How to Show Your Program’s Best “Virtual Face”

Written by: Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti
Published On: July 21, 2014

Most institutions rank distance education as one of their priorities, but how well are they demonstrating their commitment?  To find out, Stephanie J. Jones of Texas Tech University and Katrina A. Meyer of The University of Memphis undertook a study of 40 institutions and their web sites, with institution types divided among doctoral/research, masters, baccalaureate, and community colleges, located in 40 different states.  The results of this study appear in the Winter 2012 issue of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration(http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter154/jones_meyer154.html). 

“It has been well over a decade since colleges and universities started promoting themselves through their websites.  In order to evaluate the progress of distance learning in higher education institutions, it is appropriate to ask how well college and university websites perform as a tool to provide potential and current distance students the support they need to make informed decisions on distance courses and degree programs,” the authors write.  Institutions have gradually added online student support services to their offerings, but locating these services quickly, easily, and in a way that is understandable to a possibly-novice university student is the issue under consideration.

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