assignments, independent study, and experiential learning (Schuman, 2006). Honors program : An honors program is designed to meet the special needs of undergraduate students who have been identified by a set of criteria usually including GPA, SAT score, and / or written essay. Students in an honors program have the


22 opportunity to take specializ ed coursework and have access to specialized advising and facilities (Schuman, 2006). Liberal education: The aims of liberal education include a holistic development of communication and analytical skills, responsibilities to the greater world, and an unde rstanding of a global society. General education addresses many of these aims, although the major must address them as well (AAC&U, 2007). Online course: Online courses are those courses in which at least 80 percent of the course content is delivered onlin e (Allen & Seaman, 2010). Summary This study is organized into six chapters. This first chapter has included an overview and significance of the phenomenon of teaching online honors courses from n overview of the literature analysis methods, and the methods of rigor used. The fourth chapter supplies the results of the data analysis from an analytical perspective, or the in depth descriptions of each participant s teaching experiences, as well as commonalities experienced by the participants The fifth chapter supplies the resul ts of data analysis from a thematic perspect ive, or themes related to the phenomenon of teaching honors courses online shared by all participants. The sixth and final chapter incorporates the discussion of the results, as well as implications for research and practice.


23 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The overarching framework for this study is Diffusion of Innovation s (Rogers, 2003 ). The innovation in this case is developing and offering online honors courses. Online learning fits the description of an Zamojski, 2012, p. 102). Since o nline learning has not caught on in the mainstream honors community (see Doherty, 2010; Gresham, Bowles, Gibson, Robinson, Farris, and Felts (2012 ), those instructors who are developing and offering online courses could be considered innovators or early ad opters according to Rogers (2003 ). This chapter begins with an overview of the Diffusion of Inno vations framework (Rogers, 2003). From there a broad overview of undergraduate honors education, description includes the history, classifications, and curricular components o f honors. Finally a description of the innovation, online learning, is provided with a focus on the characteristics of the instructors teaching those courses. The Framework: Diffusion of Innovations Innovation diffusion research evolved around the mid 20 th century, with individual disciplines such as agriculture and education finding similar results in their studies of relevant innovations (Rogers, 2003). Rogers first wrote about innovation diffusion research in 1962 with the fifth and la test edition publis hed in 2003. communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social


24 communicatio even if the idea is not new in terms of time since its creation, if an individual or org anization perceives it as new, it is considered an innovation to that individual or organization. The communication channel is the medium through which information travels from one person to another. Time involves the rate of adoption, how long it takes fr om first learning of an innovation until the innovation ultimately is adopted or rejected. Finally, the social system is the environment in which the innovation travels. A variety of opinion leaders and change agents with the social system can exert great influence over the decision to adopt or reject an innovation. The innovation decision process is the process by which an individual considers advantages and disadvantages to adopting an innovation (Rogers, 2003). Attributes of innovations include relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability. Relative advantage is the degree to which the innovation is perceived as more advantageous than the current idea in place. The more advantageous an innovation is, the more likely it wil l be adopted. Compatibility is the degree to which the innovation is perceived as being in line with values of the members of the social system. An innovation closely aligned with the values of the group is more likely to be adopted. Complexity is the degr ee to which the innovation is perceived as complicated. An innovation difficult to understand and use is less likely to be adopted. Trialability is the degree to which the innovation can be tested prior to adoption. The more the user can experiment with th e innovation prior to adoption, the more likely they will adopt it. Finally, observability is the degree to which users can see the results or outcomes of the


25 innovation. The more users can see those results, the more likely they are to adopt the innovatio n. Communication channels can impact the innovation decision process based on the similarity (homophily) or differences (heterophily) between individuals in the social system. Individuals who share more similar characteristics are more likely to effectivel y communicate information about the innovation with each other. On the other hand, diffusion of the innovation throughout the system cannot occur if all of the individuals are identical and have no new information to share. There are five steps in the in novation decision process related to time: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation (Rogers, 2003). Knowledge involves understanding the innovation and how it works. Persuasion is the development of a position or negative opinion r elated to the innovation. Decision is the point where the individual begins to make a choice about adoption or rejection of the innovation. Implementation is the point where the individual begins to use the innovation. Confirmation takes place when the ind ividual val idates their decision to adopt. Also related to time is the concept of adopter categories (Rogers, 2003). Adopter categories are classifications of individuals in the system based on their levels of innovativeness, or degree to which they are re latively early in adopting an innovation. The five adopter categories include innovators, early adopters, early majority, later majority, and laggards. Innovators comprise 2.5% of the population and have high levels of interest in new ideas. They are comfo rtable with risks, setbacks, and uncertainty when it comes to interaction with an innovation. Innovators are seen as


26 gatekeepers of an innovation. While they may not earn a lot of respect by other members of the system, they are responsible for launching the innovation into the system. Early adopters comprise 13.5% of the population and are more integrated into the social system than are innovators. They hold high amounts of opinion leadership among the group and carry the message of the innovation to the masses. Once they decide to adopt an innovation, the remainder of the group is more likely to adopt. The early majority, 34% of the population, are very deliberate in their decision making and seldom serve as opinion leaders. Their innovation decision proc ess typically is longer than that of innovators or early adopters. Representing 1/3 of the population, they are a critical component in the process. The late majority, another 34% of the population, are skeptical of innovation. They wait for the innovators early adopters, and early majority to make their decisions before proceeding to adopt with caution. Their decision to adopt may come from peer pressure from more innovative groups. Finally the laggards comprise 16% of the population. Focusing on the past laggards are not just skeptical, but are suspicious of change. Their innovation decisio n process can be quite lengthy. The social system impacts the innovation decision process through its network of opinion leaders and change agents, as well as structur al patterns (Rogers, 2003). As noted within the adopter categories, the innovator has low credibility within the majority of the social system. The opinion leaders, typically found within the early adopters, hold much more influence within the system. Chan ge agents work closely with the opinion leaders to focus the innovation decision process in their favor. The more hierarchical


27 the structural pattern is within the system, the more challenging it can be for innovations to diffuse through the system. More i nformal structures allow for interpersonal connections, thereby helping the opinion leaders spread their messages through the system. Finally, established behavior patterns within a system may become a barrier to change. The following section describes the social system in which the innovation of online education is diffusing. The historical background provides a look at the established behavior patterns, structures, and opinion leaders within undergraduate honors education. The innovation of online educati further explained following the social system description. Of the four components of innovation diffusion, time and communication channels are not described in this chapter. The Social System: Undergraduate Hono rs Education History of Honors Education One of the primary predecessors of honors education can be found in the British educational system, namely through Oxford University (Rinn, 2006). The Oxford tradition included a rich tutorial system, a pass / honor s approach, and the implementation of the Rhodes Scholarship. Through the tutorial system, students were required to have tutors who served as educational advisors. Individual work and guidance, coupled with intellectual discussions in small groups, were h allmar ks of that system (Rinn, 2006). were required to take a comprehensive final examination before graduation. Extraordinary examinations were given to students to separate themselves


28 academically. Finally the Rho des Scholarship was developed to provide opportunities for students from the United States to study at Oxford. Created in 1899, the Rhodes Scholars were exposed to Oxford academic traditions, including the tutorial system and pass / honors approach. Those scholars then brought the Oxford traditions back to the United States, where many aspects were implemented within American hi gher education (Rinn, 2006). Early attempts a t an honors education similar to that found at Oxford were made in the United States, namely at Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Princeton University, and Columbia University (Rinn, 2006). Honors education as a field, however, developed in the early 20 th century, starting at Swarthmore College by then president Frank Aydelott e (Honors Program, 2011; Humphrey, 2008). Aydelotte modeled this new himself had b honors program included close interaction between students and faculty, an emphasis on independent learning, and challenging cour sework (Honors Program, 2011). Aydelotte, through the Nationa l Research Council, published a report of the emerging field of honors, noting the types and characteristics of honors programs achieving students to have an opportunit y to be pushed academically something not necessarily found through their regular studies. His plan for American universities ll as the ability for those high achieving students to


29 take more ownership over their intellectual pursuits. Honors courses and programs, he believed, were the embodiment of those plans. ped in the Uni ted States (NCHC, 2011 institutions continued to focus on the educational enrichment of academically talented University Committee on the Superior Student (ICSS) was formed as a national organization to distribute information about honors programs and activities. The ICSS met for the first time as a national conference in 1957 (Rinn, 2006). Many of the ideas that evolved from that meeting were based on features from both Oxford University and Swarthmore. That committee evolved into the National Collegiate Honors Council, a professional association of honors educ ators, in 1966 (NCHC, 2011 educators began to posit ion themselves and their programs as a more central component to university life (Humphrey, 2008). Classifications of Honors Education As the presence of honors education has expanded over time, many of the characteristics of present day honors programs an d colleges have remained true to incorporate a variety of models based on institutional needs and characteristics. Schuman (2006) noted several classifications of honors ed ucation currently found in higher education: Departmental honors earn honors in major department, exclusive of college wide requirements. General honors university wide features, open to students from all majors.


30 Multi departmental honors programs, oft en found at larger universities. Latin honors graduating with honors cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude. Degree from honors college in this case, the honors program has developed into a college with degree granting abilities. Distinctions between Honors Programs and Colleges Aside from classifications within programs, two major distinctions have arisen in honors education those between programs and colleges. Honors colleges have emerged as separate degree granting entities, complete with academic deans and separate faculty. The National Collegiate Honors Council has developed separate characteristics for programs and colleges, noting the distinct differences and opportunities afforded by each (NCHC, 2010a; NCHC, 2010b) An honors program t ypically has specified criteria for admissions, institutional support, direct reporting structure to the chief academic officer, a variety of course offerings, faculty who support the honors mission, and student opportunities for advising, leadership, rese ar ch, and other independent work. An honors college typically includes most of the characteristics of honors programs. In addition, an honors college serves as an academic unit equivalent to other colleges on campus, complete with a dean and operational bu dget equivalent to similar academic units. The honors college also controls or coordinates much of its own curriculum, policies, and faculty. See Appendix A and B for the full list of characteristics for both programs and colleges. In an NCHC study of 35 h onors colleges across the country, Sederberg (2008) found that 80% of the honors colleges arose from pre existing honors programs. All 35 colleges noted their motivation for establishing an honors college was to recruit stronger


31 students. They also noted a move to improve overall academic quality, improve the quality of honors educational opportunities, and to raise the profile of honors within the institution. For 91% of the honors colleges, the head of the college held the rank of full professor. The rang e of honors courses included: general education (97%), thesis or creative project credits (94%), independent study credits (80%), special topics for upper and lower division students (74%), and experimental courses (63%). Honors Education at 2 Year and Com munity Colleges Honors education is not limited to 4 year institutions. While the numbers have fluctuated, programs at 2 year colleges (often community colleges) started to increase f NCHC were 2 year colleges (James, 2006). In fact, NCHC has developed a monograph specifically for directors of programs at 2 year colleges (James, 2006). Honors programs at 2 year colleges typically expose students to material and pedagogies normally fou nd in the junior or senior year of a four year institution (Schuman 2006). The Honors College at Miami Dade College is one such example of a program at a 2 year college that has been documented in the literature (Holloway, 2008). Through the honors curricu lum, students can attain their Associate of Arts degree. Students are required to complete a minimum of 20 contact hours in service learning correlated with an instructional subject. Course options are similar to those offered in an honors program at a 4 y ear institution and include courses offered only through the Honors College, honors extended courses, honors option project contract. Faculty development opportunities are available, which include certification workshops for faculty who are interested in t eaching for honors. As of 2008 nearly 280 faculty members have been


32 certified. There is also a biannual faculty retreat to review and plan curricular, programmatic, and creative initiatives. Honors Courses Honors faculty responded to the general education academically talented students in their courses. Students and faculty alike found the standard curriculum repetitive and confining. Instead, honors prog rams and courses involve students more directly in designing and implementing their educational program (Daniel, 2000). Just as classifications of honors education have emerged to fit a variety of institutional models and needs, classifications of honors c ourses also have been developed. Schuman (2006) noted several types of honors courses typically found in honors education: Honors sections of regular courses: These courses may be similar to regular sections in that they cover similar material, but they ma y involve different assignments and pedagogy. Typically the honors sections are smaller than the regular sections. Enriched options w/in regular courses: In these courses, honors students typically attend the same lecture as other students, but they may co ntract with the professor to complete different, additional, or more in depth assignments. They may also have a separate discussion group that meets. May also be referred to as a contract course. Special honors courses: These courses typically are interdis ciplinary and taught as seminars. They may be team taug ht by multiple faculty members. Honors projects: These courses represent credit for final projects or theses, or othe r independent / research work. Despite the course classification, Schuman (2006) als o noted that there were features common to almost all honors courses. Small class sizes, interdisciplinary themes, highly


33 qualified students, stimulating faculty, challenging course topics and assignments, independent study, and experiential learning all a re consider ed hallmarks of honors courses. Honors Instructors The cri teria to teach honors courses are determined by each individual honors program or college and as such are limited in the honors literature Most instructors teach honors courses part time, are reassigned from their academic departments, or teach honors as a course overload (Long, 1995). On rare occasions, an honors college might have its own faculty on full time appoi ntment (Schuman, 2006). Adjunct instructors or local experts mig ht be appropriate to teach honors courses but only in a Teaching for an honors program or college can be seen as a form of fa culty Honors administrators should seek instructors who understand the unique needs of honors students and the unique qualities of honors pedagogy (Schuman, 2011 ; Wolfensberger, 2008; Zubizarreta, 2008 They also should be authentic instructors who dare to be different in their teaching approach and invest in their relationships with students (Wolfensberger, 2008). Experiential Education in Honors The Honors approach to active learning includes: student serv ing as primary


34 autonomy and community together (Daniel 2000). Honors S emesters serve as a living laboratory to help students in forging connections with their community ( Braid & Long 2000). The location of the Honors semester serves as this expanded notion of text (Daniel 2000). Honors semesters first were offered in Washington, D.C. in 1976, although planning began in 1973. Honors semesters have taken place several times in domestic locations such as New York City and Washington, D.C., but also in international locations such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Morocco, Czechoslovakia, Spain, and South Korea (Raia & Saltzman, 2000). City as Text was designed as a pedagogical practice for honors semesters but has evolved for uses in other contexts, including side trips at annual NCHC conferences (Braid & Long 2000). More than 300 campus locations apply City as Text as a component to honors courses and other experiences. The primary comp onent of City as Text is to help students examine their surrounding area, immersing themselves into local life. City as Text first was tested as part of Honors semesters in 1978 and became a regular feature of that program in 1981 (Braid 2000). The Nationa l Collegiate Honors Council provides multiple opportunities for honors faculty to learn City as Text pedagogy, including through monographs (e.g. Braid & Long, 2000), as well as through faculty institutes. The two institutes designed for Summer 2011 includ e an Arts, Musics, and Literatures session in New Mexico and an exploration of the Kent ucky cave country (NCHC, 2011). Partners in the Parks is the third experiential outlet advertised by the National Collegiate Honors Council. Focused on outdoor experient ial learning, the week long Partners programs are offered at select national parks throughout the country over the


35 summer. Coordinated by local honors faculty, with support nationally from Southern Utah University and the National Park Service, Partners pr ograms offer honors students and faculty alike the opportunity to learn more about the educational, recreational, and stewardship aspects of the parks (Partners, 2010). The National Collegiate Honors Council recently published a monograph (Digby, 2010) as a guide for developing future Partners programs. More than twenty Partners programs have been instituted since 2008, including mini Partners trips held in conjunction with the NCHC an nual conference (Digby, 2010). The rich tradition of openness towards exp eriential education and pedagogical innovation in undergraduate honors education lends itself to potential openness towards online learning. As demonstrated in Chapter 1, the honors community as a whole is not yet open to accepting online learning as a ped agogical innovation in honors courses. More information is needed on the nature of online learning, particularly from the faculty honors courses. The following section in cludes an overview of faculty instruction of online courses, including the benefits derived from teaching online, concerns about online learning, and faculty development needs. The Innovation: Online Learning from the Faculty Perspective About Online L earning Online learning falls under the broader category of distance education. There are a variety of definitions of distance and online learning, According to Schlosser and Simonson ( 2003 based, formal educ ation where the learning group is separated and where interaction telecommunications


36 occurs in a different place from learning, requiring communication through technologies Wedemeyer (1981) called distance student who now had greater responsibility in an individualized learning environment. Online learning is distance education using the Internet as the technology (Moor e & Kearsley, 2012). Sener (2010 technol Online learning is considered part of the fifth generation of distance education, with predecessors including correspondence, radio and television, open universities, and teleconferencing (Moore & Kearsley, 2012). One of the major benefits of online learning is the ability for students to access the course at any time, from any location (Ally, 2008 ) which may explain why more and more students are demanding access to it (Caplan & Graham, 20 08 ; Instructional Technology Council, 2012). There is no standard definition of what constitutes an online course (Caplan & Graham, 2008 ). For the purpose of this study, o nline courses are defined as those with at least 80 percent of the content delivered online ( Allen & Seaman, 2010 ; Allen & Seaman, 2011 ). Enrollment in online courses has continued to increase annually, outpacing enrollment in traditional, face to face environments. During fa ll 2010, more than 6.1 million students took at least one online course. This number has increased by 560,000 students since the previou thirty percent of students have taken at least one online course at their higher education institution (Allen


37 & Seaman, 2011) Another study has found that 46% of students who have graduated in the past decade have taken an online course (Taylor, Parker, Lenhart, & Patten, 2011). Online offerings increasingly are becoming part of institutional strategy across types of institution s (e.g. public, private, for profit), with online growth coming more from existing, not new, courses and programs ( Allen & S eaman, 2011 ). On the other hand, McCarthy and Samors (2009) found that while two thirds of the institutional leaders they surveyed d iscussed the strategic importance of online programs, less than one half of the leaders actually included online programs in thei Sener ( 2010 ) predicts that the majority of students in higher education will take at least one online course by 2013 2014, with full scale adoption of online learning within higher education coming in 5 10 years. Who is Teaching Online and W hy Seaman (2009) found that faculty teaching online represented a wide range of backgrounds and were not restr icted to tenure status, full time employment status, or length of time in career. One third of faculty members surveyed previously had taught a course online, with one fourth of faculty currently doing so. Overall, females were more likely to teach online than males. Faculty provided a variety of reasons for deciding to teach online. The ability to outreach to students was one reason faculty were motivated to teach online. More specifically, meeting student needs for more flexible learning options (Seaman, 2009), reaching a more diverse audience (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim 2007), and the satisfaction of serving students who previously did not have access to traditional course options (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007 ; Moore & Kearsley, 2012 ) were cited as reasons for teachi ng online. Among those faculty who identified themselves as being hesitant to use technology or


38 had limited experience using technology, many were still willing to try online teaching if students would benefit from that option (Birch & Burnett, 2009). Facu lty also cited pedagogical reasons as motivation to teach online. Teaching o nline courses gave faculty an opportunity to reconceptualize their courses (Birch & Burnett, 2009) and well as to better manage their courses (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007). They also appreciated the flexibility of teaching online anytime, anywhere (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007). Faculty were able to create a more meaningful and applicable learning environment (Birch & Burnett, 2009 ; Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012 ) while cha llenging their creativity (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007). The online environment made it easy to update their course information so it remained current (Simonson et al., 2012). Increased student and faculty engagement, as well as more personal interaction with students were seen as by products of teaching online (Birch & Burnett, 2009; Coppola, Hiltz, & Rotter, 20 01; Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007). Finally, personal satisfaction among faculty was listed as a motivator for teaching online. According to Seaman (2009), faculty with fewer than five years of experience teaching were more likely than faculty with more experience to cite personal and professional growth as a reason to teach online. Faculty also appreciated additional income or other rewards from teaching on line (Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007; Keengwe, Kidd, & Kyei Blankson, 2009). Others simply felt a sense of satisfaction from teaching an online course, with the recognition that teaching online would become easier with more experience (Conceicao, 2006). Barriers to Teaching O nline While faculty are motivated to teach online because of student needs, as well as an interest in developing their own teaching skills, there are quite a few causes of


39 resistance to teach online. Muilenburg and Berge (2001) developed a li st of 10 constructs representing barriers to distance education, as reported by more than 2500 survey participants. Those constructs included administrative structure; organizational change; technical expertise, support, and infrastructure; social interact ion and program quality; faculty compensation and time; threat of technology; legal issues; evaluation and effectiveness; access; and student support services. In much of the literature t ime, effort, and lack of institutional support are just three example s of barriers for f aculty wanting to teach online. Berge and Muilenburg (2000) found that among instructors, the most frequently cited barrier to teaching online was the increased time commitment. McCarthy and Samors (2009) found that 64 percent of the fac ulty they surveyed believed that teaching online took more effort to teach than teaching face to face courses. In addition, 85 percent of faculty believed it took more effort to design an online course. Such time to develop and teach courses could detract from time needed to dedicate to research and funding proposals. Likewise, Seaman (2009) found that the perception of online classes taking more time and effort to teach was the most important ba rrier found to teaching online. When making concessions for th e difference in student enrollment, Bender, Wood, and Vredevoogd (2004) found that the workload for teaching an online course versus a face to face course was almost six times greater. This workload included answering twice as many emails per student, as w ell as assuming responsibility for all grading and communication. Hislop and Ellis (2004) reported similar findings, noting that there was an i ncrease in student interaction.


40 Other time demands for teaching online included course conceptualization and desi gn, planning, familiarizing selves with technology needed, training, course maintenance, and monitoring and assessing performance (Birch & Burnett, 2009; Conceicao, 2006; Coppola, Hiltz, & Rotter, 2001 ; Instructional Technology Council, 2012 ). Reading cour se postings and email was a particularly time consuming task for faculty (Conceic ao, 2006; Haber & Mills, 2008). Compounded by the amount of time and effort needed to plan and teach an online course is the lack of institutional support perceived by faculty (Birch & Burnett, 2009; Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 2007; McCarthy & Samors, 2009; Seaman, 2009). Lack of training, course release time, additional technology, and other incentives are included in that lack of support ( Instructional Technology Council, 2012; McCa rthy & Samors, 2009). The lack of faculty compensation was one of the top barriers to participating in distance education, along with time needed to teach (Berge and Muilenburg, 2011). Birch and Burnett (2009) also found that the lack of available mentors and access to exemplars created barriers to teaching online. Faculty also felt that they had little impact on decisions made about their online courses due to a lack of communication between faculty and administrat ion (Haber & Mills, 2008). The quality of online learning is another concern of faculty members. Seaman (2009) found that more than 80% of the faculty with no online teaching experience felt that learning outcomes for online courses were inferior to those in face to face courses. Others questioned whether deep understanding of material could occur in an online course (American Federation of Teachers, 2000). Coupled with the learning outcome issue is the concern about how online courses would be evaluated (Haber & Mills, 2008;


41 Hiltz, Shea, & Kim, 20 07). Academic dishonesty and plagiarism were also issues to consider (Haber & Mills, 2008). The views on technology itself had a mixed impact on barriers to teaching online (Moore & Kearsley, 2012) Birch and Burnett (2009) found that those faculty with ne gative attitudes towards technology and change were less likely to engage with online learning. Even faculty who perceived that technology use was easy were not always likely to accept its use in this environment (Gibson, Harris, & Colaric, 2008). On the o ther hand, Berge and Muilenburg (2011) and Haber and Mills (2008) found that technology threat was not a major concern to faculty. Those faculty who had adequate training and ongoing access to help experienced few barriers to teaching online related to tec hnica l issues (Haber & Mills, 2008). Faculty D evelopment In evaluating online learning, the Sloan Consortium (2011) published a quality scorecard which adapted benchmarks identified by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (2000). Indicators related to faculty included technical support for course development and teaching, instructor preparation to teach online, legal and ethical training regarding course materials, ongoing professional development availability, clear standards for faculty engagement, a nd workshops on selecting and using various technologies and tools. As part of the scorecard, Sloan (2011) made several recommendations for faculty based on each of the previous indicators. Technical support should be easily accessible and available for fa culty to assist with their course development and teaching. Determining the location and organizational structure of that support is essential so as not to create additional barriers to access. Training should not be limited to course


42 preparation; ongoing support is needed throughout the process of designing, teaching, and evaluating the course. Training and support could include preparation of course materials, understanding the course management software, and shifting content and the teaching of that cont ent from a face to face to virtual environment. Hagenson and Castle (2003) found that faculty learned about technology usage from a variety of sources, including workshops, presentations, their graduate students, support staff, colleagues, and their own ha nds on contact. Information in training sessions must be presented clearly, in a way that the user could understand. Guided practice and examples of how technology could be used were important for technology adoption (Keengwe, Kidd, & Kyei Blankson, 2009). Sloan (2011) also noted that specific training on fair use guidelines and copyright law were important for any faculty member, but particularly in an online environment as faculty gathered content from a variety of resources. Plagiarism is another ethical area faculty should consider. Faculty need to determine how they will educate their students about plagiarism, as well as how they will handle incidents. The importance of professional development in general should be stressed to faculty, with a focus on the continuous improvement of teaching and learning. Standards for faculty engagement should be developed that are tied to student learning outcomes for the course. Data then should be collected and analyzed, with feedback provided to the faculty member. F inally, face to face or online workshops should be provided to demonstrate the various technologies available for faculty to utilize as part of their courses. Such workshops ed to encourage more participation.


43 Summary The literature detailed in this chapter has provided a framework for understanding the background behind honors education and faculty experiences with online learning. Using Diffusion of Innovations (Rogers, 2003) as the gu ide, the purpose of this study wa s to describe the phenomenon of online honors course s from the perspective of the instructors teaching them As such, undergraduate honors education serves as the social system and online learning is the innovation. In the next chapter the theoretical framework, data collection and data analysis methods use d to conduct this study are described.


44 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study wa s to describe the phenomenon of online honors courses from the perspective of the instructors teaching them. The research question wa s : How do instructors describe their experience teaching online honors courses ? This chapter provides a description of the methodology of the study. This chapter begins with an overview of the foundations for conducting phenomenological qualitative inquiry, including a descrip tion of hermeneutical phenomenology, the type of phenomenology employed in this study. Next an overview of the participant recruitment and sampling methods, data collection procedures, and analysis techniques are presented, followed by a statement of the r of the methods of rigor and limitations associated with the study are provided. Foundations for Conducting Phenomenological Qualitative Inquiry The methods used in this study were guided by a phenomenological theoretical exp epistemology, which according to Crotty (2003), indicates that meaning is constructed and not created. Meaning is not objective or subjective; rather, we interpret the information alre ady present in the world through interactions we have with that information.


45 According to Patton (2002), there is not one single approach or perspective to phenomenology. Phenomenological traditions include, but are not limited to, transcendental, existent ial, and hermeneutic. Although Hegel was one of the first to seen as the founder of phenomenology (Crotty, 1998), specifically the transcendental tradition. Husserl believed that phenomenology included a return to the things themselves, through the search for essence. The phenomenon, or experience, could include anything of which one is consci ous (Steward & Mickunas, 1974). endental phenomenology. Epoche allows th e researcher to reflect on her personal biases and assum ptions, gain clarity about her preconceptions, and set them all aside throughout the analysis process (Patton, 2002). Through phenomenological reduction, t he re searcher brackets out her presuppositions to focus solely on the data in its purist form. Traditional meanings of data are set aside instead the researcher allows the meaning of the data to emerge on its own terms (Patton, 2002). This concept of bracketi experiences as a mathematician and is treated in much the same way as a mathematician might use brackets in an equation (Stewart & Mickunas, 1974). The preconceptions and presuppositions inside the brackets are not eliminated; rather they are set aside while the res t of the data is investigated. emergence of his own work. Heidegger has been associated with both the existential (Stewart & Mickunas, 19 74) and hermeneutic phenomenological traditions (Crotty, 1998). Through his work with existential phenomenology, Heidegger believed that a


46 researcher could not investigate a phenomenon through bracketing. Instead, he focused in the feature (Stewart & Mickunas, 1974). Dasein incorporated how human reality was situated in the world. Human existence meant existence in the world, and living an authentic life meant being able to ch oose freely their way of being in the world. Whereas a transcendentalist described their world from the view of a detached observer, an existentialist could not separate themselves from their wo rld (Stewart & Mickunas, 1974). Three of the main components of existential phenomenology are: (a) importance of the body, (b) freedom and choice, and (c) intersubjectivity. Through these components the researcher believes that consciousness is embodied consciousness (importance of the body), one is responsible for their choices and actions which they are free to make (freedom and choice), and part of being in the world is a social context (intersubjectivity) (Stewart & Mickunas, 1974). 1998), seen here as the phenomenology of human being. Hermeneutics incorporates a mixture of interpretation and description, as human existence follows a circular movement from pre understanding through an enlightened understanding. To understand Dasein, underst anding its hi storical context is necessary. Laverty (2003) provides a description of the difference between the phenomenological and hermeneutic phenomenological traditions: Phenomenological research is descriptive and focuses on the structure of experienc e, the organizing principles that give form and meaning to the life world. Hermeneutic research is interpretive and concentrated on


47 historical meanings of experience their developmental and cumulative effects on i ndividual and social levels. (p. 15) van Manen (1990) provides the following considerations for conducting a hermeneutic phenomenological study (p. 30 31) : Select a phenomenon which seriously interests you and commits you to the world; Investigate the experience as we live it rather than how we conceptualize it; Reflect on the essential themes which characterize the phenomenon; Describe the phenomenon through the art of writing and rewriting; Maintain a strong and oriented pedagogical relation to the phenomenon; and Balance the research context by considering parts and whole. This research study follows the hermeneutic phenomenological framework through the development of the research purpose and question s centered on the description of online teaching experience in undergraduate honors education. The data collection methods include d a series of interactive interv iews where the researcher allowed the participant openly to share their experience of the phenomenon (Moustakas, 1994). Historical meaning behi nd the phenomenon wa s highlighted t hroughout the interviews. A focus on the writing, reflecting, thinking, and rewriting, re reflecting, and re thi nking (van Manen, 1990), followed i n the hermeneutical traditions. Research Design In order to gather a richer description of the essence of the experiences teaching online honors courses, extensive interviews with part icipants were conducted Interviews serve d as the primary method of data collection, focusing on the design, implementation, and evaluation of online honors courses. Population and Setting Following approval from the Institutional Review Board, participants initially were recruited via the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) email listserv The recruitment e mail included a statement of the purpose of the study and the data


48 coll ection methods that would be used in the stu dy. A copy of the recruitment e mail is included in Appendix D Criterion sampling, a type of purposeful sampling, (Patton, 2002) was utiliz ed to find honors faculty who were teaching honors courses that they had designed online Online was defined as having at least 80% of the course content delivered online ( Allen & Seaman, 2010 ). The minimum c riteria for participants was experience teaching an online honors course for at least one semester. The participants must have designed their online course. Only one potential participant responded via the initial recruitment email to NCHC, but follow up emails were not answered. Nine days later, the recruitment email was sent again to the NCHC listserv. One person responded that they were in the process of designing an online honors course and as such did not qualify for the study at this time. (NACADA) Commission on Advising High Achieving S tudents email listserv. Again, one person responded who qualified for the study, but follow up emails were not answered. Finally, I requested and was granted access to the membership contact list for the Florida Collegiate Hono rs Council, the state level b ranch of NCHC Four instructors responded who qualified for the study. One additional honors instructor from my own personal contacts who qualified for the study agreed to participate. This instructor also was from the state of Florida. The common factor a m ong all the participants was experience teaching an online honors course that they had designed with pr eference given to those who had taught their course online for several semesters. Because part of the interviews focused on the reflection of their onl ine courses, the opportunity to evaluate, reflect, and then


49 implement changes as needed into future iterations of their online courses was an important factor to consider. Diversity in other areas such as race / ethnicity, gender, institutional type, and s truc ture of honors education was attempted, a lthough it was difficult to achieve considering the small number of participants. Sample size in qualitative research according to Patton (2002) is ambiguous and depends greatly on how many participants are nee (1985) also note that sample size is adequate when the information gathered from participants becomes redundant. Due to the uniqueness of this study topic, as well as the difficulty identifying participants who met the study criteria, it was determined that five participants would be adequate. An overview of participant demographics is included in Table 3 1. The following section includes a brief description of each participant: Harvey currently serves as a p rofessor and administrator at a primarily level institution in a rural area. He has served at this institution for almost two decades and teaches interdisciplinary courses in the humanities. He has taught for the Honors taught one online honors course in the humanities during a recent summer term, although he has taught non honors courses online for more than a decade. His institution is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Patrick is a doctoral student in education at a research university with very high research activity. His background is in secondary education and nonprofit work. He has taught a blended course in educat ional technology open to all students for the past


50 three years. He has taught for the Honors Program for two years, including his online course focusing on developing 21st century skills using a real time strategy game as the learning environment, and a on e credit face to face literature course. His institution is not a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, although it has been in previous years. Alma is a Professor Emerita at a research university with high research activity. Her background is course focuses on that topic. She has taught for the Honors College for more than a decade, and recently retired several years ago. Prior to teaching a course in economics she taught a face to face research methods course for the Honors College. Her institution is a member of the National Coll egiate Honors Council. Mark college. His background is in the humanities, although he has a doctorate in educational technology. After teaching secondary level English for fifteen years, he transitioned to his current institution where he currently teaches humanities and philosophy courses primarily online. He h as designed and taught online courses for several institutions. Because he works with a virtual campus for his institution, his exposure to the Honors College has been limited to those students who take his online courses through an honors contract system. He currently is teaching a course in non western humanities which includes several honors students on contract. His institution is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Vicky rban area. She has taught at this institution for her entire career in higher education and has


51 extensive experience serving as instructor and former administrator for their Honors Program. She teaches interdisciplinary humanities courses, as well as facul ty development, and has participated in college governance and assessment areas. She started teaching non honors courses online before teaching her current honors humanities course online. Her institution is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Counc il. These participants represent ed a range of experiences teaching honors students in an online environment. Some participants have had previous experiences teaching non honors courses online, while others began teaching online for their current honors cou rse. At least two participants have had previous experiences as administrators for their honors programs, while the other three have served only as instructors. These five participants represent ed a range of institutional types, as well as a mixture of hon ors programs and honors colleges. Their disciplines include humanities and social sciences, although all have noted the interdisci plinary of their work. Data Collection Each faculty membe r participate d in three individual, semi str uctured interviews. Inter views we re the primary method of data collection for this study because they s tudy. An in terview guide was developed and approved by the Instituti onal Review Board. Th e interview questions were e mailed to the participants in advance of the interv iew, so the participants were aware of what was being asked of them. By doing so, I hoped to reduce feelings of apprehension on the part of the participant (Spradley,


52 (p. 80).By providing questions in advance, participants had the opportunity to compose some of the ir thoughts so they would feel comfortable talking as soon as the interview started. All of the question s on the interview guide were developed as singular questions, as opposed to multiple questions which might confuse the participant about what is really being asked (Patton, 2002) Fu rthermore, the questions were semi structured, so participants could develop their own responses in their own words (Patton, 2002). Probes and follow up questions were asked throughout the interviews to clarify, explore, elab orate, contrast, and provide examples (Patton, 2002). The interview guides are included as Appendix E The series of three individual interviews is recommended for phenomenological studies by Seidman (2006). Rather than reconstruct an experience from one s ingular interview, this series of interviews allows the participant more time to reflect on their experience and continue building on their responses with each successive interview. According to Seidman (2006), the first interview establishes the context o f the experience. In the second interview, the participant places their experience within the context developed in the first interview. During the third interview, the participant then reflects on their experience. In the context of this study, each of the three interviews focus ed on a particular aspect of teaching an online honors course. During the first i nterview, the participants establish ed the context of their online teaching experience, including an overview of the design and development of the cours e. During the second interview, the participants


53 describe d the implementation of the ir online honors course. And finally during the third i nterview, the participants reflect ed on their online teaching experience, as well as provide d suggestions and implica tions for more widespread use of online learning in undergraduate honors education based on their experiences. Because the participants were recruited from honors programs or colleges across the country, the interviews took place via phone for cost and tim e efficiency (Shuy, 2003). All interviews were recorded using a digital recorder. Prior to the first interview, each participant was e mailed the consent form (see Appendix C ). The interview did not take place until the consent form had been signed and r et urned to the researcher via e mail, fax, or mail. The first interview ranged from 20:02 to 54:11 minutes with an average length of 34 minutes. The second interview ranged from 19:58 to 1:01:42 minutes with an average length of 38 minutes. The third and fina l interview ranged from 20:02 to 1:03:00 minutes with an average length o f 42 minutes. Data Analysis The interview da ta was qualitative data According to the hermeneutic phenomenological tradition (van Manen 1990), there are five methods to a nalyze text: (a) thematically, (b) analytically, (c) exemplificatively, (d) exegetically, and (e) existentially. For th e purpose of this study, I analyze d the data according to the first two methods, thematically and a nalytically. The results of the analyt ical approach can be found in chapter 4. This approach is appropriate if the research involves in depth conversational interviews with certain persons, then these interviews may be reworked into reconstructed life stories, or the conversations may be analy zed for relevant anecdotes, or


54 one may use incidents described in the interviews for constructing fictionalized antinomous accounts that bring out contrasting ways of seeing or acting in concrete situations, and so forth. (van Manen, 1990, p. 170) This app roach took the form of in depth descriptions of each of the participant s teaching experiences constructed from data across their three interviews. The results of the thematic approach can be found in chapter 5. van Manen (1990) described the thematic app phenomenon and are presented with anecdotal stories reflecting those themes. As van Manen (1990) noted, themes should be viewed as fundamental to the meaning of the (p. 107). interviews emerge d that spoke to the broader experience of teaching honors courses online. phenomenological study was to consider both the parts and the whole. By providing two analysis methods, analytical and thematic, great consid eration was given to the parts and the whole of the online teaching experience. The in depth descriptions provided by the analytical approach allowed me to zoom in on individual parts of the phenomenon, specifically to write and reflect on those descriptio experiences teaching an online honors course. The themes generated by the thematic analysis approach allowed me to zoom out to look at the whole phenomenon of teaching online. As such I was able to write and reflec t on the bigger picture of factors


55 Both approaches were qualitative analysis structure Organizing and preparing the data. Read ing t Coding and organizing the data into meaningful units. Formulating data into themes. Transform ing themes into a descriptive narrative. Interpret ing and making meaning of data. For the first s tep, each interview was transcribed verbatim. Following transcription, I read through the transcriptions while listening to the audio recordings to get a better sense of the data. Then I began the process of dividing the data into segments of meaningful un its, or codes (Tesch, 1990). For the third step, I created codes from the participant interviews. These codes served as the basis for the following analysis steps. Following the development of codes, I began to form clusters that were labeled with a theme. Cover terms to describe the theme initially were developed to represent 1994, p. 10) and eliminated some of the cover terms and combined others. Appendix F provides examples of c odes used to generate the in depth teaching descriptions found in Chapter 4 I used theoretical comparisons when necessary by using personal experiences similar to those described in the data to think about it in terms of its propert ies (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). I looked both within and across clusters to discover themes and relationships (Hatch, 2002), provided those themes captured the phenomenological experience. The themes emerged into overarching categories. After developing th e overarching categories, I began to construct a descriptive narrative (van Manen, 1990), utilizing the themes, notes, and other research material. Writing, coupled with reflection, and then further writing and reflection, a hermeneutical


56 process, helped c apture the online teaching experience in honors education according my interpretation and discussion of the findings, available in chapter six. Subjectivity In qua litative research the researcher plays an active role in the research process. Therefore it is important for the researcher to divulge her own assumptions and beliefs in order to provide the reader with the framework that guides the researcher (LeCompte & with the study topic or participants, prior knowledge, and the ontological and epistemological as sumptions related to the topic. When I first began my position with the H onors Program in 2005, I quickly identified myself as the early adopter for teaching with technology among my honors colleagues. I coordinate an honors freshman experience course taught by several faculty members (including myself) affiliated with the Hono rs Program. With the first iteration of the course in 2005, I began utilizing blogs to serve as community discussion forums. In 2006, I used Facebook to share photos from class events and encouraged my teaching assistants to create groups for each class. I began using course management systems in 2008 to manage assignment submissions. In 2009 I started utilizing wikis, word clouds, YouT ube, and Doodle polls in my courses. My advanced students coordinate d a collaborative blog on student success that has incl uded video interviews that they have filmed and edited each week (see Johnson, Plattner, & Hundley, 2011 ) In 2011 I began teaching my professional development course in a truly blended environment, with students working through course material online via a series of structured guides. We then used in class time for activities and discussion.


57 With each of these iterations, my colleagues either have waited for me to pilot a certain tool and then implemented it a semester later, or they have opted not to use the tool at all. Blogs were the easiest tools for my colleagues to implement, and many continue to use blogs as community discussion forums. All of them have incorporated the course management system, but I typically work with them to set up parts of their site every semester. Facebook coordination is left to the teaching assistants. Most of the newer tools I have incorporated since 2009 have not been adopted by the other instructors yet. I have a couple of theories about why this is the case. Every instruc tor has been teaching this course for several years now, and many have their syl labus set the way they want and make very few revisions from semester to semester. My other theory is that my colleagues are simply late adopters with technology use in general much less in the classroom. office. I coordinate the daily e newsletter sent to 2000+ honors students. I also manage our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites. Often I have to remind my colleagues that my experience is in educational technology and not IT, as I am asked to help fix a jammed copier set up Outlook calendars for new employees, o r troubleshoot computer issues. Through the National C ollegiate Honors Council, of which I am a non institutional professional member, I have had the opportunity to publish and present on the use of technology in the honors community. I published an essay on the implementation of technology in an honors fresh man experience course in the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council (Johnson, 2009 ) I co authored an article on the development


58 of the student success blog with my advanced students in the Honors in Practice journal (Johnson, Plattner, & Hundle y, 2011) I also served on a Technology and Honors national conference. I served on the Honors Pedagogy and Technology panel, as well as presented on technology and onli ne learning through the Honors Teaching and Learning strand at the 2011 national conference. Because of my experiences as a current honors program administrator and instructor who utilizes technology in multiple facets of my position, I do approach this st udy with the belief that online learning can and should be included in the conversation about teaching and learning in undergraduate honors education. Having not taught a fully online honors course myself, I honestly do not know that I stand in favor of or opposed to online learning in honors actually taking place. Instead I am most interested in starting a dialogue about online learning in honors, not taking a stance in either direction at the start. Despite my views and experiences, I will take great care throughout the research process to remain open to the experiences of my participants. Methods of Rigor Lincoln and Guba (1985) described several methods to d emonstrate the rigor of a study, including credibility, transferability, and confirmability. Cred ibility can be established through member checking, triangulation and peer debriefing M ember checking in particular was used with this study All participants had the opportunity to review the transcripts of their interviews to verify their accuracy. Tran scripts from all three interviews were emailed to the participants following the completion of the interview process to confirm their agreement with the content. Participants were given two weeks to respond with any changes. Those who did not respond were assumed to


59 be in agreement. Four of the participants responded to the member checking process, with only one making minor changes to her transcripts. Transferability can be demonstrated through the use of thick description. Thick description entails crafti ng a detailed account of the experiences as developed through the interview process. The purpose is to provide the reader with enough description of the experiences so that she may be able to place them in her own context as necessary. Finally, confirmabi lity is established through an audit trail and reflexivity. The audit trail is a clear and detailed description of all of the research steps taken throughout the research process. This detailed methodology chapter provides some of this description. Other p arts of the audit trail, such as analysis products, may be found in the appendix. periences regarding this study we re more fully d escribed in the Subjectivity section. Limitations There are several limitations as part of this study, including those related to setting, data collection, an d data analysis / subjectivity. Participants and Setting This study is designed to describe the e xperiences of five honors instructors. As participants were recruited via honors related listservs, participation was limited to instructors who had access to the listserv or were notified of the study by someone who is a listserv member. Not every honors program or college is a member of NCHC, NACADA, or FCHC, so some potential participants were missed during the recruitment process. All participants were from the state of Florida, so the perspectives of


60 instructors working in other states were not include d. All of the participants taught at a public two or four year institutions, so the experiences of instructors teaching at a private institution were missed. In addition, all of the participants taught in the humanities and social sciences disciplines, so the experiences of faculty teaching in areas such as math, science, or composition were not included. It was extraordinarily difficult to find participants for this study, as evidenced by the recruitment process detailed earlier in this chapter. As online learning is still in the developing stages within undergraduate honors education, there are few potential a similar study should note the challenges in finding partici pants. T here is much variation in honors programs and colleges across the United States (Eng land, 2010; Singell & Tang, 2012 ) characteristics of highly developed honors programs and colleges (2010a; 2010b) members recognize that those characteristics represent the ideal, not necessarily the teaching as part of an honors program or college may depend highly on the context of that i may be limited. While the findings may be of interest to other honors faculty and administrators, readers will need to determine those connections to the findings themselves Data Collection Because the participants were recruited from across the United States, conducting a series of three in person intervie ws for each participant was not feasible. Instead interviews were conducted via phone. Challenges for phone interviews i nclude not


61 being able to see non verbal expressions and potentially being distracted during the interview (Shuy, 2003) Data Analysis and administrator for an honors program also impact how she approaches this study. experiences, as the data analys is was conducted by the researcher alone. The experiences. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to highlight the background and traditions of phenomenology, as well as to doc ument the data collection and analysis methods utilized within the hermeneutic phenomenological tradition. The next chapter will provide part one of the results, the individual descriptions of the participants following van is. Chapter 5 will provide the second half of the results, conclu sions will follow in Chapter 6.


62 Table 3 1. Participant demographics Name Age Gender Race/Ethnicity Title Degree / Field Alma --a Female Hispanic Professor Emeritus Ph.D. Economics Harvey 43 Male Asian Professor, Honors Coordinator M.A. History Mark 56 Male Caucasian Professor Ed.D. Education Patrick 31 Male Asian Doctoral Student M.Ed. Education Vicky 64 Female Caucasian Professor Emeritus M.A. Humanities a Not reported by participant.


63 CHAPTER 4 INDIVIDUAL DESCRIPTIONS OF TEAC HING The purpose of this study wa s to describe the phenomenon of online honors courses from the perspective of the instructors teaching them. This chapter presents the first half of the results of this study. As noted in Chapter 3, a hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to analy ze the data. Of the five data analysis approaches described by van Manen (1990), two were utilized for this study analytic and thematic. This chapter includes the findings that resulted from the analytic approach, as represented in in depth descriptions experiences in their honors program or college. In using the analytic approach, I analyzed all three interviews from each participant to pull out anecdotes related to the design, teaching, and reflection of their onlin e honors course. Those anecdotes we re then reconstructed into a narrative of the have been written by me, they we re based upon the series of three interviews conducted with each participant. D irect quotations from the participants are included in quotation marks. The findings in this chapter are separated into two sections. Each individual ces designing, teaching, and reflecting upon their online honors course. Following the individual descriptions is a composite picture of commonalities online learning and undergr aduate honors education are highlighted in Chapter 5.


64 Harvey has been at his institution for close to two decades, currently serving as an honors administrator and humanities professor following a stint in an art gallery. He s tarted teaching online courses for non honors students more than a decade ago. Two years ago, as his institution pushed for more online courses, he volunteered to pilot an online course during a summer term. His course focused on the humanities and met an institutional general education requirement for honors students. The intended audience included honors students who needed to meet their general education humanities requirement but could not be on campu s that summer for some reason. Harvey had taught the course previously online and face to face for non honors students. Five honors students enrolled in the course. Designing the c ourse Throughout the desi gn and teaching of the course, Harvey noted that there were resources available through the academic te chnology office to help with software or training. Because he felt comfortable using the course As Harvey began designing his online honors course, he struggled with the concept of equivalency the in discussions in the online environment. rganic to do it in an online class, which relies on discussion boards. And even if you do chat, And then combine that with the fact that some of our students they just ologically savvy. As he continued to ponder this notion of equivalency in an online environment, he


65 Because he was serving as the guinea pig for online honors courses, he considered a lot of his design to be an experiment. His honors program had offered courses in a web assisted format where students could access course materials through a course management system. They also were experimenting with blended courses, but his course was the sole onli ne honors course being offered. There were no models at his institution for building an online honors course. Harvey was concerned about how he would incorporate the qualities of a typical face to face honors course into his online course. Some of those is sues sprung from observations he made while teaching the non of community, participation. How do you do participation? How do you create that sense he planned to incorporate both synchronous and asynchronous community channels in the course. He also thought about his stance towards academic integrity. He knew from teaching face to face honors courses that honor code violations were less prevalent amon g honors students. Still, it was a concern. How do we be flexible enough with our students so somebody who is, say, abroad or somebody who, say, works during the day and can only take classes during the night how can we be assured that they have access to our courses and still maintain some integrity in terms of the grading that assurance about cheating. In relation to the design of his course, the abil ity to provide 24/7 access to his course trumped the concerns about academic integrity. Harvey also considered the flow and structure of information to be delivered in the course. Participation and community continued to plague him. He questioned how he mi ght organize the material, as well as how he might integrate a research project into


66 the course. And with the research project came the added question of incorporating o Finally, Harvey developed learning outcomes to shape the tone of his course. He modeled the learning outcomes on the ones he had developed for the non honors that understanding, students would recognize that there were multiple American hand and concerns still spinning th rough his thoughts, Harvey set off to teach his experimental honors course. Teaching the c ourse Harvey began teaching with an informal orientation to the questions they may orientation to the actual course management system or tools used within the system. He did, however, prov ide an extended amount of time for students to complete their first The course was divided into two s ections: content and research. Harvey created twelve modules of course content to cover in the fir st six weeks of the summer term. Those twelve modules included fifteen course topics, with each of the five students taking responsibi lity for covering five topics. Harvey acknowledged that there would be overlap with the topics, but that was okay. Student s were responsible for developing teaching modules where they had to think about where they had to go research background; analyze the work based upon that background,


67 based upon context; and then develop a series of questions that could be used in a semi nar or even a standard online class with these topics. Embedded in this assignment was the potential to take a final product from students to use at a later time as enhancement in a non honors course. The second half of the course was reserved for independ ent work on this research project. During this time students would have periodic deadlines that served as check in points with Harvey only topic, but also the format that I wanted, present The content of the course during the first half of the term remained consistent from his previous iterations of the American humanities course. Even the order of topic covered was similar to the order he used in the other versions. To deli ver the content, he utilized several functions of the course management system including quizzes, discussion forums, and chat. He also posted course content online, including videos, Discussions were the centerpiece of the course. The discussion posts respond, and we would try just like we would in person, create essentially a students to res pond to each possible within the limitations of the online environment. By stressing the importanc e of discussion in his course, Harvey wanted to alleviate h is prior concerns about participation in the online environment. Other course assignments included weekly quizzes, the aforementioned research project, a final synthetic essay, and a cumulative final exam.


68 Harvey maintained a consistent teaching routine throughout the term. My role was to post the material online The difficult part of teaching the course came with moderating the discussion boards, reading through all of the pos ts that came through, and then trying to stimulate the conversation based upon those posts that came through. During the second half of the term, he was mentoring students independently through their research projects. Students would contact me. I would r espond back to them. They would have material ready for me to look at. I would respond back to that material, and it would be the kind of give and take that you would have in a one on one mentoring situation. Harvey had to schedule specific times to be onl environment than it did in a face to face environment where he could just verbalize his l out and making sure that it actually on lectures or explaining concepts to students as he would have taken in a face to face course. Students communicated with him prim arily through the discussion forums or via email. He estimated that he received contact from students through these mechanisms at least every other day. Communication from students was limited to information about ere no personal communications. Nobody wanted advice about a personal problem. Nobody wanted advice about which classes responding to the discussion forums as often a s recommended, he would take time to personally email the student to encourage them to participate.


69 As the cours e wrapped up, Harvey noted that the only feedback he received from students was through email or the discussion forums. Because of the length of time that had pass ed since he taught the course, Harvey could not recall the student response on the end of course evaluations. He did, however, vividly recall his own response to the end of the course. Reflecting on the c ourse ortunately, this experime ntal course did not live up to Harvey As the course was wrapping up, Harvey was ready for the course to end. He was mostly disappointed. While he felt the initial learning outcomes had been met as evidenced by compl etion of the work, he felt the level of participation in the course was frustrating. One of the assignments had fallen The size of the class was a challenge. With only f ive students in the course, there he major concer ns, along with community, that Harvey had had when he first agreed to teach an online honors course. With the discussion forums playin g a focal point in the course, Harvey had hoped that students would engage meaningfully with the content, with each other, and with him as the instructor a primary goal of any honors course at his institution. Unfortunately, the discussions were unsatisfying. Students often repeated ideas or regurgitated information in their postings. Harvey was never quite sure if the students discussion.


70 e is understanding it. They were responding to the top level question rather than digging down through the thread. He tried to hold chats as a way to bring students together, but synchrono us communication did not work either. Even with only five students, their commitments outside of class were so conflicting that t he chat never happened the way Harvey had envisioned. He could not get everyone together at the same time to have a discussion. Without making the class a higher priority, there was little chance of forming a learning community among the students. Harvey tried to get the students to be as active as they would be in a face to face course, helping them to respond to each other and develop that community feeling in t he course. Despite the small size of the class and the focus on discussions, he did not get the sense that the students got to know each other at all. This challenge caused Harvey to reflect on what he missed most about teaching honors students face to fac e. I really miss the face to face. The face to face is the most important part of an honors course because that creates that sense of community, that sense ay to replicate it in an online course. The se challenges greatly impacted Harvey course online. He noted that he struggled staying motivated even during the term he s hard for you to stay motivated response to students, deep down he was ready to move on.


71 Teaching online is impersonal and conversation. What Harvey could see wa s that the online environment was not right for him or his students at least through the honors program. Ultimately he determined that he would ience Patrick has been at his institution for several years as a doctoral student in education. He previously taught in secondary education as well as in the nonprofit sector. He started teaching a blended course in educational technology three years ago. Two years ago he had the opportunity to develop an online course for the honors program. This interdisciplinary course focuses on developing critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills using a real time strategy game as the medium. He has taught the course every fall and spring semester since he designed it. The course does not fulfill any general education requirements, and is open to any major provided the student has an interest in gaming. The course runs on an abbreviated 8 week term, w ith an average class size of 24. There are 21 students registered for the current term. Designing the c ourse Patrick was first and foremost concerned with potential skepticism about using a real time strategy game as the learning environment. He worried t hat students might think the course was just about playing a game, without any just going to sign up for the course, play some [name of game], and get a grade base on


72 T o help alleviate this concern, Patrick planned two in person meetings prior to the start of the course to cover realistic person meeting once or twice, then expectations will not be re alistic on the part of students and the course would ultimately not be e meetings, he planned to overview the syllabus and show part of the course. He also planned to email the students who were registering for the course to make sure they clearly understood the course expectations. ations about playing a game might impact the student make gaming is becoming more balanced, it depends on the genre of game. Real time game would turn away female students. This concern led him to redesign the course description to focus more on collaboration than on comp etition. Patrick wondered how he might link the real time strategy game to real world the course around the development of professional skills that could be found wit hin the game, but also were prevalent in real world situations students might encounter. The course encourages students to connect these skills with situations in the real world, and then connect those situations in the real world and the game world to th eir own professional lives. So we have a lot of trying to get students to think and link a lot of different skills into a lot of Many of Patrick he might help students make those connections from the game to their own lives.


73 Finally, Patrick experiences with course through a series of self contained modules. Each assignment would have a a background statement doing this or t As he kept these concerns central in his mind, Patrick described the course design as a constant iterative process. He felt as though he was constantly making changes based on feedback he received while designing. He relied on instructional design materials, as well as scholarship on online teaching and colla boration, to build the th eoretical basis for the course. Through this process he was able to develop learning outcomes for the class. His paced and professional world, and we want to give them these ski communicating in groups, producing quality group products, and focusing on individual their academic and professional mapped to developing those skills. Teaching the c ourse Before Patrick began teaching, he held two formal meetings with students. As previously mentioned, he was concerned that students were registering for the course for the wrong reasons. The meetings were his opportunity to set the record straight about class expectations. based course. One of the misconceptions is hey, I can play the game, and base d on my


74 is one of the biggest misconceptions of courses like this: I play and I get a grade. So it [ the course meeting] helps give students an accurate idea of ing into before drop/add ends. He scheduled this first meeting with prospective students soon after they registered for the course to introduce course expectations. During the first week of the semester in which he was teaching the course, he would schedul e another mandatory meeting with the students still enrolled in the course. Both meetings had been included in the course description that students allegedly reviewed prior to registering for the course, so n either meeting was a surprise. Patrick held this second meeting in a computer lab so he could demonstrate several aspects of the course, including the course management system and sample projects. Students were instructed to log into the course so they could explore the interface and ask questions with as possible within the 45 minutes to an hour meeting that we do. So after these two meetings Once the course actually started, students c ould access an introduction to the course within the course management system. The syllabus, course objectives, and course goals were included in the introduction, along with a reminder that the purpose of the course was to develop real world applications to the game as opposed to becoming a better game player. Finally, Patrick included an introductory discussion of th personally respo nded to each introduction and welcomed students to the course.


7 5 The course was divided into self grad school, med schoo Students did not use a textbook for the course, but they did read academic articles including scholarship on gaming in education and popular consumer articles related to various business to pics. Most of the articles used for the course were posted online, as A variety of technological tools in addition to the course management syste m and the real time strategy game were incorporated into course assignments and activities. As he noted, I made the conscious decision not to [use many of the features within the course management system] because I have these students for only eight weeks, use the course management system when a lot of them will never use it ever again. So what I focus on with given them tools that they could take with them afterwards such as Prezi, such as Skype, such as Voice Over IP, Google Docs, things like that. I thought that these tools were more useful for them than the course management system specific tools. He also used mind maps, infographic software, and a polling tool to help determine availabil ity to work on group projects. Many of the assignments related to students analyzing their game play. Group assigned to their groups, with Patr ick noting that one


76 would not necessarily be able to choose their groups in the real world. He did allow time during the course orientation for those groups to meet in person and exchange contact information before moving into the fu lly online course envir onment. Patrick included students strengthen their group work. The activities focused on synthesis and analysis because the students were memorization and regurgitation in their [other] get better. So that reflective pr ocess is key to becoming a better player, and when you and personality inventory to tie into their development of professional skills. On a daily basis Patrick would log into the course management system and first check for new discussion forum posts. He tried to individually respond to every forum post. He would check messages from students, and depending on how much time he had, he would look at submitted assignments and perhaps grade a few. For assignments that were just submitted for a completion grade, he opted not to give n assignments within a week. If he was running behind with grading, he would inform the class via a forum post within the course management system. Evaluation of student ass was focusing on higher order thinking skills such as analysis and synthesis, he could not give multiple


77 evaluate the looking for quality of work, quality of thought. Are they thinking their arguments through? Are they being rational about it? Have they really synthesized or analyzed their experiences? evaluation into group projects so students could rate their contributions to the group. Students communicated with Patrick primarily through email. Patrick noted that when he first started teaching the course, he would receive a lot of emails from students who had questions about assignments. More recently, he only received a few emails notification of a late submi rick also had a class policy that students had to troubleshoot technical problems on their own first. I encourage students to look up their own problems first. They Google the problem. They go to the frequently asked questions part of the tech tool, and t really cut down on a lot of technical questions. In a lot of ways, the burden Students also could consult with the dist ance education office if they had any problems with the course management system. Reflecting on the c ourse Patrick has determined that he would prefer to teach his course in person, as all of the complexities and nuances related to teaching with a real ti much rather it be in person in a full 16 weeks and either fully in person or at least


78 Interaction was a major challenge, whether it was within groups or among th e entire class. Within groups, Patrick instituted a conflict management policy to help management resources he provided, try to work out differences on their own, and then come to him if necessary. He observed that s ometimes groups just did not work together, but he has yet to have a group that could not negotiate a compromise. While group interaction usually ended well, the larger class as a whole had challenges getting t o know each other. As Patrick muse efinitely a pitfall. I guess it points to online education in general. One of the pitfalls of putting them in groups and having them work closely with these other people at the extent but not of interaction among the entire class by saying that requiring large group activities might conflict with the flexibility provided by online learning. Patrick struggled with some of the feedback students provided through their course evaluations. Despite requiring two in person meetings prior to the start of the expectations were still inconsistent with the aims of the course. Some students complained that they no longer enjo yed playing the real time strategy game featured in the course. Others thought the course was a lot more work, or that the work was more difficult, than expected. At the same time, Patrick took into consideration that students might not have a frame of re ference for evaluating a course like his.


79 probably defies classification. Some students did feel that they were able to think about their game in different ways as a result of the course, as well as work togeth er and apply the game to the real world. Ultimately, Patrick requirements, eliminating repeti tious assignments and reducing the workload in others in response to student feedback. Despite some of the challenges related to interaction and student expectations, he did feel that the group assignments were some of the most successful aspects of the co time strategy game]. They do planning sessions, and they reflect on their experiences, and mak ing, strategies, and communication patterns. The leadership and personality Collaboration among members was the intended outcome of thes e assignments, an outcome that Patrick Despite those successes, Patrick believed that course would not be offered much based courses can be offered at a


80 eaching Experience Alma has taught for the honors college at her institution for more than a decade. economics. When she retired from the university in 2008, students worried that no one opted to continue teaching her honors course after retirement if she could offer it online. All first and second year honors students at her institution take a req uired common course. Once they reach their junior and senior years, they must still take an honors course, but they have several topics from which to choose. honors course serves as one of the open topics available to upper division honors students. The course meets the aims of the honors college through its emphasis on research and writing, as well as its interdisciplinary focus. The course is open to all majors and curre ntly has 30 students enrolled. Designing the c ourse When Alma decided she was going to offer her course online, she opted to participate in every training workshop her institution provided. She previously had taught web assisted courses, so she was familiar with the course management system. Teaching fully online, however, was new t o her, so she decided training they offer, workshop, or whatever they do in terms of learning new things. I am She knew that fir st and foremost, she did not want to give exams in her course. By removing exams from the conversation, she hoped to remedy some concerns about cheating in the online environment. As an honors instructor, she knew that honors courses needed to incorporate research. And research appeared to be a good fit for an


81 their own research and participate in class discussions, and that is something they have to do themselves. You to require all research papers to be submitted to turnitin.com to ensure that the Alma also wanted the research topics to be flexible for students. Each student woul d be assigned a different country to study, but the topic related to the country would to match the outcomes of any honors course through a focus on research and writing. She also designed the outcomes to focus on a global or international and interdisciplinary Whenever they submit their reports, I am getting the three learning objectives that are She decided to design the course assignments, including the research reports, he first looked at And then I said, okay, what other topics related to these goals? And so you have goals for education, for health, for maternal health many, many target, and they have indicators for each one of the targets. And so you can be working with those goals, with the indicators, with the targets. So for me, developing the course is just applying what the United Nations is trying to do in order to achieve those goals. As the students would each be assigned a country to research throughout the course,


82 Finally, as Alma prepared to teach her course, she worked closely with the online staff in content she provided. Although she knew the online staff handled the course set up, she sti important that I had received the training so I knew what to expect and how to do it hed she could design and implement everything herself. T eaching the course. The entire course had been planned and submitted to the online staff prior to the first day of classes. Alma firmly believed that despite the amount of preparation doing so require d, having the entire course planned allowed her to teach to face [course], then there could be surprises. But online, to me, I get everything ready ahead of time, and to me Alma began her course with an orientation to the course management system as well as to her expectations. In the course management system there was a link to getting started with the course, he r syllabus, a course calendar, and the contact information for the online staff if needed. She provided students with a PowerPoint T he course itself was divided into units based on the United Nations Millennium Alma explained the framework she developed for each of the units:


83 For each topic, I divide the course into four aspects. I give them an overview of th e topic. I give them an objective that they are going to be focusing on. I give them the assignments, the readings, the due dates, everything. I follow the same approach for each unit. The course followed the routine of students submitting a paper one week and then discussing it the next week via the discussion forums. She found that maintaining the unit frameworks and course routine helped the students know what to expect termined that six of them how they might affect women in the various countries the students would be studying through their individual research. She also provided relevan t resources through online videos and links to external content for the students to review. Aside from online links and videos, Alma utilized a variety of tools within the She primarily used discussion forums, but she also used the assignment submission or students to ask general questions of each other. She also maintained a discussion forum to post news of interest related to the countries they were studying. Students were responsible for earning up to 300 points through all of their points here, and 10 points over there, and 25 points here, and 25 points over there. So they know that they have to accumulate that amount of points.


84 primarily through the research papers and discussions. The logistics of the research paper and discussion posts included: Each week they submit their reports on that specific topic, and then the following week they are going to discuss with a classmate. So each one of the stude nts is going to submit their paper not only to my assignment drop box, but they are also going to post it on the discussion board so that the students have access to the reports that have been submitted. their own research and provided suggestions for improving conditions within their countries. The research was based in part on the links Alma give them as many links as possible for the topic that we are analyzing. Then I le ave constant task for her throughout the semester. The concluding activity in the course involved students reading an article on cultural imperialism and then reflecting on the article and the course through final analyzing more than thirty different countries, and other countries have different e whether they were critiquing their of view. Students then had to post their paper to the discussion board as usual, and ers. Alma used a grading rubric for each assignment. Included in the rubric was an evaluation of the quality of information, the amount of information, the organization of the report, the types of sources used, and the currency of the sources used. She lin ked the grading criteria to the learning outcomes for the course. Finally she subtracted


85 points just because it has not been evaluated by Turnitin. They know that, so t hey better Alma checked online for submitted assignments on a daily basis. It was important at noon time, and by Friday midnight I have ma rked everything. My feedback is T ypically students would contact her regarding problems with the course management system. In one situation, the online staff set the assignment deadline three months earlier than it was scheduled to end. When students went to submit their assignments, it l ooked as though the deadline had passed. As a result, she had to communicate the issues with the online staff so they could update the deadline and alleviate the worries of the students trying to submit their work. Working with the online staff was crucial, but Alma did run into problems when the instructional designer with whom she had been working left the institution. The new instructional designer became overwhelmed with needs: sed to this. I am used to one pro fessor just asking for a course problem that I have at this time is basically she is new to the course. But I She did note later that the online staff was very accessible both to her and to the students when they needed to troubleshoot their own problems with the course management system.


86 Alma was intrigued by the other type of communication she often received from letters of recommendation since I have never met them. I can write a letter of recommendation based on the fact tha t I have never met them, but I am evaluating in their quest for graduate school admission, scholarships, and internships. Happiness with teaching online in general was a common sentiment as she reflected on her experiences. R eflecting on the c ourse Alma seemed genuinely thrilled with her online teaching experiences, even going so far as saying she thought the flexibility of teaching en classroom, on a specific day, a specific time, noting that they often wanted to take more of her courses after completing her online honors course. They also believe he r honors course should be available to more this course should be taken by because of the high demand for her course, she does have to turn students away each semester. She has also learned from course evaluations that students enjoy the format of the course. They particularly appreciate the routine of having one week to submit their paper and one week to discuss it. In a previous iteration, students told her that they did not have enough time for interaction in the course. So she listened to her students and re evaluated the course structure.


87 because I thought that it was missing. There was not enough time for them to read all the papers and come up with solutions. And so what I have done is that the des ign of their course has changed. I think my main lesson learned is that in order to discuss, you need time. There is time to get all these concepts and discuss with classmates. One of the few challenges Alma noted was the propensity of her students to submit assi gnments at the last minute, sometimes to the detriment of their grade. Often students would wait until 11:45am to submit work due at 12:00pm, and problems could arise, particularly in trying to upload their papers to turnitin.com. She would hear from panic ked students as they worried about not submitting their papers on time. ry you waited this long to call. utes before the deadline to submit because Papers submitted late were heavily penalized, especially if they had not been evaluated by turnitin.com. The other challenge Alma mentioned wa s keeping the course current in terms of links to resources. Because she liked to provide the students with as many links as possible for their research papers, she was constantly searching for new links for this semester or for the next iteration of the c Finally, despite all of the overwhelming successes with the course, Alma did feel as though she and her students did not get to know each other as well in the online ame I say, well,


88 Students, for their part, must have felt they knew each other on some level judging by the requests for letters of recommendation she received on a regular b asis. Ultimately, Alma ork that they had produced in the face to face environment. Her course has been recognized for its quality, with Alma issue students online. Mark has been a faculty member at a virtual branch campus of a larger institution. His background includes teaching history, philosophy, and English both at the K 12 and higher education levels. He pursued a doctoral degree in educational technology due to his interests in technology and online learning. Although his experience teaching honors students has been limited to the few students taking his online courses via an honors contract, he is planning to teach his first fully honors course in Fall 2012. The course will be a blended version of his online non western humanities course which he currently teaches. For the purposes of this stu dy, his experiences are based on teaching his online non western humanities, including the 2 4 honors students t aking the course via contract. Mark has offered this course year round for more than a decade. Currently 35


89 students are registered for the cour se which counts as a general education humanities and world studies requirement. Designing the c ourse Not surprising considering his deg ree in educational technology, Mark started the course design process using an instructional systems design approach. He gathered existing syllabi for similar courses, as well as reviewed textbook options. Once he had compiled various resources, he began to map out his course ll map that out and kind of always be working management system into modules which then were developed for each unit or week in the semester. He created a guide for the te developed his own quiz bank for the textbook. All of the design and construction of the course took place prior to the start of the s emester. You have to have 99% of your work already complete. You need the has to be done up front. And then the delivery you really have to have an open ear, an open mind to stu Feedback, as he describes later, was very important to continuing to enhance his courses.


90 He developed specific learning outcomes for his non western humanities course. His primary goals were student success and completion of the course. Students needed to be able to complete their quizzes, essays, midterm, and final. For the writing semester. In terms of class participation, he decided to measure active ve rsus inactive in the discussions. Each of these outcomes was tied to specific activities or assignments in the course. Teaching the c ourse Mark began his course with an elaborate orientation. He created his own guide to provide an overview of the course within the course management system. He referenced the orientation to the course management system for students who had not used it previously. He then provided an overview of his philosophy of teaching which he developed with the help of the instructional technology staff. I have an int roduction to discovery learning. We put together a little impaired and so it has text that goes with it. As I talk on the split screen, there are graphic images that appear. And the whole purpose of this is to explain discovery learning, that each student is on their own, a nd you can make lots of choices. Y ou know, and just basically everything they need to know about discovery learning in four minutes. He said it took 40 or 50 hours to create that video with the instructional technology staff, but he knew he could use th at video with every course he would teach. The orientation also included minute long audio clips about various topics, as well as information about the learning modules and video lectures. Specifics about quizzes and the course calendar were detailed in th e guide. He linked to the writing assignments


91 communicate with him and with each other and how discussion forums would operate. The final component of the orientation was an intro ductory discussion forum post. Mark ucational background, hobbies, and qualifications for teaching the course. After students completed their introductions, they were reminded that they needed to begin their first assignment in module one. The course itself centered around Mark y of discovery learning. Students interacted with the course content through a series of cyber journeys created for each learning module. Each cyber journey is like a page of multiple text links and multimedia links, videos of related content. And then I send the students out to make their areas of interest in humanities. Students had to post at least 500 words per week in the discussion forum on their cyber journeys. However, studen ts who wanted to get full credit for participation in discussion were encouraged to post at least 1000 words per week, including replies to their peers. The beauty of the discussion postings was that students were not all posting about intentionally kept the discussion board student centered and chose not to engage there sort of in my lectures and everything Mark a lso had to use the discussion forums to measure attendance and


92 discussion for um were flagged by the course management system. Mark sent those end of week 2, or they would be administratively withdrawn from the course. He considered not posting one week as an absence. Two absences in the first two weeks of classes would cause a student to be dropped from the course. It was in the discussion forums and with essays that the honors students on contract were expected to stand out. At the beginning of th e semester, any honors students in the course identified themselves as such and inform ally developed a contract with Mark to receive honors credit. Basically I tell them I want them to take more of a leadership role in discussion. Whereas other students, t here might be a minimum of 500 words a week. Honors students, I want them to do a minimum of 1000 words a week. And then the same thing in papers. Instead of just going with the minimum requirements, I expect honors students to go a little bit above that. Instead of writing a 500, 600 word essay, go more like 1000. Instead of just using three sources, use six sources. The expectation was that honors students would fulfill extra requirements in terms of quantity and quality of work. The students were include d in a separate course section to help distinguish them while grading assignments. Lectures took the form of streamed videos. He recorded more than 200 video lectures to post in the course. A text version of the videos was available for hearing impaired st udents. The lectures also were loaded into iTunes so students could access their cell phones and and even videos from various museums to supplement content for his course. Quizzes were inc orporated into the course, but Mark allowed students to take


93 up, snaggled in a que keep their highest score of the three attempts, something that he noted was possible traditional setting. No Mark prided himself on returning work quickly to students. He listed essay due dates on Friday to encourage early submissions, but an assignment was not considered late until Sunday night. For the essays submitted on Friday o r Saturday, he usually turn ouple of hours, make something to Word to provide feedback to students. Mark never felt as though he put in an entire eight hour day in the office on campus, but he was neve r offline for more than 24 hours. In fact, he felt as though he office hours, so my students can kind of expect feedback from me even on Saturday


94 When he was not grading papers on th e weekends, he continued course maintenance, double checking hyperlinks and tweaking content. He also made sure that students were on task and participating in their discussions and cyber journeys. Emails from students were constant. Students emailed when they had questions about the course, when they found broken hyperlinks in the cyber journeys, and even when they pasting To reduce the amount of emails he received, he added a discussion forum called would help use that forum to exchange information with each other. If there was a technical issue with the course management system, Mark highly recommended the instructional technology suppor Often he could troubleshoot those issues himself as he started to recognize problems, but the help desk was always available as back up. Reflecting on the c ourse Mark lved over the course of a discovery learning and asking them formally and informally. He thought that a n instructor needed to seek feedback with an open mind, especially when first starting a course. If he found that he was getting a lot of student questions in a certain area, he worked hard to make the course more user friendly.


95 Students seemed to apprecia te the effort he made as instructor. Mark based his that students by and large have a really high, high, high approval rating. Students love the convenience of online lea rning. I know my strengths and weaknesses on course as part of discovery learning, but that students believed they had to write a lot in their various assignments. In any cas e, the demand for his course was far greater than At the same time, Mark thought the course was a constant re quires continual attention. into one major challenge with a cultural assignment that all humanities courses were encouraged to include. The humanities and fine arts depa rtments wanted students to experience a cultural event that ideally tied into the course they were taking. In the online environment, the challenge was determining how students might document their activity when they potentially were scattered across the globe. the edge of the Everglades. It may be a little too much to ask them to attend a museum or concert where they are online. We have students that are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mark then worried how he would grade participation in an activity from a distance. His solution was to have students conduc t background research on their activity. He decided to make the activity similar to other essays he required, and then he could grade it accordingly.


96 When he first started teaching the course more than a decade ago, he only had a few hyperlinks available now my class inte raction is more like guided stu certainly I decentralized my role a long time ago when I turned the whole thing into kind of student new learn Vicky has served as a faculty member and administrator at her institution throughout her entire professional career. Now she primarily focuses on faculty development, including assisting with the digital professor certificate program for faculty who want to tea ch online. She continues to teach humanities courses online for the honors program. She has taught her current course three times per year for the past five or six years. Most students in the course are sophomore level students, although some are high scho ol dual enrollment students where they take college courses concurrently with their high school work. Many of the students are the first in their families to attend college, and their ages range from 16 to 56. She has 19 students enro lled in the current te rm. Designing the c ourse Vicky believed that her background in teaching humanities develop curriculum. Nothing comes to you ready made. h ave to cover that you have to be able to pick and choose, tailor things, and make to face course


97 into the online environment. With limited examples to use, design was mostly trial an d error in the beginning. She thought carefully about how she would present the syllabus in her online course. In her face to face course, she was accustomed to going over the syllabus with in an online class, none and precise. Directions had to be much more detailed, as students would not necessarily have a chance to ask questions as they were reviewing them. She also adapted the PowerPoint presentations she had created for her face to in class to do presentations in front of the class, it was really easy for me to a dapt that The visual learners are going to be fine on their own. Kinesthetic learners are going to be pretty good because they have a keyboard to pound on and a mouse to move. The ones who prefer to learn orally are going to be more is no extra stuff. Discussions prepare for tests and projects, Vicky also thought about the notion of equivalency experiences would not be the same in an online cours e, but she wanted students to have the same quality of experience, as well as gain the same skill set. She knew that learning was not to have to be online at the same time as


98 Knowing that honors students appreciated in their face to face courses was the interchange with other students, she questioned how she could replicate those interchanges in an asynchronous environment. Discussions would become a central their projects and get feedback from the other people in the class on those components. Her final consideration was in thinking about the content she wanted to cover in her course. She noted that she would include less music instruction in an online environment because it was more difficult to cover. On the other hand, she would include mor e art, architecture, and literature online because those topics were more visual. message, and I found that to be true. I will tend sometimes to pick prose over say poetry or drama becau periods. If I was dealing with things that were more recent, I probably would not have to make those kinds of choices because they woul d come with a certain amount of familiarity. I think what I pick is equivalent, but not necessarily the same thing. She mentioned that she would not necessarily teach Shakespeare online, although she would in a face to face classroom. Instead, she mi ght select political speeches as students could understand those easier with less help from the instructor. The learning outcomes she developed for her course were based on general skills she wanted students to gain, rather than information mastery. She wa nted the


99 particularly in the areas of application and synthesis. She also made sure that her outcomes were specifically written. I hate those [outcomes] use the pretty easily. They will either understand what foreshortening is, or they ng outcomes being as specific as they are make it easy for Those outcomes then would be evaluated on the quality of the products that students delivered. Teaching the c ourse Vicky began teaching with an orientat ion to her course. She used a recorded, narrated PowerPoint which included an introduction to the subject matter, as well as her expectations of her students and what her students could expect from her. The recording lasted 15 20 minutes. Following the rec ording, students were instructed to take their first test, a course treasure hunt. On the study guide for the course treasure hunt is the list of about 35 questions that they have to answer about the course. And so they have to go hunting around the cours e to find the answers. And that gives them a way of finding out where things are and finding out what the various course requirements are. After completing the study guide, students could take the test. Following the test, students also had to participate in an introductory discussion forum. Rather t han just introduce themselves, Vicky had the students read an article related to student success and discuss their experiences with the topic. For the current term, she had students read an article about procras tination, discuss their previous experiences in online courses, and relate the article to their own lives. She was particularly interested in having students discuss how they might combat procrastination

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100 provided students with an opportunity to practice using the discussion feature. The course itself was divided into four units of study, including one orientation unit and three content units. Each content unit was four wee ks long with the first week focusing on the assigned readings. A study guide was provided for each unit. Then students began a series of discussions on what they had read. They started with a general discussion about the period and moved to more specific d iscussions about the project they would be producing at the end of the unit. Recorded lectures via PowerPoint were included in each unit. Each lecture lasted approximately an hour but was broken into sections for easier listening. Students could download the lectures via iTunes in video or audio formats. Notes from the PowerPoint lectures were included, so students could read the lectures rather than listen or watch. Aside from the exp ect ed topics from the humanities, Vicky strongly believed in incorporating student success concepts into her course content. She had only taught a about test taking and completing assignments, as well as advice on majors, colleges, about the subject m Within the course mana gement system, Vicky utilized the discussion forums and uploaded course content such as the recorded lectures and notes. She also used a lot

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101 of videos in her course She opted not to use the chat feature in her course. I tell my stude difficult. As she had mentioned during the course design, she intentionally wanted her course to be completely asynchronous, so chat was purposely not included. Students had the opportunity to add a creative element to their research essays. They could submit their research papers in the form of d ialogues or short stories if interested. In earlier iterations of the course, she allowed students to mail physical creative projects. Unfortunately, those projects were too cumbersome. I opted out of that because one time one arrived in pieces after bein g certain things that should belong in the face to one of them. I had a student who built a 300 pound stone arch one time. Students posted the thesi s to their essays in the discussion forums for feedback and peer review. Vicky provided her own feedback after the peer review was complete. If students submitted their essays on time, they could rewrite them for up to 90 out of 100 points after t hey had r eceived feedback from her Anywhere from 25 30% of the students would take advantage of that opportunity during the semester. Vicky evaluated those papers based on the quality of the product. Each assignment included a grading rubric so it was easy for her to measure the quality. The rubric included items such as using accurate facts from scholarly sources, providing a deeper insight into the material, writing a clear thesis, and employed the scholarly format correctly. Students received the rubric prior to submitting their assignments, so

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102 they knew what to expect from her evaluation. They also had to submit their papers to a plagiaris m checking service. Vicky then inserted comments into their papers and highlighted concerns, attached the graded rubric, and uploaded the file back to the students for review. She found it important to include specific comments in addition to what she had marked on the rubric, as it would save her time later. She had learned from experience that students would send her emails wanting to know why they had missed points, even if she had marked the reason on the rubric. It took her less time to add specific c omments up front than to respond to those emails later. Vicky also provided feedback on smaller assignments, including discussions. was less than full credit. And someti mes they get a comment if it was full credit, and it was really good felt she had to remind students that their grade was only a proportion of their final grade. She found that her students had a tendency to give up if they felt their grade was dropping, so the reminder served to keep their grade in perspective. She also provided smaller opportunities for extra credit, such as completing additional peer reviews, as opportunities to recoup points on assignments. She belie ved that the quality of the assignments were a direct reflection on how doing well, she wanted to know why so she could better facilitate their learning. With many of her students who were struggling, she would look deeper to determine why

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103 course i their backgrounds, courses taken, and previous grades. Based on that information, she mi ght suggest various strategies for doing better in the course. Aside from grading assignments, which she gave herself a week to complete for each assignment, her regular teaching routine included checking emails, monitoring discussions, and adjusting vario us aspects of the course. She regularly logged on to the course management system every morning of the week and sometimes on the weekends. She tried to find examples for students when they struggled with their thesis statements. She checked her tests to ma ke sure they were scored properly, noting that broken links. When she monitored discussion b oards, she made sure students were staying on topic, using proper netiquette, and participating as required. Because her college required instructors to take attendance, even in online courses, she used participation in discussion as a way to monitor atten dance. Students who fell two consecutive assignments behind could be withdrawn from the course. At the beginning of the course, she emailed students who had not logged on after the first day or two. If they did not respond to that email, she called them to first week were withdrawn from the course.

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104 Vicky any othe r student could answer questions posted there. And they use that for a variety of different things to ask or to find something cular file, can anybody else not see that or can anybody see it or tell me how to get to it? For example, one student asked the group if the link to a discussion was incorrect. Vicky checked the link, discovered it was indeed incorrect, and then responded to the group so they could see the resolution. She also provided extra credit if students posted in that forum several times during the semester. She noticed that doing so encouraged students to respond to questions and get their answers faster from each o ther, thereby relieving her from answering so many questions. Finally, Vicky noted that it was important to have established contacts within the technology office to assist with the course as needed. Although she was able to troubleshoot a lot of lower lev el issues with the course management system, she relied level problems. She did not call the main help also participated in roundtables with the course management system designers, so she was familiar with a lot of the tools and functions that she would need for her course. Reflecting on the c ourse Vicky used her final discussion forum each semester to gather feedback from students. Students had to discuss at least one thing that was effective in helping them learn online, as well as suggestions they had for improvement in the course. She told students th at any additions the students suggested had to

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105 s think they want more tests or if they had five minutes of uncommitted time, they felt like they were slackers, so I tell wanted to implement for the next semester and shared those decisions within the discussion forum. One previous suggestion was to decrease the amount of responses st udents need to give in the forums from five to two. Students thought the quality of responses would be greater if they had fewer to provide. Vicky tried it and found that the students were right. In addition, the pace of the class was more comfortable as a result. Another suggestion she received was to incorporate more relevant content for science majors. So she added a prompt option for each essay that dealt with the history of science still maintaining the focus on the humanities, but providing an optio n for students in other majors to make the hum anities more relevant to them. Vicky found that this final discussion really provided a solid closure to the course, where students felt their opinions and suggestions mattered. Vicky noted a few challenges wit h the course overall, namely in helping students be successful in the course. She was afraid that students would quit if they thought the them to be more persistent with struggled with students who were not as mature in their thinking, often the dual enrollment students. Still, immaturity was difficult to identify when students were enrolling in the course, and she did have dual enrollment students who were quite good

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106 in the course. On the other hand, she thought the completion rates of students in the course were the same as they had been in the face to face version. Her other large challenge was with group work. Wh ile she normally included group work in her face to could not convince the online students that they could work virtually. They just absolutely felt like they had to see each other face to students coordinate their schedules at the beginning of the semester, but it never structors who had made it work, she decided her students simply were not prepared to do it at this point. As she reflecte d on her time teaching online, Vicky asserted that take in mind the limitations of the technology, as well as what the classroom. In fact, the longer she taught online, the fewer differences she saw between teaching online and teaching f ace to The workload from her end was not more than it had been in a face to face course, but it was different. For example, she did not take a break b etween semesters, as that was when she was at her busiest preparing the course. She typically built the entire course before the class began so she had time to troubleshoot and deal with the students during the actual course. Once she got through the first month of the course, she found that the course could almost run itself, and she could take a break if needed. She also found that she did not need to be available to her students 24 / 7, but that she

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107 did need to be timely in responding to them. It was a d ifferent pattern of work, but not more than what she had done in the classroom. Commonalities Each of these five participants had varying experiences teaching online honors courses at their institutions. Some participants had in depth experience teaching h onors students, while others had more limited exposure to this population. One participant was at the very start of his career as an instructor, while two participants had formally retired but continued to teach online. Several participants had a very posi tive experience teaching online, but a few had mixed or negative results. Despite these differences, it is important to note the commonalities these participants had as a result of their online teaching experiences. Table 4 1 and Appendix G include an o ver view of these commonalities Designing the Course Four out of the five participants offered their online honors course to fulfill general education requireme nts, three in humanities. Only Patrick elective for stud ents. Two of the part icipants, Harvey and Vicky struggled with the notion of equivalency before they started designing their courses. Both of them wanted to make their online courses equivalent to the face to face version, but encountered different results. Harvey never felt his online course was equivalent, whereas Vicky felt very satisfied that her students were producing similar results. Two of the participants, Patrick and Mark specifically mentioned using an instructional design approach in preparing their courses, which was not surprising considering their familiarity with educational technology. Alma worked in consultation with an instructional designer who then set up her course in the course management

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108 system. Vicky also used an instructional design process, although she did not formally call it so. She considered the needs of her students and the learning environment, scaffolded assignments, and constantly utilized feedback. Both Harvey and Alma worried about issues of academic integ rity in their courses. Whereas Harv ey opted to focus on other concerns such as having flexibility in his course, Alma maintained a strong focus on eliminating cheating as much as she could. She removed exams from the course in place of research papers that could be reviewed through turnitin .com. Vicky also required students to submit their papers to a similar site to verify the originality of their writing. Three of the participants noted that the quality of the products submitted by students was a primary learn ing outcome for their courses. Harvey wanted to see a deeper engagement with the course content, although he did not feel students achiev ed that outcome in the end. Vicky also looked for quality products that included a dee per insight into the material. Patrick wanted his students to p roduce quality group products, as his course focused heavily on collaboration and teamwork. Teaching the Course All five participants included a course orient ation as part of their course. Patrick held his orientation in person, as all of his students were still on campus together even though they were taking an online course. Both Vicky and Harvey tied an assignment into learning about the syll abus or course structure, with Vicky coordinat ing a co urse treasure hunt and Harvey giving a quiz on the syllabus. Vicky, Mark, and Patrick all used an introductory discussion post so students could ge t to know each other, although Vicky used an article to jumpstart conv ersation. Patrick Alma, Mark, and Vick y

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109 included information on how to use the course management system in their orientation, as well as included their expectations of the students in the course. Although Mark participants utilized simi lar stra tegies with their assignments. Mark provided a multitude of links to his students who then could select their links of interest to complete their cyber journeys. In similar fashion, both Alma and Vicky allowed students the flexibility to determine what avenues their projects would take. Alma also provided links to her students, and they were allowed to choose whic h ones to use in their papers. Vicky provided enough flexibility to her students, that even non humanities majors could mold their projects to fit their major interests. course, with varying results. Harvey noted that the discussions were dissatisfying, in part because he only ha d five students in his course. Vicky, Mark, and Alma used discussion forums as part of a peer review process, where students would post their ideas or reactions to their readings and papers. Students then had the opportunity to continue their online dialogue thro ugh comments and feedback. There were mixed views on group work. Harvey attempted a group project but said it did not work well. Vicky did not attempt a group assignment because her students did not believe they could work on a group project virtually. On the other hand, Patrick focused so much of his course on group projects that they did work well. He did have the benefit of students being on campus together while they were taking the online course, so it was easier for students to still get together in person to work on their

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110 projects if needed. He also met with groups in person if there were any conflicts or challenges that needed to be worked through. All of the participants provided ample, personaliz ed feedback to their students. Vicky and Patrick typ ically took up to a week to provide feedback on submitted assignments, whereas Alma and Mark sometimes had f eedback provided within a day. Mark felt very strongly that he maintain an online presence as much as possible during the day, so students could rea ch him at any time. Alma also maintained a regular routine with her communication with students. Vicky did not believe she needed to be available 24 / 7, but her students knew when to expect communication from her. All of the participants logged on to thei r course management systems on a daily basis during the week to stay updated on discussions, assignments, and email. Finally, all of the participants had access to external technology consultants, although not all of them cho se to utilize those resources. Harvey did not feel he needed to cont act his technology office, and Patrick did not often contact his either. Vicky, Mark and Alma all mentioned how useful the technology consultants could be as they worked through higher level issues. All three of those participants felt competent troubleshooting lower level concerns, but they appreciated having external assistance when needed. Alma and Vicky in particular had a specific consultant they relied on throughout the term. Reflecting on the Course Mark Alma, a nd Vicky actively sought feedback from their s tudents throughout the course. Vicky incorporated a discussion forum at the end of the semester to capture suggestions and reflections from her students. Patrick Alma, and Vicky all made changes to their cours es based on the feedback, including assignme nt reductions and

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111 adjustments. Patrick reduced some of the redundant assignments, although he wanted to maintain a strong sense of academic rigor despite students complaining about the difficulty level. Alma adde after students requested that time in their evaluations. And Vicky reduced the number of responses students had to make during their peer review discussions, as well as added paper options for no n majors. Three of the participants recognized challenges with social interaction in their courses. Harvey was especially concerned and disappointed with the level of community that was not created within his course. He tried synchronous and asynchronous a pproaches, but neither seemed to help. Students rarely responded to each other in discussion forums, and no one seemed to get to know each other even with only five studen ts in the course. Patrick found that students got to know each other within their s mall groups, but they did not get to know the class as a whole. He was not sure how to make the class more social while maintaining a fully online course. Alma also missed the interaction that she previously found in her face to face courses, but that the benefits of the online environment outweighed that challenge. Harvey, Patrick, and Mark all believed that a hybrid option might be better than a fully online honors course. The honors courses at Harvey assisted, and they were starting to experim ent with hybrid options. While Harvey said that he would not teach another honors course online, he w ould consider a hybrid option. Patrick also wished he could have more in person connections with his course. Although he was not planni ng to offer his course much longer, he did think there would be more interaction among his students if they met in person for at least part of the

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112 term. Mark was in the process of d eveloping a full honors course for the next term and had opted to make it a face to face course, although he would still utilize the course management system, online lectures, and cyber journeys. Both Alma and Vicky were very pleased with their honors cour ses in their current online format. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to provide an extensive look into the teaching experiences of each participant. Each participant described their design considerations, as well as how they experienced their daily routines, communication with students, and evaluation of assignments. In addition, they reflected on their teaching experiences, including the feedback they received from students and how they dealt with particular challenges in the online environment. Fi nally, a series of commonalities across all five participants was provided. In the next chapter, the second half of the results is provided. These results include broader themes about the impact of online education in the honors community.

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113 Table 4 1. Commonality Alma Harvey Mark Patrick Vicky Course fulfilled general education requirement X X X X Struggled with equivalency X X Used instructional design approach / worked with a designer X X X X Worried about / addressed academic integrity X X X Quality of products was a learning outcome X X X Included a course orientation X X X X X Allowed flexibility with projects / X X X Used discussion forums X X X X Mixed views on group work X X X Provided personalized feedback X X X X X Had access to technical support even if not utilized X X X X X Actively sought feedback from students about course X X X Adjusted course based on feedback X X X Challenges with social interaction X X X Hybrid could have been a better options X X X Pleased with online format X X

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114 CHAPTER 5 THEMATIC FINDINGS The purpose of this study wa s to describe the phenomenon of online honors courses from the perspective of the instructors teaching them. This chapter presents the second half of the results of this study. As noted in Chapter 3, a hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used to anal yze the data. Of the five data analysis approaches described by van Manen (1990), two were utilized for this study analytic and thematic. This chapter includes the findings that resulted from the thematic approach, where van Manen (1990) recommended elab orating on an essential aspect of the phenomenon being studied. While the results from the analytic approach spoke directly to the descriptions of thematic approach rep resented major themes related to the diffusion of online learning into undergraduate honors education as found across all five participants. While not directly related to the daily task of designing and teaching their courses, these themes spoke to underly ing issues, concerns, and recommendations the participants shared as early adopters of online honors education, an essential element of teaching online. The three major themes that emerged included serving as an early adopter, experimenting with online lea rning in honors, and moving online learning forward. Serving as an early adopter signified the characteristics each participant felt they possessed that made them more likely than their peers to teach online honors courses. Experimenting with online learni ng in honors represented the needs met by offering environment, and the ways in which they felt their courses met or did not meet the aims

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115 of undergraduate honors educat ion. Finally, moving online learning forward included the needed for adoption, and implications for adoption in undergraduate honors education as a whole. Table 5 1 in cludes a summary of these themes, while Appendix H includes a summary of these themes and relevant participant codes. Serving as an Early Adopter Throughout each of the interviews with the participants, it was clear that they saw themselves as pioneers of online honors courses, at least at their own institutions. The participants developed a variety of reasons why they felt they were early adopters, including their age, personality, and previous experiences. They also displayed a common desire to share the ir expertise with others. or is it? Harvey supposed that he might be an early adopter because of his young age. He nough, willing to try new types of who was the youngest participant, displayed a youthful idealism when it came to wanting to make a difference by offering a better version of an online course. He recalled his own experiences where he s wanted to create something different. Mark also believed his age played a significant role in wanting to be on the cutting have this hu Alma n

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116 age, Harvey, Patrick, and Mark all noted that their age might have something to do with their willingness to serve as an early adopter, while Alma did not believe that age was a factor. This is Several of the participants felt as though they were early adopters due to various personality characteristics. Alma valued learning new things, as did Vicky Alma took advantage of every training she had available to learn how to adapt her course online. She enjoyed learning more about how to teach on line, and she stressed the importance learnin used the opportunity to teach online to learn new things. That was one of my motivations for going into online teaching to begin with. I felt like the technology was getting away from me, and I was becoming too old fashioned. So I said, well, this is a way to find out about th is stuff. And so I went into it just to learn new things. Harv ey was willing to try anything, as he believed he kept his course material and teaching fresh by trying new pedagogy. Both Mark and Vicky considered themselves natural troubleshooters. When Mark first started tinkering with a course management system earl y in his career, he spent a e when they ran into problems with the technology. Because he was comfortable playing with technology, he the technology support office. Vicky also felt comfortable troubleshooting her stud

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117 She enjoyed understanding Patrick enjoyed pushing bou ndaries, while Alma liked a challenge. As Patrick noted, boundaries or whatnot. You se e deficiencies in certain areas. I guess the big thing is the desire to do everyt my power to kind of address some of the concerns that I have with the way that I see education going. Alma designed to get this challenge. To me, this is part of me. This is being me, what I am Patrick felt he was self motivated to be an innovator, motivated to develop solutions to problems rather than just complain about them. Alma and Vicky were both independent and liked being able to do things themselves. As Alma myself because I know what I want. I enjoyed being hese pieces for my class myself but I like In each of these situations, various personal characteristics played a role in depicting the participants as early adopters. A love of learning, an inquisitive nature, a tendency to be a problem solver, and an independent spirit all contribut ed to the Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels Many of the participants noted a desire to be the first to try something, whether they saw themselves as pioneers, guinea pigs, or rebels in the realm of online learning.

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118 Harvey saw himself as both a pioneer and as a guinea pig. Not only was he the first to attempt an online honors course, but he was one of the pioneers of online learning in general at his institution. When his institution pus hed for more online courses, he Patrick saw himself as a groundbreaker in offering not only an online honors course, but also a course revolving around a real time strategy game. really excited me that game base d courses can be offered at a major research institution. And I think now essons learned and Mark saw himself as a pioneer and a rebel. His interest in teaching with the internet bega n in the mid He took courses in HTML and began designing websites for his AP English classes. He then became a product reviewer, playing with software as an adjunct at a local college. developed in technology helped him transition to a full time position in higher education. the col leg His rebellious streak caught fire through his service in the faculty senate as he argued for more fluid work schedules based on the needs of his online students. His

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119 ebel and an When Vicky began teaching in the online environment, she noted there were no survived through a series of trial and error. While someone el se might have been frustrated, Vicky seemed to what they would call in the literature an early adopter or a pioneer. I like that. I like the All four of these participants recogn ized their role as an early adopter. They noted not only were they the first in their area to teach an honors course online, but also that they enjoyed being the first. They volunteered for the role and relished it. A Desire to Share Finally, many of the p articipants expressed a desire to share their knowledge with others, whether through convincing colleagues of the value of online honors courses, showcasing their cours es, or disseminating research. Vicky was the one who convinced the honors director to of fer an online honors course. I knew from talking to my face to face honors students the problems they peop one that I think will work well Alma also had to convince her honors dean that online honors courses would work. Her dean was not in favor of offering on line honors courses, but Alma her change her mind in the sense that the students really want to take online courses,

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120 As previously noted, Mark ran into problems when he tried to convince his colleagues of the utility of online learning. More than a decade ago while serving in were almost unequivocally anti online faced harsh oppositio n when he tried to advocate for 24/7 availability to their online students. He felt he should be released from so many on campus hours because he was constantly available to his students outside of the office. You would have thought I was asking everybody to give up their weekends needs to be more fluid and structured aroun d the needs of your students. While he was me t with resistance at the time, Mark maintained his insistence tha t faculty should think differently about their roles in the online environment. Alma liked to share what she had learned from designing and teaching an online showcased because I submitted her online honors course to Quality Matters for feedback, and she demonstrated how to implement Quality Matters to other instructors. She noted that she had received many accolades f Patrick also wanted to share his expertise with others, primarily by disseminating is to g ive others who are interested in game based learning an opportunity to see how colleagues from across the country. He also planned to publish information about the course d

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121 Each participant demonstrated several characteristics of being an early adopter in online honors education. Some attributed their willingness to experiment to their age, while others credited it to vari ous aspects of their personalities. They liked learning and trying new things. They enjoyed tinkering with technology, as well as sharing their findings with others. And perhaps most importantly, they saw themselves in the role of early adopter in their words, pio neers, guinea pigs, and rebels. Experimenting with Online Learning in Honors Each of the online honors courses taught by the participants could be considered an experiment of sorts. As early adopters, each of the participants felt they were fulfi lling a need or gap when they first started teaching their online honors course, whether that need was student, instructor, or content oriented. Once they started teaching their courses, their observations of honors students in the online environment impac ted their perspectives of whether or not honors courses might work online. Fulfilling a Need Harvey, Vicky, and Mark all decided to offer an online honors course based on student need. Harvey offered his course during the summer term to provide a general education opportunity to honors students who would be working from a distance. He noted that although many of the students at his institution were from the local area, most of the honors students came from out of was a way for those students in the honors program to fulfill the general education offering an online honors course, he was able to reach out to students who might not have had access otherwise.

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122 Similarly, Vicky found that an online honors course would provide greater access to honors both for nontraditional students who might have conflicts with their work schedule, as well as other students who had complicated academic sch so many adults who were working full time, and that was already the big gap in honors when we offered face to not have as much flexibility with their schedules and needed to su pplement their face to face courses with online courses. She found one term that any student who wanted to take an advanced calculus course could not take an honors course because every honors course conflicted with the t imes that calculus was offered. Cal culus III was a five hour course. That meant it met every day of the week so it just knocked them out of everything. And so with that kind of restricted schedule, well, anybody can do an online honors class. By off ering an online honors course, Vicky was able to meet a significant need for her students. On Mark entire course. By allowing honors students into his online course through a contract system, those students could continue to four, five, or six students in the honors college that are taking classes at our campus. that online classes provided flexibility for students who were very involved with other classes, as well as with extracurricular activities That sentiment was shared by Patrick : Honors students are very, very busy. They are highly motivated, but with high motivation also comes other responsibilities like honor societies or other volunteer opportunities. So online education can fill a niche there

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123 Alma found that her students appreciated the flexibility as well. Even though she did not mention access as a specific need, she found that students wanted online courses anyway. In addition to providing more access to honors courses, participants found that s tudents registered for the courses regardless of format. Patrick found that his course always filled, while Alma could be fifty o fille alone had a challenge in this area, as only five students enrolled in his summer honors course. Offering an honors course online also benefited the participants. Alma retired in 2008, but told her honors co llege that she would continue to teach her honors course if course while I keep doing those other things, other things that I have to do with my granddaugh ter and m found that teaching online was very appealing to an instructor, as she did not have to deal with any classroom management all those things that teachers complain and complain and complain about today. That Finally, sever al participants saw the content as a reason to teach an online honors course. Patrick wanted his students to gain skills in online collaboration. In this connected and fast paced world, online collaboration is expected as we move towards distance learning or training. And these students might have to collaborate across the globe, continent, states, time zones, or whatnot. Collaborating online is a big deal.

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124 Mark also believed that students needed experience developing the digital skills that came with uplo ading attachments and managing their time online. Online courses provided a great opportunity for students to gain experience with such skills. Alma continued to teach her honors course after retirement because students would not have had access to her cou the studen he had the opportunity to develop a gaming course that was relativel y unheard of at a major university. Having his course based courses can survive and thrive at even major Honors Students in the Online Environment After a need was determined, the parti cipants embarked on their online honors course experiments. While they wanted to increase access to honors courses for students or expose students to content or skill development, they found mixed results once students actually started working within the o nline environment. It is difficult to determine whether or not these student characteristics were caused by the online environment or were indicative of honors students in general. Regardless, these challenges and successes with students are presented as s hared by the participants. Harvey found that his students had too many commitments outside of class to commitments that the also observed that his students only had so many hours that they could dedicate to any one class, including his. Patrick had to offer in person mediation for groups in his class when they had difficulty working

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125 together onl ine. Vicky refused to incorporate group work, noting that honors students resisted group work in general. Honors students particularly faltered when it came to participa tion in online discussions. As Mark had noted in previously taught face to face courses that honors students were self confident, got involved, raised their hands, and asked questions. In the online environment, however, he found that they did not distinguish themselves from online classes. I think ther to face class in a face to Harvey woul d agree with Mark even meeting minimum expectations for discussions. Students regurgitated ideas the same time fo r a synchronous discussion eit her. By the end of the course, Harvey was dissatisfied with much of the products submitted by his students. Vicky was concerned about the persistence of her honors students, commenting that she had to build in places for stude nts to recoup lost points so they would not withdraw from the course. Students were very grade also would quibble with her over test q uestions. Honors students are more challenging. They are more willing to challenge your authority, and that the honors students will call me to task over five or six questions on every test. I learned how to be more specific and precise in giving feedback to students.

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126 Vicky also found that her honors students liked online learning less than their peers, but in general, they were not dissatisfied with it. Alma receptive to her online course an d actively participated in it. She also believed that her students got to know her in the online environment, as evidenced by their numerous requests for letters of recommendation. Patrick albeit in their small group s. They did feel disconnected to the class as a whole, although Patrick was not sure how to rectify that concern in an online course. Both Vicky and Alma thought their students appreciated the routine and structure inh erent in their online courses. Alma students would contact her if they perceived a pattern, they immediately send me a note asking wha Vicky found that students liked the organiza a pattern of assignments, but also a pattern of Learning to use the technology was not much of an issue with Harvey and challen ges using the technology in the online course never came up as a concer n with the other participants. Vicky did observe that her students were not necessarily impressed by a lot of tools though. After reviewing a few tools that she could have used in her c ourse, she recognized that her students did not care much about them. good. tforward. As such, she preferred to keep the tools she used simple and straightforward.

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127 Each of the participants had different experiences with their honors students. They felt that students did not always devote enough time to their course, sometimes doin g the minimum to achieve a certain grade or giving up if they felt their grade would not be salvageable. On the other hand, some students enjoyed the online environment, particularly the structure and routine that the course provided them. Students did not appear to have any challenges related to using the technology. Meeting the Aims of Honors Education Following their initial experiments, the participants had varying opinions on whether or not their courses truly met the aims of honors education. All of t he participants seemed to agree that functions of honors courses included small class size, deeper engageme nt, and innovative pedagogies. Harvey some aspect of peer review, in addition to having the students gain a deeper unde rstanding of their course material. He also expected a high level of scholarship and critical thinking from his students. Patrick thought that an experiential approach was key for an honors course, as well as having a one on one rel ationship with the inst ructor. Alma thought honors courses needed to be interdisci plinary and research oriented. Vicky focused on application and synthesis in her honors course and believed that the nature of the work her students did was indicative of their honors status. Harve y held the strongest negative opinions about online honors courses. From my honors students I expect self motivation. I expect a lot of ability to do independent work. I expect preparation. I expect a deeper level of from my online class. And again, it may have been a product of summer. It may have been a product of online. It may have been a product of there were only five students in the class. I

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128 His experience teaching the online honors course led him to believe that online was not necessarily a good environment for honors students. He liked the idea of being did think tha complete the content online, assessments online, and then come in and have totally seminar work. Patrick also questioned whether or not online was the best format for his honors course. He did feel as though his course was highly participatory and experiential, which were aims of honors courses at his institution. But he conceded that the online environment did hinder engagement among peers. It really puts sort of a damper on the social interactions, which I think should be a major part of honors education. But again, you could have a bad itate richer dialogue via an online forum. While he wondered if a face to face or hybrid course might work better, he did believe about experimenting, giving students a d ifferent perspective or allowing them to Mark was not entirely convinced either. Although honors students had performed well in his course, he had not found their w ork to be outstanding as compared to some of the other students. At the same time he thought online courses should be an option students needed to be savvy about being an online learner, including all of the skills they could gain by experiencing an online course.

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129 Vicky recognized that only offering online honors courses would be a mistake, but that online courses filled enough of a need for students that they should b e an option. She believed that honors students would flourish with the mentoring they could receive in a face to face environment, especially considering these students often went on to become leaders in their fields. On the other hand, online honors cours es could allow students to see a broader spectrum of honors education, in addition to greater access when schedules were restricted. She felt that online honors courses met the aims of t o face class, but Finally, Alma had no qualms about offering online honors courses and continued to convince her dean that the courses were worthwhile. While she did not get to know her students as well online, she felt she could teach the same content regardless of to person basis, face to face or online. from the students was the same in her online course as it had been in her face to face course, she saw no reason not to endorse online honors courses. Identifying a need was an important first step in offering an online honors course. In most cases, that need was related to student access or demand, althou gh faculty interests and content delivery also played a role. Once each participant started teaching their online honors courses, their observations of the students in the online environment impacted their future stance on online honors courses. Ultimately one participant opted not to continue his online honors course, two were cautiously optimistic about future

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130 iterations of their courses, and two strongly believed that online honors courses absolutely met the aims of honors education. Moving Online Learn ing Forward Despite their personal experiences with online honors courses, the participants all contributed their thoughts on how to move online learning forward within undergraduate honors education. They indicated common concerns of online learning from their peers in honors, and there were many. They discussed various suggestions for implementing online honors courses, as well as the resources needed for implementation. Finally, they reflected on the greater implications of online learning for the honors community. Addressing Concerns of Peers All of the participants had met resistance to online honors courses either at their own institution or among peer s in professional communities. Harvey found that no one at his institution wanted to teach an honors course online because they valued the colleagues had concerns about not being able to b uild community or conduct meaningful discussions within the class. Vicky recalled a particular colleague who could not be convinced that an online PowerPoint presentations in t say to make him believe that an online course was possible. She estimated that perhaps 25% of her colleagues viewed online learning positively, and that number included the colleagues already teachin g online.

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131 She thought the biggest concerns her peers had included whether or not students were actually learning online, as well as how they could ensure that students were doing their own work. She tried to help peers think about minimizing academic inte grity issues, as they could not eliminate those issues even in a face to face environment. Once they had a better understanding of academic integrity, their concerns shifted to nds of outcomes that I w Vicky content decisions are, to me, the easiest decisions to make. The pedagogy decisions are the complicated decisions. Where am I going to position the test? What functi on is Alma knew that her dean was very much in favor of face to face honors courses, but she continued to convince her that online honors courses were needed due to At a national level, Harvey not some posited that some colleagues just had sistant small classes. Mark witnessed the strongest anti online campaign as he presented about online learning at a national honors conference. During the question and answer portion of his

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132 presentation, he found that students were being coached by their faculty behind the eir own going to replace the classroom. We better draw a line in the sand against it. the idea of the sacred professor and student teacher relationship is going to be a thing of the past, and online is going to replace everything. all going to turn into robots. More realistically, he found that faculty members were concerned about how they would get started to teach online. Suggestions for Implem entation Harvey Each of the participants shared various suggestions for their colleagues interested in teaching a n online honors course. Harvey recommended having a critical mass of students, as well as setting aside time for synchronous communication. He wondered if having video chats available when he taught might have made a difference in the level of engagement his st udents with the course. P atrick agreed that synchronous chat opportunities would be helpful, noting that Skype was one particular tool he recommended. Alma, Vicky, Mark, and Patrick all believed that it was important to consult others as part of their planning process. As Alma sug not do this without encouraged faculty to look to the pioneer s in the area for guidance. As Mark online. You need to see models so Patrick put the effort and consult the experts on it, then I think your course has a much higher

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133 Many of the participants stressed that faculty could not simply move their face to face course into an online environm ent with few modifications. As Patrick observed, Alma believed that training would help faculty understand this principle and better prepare their courses for the transition. She also found that faculty needed to plan far in advance for their online courses. She typically submitted her course content months i n advance to the online staff. Mark agreed that faculty Vicky relied on her experiences in faculty development to provide advice on preparing to teach online. Throughout the process, she thought it was necessary to have access to good faculty development and technical support available. She believed that faculty interested in teaching online should first start by moving some of their I doing right now, and how is At the national level, Harvey and P atrick both believed that there needed to be a compilation of best practices or exam ples of online honors courses. Vicky a resource page with potential online learning consultants. She also thought a blog could be used as a place to share ideas, challenges, and successes among online honors instructors.

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134 I could see that working really well to have blogs and a place where people could go and share ideas. Might be asynch ronous discussion, something about honors education, and get some feedback or connect with somebody that knew something about the subject from doing it. This would save enumerable hours. To Vicky developing partnerships was very important. Mark and Vicky both had similar views about developing an online pedagogy fo r honors. Mark believed more research was needed about teaching in honors and the need to gather more research on what distinguishes hono rs students and honors colleges from the regular, larger population. And then design those sorts of ex best practices in online teaching Implications for Undergraduate Honors Education Four of the participants provided their take on the impact of adopting or failing to adopt online learning within honors. Vicky implication for Alma online courses eventually. Patrick ation is supposedly such a free and open to experimentation program instead of automatically dismissing it as inferior, address some of these issues, then they risk the needs of its students.

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135 Mark ignore it, and it relinquish some of their authority and become more of a guide, but those changes could be exciting. As Patric k Although their online teaching experiences varied, most of the participants recognized the potential for online learning in honors. They acknowledged the concerns of their peers and made re commendations for alleviating them. They also contributed suggestions and resources that had worked for them or that they wish they had implemented. Finally, they provided their reasons why online learning should be considered as part of undergraduate hono rs education. Summary The purpose of this chapter was to elaborate on major themes related to the diffusion of online learning into undergraduate honors education. The first theme e second theme highlighted their online teaching experiments. Finally, the third theme provided a look into what was needed to move online learning forward within honors education. The sixth and final chapter will include a discussion of the findings from Chapters 4 and 5 implications for online learning within undergraduate honors education, and recommendations for future research and practice.

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136 Table 5 1. Summary of thematic findings Theme Alma Harvey Mark Patrick Vicky or is it? X X X X X X X X X Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels X X X X Desire to share X X X X Fulfilling a need X X X X X Honors students in the online environment X X X X X Meeting the aims of honors education X X X X X Addressing concerns of peers X X X X X Suggestions for implementation X X X X X Implications for undergraduate honors education X X X X

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137 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to describe the phenomenon of online honors courses from the perspectives of the instructors teaching them. Five honors instructors from various institutions were interviewed on three different occasions to discuss their experiences designing and teaching an online honors course. All five of the participants considered themselves to be early adopters in online honors education. The study was guided by the following research question: How do instructors describe their experiences teaching online honors courses? While online learning is an established phenomenon in undergraduate educ ation (see Allen & Seaman, 2011), it has been met with some resistance within undergraduate honors education, both at the instructor and administrative level. Despite a strong interest in utilizing innovative and experiential pedagogies (Braid, 2001; Braid 2007; Bruce, 2008; Hutgett, 2003; Lacey, 2005; Schuman, 2001; Strikwerda, 2007; Werth, 2005; Wolfensberger, van Eijl, & Pilot, 2004), the undergraduate honors community has yet to embrace online learning as one such method. As such it was important to fi nd early adopters to further explore possibilities at the intersection of online learning and honors education. Participants who had experience designing and teaching an online honors course for the duration of at least one semester were recruited through various honors listservs. Five participants who met the criteria were interviewed three times as recommended by Seidman (2006) to allow them to reflect on their experiences designing and teaching their online honors course.

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138 Even though there were only five participants, they represented a wide range of experiences within honors and online education. Two represented large research part of an honors program, while two were part of an honors college. Three participants had taught online courses prior to their experience teaching an online honors course. One participant was an early career instructor, two were mid career, and two were retired. Interview data was analyzed hermeneutical phenomenology approach, analytically and thematically. The results of the analytical analysis were displayed in Chapter 4 as in depth descriptions of each ences. Commonalities among teaching experiences also were described as part of this chapter. Common experiences with course design included struggling with equivalency in moving face to face courses into the online environment, using an instructional desig n approach, facing fears of academic integrity, and focusing on the quality of products as a primary learning outcome. Common experiences while teaching their courses included implementing an orientation at the start of their course, providing flexibility to students in completing assignments, utilizing discussion forums and peer reviews, providing extensive feedback to students, and having access to external technology consultants. Common experiences upon reflecting on their teaching experiences included s eeking feedback from their students and adjusting assignments, recognizing challenges with social

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139 interaction, and considering hybrid courses as a potential option for future iterations of their courses. The results of the thematic analysis were displayed in Chapter 5 as overarching themes representative of the diffusion of online learning into un dergraduate honors education, an essential aspect of the online teaching experience. These themes included the underlying issues, concerns, and recommendations the participants shared as early adopters of online honors education. Serving as an early adopter, experimenting with online learning in honors, and moving online learning forward all emerged as themes in this area. The remainder of this chapter includes a di scussion of the results, implications for undergraduate honors education, and recommendations for future research and practice. Discussion There is not one common honors experience across the United States. While the National Collegiate Honors Council has developed basic characteristics of honors program and colleges, administrators recognize that it would be impossible to expect every program and college to be the same (NCHC, 2010a; NCHC, 2010b). Upon reviewing the findings from this study, that sentiment holds true. Each instructor, while participating in a common experience of teaching an online honors course, encountered different challenges and successes while designing and teaching their course. There were some commonalities, however, shared among part icipants. The following discussion includes a look at these common components of the teaching experience as related to previous literature on the subject.

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140 Participants as Innovators and Early Adopters In considering diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 2003) as a guiding framework for this study, it was important to note where online learning in honors fit as a potential innovation. Although online learning might not be considered an innovation within higher education at this point in its adoption, all of the participants recognized online learning as an innovation within honors education. According to Rogers (2003), the perception that something is an innovation within a social system warrants it being considered an innovation. Each participant noted they were one of the few, if not the only, instructor teaching online for their honors program or college. Their experiences held weight in determining future adoption of online learning within honors. Four of the participants were able to continue teaching their o nline course for honors students after their first experience teaching it, demonstrating their ability to move online learning into honors, even if their colleagues had not yet adopted it as a teaching option. The fifth participant, Harvey, opted not to co ntinue based on his experience. adopter categories of innovators and early adopters. Rogers described innovators as people with a high interest in new ideas who were comfortable taking risks when it came to innovations. He also noted that while innovators served as gatekeepers of an innovation, they were not always respected by other members of their social system. Of the five participants, Mark most closely fit within the category of innovator and when it came to playing with new technologies on behalf of his institution and spent hours at a time troubleshooting various products. He very eagerly was ready to open

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141 the door to online learning for his colleagues, even though they were not always ready to hear his message. He often described himself as challenging his colleagues about aspects of online education, especially during his ten ure with the faculty senate. He 5 office routine instead of a more fluid work schedule to better meet the needs of online students. Harvey was in an interesting place serving as both a faculty member and administrator for his honors program. While his directive to offer an online honors course came from higher institutional administration, he was quick to volunteer to teach it considering his previous experiences teaching online courses He was enthusiastic at first about trying something new for his students, about experimenting with an online honors course. When the experience did not turn out well for him, however, he was able to shut the gate on online honors courses by nature of his position as administrator. Patrick also could be considered an innovator, as he had to deal with a lot of uncertainty planning a course around a real time strategy game. Not only was he teaching one of the first online honors courses for his program, but he also was teaching a gaming course an unusual platform in any department. He knew that not only would colleagues be skeptical about his course design, but his students might be as well. He took this skepticism into consideration as he developed his cou rse description, planned his course orientation, and designed challenging academically oriented assignments. Rogers (2003) described the next category of the population as early adopters. Early adopters are opinion leaders and carry a great deal of weight with the rest of the

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142 population. They are on the front end of the innovation, but are more integrated into the population than the innovators. Vicky and Alma both held considerable influence with the honors administration and were able to convince their de ans and directors that online learning was worth trying for honors students. Vicky, who called herself an early adopter, deftly convinced her director that there were too many challenges with scheduling not to consider online honors courses. Alma noted tha t while her dean was not in favor of online honors courses, she was able to convince her to try a few courses. Alma continued to share her experiences teaching online by promoting training opportunities to her colleagues who might be interested in developi ng their own online courses. Faculty Development and Support in the Online Environment The Sloan Consortium (2011) highly recommended that ongoing technical support be available to faculty interested in teaching online. In this study, each participant ment ioned that technical support had been available both before and during their teaching experience. Alma, however, was the only participant who actively sought faculty development opportunities prior to teaching her course. This finding is not surprising con sidering she had no prior experience teaching online before she taught online for her honors college. She attended workshops and training sessions (Allen & Seaman, 2011; Hagenson & Castle, 2003; Lackey, 2011; Moloney & Oakley, 2006) prior to her first cour se iteration, and she continued seeking additional opportunities to further enhance her course in later iterations. She also worked closely with an instructional designer to develop the online environment for her course (Lackey, 2011). The other participan ts relied on their own backgrounds teaching online or in hybrid environments to develop their online honors courses. In describing potential formats of

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143 experiences could play a rol e in this area. Harvey in particular believed that he did not need additional assistance in developing his course because he already knew how to teach online. Mark also relied on his own experiences and his background in educational technology, as did Patr ick, although Mark did rely on extra assistance to produce the videos he wanted to create for his students. Vicky created faculty development opportunities for other faculty at her institution, so she also was well versed in course development. Once the pa rticipants had designed their courses, more of them utilized faculty support resources during the semester in which they taught their course. The Sloan Consortium (2011) recommended that technical support not be limited to the course preparation process, b ut instead be available throughout the life of the course. Alma and Vicky both discussed the importance of having someone they could rely on as a struggled to work with a new staff member who was unfamiliar with her needs as an instructor. Vicky refused to work with anyone other than her personal contact. Mark also relied on support if he could not troubleshoot the problems his students were having online. All of the par ticipants connected their students to technical support as needed. Keengwe, Kidd, and Kyei Blankson (2009) found that having examples available was important for faculty considering teaching online. In this study, the participants did not have examples ava ilable within honors to review when developing their course, further demonstrating how new online learning was within honors education. Vicky especially wanted examples, but instead she adapted to a method of trial and error as

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144 she taught her course. Patri ck did not have examples for online honors courses or for credit bearing courses using the gaming platform he was using. so his honors students were filtered into his regular o nline course. He did not, however, have a formalized plan for developing extra expectations of honors students in the online environment, perhaps explaining some of his disappointment in their performance. The participants believed that having these exampl es would be critical for moving online learning forward within honors education. As innovators and early adopters, they were more comfortable dealing with uncertainty and taking risks in teaching, but they knew other colleagues in later adopter categories would not be as comfortable doing so. As such, they recognized that having examples and guidance in the form of mentoring or consulting would help with faculty support for future online honors courses. Addressing Faculty Concerns with Online Learning The p articipants shared their own concerns about teaching an honors course online, as well as discussed the concerns their colleagues had about teaching online. Academic integrity was one of the primary concerns participants had prior to teaching online (Haber & Mills, 2008; Schulte, 2010; Wa Mbaleka, 2012; Watson & Sottile, 2010). Alma and Vicky chose to confront issues of academic integrity by requiring their students to submit assignments to plagiarism detection software (Wa Mbaleka, 2012; Watson & Sottile, 2 010). By moving from tests to papers as the primary assessment, Alma believed she had removed academic dishonesty as a major issue in her course (Schulte, 2010; Wa Mbaleka, 2012). She did not have to worry about proctoring exams or students gaining

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145 unautho rized access to test material. By using papers, she could use the technology already available and synchronized with her course management system to check the Harvey struggled with the concept of academic integrity, but d ecided that having an asynchronous class with the flexibility of anytime, anywhere learning was more important in the big picture of his course. He was willing to sacrifice potential issues with dishonesty in order to provide a more accessible course. Patr ick focused more on authentic assessments in his course, where students had to relate course content to their own situations and experiences (Schulte, 2010). As such, he did not have to worry about students cheating on tests. To their colleagues, academic integrity was not the primary barrier to teaching online, perhaps because there were larger concerns about the equivalency of online and face to face honors courses. The participants also struggled with this notion of equivalency, with Harvey and Vicky hav ing most of the concerns in those areas. Because they did not have other models of online honors courses to review, there was not a sense of what honors might look like in an online environment. Simonson (2000) found that a mistake instructors often made i n developing their online course was trying to make their course equal to what it was in the face to face environment. He noted that face to face and online learning environments were fundamentally different (1999). Instead, instructors needed to make the overall learning experiences in each environment equivalent and tailored to the actual environment (Simonson, 1999; Simonson, Scholloser, & Hanson, 1999).

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146 Three of the participants, Harvey, Vicky, and Alma, converted their face to face course to an online course. Patrick designed his online course from scratch, and Mark taught honors students via contract option so he did not change his course design. Of the three who converted their existing courses, Alma did not express concerns about equivalency. Perhaps because she was so invested in participating in training and working with an instructional designer, she was able to work through that process. Vicky relied on her experiences with curriculum design and prior online courses outside of honors to think thro ugh how she would tailor learning events and assessments to better fit the online environment. She thought about whether or not she wanted online communication to be synchronous or asynchronous and designed activities accordingly. She also relied very heav ily on rubrics and authentic outcomes (Simonson, 2000). Harvey was not convinced that he had created an equivalent learning experience online and was the most skeptical that he could do so in the future. He questioned a lot of the typical activities and as sessments that were part of the honors experience and how they might look in an online course, but he was not able to find a resolution. Nor did many of the activities he included in the course seem to promote the same outcomes and deliverables he had foun d in his face to face course. Although he had volunteered to teach an honors course online, it seemed as though a variety of internal and external factors impeded his progress and greatly impacted his outlook on equivalency. Equivalency was also an issue f that students would actually learn anything in an online environment. There were fears that instructors would lose control of the class and of the students. Some colleagues

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147 simply believed that honors would n ot work online. As more honors instructors experiment with online learning and share their experiences publicly, perhaps online learning slowly will begin to trickle through the majority of the honors community. A variety of studies found that a large barr ier to teaching online was the perception of online courses taking more time and effort to teach (Bender, Wood, & Vredevoogd, 2004; Hislop & Ellis, 2004; I nstructional Technology Council 2011 ; McCarthy & Samors, 2009; Seaman, 2009). None of the participan ts found the time and effort they spent teaching online to be a problem. They recognized that they spent a considerable amount of time corresponding with students and reviewing discussions (Conceicao, 2006; Haber & Mills, 2008), but they also believed that their workload had only shifted rather than increased. Many of the participants knew that they would spend a significant amount of time in course planning and development prior to the start of the term, but that once the term started they moved more into a course maintenance pattern. None of the participants seemed bothered or turned off from teaching online because of these patterns. Because honors courses of any type often take a significant investment of time and effort to design and teach (Clark & Zub izarreta, 2008; Fuiks & Clark, 2002), this finding is not surprising. This section has included a discussion of major themes related to online learning teaching online. The to innovation adopter categories (Rogers, 2003). Their stance towards faculty development and support was compared to previous literature on faculty development

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148 needs. Finally, their concern s about teaching online and those concerns actualized were related to literature on academic integrity, course assessments, equivalency, and workload. The next section includes implications for the primary constituents of this study, the undergraduate honors community. Implications for Undergraduate Honors Education Based on the experiences of these participants as they taught their honors courses online, there are several implications for administrators and faculty in the honors community. Understandin g the access to honors education which can be enhanced by online learning is one important consideration. Another implication is the need to develop an online pedagogy that meets the aims of honors education without sacrificing the integrity of the honors experience. Adopting hybrid or blended courses as a stepping stone to online learning is a final consideration. Creating Access Based on the finding that many of the participants first offered to teach an online honors course based on meeting a need for their students, it is important to further explore issues of access within honors programs and colleges. At institutions with multiple campus sites, it is important to consider where and when honors courses are scheduled in order to provide maximum access for students who may be traveling between campuses, who may have conflicts with other courses, activities, and outside commitments, and who may be away from campus during the term. warrant a full honors course, so he added students to his online course as part of an honors contract. As Vicky found on her campus, a course required for many honors students in particular majors conflicted with every face to face honors course that was

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149 during the summer. Vicky and Harvey also found that their students had work and family obligations that prevented them from taking a face to face course, not surpris ing for non traditional students. Mark and Patrick, who taught more traditional aged honors students, found that competing obligations with other courses and activities made it difficult to take face to face honors courses. Online courses should be an opti on to meet the needs of students who are not able to access honors courses for these very reasons. Issues of conflicting schedules and obligations and the inability to attend classes when not in the same physical location become moot when the honors course is moved into an online environment. Understanding the access needs of honors students is important for administrators to consider before discounting online learning as an option ( Kampov Polevoi, 2010; Lesht & Windes, 2011). These issues of access are mos t apparent at two year institutions, where a larger proportion of non traditional students and multiple campus sites may be found. With a growing number of honors programs and colleges appearing at two year institutions (James, 2006), it is important to co nsider the needs of the unique population that attends those institutions. Online honors courses will help these students remain an active and engaged member of the program or college, while still being able to balance multiple responsibilities outside of the classroom. At both the two year and four year level, honors students are encouraged to seek out opportunities for global engagement, internships, and research with faculty members (NCHC, 2010b). Such opportunities may take students away from campus for

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150 a semester or summer, thereby limiting their access to honors courses. According to the Basic Characteristics of Fully Developed Honors Programs / Colleges (NCHC, 2010a; NCHC, 2010b), honors courses form the academic core of any honors program or college, with requirements including a substantial amount of coursework. Online honors courses should be offered as a way to continue meeting honors course requirements without regard for time or distance limitations. On a related note, online learning has been se en as a solution to declining enrollments in programs ( Lesht & Windes, 2011). Honors programs and colleges are not immune to declining enrollments or shrinking budgets which impact the opportunity for or availability of faculty to teach intimate, face to f ace honors courses for a select few students (Wilson, 2012). The Associated Colleges of the South recently announced a New Paradigm Initiative, designed to share online or blended courses among their 16 colleges (Selingo, 2012). The honors community shoul d look to this model to create unique online honors courses that could be shared among various programs or colleges. Honors students would have greater access to a variety of honors courses, again, without time or distance limitations. The collaboration th at would be involved in undertaking such a venture falls well within the spirit of the honors community. Even without consideration of budget and enrollment reductions, the ability to increase access to undergraduate honors education through these course s haring opportunities is an exciting prospect worthy of further exploration. Meeting the Aims of Honors Online Perhaps the largest barrier to online learning in undergraduate honors education is the fear that the aims of honors education will not be met in an online environment. The

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151 National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC, 2012) has provided guidelines for honors course objectives that include developing written and oral communication skills, developing the ability to analyze, synthesize, and understand sch olarly work, and helping students become independent and critical thinkers. Of these outcomes, all of them could be met in an online environment, including oral communication skills. The challenge is helping honors faculty understand the links between such outcomes and the online environment. The Community of Inquiry (COI) framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) provides one way to consider addressing the aims of honors in an online environment. The three core elements of COI include social, cognitiv e, and teaching presence (Garrison, 2006). Social presence involves the way students connect with each other on outcomes, many of the participants of this study noted the impo rtance of building community among students. Harvey struggled in this area. Even with only five students, he did not feel as though they formed any type of learning community online that he typically found in his face to face courses. Patrick was able to f orm smaller communities within work groups, but in the larger class, he noted the lack of social interaction among students. Alma also feared that students did not get to know each other as well online, although she was willing to move past that issue due to other factors. In an online environment communication is structured differently it happens less frequently but with more deliberation (Garrison, 2006). The beginning of the course is the ideal time to set expectations about communication and community Social presence can be increased online by setting the tone through student introductions,

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152 discussing expectations for communication in online forums, and including ways for activities (Garrison, 2006; Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). The participants all started strong by including an orientation to their course. Many of these orientations included a discussion forum for introductions, as well as expectations of student performance. To increase social presence, the instructors could have had students create multimedia introductions, rather than text based introductions, as well as had students discuss course expectations in small groups. Quality of interaction, timely res ponses, message length, and group size are seen as important factors for instructors to consider (Garrrison, 2007; Tu & McIsaac, 2002). Instructors also could increase social presence through the use of synchronous communication tools (Hrastinski, Keller, & Carlsson, 2010; Leo, Manganello, Pennacchietti, Pistoia, Kinshuk, & Chen, 2009; McBrien, Jones, & Cheng, 2009). Although many of the participants were hesitant to use chat or hold virtual office hours, Harvey did mention that if he ever taught again, he would consider adding more synchronous communication tools to help build community. Synchronous communication still allows participants to be in any location, but they have the opportunity to interact in real time through the use of text, audio, and video chat, whiteboards, and screen sharing (Bower, 2011; Hrastinski, et al., 2010; Martin, 2010). Such tools also aid students in small group collaboration (Hrastinski, et al., 2010; Marjanovic, 1999), clarification of course content (Leo, et al., 2009), immedi acy of feedback (Martin, 2010), and comfort in expressing opinions (McBrien, Jones, & Cheng, 2009).

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153 Cognitive presence is the manner in which students construct meaning through reflection and discourse (Garrison, 2006). Critical thinking, one of the out comes of honors courses (NCHC, 2012) is the desired process and outcome of cognitive presence as well (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001). Four phases of critical inquiry include triggering events, exploration, integration, and resolution (Garrison, Ander son, & Archer, 2001) and can be explored by studying messages and responses within the discussion forums. Harvey and Mark both were concerned about the depth of critical analysis med well in discussions, he did not find that their work was exemplary. Harvey was disappointed ous experiences teaching face to face. The online environment is an ideal place for reflection, much more so than the face to speak up (Garrison, 2006). The types of questions i nstructors pose in discussion forums should allow for more reflection and in depth responses (Bangert, 2008; Ertmer, Sadaf, & Ertmer, 2011). Creating expectations for discussion responses, as well as rubrics to evaluate them, can help improve the types of responses given by students (Gilbert & Dabbagh, 2005; Swan, Shen, & Hiltz, 2006). Activities need to be selected that match the various phases of critical inquiry (Garrison, 2006) and should be meaningful and purposeful to the student (Ke, Chavez, Causaran o, & Causarano, 2011; Young & Bruce, 2011).

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154 The final component of the COI model involves teaching presence, or the design and facilitation of the course in a way that supports the social and cognitive presence (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). It is t he instructor who creates the opportunity for students to develop their written and oral communication skills, to interact with scholarly material, and to become critical thinkers. Shea (2006) found that instructors who exhibited stronger behaviors in this area, including instructional design, course organization, and directed facilitation, were able to create a stronger sense of community in their courses. All of the participants except for Harvey used either an instructional design approach or worked with That their courses were the two with the highest success rates in meeting the aims of honors education is not surprising due to the time and effort they put into planning and teaching their course. The discussion forum is one of the most evident displays of teacher presence, and instructors have an opportunity to really define their role as facilitator in this ar ea (DeNoyelles, 2012; Shea, Vickers, & Hayes, 2010). Too much involvement in discussion might stifle students, while too little involvement might turn off students as well (Garrison, 2006; Shea, 2006). Teacher presence can be exhibited outside of the realm of discussion, through a focus on assignment feedback and opportunities to communicate with the instructor (Shea, Vickers, & Hayes, 2010). In addition, students could develop their own forms of teacher presence if the instructor allows them to take leader ship roles within the online environment (Shea,

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155 Vickers, & Hayes, 2010). Such an opportunity sounds ideal for honors students who enjoy taking leadership roles in the classroom. Mark had a great opportunity through his honors contract requirements to set m ore formal expectations of students taking a leadership role. Without setting such expectations, it can be difficult for students to know what expectations they should be meeting, especially in the midst of competing obligations. By delineating specific ro les for his honors students online, as he was planning to develop in his upcoming face to face honors course, he might have been much more satisfied with their performance as they took more ownership of class leadership. As previously mentioned Harvey als Within the Community of Inquiry framework, it should be noted that Harvey was resistant to seeking assistance in designing and teaching his course. Relying solely on his previous experiences teaching online, the burden of converting his honors course to an online environment was left to him alone. An instructional designer might have provided valuable guidance in crafting discussion questions and other assessments that got to the core of the critical inquiry Harve y desired. The very small class size likely hindered the social bonds that students could form, and instead he focused on the individual projects throughout the second half of the term. Finally, his teaching presence might have been impacted as he got more discouraged with the products his students were submitting. While it is not the only way to meet the aims of honors education online, the Community of Inquiry framework does provide a more intentional method of designing and delivering the online experi ence. At the intersection of social, cognitive, and

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156 teaching presence is a solid foundation for providing a more equivalent learning experience for honors students. Blending Online Instruction into Honors Many of the participants believed that hybrid or blended courses could be either a good gateway into online learning or a more reasonable approach to meeting the aims of honors education through technology. While Harvey was not planning to consider teaching an online honors course again, he did think tha t a hybrid course could be a compromise. Patrick and Mark also believed that a hybrid format might be a better fit for their honors courses. Vicky was content with her completely online format, but she did note that faculty interested in teaching online mi ght start slowly by gradually moving from a web assisted to hybrid to online format. Blended learning includes a wide range of options to integrate online and face to face instruction. Allen, Seaman, and Garrett (2007) defined a blended course as a learnin g environment where 30 79% of course content is delivered online. Similar to face instruction with technology 270), or co urses that do so with a reduction in classroom contact hours (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004). face to warrants consideration here. Although many faculty and administrators believe that hybrid instruction is a middle ground between face to face and online instruction (Allen, Seaman, & Garrett, 2007; Dziuban, Hartman & Moskal, 2004; Garrison & Va ughan, 2008; Niemiec & Otte, 2009), it carries with it its own set of unique features and

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157 characteristics. Determining the strengths of both the face to face and online environments, as well as creating a seamless integration of both environments, add more dimensions to course design and delivery (Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004; Garrison & Vaughan, 2008; Graham & Dziuban, 2008). There should be a purpose for deciding to teach a blended course, including meeting a need to increase access to courses, growin g enrollment in certain areas, learning (Niemiec & Otte, 2009), all of which apply to honors faculty. Kenney and Newcombe (2011) recommend starting small, perhaps by piloting a content unit and studying its effectiveness in this new format. By taking small steps such as these, honors faculty who resist fully online courses should find a blended environment more acceptable (Niemiec & Otte, 2009). The Community of Inquiry framework also works in the blended environment (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). Creating social, cognitive, and teaching presence while balancing the social strengths of the face to face environment with the more reflective strengths of the online environment is import ant in building a successful blended course. The face to face environment can be the place to develop social presence through the use of icebreakers and brainstorming sessions. Social presence can be sustained online through discussions where students have an opportunity to more deeply reflect on the content (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). To develop cognitive presence, it is important to determine which phases of critical inquiry (triggering events, exploration, integration, and resolution) (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001) and learning activities that support them might work best in an online

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158 versus a face to face environment (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). All content and activities should be delivered from an inquiry perspective. In the face to face environment, lectures, brainstorming, role plays, and debates might be appropriate. Online, activities could include discussions, critiques, and case studies where students have an opportunity for more in depth reflection (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). Similar to the fully online environment, teaching presence in a blended course is a delicate bala nce between facilitating discussion and directly influencing the flow and content of discussion (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). Selecting appropriate course materials and assessments, as well as determining when to interrupt a discussion to answer a question v ersus letting students determine a resolution on their own, are important considerations (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008). There have been two recent documentations of a blended honors course in the literature. Doherty (2010) recognized the need to address the i ntersection of technology and honors as he redesigned his honors course. While he was not concerned about access to honors courses, as his students were all on campus and traditional aged, he saw an opportunity to rethink his pedagogy by taking advantage o f the course management system he was required to use for posting course materials. Doherty based his changes on observations he had made in his face to face courses. He noticed that honors students were resistant to in class icebreakers, mainly because th ey were doing the same icebreakers at orientation, in classes, and with their student organizations, and they were tired of doing them. As a result he moved the icebreaker into a discussion format online. He also opted not to spend class time reviewing the syllabus on the first day, or any subsequent day. Students had to review

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159 the syllabus within the course management system and complete a quiz demonstrating their awareness of course requirements and expectations. Students also had to earn at least a 90% i n two attempts of an online quiz on their readings in order to gain access to the assignment dropbox for that unit. Finally, Doherty noted that he could extend the due date on assignments by making them due on the weekends via the course management system versus having students submit them in class. Gresham, Bowles, Gibson, Robinson, Farris, and Felts (2012) believed that online and blended honors courses deserved serious consideration in the honors community in students completed all reading and writing assignments online in order to create classroom time for activities, discussions, and other active learning opportunities. They found blended to be a worthwhile investme nt because they noted their students were more introverted and less likely to speak up in class. By opening dialogue in the online environment, those students had more of an opportunity to participate and engage in the class. Students appreciated the new c ourse structure, as did the faculty. In both examples (Doherty, 2010; Gresham et al., 2010) honors instructors were interested in enhancing the honors course experience for their students. Without completely doing away with face to face class time, they we re able to incorporate online elements into their course, a strategy more hesitant honors instructors might be willing to consider. Keeping in mind that a blended course requires just as much course redesign as an online course, potential instructors shoul d take advantage of faculty development and support to make the transition as purposeful and intentional as possible.

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160 Outside of the formal classroom, blended learning has potential with other NCHC programs. Incorporating an online component to Partners i n the Parks or City as Text programs could be a powerful opportunity for students and faculty to connect before and after their experience. Partners in the Parks participants could discuss literature related to the area surrounding their natural park. City as Text participants could plot their travel itineraries on Google maps prior to their trip and then post reviews following the trip. Both groups could develop wiki pages chronicling the areas they explored. Students participating in honors semesters coul d be connected through an online medium to honors students who are unable to participate in the on site experience. Students could share course lectures and discussions, with home based students participating in local activities that complement the experie nces taking place at a distance. As the primary stakeholders of this study were members of the undergraduate honors community, three primary implications arose from the findings. Keeping an eye to access to honors education is an important consideration for online learning. If honors programs and colleges are going to mandate that students take honors courses in order to complete requirements, those honors courses must be available. Online courses allow honors students to fulfill their requirements withou t regard to time or distance. Using the Community of Inquiry framework as a guide to meeting the aims of honors education is another implication. Social presence lends itself to the community building aspect of honors courses, while cognitive presence mesh es with the focus on critical inquiry. Teaching presence is similar to the teaching styles often preferred by honors faculty. Finally, blended learning could be an important first step for hesitant

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161 honors instructors to explore the online realms of educati on. As honors moves slowly towards the consideration and adoption of blended or online learning, the following recommendations for future research and practice should be considered. Recommendations for Future Research Currently there is limited research on undergraduate honors education, especially as it relates to pedagogy and technology. This study was designed to explore online honors courses from the perspectives of early adopters. There are a variety of other related qualitative studies that could be c onducted, including researching the perspectives of honors administrators who serve as gatekeepers to online course adoption, faculty at the other end of the adoption curve, and students who have taken these courses. This study focused on the teaching expe riences of five early adopters of online learning in undergraduate honors education. Although the participants included their observations of honors students in the online environment, the perspectives of the students themselves were not included. Focus gr oups should be conducted with students who have taken an online honors course to examine what factors they believe have led to a positive online learning experience and vice versa. rings on a semester by semester basis. As such, they serve as gatekeepers for future involvement in online learning. Studying their perspectives on online learning, including potential concerns, is useful for addressing their needs through future online co urse proposals. Finally, there is no shortage of opposition to online learning among honors faculty. Studying their concerns through interviews or focus groups could help early adopters better address those concerns through faculty development and support.

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162 From the mixed methods perspective, studies should be conducted on a variety of related topics. A comprehensive case study including interviews, focus groups, surveys, and assessment data with an honors program or college will provide rich data on the pot ential for online learning. The assessment data might provide evidence for a need to offer online courses, including scheduling conflicts with other required courses, current enrollments in honors courses, ability to complete honors course requirements, st udents studying from a distance, and competing obligations outside of the classroom. Combined with interviews and focus groups with students, the need to create access to honors courses via online learning could develop. The need to develop an online pedag ogy for honors was reiterated by several participants. Design studies should be conducted to study the actual design and development of online or hybrid course options for honors. Formative assessments could take the form of focus groups, interviews, and a nalytics collected internally by the course management system. Feedback on content scaffolding, assessments, and course materials and products would be helpful in further enhancing these types of courses. Quantitatively, this topic should be explored throu gh content analysis of online discussion forums, surveys of students and faculty about their experiences with online learning, and studies of social, cognitive, and teaching presence using the community of inquiry model. Some of the participants were troub led particularly by the lack of in depth analysis exhibited by students in the online discussion forums. A content analysis could exhibited through online discussion dialogue s. Results might impact the type of

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163 questions asked in the discussion forums, the amount of teacher presence to guide discussion or provide feedback, or the rubrics designed to evaluate discussion participation. Recommendations for Practice There are a var iety of recommendations for practice aimed towards the undergraduate honors community. As many of the participants stated, honors faculty need access to resources, whether that entails examples from online or hybrid honors courses, or experienced instructo rs who can serve as mentors and support. While innovators and early adopters may find it somewhat easier to experiment and troubleshoot problems on their own without access to examples or mentors, the rest of the population of honors faculty will need much more guidance if they are going to adopt online learning. From the national level, the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) or another interested party should create resources for honors faculty. Two models already in existence through the University Repository (TOPR) and the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) are excellent examples for NCHC. TOPR (Thompson & Chen, 2012) is a public wiki in beta release where instructors cont ribute pedagogical practices, including actual artifacts from online and hybrid courses. Current contributions include methods of social interaction, discussion prompts, assessments, and presentation of course content. The site is guided by an editorial bo ard and will include a formal submission and review process once it is in full release. NITLE (2012) is a national network of liberal arts colleges and universities originally founded to help integrate technology use into teaching and learning at those

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164 ins titutions. NITLE provides consulting services to help liberal arts institutions plan strategically for technology decisions related to teaching and learning. NITLE Labs has created an Innovation Studio in concert with their symposium for participants to ta ckle challenges, develop solutions, and build models related to issues in liberal education. Participants are guided by mentors throughout the process. In addition NITLE provides listservs focused on a variety of technology topics as applied to liberal art s focused disciplines, and case studies on effective models and practices. The honors community needs a learning space that combines many of the aspects of TOPR and NITLE, including a repository of peer reviewed artifacts from online or hybrid honors cours es. Case studies or even blog posts, as Vicky suggested, on online or hybrid course implementation should be highlighted on the site to further describe how the artifacts were utilized. A special listserv or internal discussion board related to honors and technology should be created for interested parties. Experienced instructors should volunteer to serve as consultants from a distance or in person at regional and national conferences. These conferences must include a learning space for instructors to expe riment with various tools and discuss how they might implement such tools in their own courses. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to enact change when the majority is not ready for it. Prior personal experience and the experiences of several of this study as well as evidence from national conferences and the NCHC listserv, have shown that there is still great opposition to online learning at the national level of the honors community. Highlights from the most recent NCHC Board of Directors meeting do show that online learning currently is being discussed, although it is not clear how serious the

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165 association is about pursuing a direction (Lanier, 2012). Deciding how to incorporate many of these suggestions outside of NCHC if they are unrespon sive will be an important next step. Perhaps some of the participants of this study and other technology focused honors faculty might be willing to create such resources independently. Final Thoughts In the lead essay from a recent Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council tradition that affords our best students the opportunity to practice th inking and communicating creatively, something that is best facilitated in small, face to face learning models heavily favored by the for tion in honors education remains a product of the face to do. Unfortunately, his view is echoed by many in the honors community or at least by many of the vocal members o f the honors community. But the face to face classroom does not hold an exclusive grasp on the market of creativity, critical thinking, and communication. Online learning proponents, with the backing of evidence based research, must begin advocating loude r and clearer to demonstrate their place at the table of honors education. While it may come as a surprise to many of the detractors of online learning, innovation within honors education will cease to happen without the use of technology. As many of this

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166 acknowledge and incorporate online learning will be to its detriment long term as students look elsewhere to meet their academic needs. The purpose of this study was to describe the phenomenon of online honors teaching experiences were mixed, the findings indicate great potential for online learning as an additional method of course delivery in honors. With a n eye towards increasing access for students, coupled with an openness for experimentation and examples and support from experienced faculty, online learning should soon make further inroads within the undergraduate honors community.

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167 APPENDIX A BASIC CHARACTERISTIC S OF A FULLY DEVELOP ED HONORS PROGRAM Although no single or definitive honors program model can or should be superimposed on all types of institutions, the National Collegiate Honors Council has identified a number of best practices tha t are common to successful and f ully developed honors programs. 1. The honors program offers carefully designed educational experiences that meet the needs and abilities of the undergraduate students it serves. A clearly articulated set of admission crite ria (e.g., GPA, SAT score, a written essay, satisfactory progress, etc.) identifies the targeted student population served by the honors program. The program clearly specifies the requirements needed for retention and satisfactory completion. 2. The progr mission statement or charter document that includes the objectives and responsibilities of honors and defines the place of honors in the administrative and academic structure of the institution. The statement ensures the permanence and stability of honors by guaranteeing that adequate infrastructure resources, including an appropriate budget as well as appropriate faculty, staff, and administrative support when necessary, are allo cated to honors so that the program avoids dependence on the good will and energy of particular faculty members or administrators for survival. In other words, the program is fully institutionalized (like comparable units on campus) so that it can build a lasting tradition of excellence. 3. The honors director reports to the chief academic officer of the institution. 4. The honors curriculum, established in harmony with the mission statement, meets the needs of the students in the program and features spe cial courses, seminars, colloquia, experiential learning opportunities, undergraduate research opportunities, or other independent study options. undergraduate work, typical ly 20% to 25% of the total course work and certainly no less than 15%. 6. The curriculum of the program is designed so that honors requirements can, when appropriate, also satisfy general education requirements, major or disciplinary requirements, and pre professional or professional training requirements. 7. The program provides a locus of visible and highly reputed standards and models of excellence for students and faculty across the campus. 8. The criteria for selection of honors faculty include excep tional teaching skills, the ability to provide intellectual leadership and mentoring for able students, and support for the mission of honors education.

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168 9. The program is located in suitable, preferably prominent, quarters on campus that provide both acce ss for the students and a focal point for honors activity. Those accommodations include space for honors administrative, faculty, and support staff functions as appropriate. They may include space for an honors lounge, library, reading rooms, and computer facilities. If the honors program has a significant residential component, the honors housing and residential life functions are designed to meet the academic and social needs of honors students. 10. The program has a standing committee or council of facu lty members that works with the director or other administrative officer and is involved in honors curriculum, governance, policy, development, and evaluation deliberations. The composition of that group represents the colleges and/or departments served by the program and also elicits support for the program from across the campus. 11. Honors students are assured a voice in the governance and direction of the honors program. This can be achieved through a student committee that conducts its business with as much autonomy as possible but works in collaboration with the administration and faculty to maintain excellence in the program. Honors students are included in governance, serving on the advisory/policy committee as well as constituting the group that g overns the student association. 12. Honors students receive honors related academic advising from qualified faculty and/or staff. 13. The program serves as a laboratory within which faculty feel welcome to experiment with new subjects, approaches, and pe dagogies. When proven successful, such efforts in curriculum and pedagogical development can serve as prototypes for initiatives that can become institutionalized across the campus. 14. The program engages in continuous assessment and evaluation and is op en to the need for change in order to maintain its distinctive position of offering exceptional and enhanced educational opportunities to honors students. 15. The program emphasizes active learning and participatory education by offering opportunities for students to participate in regional and national conferences, Honors Semesters, international programs, community service, internships, undergraduate research, and other types of experiential education. 16. When appropriate, two year and four year progra ms have articulation agreements by which honors graduates from two year programs who meet previously agreed upon requirements are accepted into four year honors programs. 17. The program provides priority enrollment for active honors students in recogniti on of scheduling difficulties caused by the need to satisfy both honors and major program(s) requirements.

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169 Approved by the NCHC Executive Committee on March 4, 1994; amended by the NCHC Board of Directors on November 23, 2007; further amended by the NCHC Board of Directors on February 19, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from: http://nchchonors.org/faculty directors/basic characteristics of a fu lly developed honors program/ The NCHC Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors College and Honors Program are reprinted by permission of the National Collegiate Honors Council. For official permission from NCHC, see Appendix I.

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170 APPENDIX B BASIC CHARACTERISTIC S OF A FULLY DEVELOP ED HONORS COLLEGE The National Collegiate Honors Council has identified these best practices that are common to successful and fully developed honors colleges. 1. An h onors college incorporates the relevant characteristics of a fully developed honors program. 2. The honors college exists as an equal collegiate unit within a multi collegiate university structure. 3. The head of the honors college is a dean reporting di rectly to the chief academic officer of the institution and serving as a full member of the Council of Deans if one exists. The dean has a fulltime, 12 month appointment. 4. The operational and staff budgets of honors colleges provide resources at least c omparable to those of other collegiate units of equivalent size. 5. The honors college exercises increased coordination and control of departmental honors where the college has emerged out of a decentralized system. 6. The honors college exercises consid erable control over honors recruitment and admissions, including the appropriate size of the incoming class. Admission to the honors college may be by separate application. 7. The honors college exercises considerable control over its policies, curriculum, and selection of faculty. 8. The curriculum of the honors college offers significant course opportunities across all four years of study. program. The hono rs college requires an honors thesis or honors capstone project. 10. Where the home university has a significant residential component, the honors college offers substantial honors residential opportunities. 11. The distinction achieved by the completion of the honors college requirements is publically announced and recorded, and methods may include announcement at transcript, or other similar actions. 12. Like other colleges wi thin the university, the honors college may be involved in alumni affairs and development and may have an external advisory board.

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171 Approved by the NCHC Executive Committee on June 25, 2005, and amended by the NCHC Board of Directors on Fe bruary 19, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2012 from http://nchchonors.org/faculty directors/basic characteristics of a fully developed honors college/ The NCHC Bas ic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors College and Honors Program are reprinted by permission of the National Collegiate Honors Council. For official permission from NCHC, see Appendix I.

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172 APPENDIX C CONSENT FORM Please read this consent doc ument carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Protocol Title: The essence of the online teaching experience in undergraduate honors education Purpose of the research study: The purpose of the study is to describe the experiences of facult y members who teach honors courses online at their respective institutions What you will be asked to do in the study: To participate in three individual interviews during late fall 2011 and early spring 2012 Time required: 60 90 minutes Risks and Benefits: No more than minimal risk. There is no direct benefit to the participant in this research. However, this research can add to the understanding of the experiences of faculty members teaching online honors courses, and it can help to understand the challenges, goals, interactions, and motivations experienced during this experience. No more than minimum risks are anticipated. Compensation: None. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The final results may be presented in a paper submitted to education journals and magazines for possible publication, as well as in poster sessions or presentations at professional conferences. Data will be maintained by the researcher in a secure environment and wi ll be destroyed at the end of the study. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at any ti me without consequence. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Principal Investigator: Melissa L. Johnson, University Honors Program, 343 Infirmary, 352 392 1519. Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florid a, Gainesville, FL 32611 2250; 352 392 0433. I have read the procedure outlined above. I voluntarily agree to participate in this study and h ave received a copy of this description. ___________________________________ ___________________________________

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173 APPENDIX D RECRUITMENT EMAIL Dear Colleagues, I am in the process of completing my dissertation study on the phenomenon of online courses in honors. While I recognize that the response to online education may be mixed within our community, I seek to understand what online honors courses might look like how they are created, taught, and evaluated as well as what the implications might be for our profession. As part of my study I would like to find at least five faculty members who have designed and taught an online honors course for more than one semester. An online course is defined as a course in which at least 80 percent of the course content is delivered online (Allen & Seaman, 2010). In addition, the faculty member must have designed the course that is taught online. The type of institution (2 year / 4 year, public / private, program / college) and course subject do not matter, although I would like to find instructors from a variety of backgrounds for breadth of knowledge and experience. Instructors will be asked to participate in three phone interview s during the early spring of 2012 Interviews will focus on their course design process, course delivery (the actual teaching of the course) and evaluation, and implications for the honors community. I hope to share the results of this study with NCHC th rough possible publications and/or annual conference presentations. If you meet the study criteria and are interested in participating, please contact me at mjohnson@honors.ufl.edu or (352) 392 1519. If you kn ow of another faculty member at your institution who has taught an online honors course, please pass along this information or have them contact me. Thank you in advance for your support and participation! Sincerely, Melissa L. Johnson Assistant Director, University Honors Program Doctoral Candidate, Educational Technology University of Florida

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174 APPENDIX E INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS Interview 1: Designing Your Course 1. Purpose of study 2. Instructor background discipline, experience with/teaching honor s, experience teaching online 3. Course information describe your course, intended audience, requirements fulfilled, etc. 4. Course design possible probes: Why teach online? Concerns about teaching online prior to teaching? What did you have to consi der before planning course online? (resources, learners, etc.) What were some of the learning outcomes you developed for course? How did you develop activities / assignments for course? How did you plan to evaluate the learning in your course? What resourc es did you utilize to assist with course design? Other aspects of course design? Interview 2: Teaching Your Course 1. Follow up from previous interview (if necessary) 2. Course teaching possible probes: Describe the actual process of teaching your course via a typical week or class module

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175 What did you have to consider while teaching your course? (learners, technology, time for feedback, etc) What were some of the technologies you used in your course? How were they used? How did students communicate with you outside of class? What support resources did you utilize while teaching the course? What were some of the challenges you faced in teaching this course? What were some of the successes you found in teaching this course? What were some of the simila rities between teaching an online course and a face to face honors course? What were some of the differences between teaching an online course and a face to face honors course? Other aspects of teaching the course Interview 3: Reflecting on Your Course 1. Follow up from previous interviews (if necessary) 2. Reflection possible probes: What were some of your considerations as you wrapped up the semester? How do you know you met the initial learning outcomes you designed for your course? How did you get s tudent feedback before, during, and/or after the course? What was the student response to your course based on their feedback?

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176 How do you feel this course has / has not met the aims of honors education? How do you feel this course met / did not meet your expectations for teaching honors students online? What made you decide to continue / discontinue teaching this course for honors students? How has this course changed since your first iteration of the course? (if applicable) Other evaluation / reflection 3. What was it about you that made you willing to pioneer honors course online? 4. Implications possible probes: How do you think online education currently is viewed among colleagues in honor s (at institution or across state / country)? What do you think are some of the general concerns about teaching honors courses online? What suggestions do you have for colleagues thinking about teaching honors courses online? What resources (national, inst itutional, departmental) are needed to better guide colleagues in teaching online? Other implications

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177 APPENDIX F EXAMPLES OF PARTICIP IN DEPTH TEACHING DESCRIPTIONS Designing the Course Focus on maintaining flexibility over trying to control cheating How to organize material Participation Community How to integrate research project Peer review Time how to balance work with other student commitments Deeper understanding of the American experience Deeper engagement with research project Passed final Ok on projects Minimal on discussion Teaching the Course Informal Open discussion board Post questions about course Syllabus quiz Extended time to complete first assignment Nothing on using CMS 12 modules of content in 1 st six weeks Research projects in 2 nd six weeks 15 topics to cover Each student took 5 Some overlap First half of semester content Second half of semester project Same course material Same assignments except participation Weekly quizzes Research project Final synthetic essay Final cumulative exam Discussion purpose to create community Community not happening Time on task created quizzes Weekly discussions Post question Students respond Try to be organic Respond to messages, id eas, issues Develop teaching modules Research background Analyze work Develop questions that could be used for topics Independent work with deadlines and check ins Reflecting on the Course Struggle creating community Tried synchronous discussions work Students had other commitments Discussion not satisfying dropped it as assignment Tried chat, synchronous / asynchronous Replaced discussion with quizzes focus on time on task Small class size no room to hide synchronous discussions synchronous Discussion boards did they really read other posts? Trying to get students to b e active

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178 Trying to get students to respond to each other Form community Feels secondary in importance Tried to make class a top priority for students Trying to keep self motivated Set aside time to work on course Respond to students enthusiastically Contact students via email to encourage them Staying motivated just what you do professionally General equivalency struggle w/ online and F2F at institution How to do discussions online Lose nuances in interp ersonal communication Some students not tech savvy How to make experience equivalent Equivalency take it literally in terms of curriculum design College pushing for more online Struggle with cheating (less so with honors) Students trouble with CMS (less so with honors) Only offered honors course once Bad experience for me Experience was so unsatisfying through honors No community happening Stru ggle access vs integrity Maintain flexibility Given up on trying to control cheating Missed F2F Missed learning community Decided not to teach another online course in honors Would consider hybrid Mostly have web assisted honors cour ses Experimenting with hybrid No other online courses Research project worked well online Splitting courses into content and focused research worked well online Not sure if online is a good environment for honors Hybrid might work End of course ready to get it over with Disappointed in participation Research projects not superior Ready to move on Designing the Course Skepticism about using game Students might think course is just about playing game Have in person meeting about expectations Show course modules Show syllabus Put expectations up front Major concern student expectations Previous experiences with online courses Make it highly structured Modules self contain ed Clear rationale for assignments Background statement Objectives Concern linking game to real world skills Will students get it? Connect skills used in game to real world situations Connect with own experiences Gender

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179 Might turn away females due to com petition Try to focus on collaboration Reduce competition Reduce focus on prior experience Work load Feel like academic course Anticipate student questions and concerns before class starts Constant iterative process Constantly making changes based on feedback Prepare for fast paced, professional world Participate in groups Produce quality group products Group skills Individual problem solving skills Critical thinking skills Students apply to real world Difficult to test critical thinking, problem solvi ng, collaboration Teaching the Course Meeting with prospective students after they register semester prior Meeting at beginning of semester Meetings included in course description Students ask questions Course overview CMS overview Syllabus Project exampl es 45 min 1 hr expectations Assign small groups so they can meet Talk to each other Exchange contact information Intro section in CMS Syllabus Expectations Objectives and goals Introductory forum post Students respond to each other Instructor responds to each At meeting students log into CMS and explore it Show them various features No lecture Module contains materials needed classes, internships, etc Focus on management, econo mics, business Professional skills Critical thinking Problem solving Collaboration Practical Applications Skills that can be used in a variety of fields Projects on game play analysis Group work analysis Teamwork Group work randomly assigned to foster coll aboration Most revolve around game Focus on higher order thinking skills Reflection added to assignments Collaboration Leadership and personality inventories Online links Academic articles Popular consumer articles Gaming in education articles Links can insert or delete as needed Group work Information on conflict resolution Group skills Group dynamics Randomly assigned Equal footing Meet each other during 2 nd meeting Preferred modes of communication Show tools to help with group work Reflecting on the C ourse Misconception grade based on game performance Differences within groups Conflict management policy

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180 Reduced requirements that were repetitive Hard for students to evaluation course no other experiences like this F ully disclosed games Includes more group work now Group assignment Personality and leadership inventory Group dynamics May not use CMS again Focus on tools they can use later No big challenges related to teaching Would rather teach in person Not all nuances online Difficult to teach very complex info Would have more interaction between groups if F2F Students work well within own group online Do we make it more social? Need more objective quantita tive measurements Need more effective ways to assess course Difficult to assess soft skills Online might not be best way to do it Everything runs course Need to address gender Is it unfair to offer course in gaming? Has pro ven it will work Designing the Course Honors should be research oriented Give suggestions on approach to research Students can follow whatever path How do you get students to participate themselves Do their own work Incorporate UN Millennium Development Goals How do goals affect women Submit information to online staff and they put together Online staff creates all elements of course Research Write Global or interdisciplinary approach Teaching the Course Orientation PowerPoint Syllabus Calendar Contact information for online staff Links to all details Instructor expectations What students will do Submit research papers every other week Discuss papers on alternate weeks Students know the routine submit work 1 week, discuss the next Gives calendar each week no surprises A lot of preparation By first day whole semester is planned No surprises Topic in 4 chunks overview, objective, assignments, reading Honors hour Share information from honors hour Always something going on UN Millennium Development Goals Article Case for Contamination Impost views on other countries Cultural imperialism Students reflect on article and course content over whole semester

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181 Reflect on year of activities Should we be open or implement our view Are we critiquing countries from US standards or basic human rights Whose point of view 8 Millennium Development Goals 6 rela Analyze goals How they will affect women Videos cultural content in countries Submit research papers every other week Discuss papers on alternate weeks Topic how developed in 30 different countries Share knowledge 30 countries e ach student assigned to 1 Grading rubric to evaluate Research paper for each topic Submit every other week Post to discussion board Discussions Suggestions based on own research Free to choose which links to visit Look at specific reports or documents 300 points total Must accumulate points Divided discussion into 2 parts Mini essay on what they learned 2 3 days later communicate with 2 4 peers Give suggestions Write paper on cultural imperialism article Discuss paper in discussion board Choose at least 2 papers to discuss Reflecting on the Course Get students to do their own work Use turnitin.com to evaluate reports Students wait until last minute to submit assignments Everyone calls tech support With tech anything can happen Tells students not to wait u ntil last minute Providing as many links as possible Always searching for links Updating links Missing interaction Not enough time for students to read all of the papers Changed structure 1 week to process, 1 week to discuss Needed time to discuss Not enough time for interaction Built in one week for discussion with each paper There is time to get it all done and discuss So many want to take course Students think everyone should take it Positive evaluations Met expectations Getting same quality of work Very rewarding experience Designing the Course Instructional systems design approach Cyclical approach Start with course objectives Look at existing syllabi for ideas Available text Map it out Look at size of semester Work towards units Turn lessons in CMS into modules Learning module for each unit / week Provide text notes from book Make quizzes Focus on mastery Needs assessment Where students are coming from

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182 Objectives Where will you go with it Pre visualiza tion Must construct before semester starts Student success Overall completion Looking for improvement in writing Participation measure of active vs inactive in discussions Quizzes, exams Teaching the Course Created own course guide 1 page Explains overview of course Orientation to CMS click on link if new user Introduction to discovery learning Video presentation with split screen Him talking Images that correspond to all concepts Audio clips Information about learning modules Try to point out things that might be overlooked Specifics about quizzes Information about video lectures Course calendar Writing assignments folder Pages linking to resources on writing essays, documentation, research Notes on communication Guidel ines for discussion Week 1 discussion introduce self and interest in course Instructor also participates Reminder there are also assignments due for Week 1 Lessons broken into 4 5 cyber journeys Journey = page of multiple links, videos of related content Report on journeys in discussion Scaffolded approach to writing Informal Student initiates contact Identifies self as honors student Must take leadership role in discussion Minimum of 1000 words / week Go above minimum in paper s More sources More words Separate section for grades only course Negotiate with professor to justify extra honors credit Informal Little extra work Quantity, quality Do the maximum Discovery learning Multimedia, links Cyber journeys Take in different directions Condense lectures into streaming videos Recorded 220 little video lectures Provide text version for hearing impaired Online tours of pieces of art in museums Cyber journeys with videos, lectures, commentary Cyber journeys Surf different links Choose between dozens of videos Must promote cultural events Excitement of videos enough interest generated by content / presentation to draw them in and invest more time M ust post 500 words / week on each discovery Discussion post 500 words / week If want full credit, 1000 words / week Replies to posts count towards word count Can take quizzes at any time Can take quizzes 3 times for mastery Report on cyber journeys in di scussion posting on same thing

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183 Share in discussion Discussion board very student centered Must measure participation to tie into attendance compose message that will be marked absent for Week 1 Must post Week 1 and 2 by end of Week 2 or be dropped from course Reflecting on the Course Want students to participate in cultural event Tie event into course Hard to document participation Students may not have anything available in area Papers on cultural events were a stretch How do you grade an activity How do you know they really did it Must do background research on event Make it similar to other papers Grade accordingly Slide in cri teria of academic writing Online has made me create a whole new learning paradigm I decentralized my role a long time ago Open for students to pursue own interests Choose own directions and pathways Online requires more self motivation Any online course can be successful 10 12 years teaching it Likes basic structure Requires continued orientation Replacing links Adding more links Enrich course as much as possible Continual improvement process Experience Designing the Course How to transfer from F2F to online How to adapt online Syllabus can answer questions in class Syllabus must be very detailed Very little chance for students to ask questions Easy to adapt powerpoints already used some in class Record narration for powerpoints Wanted to be equivalent to F2F same Wanted class to be asynchronous Real need in online not to be online at same time Same quality Come out with same skill set What works well What students like How to have interchange asynchronously Discussion big feature Exchange ideas Try out components of projects and get feedback Visual learners will be fine on own Kinesthetic learner will be ok Auditory learners are more problematic Strategy recorded lectures to introduce each unit Save time not driving to campus More time for navigating material Make video content optional Not enough time to view it all Medium drives the message re: cont ent Select prose over poetry or drama because easier to understand on own

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184 Experience in humanities with curriculum development Nothing is ready made Practical experience Pick and choose Natural fit to teach online Ve ry sequenced General skills Not information mastery Equip students to go well in other courses and in profession Standards in industry Communication is important to employers translated to class via writing assignments Apply and synthesize what they know from experience and research Pretty specifically written Quality of products Rubric Accurate facts Deeper insight into material Clear thesis Appropriate format Teaching the Course Subject of course Expectations from / of inst ructor 15 20 minutes Recorded powerpoint Course treasure hunt 35 questions about course Helps find out where things are, requirements, etc. Introductory discussion on topic of Introductory discussion on procrastination Read article Talk about experiences with it Answer questions Plans to do things differently Got to get students to website and get them to log on Takes about a week to get going Time to get textbook Divide into units of study 4 units in honors section Orientation and 3 content units Each unit 4 weeks long 1 st week read materials from text Study guide to fill out Discussion general read Subsequent discussion more specific unit Recorded, narrated powerpoints Vi ew of beginning of unit Lectures broken into sections Typically 1hr 1hr, 15 min Linked to iTunes Can download in video or audio format Set of notes Pick preferred mode of learning watch, listen, read Educational videos from YouTube Sometimes less educa tional videos Incorporate student success Build in hints about test taking How to attack an assignment Advice on majors, transferring, career planning Value added How to be a better student How to get where you want to go Advice on scheduling Chances to re cover from low grade Traditional research essay or creative application Post thesis for unit project Will be awful Transition to learning how to write thesis Peer review Instructor feedback Repeat process 2 times Test instrument to get them to read book Project

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185 Turn in project on time, can rewrite for up to 90/100 points based on feedback Tried creative projects that were mailed in broken, etc. Can rewrite paper after graded up to 90 points Only if turned in on time Built in places to earn e xtra credit Reflecting on the Course Students can get behind Hard to catch up Fall 2 consecutive assignments behind can drop them Need to prep students to be persistent If it looks difficult, they will quit How to manage email traffic Ask the class disc ussion board Immature students who enroll for wrong reasons Dropped group work they could work virtually Students felt they had to see each other F2F Many problems Too much trouble / hassle Sees fewer differences between online and F2F the longer she teaches At end think about changes to make Swap out material Change prompts Always more willing to experiment in honors courses Would take back things tried in honors to regular courses Honors is more complex work Requires deeper level of critical analysis Teaching online not mysterious or complicated Can teach anything online Consider limitations of technology not in the classroom Judge solely on product More objective No classroom management issues No worries about cell phones / surfing web Attractive to teaching online Students not prepared for online usually gone by 3 rd week Leaves with committed group of serious students teachers do Tools need to be as good as video games graphically Need something more straightforward Less gimmicky Workload is different Work at di fferent times in term

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186 APPENDIX G EXAMPLES OF COMMONAL ITIES AMONG IN DEPTH TEACHING EXPER IENCES Designing the Course Course fulfilled general education requirement: Harvey, Alma, Mark, Vicky Struggled with equivalency prior to course design: Harvey, Vicky Used instructional design approach / worked with designer: Patrick, Alma, Mark, Vicky Worried about / addressed academic integrity: Harvey, Alma Vicky Quality of products was learning outcome: Harvey, Patrick, Vicky Teaching the Cou rse Included a course orientation: Harvey, Patrick, Alma, Mark, Vicky Used discussion forums: Harvey, Alma, Mark, Vicky Mixed views on group work: Harvey, Patrick, Vicky Provided p ersonalized feedback: Harvey, Patrick, Alma, Mark, Vicky Had access to technical support even if not utilized: Harvey, Patrick, Alma, Mark, Vicky Reflecting on the Course Actively sought feedback from students about course: Alma, Mark, Vicky Adjusted course based on feedback: Patrick, Alma, Vicky Challenges with social interaction: Harvey, Patrick, Alma Hybrid could have been better option: Harvey, Patrick, Mark Pleased with online format: Alma, Vicky

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187 APPENDIX H SHARED THEMES RELATE D TO DIFFUSIO N OF ONLINE LEARNING Examples of Individual Codes Shared Cover Terms Overarching Theme Harvey : Youth ; Not set in ways or is it? Serving as an Early Adopter Patrick : Desire to make a difference Mark : Could be my generation ; Not in awe of vested institutions Alma : wanting to do new things Alma : Always looking for new things ; This is part of me Vicky : Teaching online was way to get hold on technology ; Taught online just to learn new things Harvey : Willing to try anything; Keep teaching fresh Mark : Stay up all night trying to solve problems Patrick : Pushing the boundaries; Self motivation Harvey : Pioneer of teaching online at institution; I decided to be the guinea pig Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, & Rebels Patrick : No one has really done this from this perspective before Mark : Guinea pig for using Web CT; Little bit of rebel and innovator in me Vicky : I am an early adopter; Pioneer Vicky : Approached director Desire to share Alma : Course has always been showcased Mark : Advocated for 24/7 work ethic; Change agent Patrick : Shared expertise with others; Hope to publish Harvey: but needed gen ed Fulfilling a Need Experimenting with Online Learning in Honors Vicky : Online offers equal access especially to nontraditionals and those with restricted schedules Mark: Only 4 6 honors students on campus Patrick: Alma: Students asking for online courses but not offered

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188 Harvey: Online secondary in importance to all other responsibilities Honors Students in the Online Environment Mark: Very savvy in knowing what they Vicky: Will give up faster if perceive grade is dropping; Performance comparable Patrick: Alma: Same quality of work; They really participate Harvey: Aims of honors not really met Meeting the Aims of Honors Education Patrick: Course is about learning by doing & collaboration; Puts damper on social interaction Mark: Honors students need to be savvy about online learning Vicky: Different kind of work Alma: Participation; Interdisciplinary approach Harvey: Value contact hours; Begrudging acceptance of it elsewhere Addressing Concerns of Peers Moving Online Learning Forward Vicky: Colleagues convinced it could never be as good as F2F Alma: F2F interaction is very important; Concerns about cheating Patrick: Highly rigid views of education Mark: Faculty feel threatened; Online will replace the classroom Harvey: Personalize it; Set aside time for synchronous activities Suggestions for Implementation Patrick: paste from F2F course Alma: Vicky: Find pioneers and get them to go first; Need more guidance with pedagogy Mark: 99% of work done before course starts; More research on teaching in honors Vicky: Mistake to turn bac k on online education Implications for Undergraduate Honors Education Alma: This is the future; Will have to do online eventually Patrick: Honors risks being left behind Mark: sand

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189 APPENDIX I COPYRIGHT PERMISSION FROM NCHC May 21, 2012 Copyright Permission Form The National Collegiate Honors Council grants one time permission to : Melissa L. Johnson Assistant Director, University of Florida Honors Program To cite in her doctoral dissertation the NCHC Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors College and Honors Program as it appears on the National Collegiate Honors Council website at http://nchchonors.org/faculty directors/basic characteristics of a fully developed honors college/ and http://nchchonors.org/faculty directors/basic characteristics of a fully developed honors program/ Permission is granted contingent on (1) signature of the Executive Director of the National Collegiate Honors Council and (2) full acknowledg ement in the form of the following statement: The NCHC Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors College and Honors Program are reprinted by permission of the National Collegiate Honors Council. ________________________________ C ynthia M. Hill Executive Director, NCHC

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190 LIST OF REFERENCES Achterberg, C. (2005). What is an honors student? Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 6 (1), 75 83. Albert, A. & Bruce, K. (2002, F all). Introducing the video web board as a technologic enhancement to your honors course. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 3 (2). Re trieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcomm ons.unl.edu/nchcjournal/112/ Allen, E. (2010, September). [Email to National Collegiate Honors Council listser v]. Retrieved May 18, 2011 from https://hermes.gwu.edu/archives/honors.html Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. (2010). Class differences: Online education in the United States, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010 from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/ pdf/class_differences.pdf Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. (2011). Going the distance: Online education in the United States, 2011. Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://sloanconsort ium.org/publications/survey/going_distance_2011 Allen, I. E., Seaman, J., & Garrett, R. (2007). Blending in: The extent and promise of blended education in the United States. Retrieved May 21, 2012 from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/blended06 Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.), pp. 15 44. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press. American Federation of Teachers. (2000). Distance education: Guidelines for good practice Retrieved from http:// www.aft.org/pdfs/highered/distanceedguidelines0500.pdf Association of American Colleges and Universities (2007). College learning for the new Aydelotte, F. (1925). Honors co urses in American colleges and universities (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. Bangert, A. (2008). The influence of social presence and teaching presence of on the quality of online critical inquiry. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 20 (1), 34 61. Bender, D. M., Wood, B. J., & Vredevoogd, J. D. (2004). Teaching time: Distance education versus classroom instruction. American Journal of Distance Education, 18 (2), 103 114.

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191 Berge, Z. L. & Muilenbu rg, L. (2000). Barriers to distance education as perceived by managers and administrators: Results of a study. In M. Clay (Ed.), Distance learning administration annual 2000 Retrieved May 20, 2012 from http://emoderators.com/wp content/uploads/Man_admin.pdf Berge, Z. L. & Muilenburg, L. (2011). Obstacles faced at various stages of capability regarding distance education in institutions of higher education: Survey results. TechTrends, 4 5 (4), 40 45. Birch, D., & Burnett, B. (2009). Bringing academics on board: Encouraging institution wide diffusion of e learning environments. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25 (1), 117 134. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet25/birch.pdf Bower, M. (2011). Synchronous collaboration competencies in web conferencing environments their impact on the learning process. Distance Educ ation, 32 (1), 63 83. Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (1998). universities. S.S. Kenny (chair). State University of New York Stony Brook. Boye r Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (2001). Reinventing undergraduate education: Three years after the Boyer Report. S.S. Kenny (chair). State University of New York Stony Brook. Braid, B. (2000). Introduction. In B. Brai d and A. Long (Eds.), Place as text: Approaches to active learning (pp. 5 6). National Collegiate Honors Council. Braid, B. (2001, Spring). Cultivating too. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2 (2). Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchcjournal/216/ Braid, B. (2007). Majoring in the minor: A closer look at experiential learning. Honors in Practice, 3 Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchchip/34/ Braid B. & Long, A. (2000). Place as text: Approaches to active learning National Collegiate Honors Council. Bruce, K. (2008). Determining the significance of honors. Hon ors in Practice, 4 Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchchip/82/ Caplan, D. & Graham, R. (2008). The development of online courses. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory an d practice of online learning (2nd ed.), pp. 245 263. Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

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192 Carnicom, S. (2011). Honors education: Innovation or conservation? Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 12 (2), 49 54. Carnicom, S., Harris, K., Draude, B., Mc Daniel, S. & Mathis, P. (2007). The advanced classroom technology laboratory: Cultivating innovative pedagogy. Honors in Practice, 3 Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalco mmons.unl.edu/nchchip/51/ Clark, L. & Crockett, L. (2002). Using technology in the honors classroom. In C. Fuiks and L. Clark (Eds.), Teaching and learning in Honors (pp. 87 92) Nati onal Collegiate Honors Council. Clark. L. & Zubizarreta, J. (2008). Inspi ring exemplary teaching and learning: Perspectives on teaching academically talented college students National Collegiate Honors Council. Cobane, C. (2008). Honors in 2025: Becoming what you emulate. Honors in Practice, 4 Retrieved September 14, 2010 fro m http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchchip/81/ Conceicao, S. C. O. (2006). Faculty lived experiences in the online environment. Adult Education Quarterly: A Journal of Research and Theory, 57 (1), 26 45. Coppola, N. W., Hiltz, S. R., & Rotter, N. G. (2002). Becoming a virtual professor: Pedagogical roles and asynchronous learning networks. Journal of Management Information Systems, 18 (4), 169 189. Corbin, J. M. & Strauss, A. L. (2008). Basics of qua litative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks CA : Sage Publications. Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process London; Thousand Oaks CA : Sage Publications. Daniel, W. (2000). Honors Semesters: Anatomy of active learning. In B. Braid and A. Long (Eds.), Place as text: Approaches to active learning (pp. 14 22). National Collegiate Honors Council. DeNoyelles, A. (2012). Discussion facilitation. In K. Thompson an d B. Chen (Eds.), Teaching online pedagogical repository University of Central Florida. Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://topr.online.ucf.edu/index.php/Main_Page Digby, J. (2010). Partners in the Parks: Field guide to an experiential program in the national parks NCHC Monograph Series. Birmingham, AL: EBSCO Media.

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193 Doherty, J. (2010). Bothering with technology: Building community in an honors seminar. In Y. Inoue (Ed.), Cases on online and bl ended learning technologies in higher education: Concepts and practices (pp. 208 226). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. Dziuban, C., Hartman, J., & Moskal, P. (2004). Blended learning. Research Bulletin, 2004 (7). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Center fo r Applied Research. Retrieved May 21, 2012 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERB0407.pdf England, R. (2010). Honors programs in four year institutions in the Northeast: A prelimi nary survey toward a national inventory of honors. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 11 (2), p. 71 82. Ertmer, P., Sadaf, A., & Ertmer, D. (2011). Student content interactions in online courses: The role of question prompts in facilitating higher level engagement with course content. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 23 (2 3), 157 186. Fuiks, C. & Clark, L. (2002). Teaching and Learning in Honors NCHC Monograph Series. Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchcmono/9/ Garrison, D. R. (2006). Online collaboration principles. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Environments, 10 (1), 25 34. Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Environments, 11 (1), 61 72. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text based e nvironment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2 (2 3), 87 105. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American J ournal of Distance Education, 15 (1), 7 23. Garrison, D. R. & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles, and guidelines San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Gibson, S. G., Harris, M. L., & Colaric, S. M. (2008). Technol ogy acceptance in an academic context: Faculty acceptance of online education. Journal of Education for Business, 83 355 359. Gilbert, P. & Dabbagh, N. (2005). How to structure online discussions for meaningful discourse: A case study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36 (1), 5 18. Glaser, B. G., Strauss, A. L., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research Chicago IL : Aldine Pub. Co.

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194 Graham, C. & Dziuban, C. (2008). Blended learning environments In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. Van Merrienboer, & M. P. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (3rd ed.) (pp. 269 276). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group. Gresham, J., Bowles, B., Gibson, M., Robinson, K., Farris, M., & Felts, J. Death Planning for the inevitable: A hybrid honors course. Honors in Practice, 8 43 53. Haber, J., & Mills, M. (2008). Perceptions of barriers concerning effective online teaching and policies: Florida Community College faculty. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 32 266 283. Hagenson, L. & Castle, D.K. (2003). The integration of techn ology into teaching by university college of education f aculty. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2003 (pp. 947 952). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/18062 Hatch, J. A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings Albany: State University of New York Press. Hiltz, S.R., Shea, P. & Kim, E (2007) Using focus groups to study ALN faculty m otivation. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11( 1 ), 107 124. Hislop, G. W., & Ellis, H. J. C. (2004). A study of faculty effort in online teaching. Internet and Higher Education, 7 (1), 15 31. Hixon, E., Buckenmeyer, J., Barczyk, C., Fel dman, L., & Zamojski, H. (2012). Beyond the early adopters of online instruction: Motivating the reluctant majority. Internet and Higher Education, 15 (2), 102 107. Holman, D. & Banning, J. (2012). Honors dissertation abstracts: A bounded qualitative meta study. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Counci l, 13 (1), 41 61. Honors Program (2011). Retrieved March 25, 2011 from http://www.swarthmore.edu/honors.xml Hrastinski, S., Keller, C., & Carlsson, S. (2010). Design exemplars for synchronous e learning: A design theory approach. Computers and Education, 55 652 662. Hutggett, K. (2003, Fall). Fostering microenvironments for teaching and learning: Findings of a study of program quality in honors programs. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 4 (2). Retrieved September 14, 20 10 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchcjournal/122/ Institute for Higher Education Policy (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in Internet based distance education Retrieved f rom http://www.ihep.org/assets/files/publications/m r/QualityOnTheLine.pdf

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195 Instructional Technology Council (2012). 2011 Distance education survey results. Washington, D.C. Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://www.itcnetwork.org/index.php James, T. A. (2006). A handbook for honors programs at two year colleges NCHC Monograph Series. Birmingham, AL: Commercial Printing Company. Johnson, M. L. (2009 ). Building a better honors lea rning community through technology. The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 10 (2), 45 48. Johnson, M. L. (2011). Experiences of honors instructors using technology in the classroom Unpublished manuscript. Johnson, M. L., Plattner, A. S., & Hundley L. (2011). Designing a collaborative blog about student success. Honors in Practice, 7 53 60. Kampov Polevoi, J. (2010). Considerations for supporting faculty in transitioning a course to online format. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13 (2). Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer132/kampov_polevoi132.html Ke, F., Chavez, A., Causarano, P., & Causarano A. (2011). Identity presence and knowledge building: Joint emergence in online learning environments? International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, 6 (3), 349 370. Keengwe, J., Kidd, T., & Kyei Blankson (2009). Faculty and technology : Implications for faculty training and technology leadership. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18 (1), 23 28. Kenney, J. & Newcombe, E. (2011). Adopting a blended learning approach: Challenges encountered and lessons learned in an action resear ch study. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Environments, 15 (1), 45 57. Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Lacey, J. (2005). Honors courses: More difficult or differ ent? Honors in Practice, 1 Retrieved September 14, 2010 from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nchchip/27/ Lackey, K. (2011). Faculty development: An analysis of current and effective training strategi es for preparing faculty to teach online. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 14 (4). Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter144/lackey144.pdf June 2012 NCHC Newsletter Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://nchchonors.org/2012 newsl etters/2012 june/

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196 Laverty, S.M. (2003). Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: A comparison of historical and methodological considerations. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2 (3). Article 3. Retrieved April 25, 2011 from http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/2_3final/pdf/laverty.pdf LeCompte, M. D., & Preissle, J., with Tesch, R. (1993). Ethnography and Qualitative Design in Educational Research (2nd ed.). Orlando, FL: Academic Press. Leo, T., Manganello, F., Pennacchietti, M., Pistoia, A., Kinshuk, & Chen, N. (2009). Online synchronous instruction: Challenges and solutions. Proceedings of the Ninth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technol ogies Retrieved June 21, 2012 from http://www.cc.uah.es/jagm/docs/2009/icalt2009.pdf time participation in online education. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration 14 (4 ). Retrieved May 11, 2012 from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter144/l esht_windes144.pdf Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Long, A. (1995). A handbook for honors administrators National Collegiate Honors Council. Long, B. (2002). Attracting the best: The use of honors programs to compete for students (pp. 1 27). Chicago, IL: Spencer Foundation (ERIC Reproduction Service No. ED465355). Machonis, P. (2008). Shatter the glassy stare: Implementing experiential learning in higher education National Collegiate Hono rs Council. Marjanovic, O. (1999). Learning and teaching in a synchronous collaborative environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 15 129 138. Martin, F. (2010). Best practices for teaching in a synchronous virtual classroom Paper presented at T echnology for Education (T4E), 2010 International Conference McBrien, J. L. & Jones, P. (2009). Virtual spaces: Employing a synchronous online classroom to facilitate student engagement in online learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10 (3), 1 17. McCarthy, S. & Samors, R. (2009) Online learning as a strategic asset: Volume I: A resource for campus l eaders Washington, DC: Association of Public and Land grand Universities. Retrieved from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/APLU_Reports Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks CA : Sage Publications.

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202 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Program. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida (2012) in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in educational technology; an M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2000) in educational leadership and cultural foundations with a concentration in higher education administration; and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1999) in history and classical studies with a concentration in classical civilizations Her research interests include applications of technology in undergraduate honors education and the first year experience.