Going online: An examination of online learning at historically black colleges and universities
Cole-Martin, Lisa L
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study identified prevailing characteristics that might facilitate the presence of online learning at HBCUs in two ways, in comparison to a stratified sampling of non-HBCU counterparts and with respect to institutional support at HBCUs. First, the status of online learning at HBCUs was determined by comparing the number of online degree programs at HBCUs and non-HBCUs. In addition, this research surveyed Learning Management Systems (LMS) administrators at HBCUs to assess institutional support and the length of use of LMS at HBCUs. Finally, the study explored the subordinate elements of the institutional support types for differences. . The results showed that online degree programs are more prevalent at non-HBCUs. For institution type, HBCUs offer more bachelor’s online degree programs, while non-HBCUs offered more associate’s online degree programs. For institution size, medium sized HBCUs offered more online degree programs while small sized non-HBCUs offered the most online degree programs. For institution location, HBCUs and non-HBCUS offer more online degree programs in the South. Examining online learning at HBCU by institutional support, the four different support types (i.e., administrative, faculty, student support interaction, and student support resources) were not significantly different while the administrative support had the highest mean, and the facuty support was the lowest. For all of the institution support subscales (administrative, faculty, student support interaction, and student support resources), institutions using a LMS for more than 10 years yielded the highest mean, while those using a LMS for one to five years yielded the lowest mean. The final research question examined the level of the subordinate subscale elements of each institutional support type. For administrative support, there was a significant effect for the subordinate elements, with the governance structure support level was higher than all other elements. For faculty support, there was a significant effect for the subordinate elements, with the level of the technical assistance significantly higher than all other elements. For student support interaction, there was a significant effect for the subordinate elements, with the technology standards support was significantly higher than all other elements. For student support resources, there was a significant effect for the subordinate elements, with the means for student communication having the highest mean. The overall findings of this study add to the body of literature regarding HBCUs and online learning. The development and implementation of online learning at HBCUs need expansion because online learning is the next step in providing educational opportunities for the underserved at HBCUs to broaden the reach. Institutional support is a key factor in online learning. Further research is necessary to determine the impact of LMS usage length on institutional support with the maturity of online learning growth at HBCUs. The findings of the analysis of the subordinate support elements also warrants further exploration to delve deeper into how these elements are impactful to online learning and institutional support. Specifically, the area of online learning at HBCUs is ripe of exploration as that area due to the limited amounts of previous or current research in existence.