A Summary of Our Goals, Activities and Initiatives

An Overview

The National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, seeks to foster student access and success through evidence-based, cross-institutional online learning practices and technologies.  Moreover, the DETA Research Center looks to identify and evaluate effective course and institutional practices in online learning, including competency-based education, specifically addressing underrepresented populations.

View Awarded Proposal
View USDoE Application for Grants

Our Objectives

Understand and determine distance education outcomes

Identify practices (instructional and institutional) that impact those outcomes

Identify practices (instructional and institutional) that impact those outcomes

Grant Parameters

The DETA Research Center will work with key partners, including the UW System, UW-Extension, Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) to implement goals across the three-year grant.

During year one, these goals include working with national leaders in distance education to 1.) create a national research model and 2.) implement technology systems for data collection, storage, and retrieval.   The Center will collect data in year two at the course, program, and institutional level and engage other interested institutions of higher education for collaborative research opportunities through a pilot grant process.  The data collected across partner institutions will allow the center to produce effective use cases for dissemination in year three for instructional improvement, including identifying success factors for distance education and competency-based education (CBE).


Grant Activities

Goals and Action Items

Y1 Y2 Y3
Goal 1: Develop National Distance Education and Technology Advancements (DETA) research models for online education
Host national summit X
Determine desired outcomes X
Establish framework of inquiry X
Formulate measures X
Establish research instrumentation X
Goal 2: Implement technology systems for data collection, storage, and retrieval
Develop protocols for data collection X
Implement software for the collection of data X
Establish guidelines for data storage X
Develop protocols for data retrieval X
Implement hardware and software for the storage and retrieval of data X
Goal 3: Collect data by replicating research models at the course, program, and institutional level meeting What Works Clearinghouse standards
Produce research toolkits X
Evaluate pilot grant proposal submissions X
Engage research fellows in research projects X
Ensure data collection addresses audiences of interest X
Goal 4: Produce effective use cases for instructional improvement to enhance student learning through identification of success factors
Develop blueprints for best practices X X
Tag items for specific audiences X X
Develop rubric for course and program evaluation X X
Goal 5: Identify and disseminate success factors for competency-based distance education
Conduct research on CBE X X
Develop best practices blueprints for CBE X X
Goal 6: Develop guidelines and a rubric for the diffusion of technological advancements
Advance guidelines for technology diffusion X
Develop technology evaluation rubric X
Goal 7: Include disability in all aspects of the research goals
Embed disability specific questions/data fields within research instrumentation X X
Create curricular disability accessibility assessment tools X X
Identify which interventions impact learning for which types of disabilities X X
Dissemination   |  DETA website, ELI website, conferences, and publication