Online learning at UWF is well recognized with 27 fully online programs operating across the country and around the world. Faculty are well trained in online teaching methodology, instructional approaches and assessment best practices while weaving engagement throughout the instructional experience with student–to–student engagement, student–to–instructor engagement and student–to–content engagement coupled with significant instructor presence.
Many faculty at UWF participated in Studio e training that was recognized by Sloan–C in 2008 with the International Award winning Online Professional Development award. More recently, our faculty use Quality Matters as the framework for modeling online courses.
The Guidelines for Distance Learning at UWF focus on alignment to our institutional mission, quality curriculum faculty development and support, student support and continuous improvement. Each program is developed around that set of guidelines to ensure student success.
In the doctoral program, students participate in highly engaged coursework, weekly videoconference sessions and ongoing quality assurance and support of the Doctoral Services Center (DSC), designed for our fully online students by Dr. Karen Rasmussen.
Dr. Byron Havard, Chair of IT, leads weekly videoconference sessions where common doctoral program and process topics are shared and discussed among faculty and students. Through these sessions, peer groups have formed for coursework dialogue, preliminary exam study, and dissertation support.
The barriers to doctoral program completion, especially dissertation completion, have been researched for decades and may be grouped into internal factors to include dissertation topic selection and communication and external factors including student isolation and dissertation work review.
The concept of “academic procrastination” where students are “stuck” serves as a common theme to describe the result of these factors. At UWF, the intent is to alleviate both internal and external factors through the Doctoral Support Center (DSC).
The DSC is available to provide services and support for the entire journey, from early coursework, to preliminary examinations and finally into the dissertation. Specific APA reviews, grammar review and statistical analysis support are available as well as ongoing mentorship.