The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee established the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) to conduct cross-institutional data collection with 2-year and 4-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) with the goal of fostering student access and success through evidence-based online learning practices and technologies. Specifically, the Center will identify and evaluate effective course and institutional practices in online learning (including competency-based education) for underrepresented students. The three primary goals are to: 1) understand and determine distance education outcomes; 2) identify practices (instructional and institutional) that impact those outcomes; and 3) conduct rigorous, interdisciplinary, and standardized research to identify outcomes and influences for all students, including those with disabilities.
With the carefully-established research model for distance education established through a year-long process including a national summit of experts in the field, the next goal for DETA is to collect data at the course, program, and institutional levels to help DETA and other partners identify key factors at multiple levels for the purpose of informing future instructional practices. DETA developed research toolkits for the national DETA community to use including evidence-based and exploratory operationalizations and definitions evolved from a multidisciplinary effort. These toolkits include several approaches including experimental, survey, and big data research guides and instrumentation collaboratively developed by DETA staff, Research Fellows, MATC partners, UWM PASS, UWM R2D2, and national experts to ensure the methodology for data collection is flexible and properly adapted to best reach populations of interest.
DETA looks to engage other interested institutions for sample study sites and/or conducting research using the new research toolkits through a DETA grant process for cross-institutional research. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @UWMDETA.