You are here:

Four Families of Multi-Variant Issues in Graduate-Level Asynchronous Online Courses


Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration Volume 7, Number 2, ISSN 1556-3847


This is the first of several papers developed from a faculty and student perspective describing a new distance learning (DL) model. Integral to the model are four interrelated families of multi-variant issues, referred to here as (a) the academic divide, (b) student misalignment, (c) administrative influences, and (d) the use of student satisfaction (evaluations) and retention as the "gold standard" for academic excellence. These families emerged from a reexamination of an elective, graduate level, asynchronous, online course that took place one year after the course was offered. In this article, these four families will be introduced, defined, described, and analyzed. Warning: this model will be described in new terminology and therefore may be unfamiliar to DL practitioners. However, the authors believe that many DL practitioners will quickly recognize the concepts and foundations upon which the model and terminology are derived. The authors go on to illustrate how these issues, if not properly addressed, can have significant negative, often disruptive, impacts at all phases (course design, development, implementation; faculty evaluations; and marketing of classes) of asynchronous course offerings. Some recommendations are offered as to how to alleviate the problematic potential inherent in these issues. Unique to this model is the combined experiences and perspectives of the authors. The first was from the faculty member offering the course who had over twenty years of administrative oversight and program development of distance learning programs and courses. The second author's set of insights came from graduate student's perspective in the course who was in her final semester of her doctoral studies, but who also was the head of corporate training in a large company and had developed topic-specific training programs, taught in a Midwestern university as well as had taken multiple courses online. (Authors' role and participation in ABCD 888--Fairchild was the instructor for course; Gisburne was one of the students enrolled in the course.) From their convergent experiences and discussions emerged the four interrelated areas that merited further study. The following is a result of their collective research and unique perspective.


Gisburne, J.M. & Fairchild, P.J. (2004). Four Families of Multi-Variant Issues in Graduate-Level Asynchronous Online Courses. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 7(2),. Retrieved April 9, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on January 10, 2019. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.