Top Research Questions

By: National Research DETA Center | March 9, 2015

One activity in the grant included the identification of top research questions of interest to IHEs and the distance education community.  Specifically, what are the research questions that will best enhance the understanding of distance education across institutions and populations.  These research questions were derived and prioritized by the experts in the field at the 2015 DETA Summit at the ELI Annual Meeting.

Table Name Research Questions Number of Votes
Wicked Hop What are the definitions of success from students’ perspective? 33  
Rochambo What are the different design components (content, interactivity, assessments) that impact student learning? 29  
Safe House What patterns of behaviors lead to increased student learning for different populations? 26  
Benelux How can we define and measure student success beyond traditional outcomes? 25  
Rochambo What support structures are critical to providing quality access to online instruction? 22  
Lakefront What is the currency of student learning beyond the existing credit hours? 22  
Hollander What are the key components that promote a sustainable and an effective teaching and learning ecosystem? 21 SD=9.09
Three Lions What variables are institutions looking at and using to define student success? 18
Lakefront How can we develop student-driven metrics of success? 18
Hollander What differences are there between subgroups of online learners? (Using PIRS; post-secondary institutional rating system) 17
Three Lions What is the currency of student learning and success? Time? Demonstration of Skills/Knowledge? 14
Hollander What types of faculty preparedness lead to positive student outcomes? 14
Wicked Hop What are the definitions of success for programs/university/faculty? 13
Comet Research agenda: Looking at bridging the pre-college and college. Students expectations of college: Do they align with institution’s expectations? 12
Safe House What are the social and institutional support factors across student segments? 11 M=11.09
Wicked Hop What are the variables that will impact the definition of success? 10
Three Lions What are the small number of definable, measurable characteristics that make research rich for student success in distance education? 8
Benelux How can we democratize and increase access to digital higher education? 8
Comet Can we benchmark at state (larger-level?) looking at systematic differences in online and in-person students? 7
Lakefront How can open educational resources lead to affordability and accessibility? 7
Benelux What was good about the old academy, and what is good in this new digital environment? 7
Safe House What is the impact of different practicies on institutional outcomes looking downstream (post-course, post-program)? 6
Lakefront How can tech-based assessment truly assess learning and skills? 5
Hollander What are the institutional drivers? 4
Safe House How can student voice/perspective impact effective design? 4
Rochambo What are the students’ user experiences in their online course? 3
Three Lions What methods/measurements are being utilized at our institutions to assess student success? (e.g. PAR, NSSE, etc.) 3
Lakefront How can policy and research be linked? 3
Three Lions Who is looking at institutional success data? 2
Three Lions What data is accessible at your institution? 2
Rochambo What characteristics are most critical for “good” online instruction? 1
Comet Influence on student readiness and providing support? 1
Benelux How can we re-design the professoriate/academic career? 1
Comet How can we build on existing knowledge looking at desired outcomes? 0

Citation: National DETA Research Center, March 9, 2015, “Top Research Questions”, Retrieved from: