Understanding Faculty Use of the Learning Management System

article page 1 previewThe learning management system (LMS) has become a critical tool for nearly all institutions of higher education, and a driving force in online learning. According to a 2014 report by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research, 99% of higher education institutions have an LMS in place, and the LMS is used by 85% of faculty and 83% of students. This was not always the case, however. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when using an LMS was considered highly innovative. Understanding the growth and adoption of the LMS is a stepping stone to understanding how faculty may choose to adopt other technological and pedagogical innovations. This study was conducted at a large, research-intensive public university in the Midwest, which has used the same LMS for 15 years. From a small pilot, adoption has grown to nearly universal use. This study used system logs and database queries to examine how faculty used the LMS. The results identified the features that were used most frequently and how usage had changed over time. In addition, the study compared the usage data for face-to-face and online courses to determine if there are differences in LMS use due to course modality. Based on this, it is possible to better understand the role the LMS plays in higher education and online learning, to inform development of next generation learning systems or other innovative technologies. View article »


Rhode, J., Richter, S., Gowen, P., Miller, T. & Wills, C. (2017). Understanding faculty use of the learning management system. Online Learning, 21(3), 68-86. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v21i3.1217

Designing Personalized Online Teaching Professional Development through Self-Assessment

TechTrendsMany institutions use a one-size-fits-all approach to faculty development for online teaching, which does not meet the needs of faculty who often have different levels of experience, skill, and self-efficacy in online teaching and learning. To address these issues, the Northern Illinois University Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center designed and implemented an online teaching readiness self-assessment. The instrument was developed based on key attributes and skills needed for proficiency in online teaching, in three areas: online teaching experience and attitudes, learning management system proficiency, and access to technology. The self-assessment was distributed through a web-based survey tool to faculty who were identified to develop new online courses. Individual results were used to create personalized frameworks of professional development offerings (workshops, institutes, videos, and consultations) and just-in-time resources to support faculty in their development process.


Rhode, J., Richter, S., & Miller, T. (2017). Designing personalized online teaching professional development through self-assessment. TechTrends, 61(5), 444-451. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0211-3

Building a Sustainable Quality Matters Community of Practice Through Social Network Analysis

ajdeThe growth of distance education has necessitated strong evidence of quality for institutions of higher education, and numerous standards and principles of quality have been developed, such as Quality Matters™ (Quality Matters). These systems are often considered only at the course level to guide design and improve student outcomes, but they can also help to pull the institution together and galvanize advancement in online development. Adopting online quality standards can be a complex process that requires changes to institutional culture. This article describes how the use of the Community of Practice (CoP) framework engaged a campus-wide network of individuals in adoption of the Quality Matters training, rubric, and review process to advance distance education support and online course development. Using Social Network Analysis, researchers were able to identify the strengths and weakness of the CoP during the early adoption phase of Quality Matters to quantitatively measure the connections among members of the community. View article »


Cowan, J., Richter, S., Miller, T., Rhode, J., Click, A., & Underwood, J. (2017). Building a sustainable Quality MattersTM community of practice through social network analysis. The American Journal of Distance Education, 31(3), 160-172. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2017.1316154