Table 1

Distance Education Best Practices Survey results: mean/median for frequency of use and pre- and posttest importance ratings

Frequency of Use (n=7)Pretest Importance (n=5)Posttest Importance (n=5)Level of Significance
Teaching Presence
Course learning outcomes and expectations are clearly communicated. Embedded Image
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0.16
Clear instructions for accessing, navigating, and actively engaging in the course are readily available. Embedded Image
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0.50
Important due dates/time frames for learning activities are clear, well organized, and easy to locate. Embedded Image
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0.50
Clear, consistent, and logically located instructions are provided for technical assistance and support services. Embedded Image
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0.05
My timely feedback on assignments (and discussion boards) helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses. Embedded Image
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0.08
My regular engagement in discussions encourages a sense of congeniality and collegiality (I model expectations). Embedded Image
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0.05
I display enthusiasm for the subject and students’ learning. Embedded Image
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0.50
My actions help keep the learning community engaged. Embedded Image
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0.05
My actions help keep active learners on task in a way that encourages relevant, lifelong learning. Embedded Image
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0.03*
My communication supports the development of a sense of community. Embedded Image
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0.28
Feedback for clarification of students’ comments and questions is provided within three working days. Embedded Image
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0.16
Social Presence
I provide an easily accessible, online introduction and picture or video of myself. Embedded Image
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0.05
Students are encouraged or required to provide a personal self-introduction. Embedded Image
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0.04*
My contact information and best times for contact are clearly provided in the course information. Embedded Image
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0.16
I am accessible for convenient student contact and consultation (e.g., telephone, email, Skype). Embedded Image
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0.08
My communication reinforces the development of a sense of community among course participants. Embedded Image
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0.04*
The course environment is conducive to students’ participation in the course discussions. Embedded Image
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0.16
Differing points of view are encouraged to model a learning community of debate and reflection, while maintaining a sense of trust. Embedded Image
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0.08
Online discussions facilitate development of a sense of collaboration, reconsideration, and synthesis of ideas. Embedded Image
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0.08
Cognitive Presence
Course activities are designed in a way to pique students’ curiosity. Embedded Image
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0.09
Students are encouraged to utilize a variety of resources to explore course content. Embedded Image
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0.16
Course activities provide opportunities for collaboration and shared learning experiences. Embedded Image
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0.16
Online discussions require productive dialogue while respecting different perspectives. Embedded Image
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0.04*
Learning activities help students construct applicable knowledge, skills, and dispositions. Embedded Image
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0.16
Students are provided opportunities to share feedback and suggestions regarding their online learning experience. Embedded Image
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0.09
  • Embedded Image =mean; Embedded Image =median

  • * p<0.05 based on data analysis using Wilcoxon signed-rank, 1-tailed tests

  • Note: Questions regarding frequency of use were asked only on the pretest, with response options 1=never, 2=rarely, 3=occasionally, 4=regularly, 5=always. All seven participants’ responses are included in that column. Questions regarding perceived importance were asked on the pretest and the posttest, with response options 1=not important, 2=slightly important, 3=moderately important, 4=important, 5=very important. Responses from the five respondents who completed all parts of the study (pretest, course, posttest) are included in those columns.