As the official journal of ACHE, the Journal of Continuing Higher Education features articles specifically for our members.
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Factors Affecting Adult Student Dropout Rates in the Korean Cyber-University Degree Programs
Few empirical studies of adult distance learners’ decisions to drop out of degree programs have used large enough sample sizes to generalize the findings or data sets drawn from multiple online programs that address various subjects. Accordingly, in this study, we used a large administrative data set drawn from multiple online degree programs to investigate meaningful factors (derived from a conceptual model for adult dropout) affecting adult distance learners’ decisions to drop out of online degree programs in a cyber-university. The findings indicate that adult students who have a low level of basic scholastic aptitude, the studying motive to go on to graduate school, more physical constraints, less learner-content interaction, frequent learner-instructor interaction, low level of satisfaction, and low GPA are more likely to drop out of degree programs. Surprisingly, this study found that learner-instructor interaction has a significant, but negative, effect on student persistence.
Hee Jun Choi (Associate Professor) & Byoung Uk Kim (doctoral student)
Pages 1-12 | Published online: 28 Dec 2017
The Online Classroom: A Thorough Depiction of Distance Learning Spaces
This study investigated the online higher education learning space of a doctoral program offered at a distance. It explored the learning space, the stakeholders, utilization, and creators of the space. Developing a successful online classroom experience that incorporates an engaging environment and dynamic community setting conducive to learning is essential in maintaining distance-student enrollment and expanding online education. Students and faculty were surveyed and responses were coded for the emergence of themes. The expanse of distance education and progression of technology has supported instructors in developing classrooms that emphasize students and incorporate both online interactive spaces and the physical space learners inhabit. Both faculty and students contribute to this classroom, and it is utilized primarily as a space where learners engage.
Pages 13-21 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
Reimagining Student Engagement: How Nontraditional Adult Learners Engage in Traditional Postsecondary Environments
Adult learners are a growing population in U.S. postsecondary education who experience distinct barriers to academic success. However, higher education institutions continue to create and adhere to policies that favor traditional college students. Thus, adult learner experiences must be better understood to ensure this population is supported. This study used data from the 2013 and 2014 administrations of the National Survey of Student Engagement to identify characteristics of adult learners and compare their engagement with traditional-aged students. Our regression analysis revealed that adult learners were more likely to take their classes online, begin their education at another institution, and enroll part-time. Adult learners also were more engaged academically and had positive perceptions of teaching practices and interactions with others, despite reporting fewer interactions with faculty and peers and less supportive campuses. These findings challenge institutions to continue to seek a deeper understanding of how adult learners engage with postsecondary education.
Karyn E. Rabourn, Allison BrckaLorenz & Rick Shoup
Pages 22-33 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
A Private, Nonprofit University's Experiences Designing a Competency-Based Degree for Adult Learners
Competency-based higher education focuses on workplace competencies and often enables students to progress at their own pace. The university in this case study decided to pursue competency-based education (CBE) to offer working adults a convenient, self-paced way to earn a bachelor's degree. The mission of the university—to provide open access to career-oriented degrees for adults of all ages—drove many of the CBE decisions. However, after piloting the competency-based degree, the university found students were uninterested in an entirely self-paced program, so the institution incorporated self-paced mini courses into its traditional degree. This case study examines how external regulations, as well as internal economics and policies, influenced the CBE program's design. The purpose of this research was to understand the key design decisions, so others may learn from the findings. The innovative, self-paced approaches that evolved from this study may interest other institutions serving adult students.
Nancy A. McDonald
Pages 34-45 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
Quest: A Hybrid Faculty Teaching and Learning Community
Faculty members often collaborate on research and service projects, but teaching remains a relatively solitary activity (Gizir & Simsek, 2005; Ramsden, 1998). While students attend classes taught by various faculty members, faculty members remain largely unaware of the innovative and pedagogical improvements in teaching made by their colleagues. Exceptions occur when colleagues present and share ideas through organized activities like teaching workshops, published articles, or through informal settings such as social events. Creating a culture where faculty members frequently interact formally and informally can result in fruitful discussion of issues related to undergraduate education (Massy, Wilgar, & Colbeck, 1994). Collaboration amongst faculty can be a powerful vehicle to promote faculty learning and professional development and an effective way to maximize the impact of institutional investments in faculty (Baldwin & Chang, 2007). Thus, collaborative faculty development is an essential tool to maintain a dynamic institutional climate that sustains productive faculty members and ultimately promotes a healthy learning environment for students.
Siny Joseph, Jung Oh & Patricia Ackerman
Pages 46-53 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
One State's Use of Prior Learning Assessment to Augment Its Workforce Development Agenda
Long before Tennessee legislators demanded a focus on adult learners, the notion of helping adult students earn a degree was part of every postsecondary educational institution in the state. Some had robust adult degree completion programs, while other institutions treated adult learners the same as traditional-aged students. The complications increased as a number of institutions began to use some form of prior learning assessment (PLA) to help returning adults complete their degree. A substantial body of literature indicates that students who earn credit through PLA have better outcomes than those who do not participate in PLA. PLA has been shown to reduce time to graduation, increase graduation rates, and improve other academic outcomes (Rust & Ikard, 2016). However, because each institution created its own PLA policies and procedures, students often could not transfer their PLA credits to other institutions.
Mike Boyle, David Gotcher & David Otts
Pages 54-58 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
Notes and Trends
Eighteen short notes and comments on trends from various articles and news stories comprise this entry.
Mary S. Bonhomme
Pages 59-61 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
Adult Learning Degree and Career Pathways: Allusions to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
In a previous edition of JCHE's Distance Learning Exchange, several authors (including this one) wrote on the topic of career pathways. That article examined the career pathways landscape through the lens of institutional policy, associations, and organizations that individually dabble in this emerging field (Schulte et al., 2017). The distance and online learning space was emphasized in that article. Inspired by that more intricate discussion, this new discussion will embark on a lighter examination, with the intention to ease communication concerning what career pathways are and how they benefit the learner.
Pages 62-64 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018
A Review of Poison in the Ivy: Race Relations and the Reproduction of Inequality on Elite College Campuses By Byrd, W. C. (2017).
Byrd grounds the study in Poison in the Ivy on 28 of the most selective colleges and universities in the United States. The author uses intergroup contact theory to examine how students of the selected 28 institutions interrelate regarding inter- and intraracial social interactions, and how these interactions influence the students’ beliefs and attitudes on race. In addition, Byrd examines the effect of college courses, which expose students to different perspectives on race, and the long-term effect these courses of study have on student beliefs throughout and after college.
Keondria E. McClish
Pages 65-66 | Published online: 20 Mar 2018