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ERIC Number: EJ1065642
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1556-3847
Current Administrative Structures Used for Online Degree Program Offerings in Higher Education
Paolucci, Rocco; Gambescia, Stephen F.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, v10 n3 Fall 2007
Online distance learning or distributed learning (i.e., learning via the Internet and the World Wide Web) can be regarded as one of the fastest mainstreamed instructional delivery systems and technologies introduced in higher education. Naturally with such a fast introduction of a radically new instructional innovation, major stakeholders were quick to assess distance learning via the Internet for its quality, academic standards, affect on accreditation, institutional strategic opportunities, pedagogical potential, and market value potential. It is evident that colleges and universities see online distance learning as part of their strategic plans and initiatives. Therefore, more attention should be given to how best to "structure" distance learning programs within higher education organizations. This study identified the range of "general administrative structures" that universities are currently using in offering online degree programs. A typology is identified that accounts for the "extent and nature" of these general administrative structures through our analyzing 239 universities selected for offering at least one graduate degree fully online. The study looked at the launch date trends as they relate to selection of one of the six general administrative structures emerging into a typology: 1) "Academic Department;" 2) "Continuing Education/Professional Studies Unit"; 3) "Distance Education Unit"; 4) "Consortium"; 5) "Alliance"; and 6) "Outsource". We learned that 90 percent of schools in our study are delivering their online degree programs with an "Internally"-based administrative arrangement. Only 10 percent of the schools we investigated are using some type of "External" administrative structure to offer their online degree programs. More specifically, when we look at the locus of control for internally-based administrative programs, we see that 62 percent of those schools analyzed for this study still have the "academic departments" in control. When examining the "frequency" of launch dates for the respective "Internal" administrative structures for the yearly range 1998 to 2004, we found two significant trends: The decrease in the Department as a chosen Internal administrative structure and the more recent popularity of the Distance Education Unit as the chosen administrative structure. Findings from this research corroborate, clarify, or correct findings from prior research that looked at administrative structures used for online degree programs. Research limitations are given. Authors outline their areas for further investigation.
State University of West Georgia. 1601 Maple Street, Honors House, Carrollton, GA 30118. Tel: 678-839-5489; Fax: 678-839-0636; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A