I found the following research interesting. It is part of an article written in the T.H.E. Journal (http://thejournal.com), December, 1998, issue, page 56, titled, Digital Classrooms: Some Myths About Developing New Educational Programs Using the Internet, by Barbara Mahone Brown, San Jose, State. ( http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/current/feat04.html)
A valuable lesson for any type of technological start-up operation is to expect turbulence and, if possible, embrace it the way Fielding has by incorporating it into the language and culture of the institution. This is a risk-taking enterprise and one should expect the unexpected, while learning to ride the waves of change.
There are also lessons about the sorts of people best-suited to this undertaking. There is a technology adoption curve that permits innovators and early adopters to "cross the chasm" sooner than other, more conservative or reluctant educators. The Fielding case study provides some indicators of individual characteristics for achieving success for both students and teachers in these digital classrooms. Interestingly, many of the identified characteristics are similar to those attributed to successful telecommuters and to today's so-called consumer-oriented adult learners who shop for courses tailored to their particular interests. Students who are most likely to succeed are described as:
Research has shown that university-level students participating in distance learning are typically older and married, have children and are often juggling their school, work and family responsibilities. Fielding's students are no exceptions.
Likewise, successful faculty members able to teach well and enjoy working in the digital networked learning environment are described as:
Teaching on the Internet requires large amounts of time and a well-planned course design and permits faculty to translate their style into a new format which should add value to student learning.
Remember you can read the whole report at http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/current/feat04.html and find out who this Fielding person is.