Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Mary B. Shoffner

Second Advisor

Stephen W. Harmon

Third Advisor

Wanjira Kinuthia

Fourth Advisor

Bob Harbort

Fifth Advisor

Ron R. Koger


This bounded case study describes the readiness of a Southeastern State University System to support the growth of online learning. Structured as a case study, the view provided of the Southeastern State University System in this moment in time provides a contextually rich view of the phenomenon of change within a university system. The study answers the following questions regarding the change towards online course delivery:

  1. Does the Southeastern State University System have a primarily transformational or transactional orientation?
  2. What are the key change facilitating factors within the Southeastern State University System?
  3. What are the key change restraining factors within the Southeastern State University System?

The key change facilitating factors identified as part of the first phase of the study included: motivation to change, job/task requirements and organizational culture supportive of change. The perspectives of the administrators regarding facilitating factors differed, as did views on if the organizational culture was supportive of change. The CIO interviewed described a variation in perspectives regarding online learning based on institutional categories and missions, which was reflected in the interviews. The key change restraining factors were identified during the survey phase of the study as: change related systems, emotional impact of change and change mission and strategy. Financial incentives, both for the institutions and the individuals involved in online or blended activities was identified in the interviews. However, the CIO interviewed outlined a perspective that the funding model for collaborative programs in the university system was flawed. A perceived lack of change mission strategy was common through the interviews, with signs pointing towards improvement within the system, with a new focus on online learning as part of an initiative to have more college graduates within the state. This study provides a snapshot of the state of a university system as it adapts to the changing environment of higher education. The study describes the application of an established organizational change and development model to the study of online learning, which provides future researchers with a framework to investigate online learning at a university system level.