Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Coffee Shop Lecture | ‘Words of Wisdom’ by Sarah Steinberg, Ed.D. (Interviewed by Dr. Murad Abel)

Dr. Steinberg shares her 'words of wisdom' to provide heartfelt advice to students. The production is part of the Coffee Shop Lecture at Forbes School of Business & Technology MBA Club as an avenue of connecting industry and academic knowledge to enhance student learning.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The Impact of Virtual Student Study Hours: Perceived Perception of First-Year Student Success and Persistence

Dr. Tanya Mooney LinkedIn

This study explored the perceived experiences of students who attended virtual Student Study Hours (SSH) for an entry point course.  The research questions ask 1) what perceived impact did SSH have on students’ experiences in GEN 103, 2) what impact did SSH have on students’ perceived success in GEN 103, 3) what impact did SSH have on retention and persistence after GEN 103, and 4) what perceived impact did SSH have on students’ self-reported persistence through UAGC courses. This study sought to gain a more in-depth understanding of how SSH supported student learning.

Participating Faculty: Dr. Tanya R. Mooney is an Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences in the Academic Engagement Center at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC). As faculty, she has taught information literacy, early childhood education, educational psychology, and elementary education courses to develop undergraduate and graduate learners since 2008.

Dr. Mooney served in the United States Air Force for twelve years before entering the education profession in 2005. During her time in education, she has developed educational programs, created curriculum, wrote and received grants, taught elementary grades, reviewed programs, led accreditation efforts, contributed to textbooks, and served as a school principal. She has presented at national and international conferences and seeks to continually improve her teaching practice.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Culture of Care: Research Exploring Perceptions of Support from UAGC Doctoral Students


Retaining students and supporting them to the completion of their degree is an ongoing task for all colleges and universities. This is no less so for doctoral-level programs. This research identified the barriers and support structures for doctoral students at UAGC and explored how the tenets of a Culture of Care were received. Culture of Care is an institutional focus on compassion, inclusivity, and continuous effort to ensure all community members feel safe and supported. These practices practically may appear as instructors providing flexibility with deadlines, extending care and compassion, and individualizing the learning experience for students.

The current persistence rate for doctoral students at UAGC is between 42% and 50%. With institutional goals around student retention, completion of programs, high-value credentials with marketable skills, and enhanced student economic return, identifying the structures, strategies, and resources that doctoral students perceive as enhancing their ability to persist and the barriers that are challenging them will serve to improve the overall persistence and completion rates for doctoral students. This is collectively unknown or captured by the doctoral programs; therefore, these insights are not utilized in curriculum development decisions or considerations for additional doctoral support.

Data Collection

1,871 students were contacted, including actively enrolled, graduated, and those who stopped before completing. Of that number, 167 responded to the questionnaire, with just over an 11% response rate. Of the responses, 101 indicated that they were currently enrolled, 13 had graduated, and 30 had dropped out before completing their degree. Sixty-six respondents were from the program in education, 52 from psychology, 22 from organizational leadership and development, and 4 from health and human services.

Research Methods

A qualitative analysis of the survey data was performed, looking for themes noted by the participants. The themes informed a discussion of doctoral students' barriers and the supports that may help them overcome them. The open-ended responses from the surveys were analyzed using a thematic analysis process. This process identified themes or patterns that arose in the response data. This analysis gave the researchers an understanding of the perceptions of the participants. The analysis denoted themes contributing to understanding the students’ experiences who completed the survey.

Key Findings

Respondents were asked which entities were found to be most helpful during their time as doctoral students. The most mentioned items, selected from a list, were: academic advisors, instructors, library (tutorials, resources, staff), curriculum (text, readings, videos), classmates, and in-residence learning opportunities. Respondents noted how important their academic advisors were to them as they navigated the program. Students mentioned how inconsistent their instructor experience could be as they varied vastly between program courses and research courses. The least helpful noted by students chosen from the list were: student clubs and CHAMPS mentoring, a UAGC student-led mentoring organization.

In another question, respondents were asked to identify all the factors that supported them as students, and that enhanced their progress. The most highly selected from the list were: specific feedback on assignments, engaged instructors, evidence that instructors cared, flexibility with deadlines, and supportive comments in communication. Students valued their relationships with instructors and the genuine care they noted from this group. They additionally appreciated specific tips, strategies, and stories their instructors shared. They value the use of video and phone opportunities to connect as well. Students specifically have noted how much their classmates enhance their experience. Additionally, students noted the importance of specific, robust, and clear instructor feedback in their learning activities, along with clear course directions and examples.

When asked what prevented students from progressing toward the degree, the most common responses, chosen from a list, were: lack of time, family situations, finances, too much work from their employment, challenges with writing skills, and feelings of insecurity. Students referenced the isolation they experienced with a fully online program and missed connecting with classmates more regularly in-person or via Zoom. Students also noted that they struggled with selecting their topics for their dissertation or applied doctoral project (ADP) and wished they had been able to work on that much earlier in their programs. The challenge of navigating between their specific program and research courses as the course’s organization, tone, and design was radically varied. They also shared the struggle of inconsistency with their instructors. Some instructors were flexible, caring, and communicative, whereas others seemed vastly different in their expectations and communication. These instructors also provided significantly less feedback than the regarded ones, frustrating the students.


Students who completed the survey were generous in their responses to open-ended opportunities where they could highlight the supports they found most meaningful. These can be divided into the following themes: People, Resources, and Content. Under People, specific roles were noted as being supportive. These included advisors, Program Leads, Chairs and Committee Members, instructors, and classmates. The resources noted as most helpful were curriculum resources, the UAGC Library, and Writing Center, along with Paper Review and the In-Residences.

Additional factors that enhanced doctoral students’ progress included evidence that instructors genuinely cared for them, flexibility with deadlines and extended time, active instructors in the courses who provided specific feedback, and supportive texts and emails.

Overall, students found that what helped them the most was the people at UAGC; the technology enhanced their experience with relevant courses, and the Culture of Care was specifically noted. Students recognized that most of their instructors provided extraordinary care and flexibility, and built genuine relationships with them. Students noted how helpful engaging with instructors and classmates in the In-Residence was, though they complained about the Zoom format and length of these sessions. Additionally, students shared how important robust feedback in their online classrooms was to their overall success.

The challenges that students honed in on were those that were not in our locus of control, including personal finances, life situations (deaths, illness, job loss), and lack of time.

The challenges that UAGC could explore to help students in the doctoral program better include needing support around time management strategies, isolation from an online program, determining a topic for their ADP or dissertation sooner, academic writing challenges, design of the courses, and lack of consistency with instructors in research courses and their program courses, as well as instructors who are not demonstrating genuine care with robust feedback.


The implication or call to action that this survey provides can create a road map of considerations across all the doctoral programs at UAGC. Though this survey was not as well responded to as the researchers had hoped, relevant and consistent insights emerged from this group of students.

One of the ideas that were repeated in the qualitative comments was students’ frustration of not identifying a topic for their ADP or dissertation sooner. This caused students to linger in their Dissertation Planning I and II courses, fail these courses, or delay in their dissertation writing. Though students do attend three virtual In-Residences where they are asked after their fifth class to identify a topic to present to their classmates, there is no connection between this and their programs or an expectation to utilize this identified topic in their program coursework. PhD Education program has revised their curriculum to address this issue. However, it is important to note that students are not through their coursework yet to capture if this change has assisted in this issue and allowed students to move through dissertation writing faster. Ideally, it could address this issue if students could identify their topic and begin working on their research and writing in conjunction with their program coursework, along with utilizing the In-Residence as a writing and resource support session.

Another consideration is the inconsistency of the quality of feedback and engagement by faculty in the research courses compared to the program courses and within some of the programs. Associate Faculty teach 90% of doctoral courses. This factor makes training, communication, and support exceptionally important. Students denoted the differences in the care, communication, and engagement of Associate Faculty compared to the Fulltime Faculty. This consistency is a critical need across all the programs and in the research courses as well. Ongoing and systematic training could be a way to address some of the nuances, as well as regular oversight of these courses through observation, feedback, and evaluations. In doctoral writing, feedback on critical thinking, academic writing, and research skills is essential. Additional training with Associate Faculty is needed to ensure that students receive the highest quality feedback in every course.

An additional area that emerged as a need is around the isolation often felt in online programs and the desire from students to be connected and supported by faculty and classmates. The in-person In-Residence generated a bonding of students in these shared experiences and getting to know faculty and staff personally and professionally. With the shift in 2020 to all virtual In-Residences, generating this same level of bonding, organic conversation, hands-on writing support, and a cohort feel is more challenging. An overhaul of the structure of the In-Residence could remedy some of these challenges and perhaps mini workshops with the same cohorts could offer ongoing writing and research support. These could help provide a collegial experience and additional contact opportunities to reduce the feelings of isolation. Some social gatherings could also be added around the country in various locations to connect with staff and students in those areas each year. Another option could be the addition of a student doctoral club that meets regularly and provides a supportive atmosphere for students to connect and share their progress, and challenges, and encourage one another.

The importance of relationships in the doctoral program and journey cannot be overstated. The bond that students expressed with the Doctoral Student Advisors, as well as their Chairs and Committee Members, Program Chairs, and instructors, was a significant factor in the student’s success. The intentionality of care, flexibility, empathy, and generosity evident to the students from the staff and instructors they engaged with was noteworthy. The Culture of Care at UAGC is clear to students in the doctoral program. It is important to note that these traits were noted in the doctoral program even before the university’s roll-out of this program. The intentional building of relationships, and care for students as people with full working lives and families was recognized even before it had a label or title.

The curriculum is another highlight that students noted, and this includes resources to enhance the online experience, including the Library and Writing Center. Students did express frustration with some of the redundancy in the research courses and the lack of connection to their program courses. This could be a call to action to develop some vertical and horizontal curriculum alignment to ensure that key ideas, concepts, and strategies are threaded throughout the program courses and utilized in both. This would help to avoid students feeling like their research courses sit in silos without connection or application to the content courses. Additionally, if students identified their topics earlier and could begin their first three chapters earlier, it is more likely they could utilize the expertise of research faculty to shore up more robust and heartier dissertations and ADPs with greater understandings of theory and methodologies.


Kelly Olson Stewart, Ed.D., Program Chair Ph.D. Education, Associate Professor in the Department of Education & Liberal Arts, The University of Arizona Global Campus

Dr. Kelly Stewart is an Associate Professor and Program Chair for the Ph.D. in Education program in the Department of Education and Liberal Arts within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arizona Global Campus. She earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Innovation with a specialization in Curriculum and Policy from Arizona State University, a Master of Education with a specialization in Educational Technology from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in K-12 Reading from Indiana University. 

Dr. Stewart started in Indiana as a middle school teacher.  Upon moving to Arizona, Kelly worked as a technology and curriculum specialist, a staff developer, a coach, an adjunct professor, and a district administrator.  Her passion and focus have been working with beginning teachers, developing sustainable systems for support, and mentoring programs.  Her area of research has been around the recruitment and retention of K-12 teachers.  Dr. Stewart’s most recent research is around developing virtual professional learning communities and support systems for online associate faculty.  Currently, she is conducting a research study on the impact of anti-transgender legislation on transgender and non-binary teens. 

Dr. Stewart currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona, with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and two turtles. Teaching and the kids’ activities consume most of Dr. Stewart’s time; however, she loves traveling to faraway lands, returning to the Midwest to visit friends and family, cheering for Notre Dame, reading, craft, and exploring vintage markets. She is a member of the Stewardship Council at her church and the Gender Proud Family Advisory Council through Phoenix Children's Hospital. 

Alan Belcher, Ph.D., Professor (Retired), Department of Education & Liberal Arts, The University of Arizona Global Campus

Dr. Alan Belcher is a retired Professor of Education and the Academic Engagement Center within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arizona Global Campus. He earned a Doctorate of Education in Professional Studies with an emphasis in Instructional Design from Capella University, a Master of Education in School Administration from Marshall University, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with an endorsement in French and Spanish from Marshall University. 

Dr. Belcher spent 11 years as a teacher in a junior high school in West Virginia. He then moved to teach computer information systems at the University of Charleston, in West Virginia. During 23 years there, he also served as a Program Chair, Director of Assessment, Director of Academic Technology, Director of Institutional Research, Registrar, and Assistant Provost. His last position at that institution was as a grant-funded leader of professional development and technology integration. After two years as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Pfeiffer University, he switched to online education at Ashford University, now the University of Arizona Global Campus. In research, he has focused on student achievement and success, along with a heavy interest in institutional change and faculty development. 

Dr. Belcher lives in South Carolina, with his wife. They have two grown children with five grandchildren. They spend time traveling to visit family and friends around the eastern United States.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Leveraging Our Forbes Partnership

Dr. Maja Zelihic
Dean FSBT at UAGC 2023
Avisha Sadeghinejad, Program Chair, Professional Studies, and Bill Davis, Program Chair, Organizational Studies

Since 2015, the Forbes brand has been an integral part of the Forbes School of Business and Technology® (FSBT). While Forbes is perhaps best known for its lists and rankings, including the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America and its Real-Time Billionaires rankings, Forbes also reaches more than 150 million people every month through its content solutions, showing professionals and students where business has been, where it is going, and how they can thrive in today’s—and tomorrow’s—global environment (Forbes Media LLC, 2023). According to Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media, “This collaboration [with FSBT] is a natural extension of what Forbes has been doing for nearly 100 years: providing people with Information and insights to enable them to develop their own talent and become true entrepreneurs” (as cited in Daugherty, 2017).  

In all markets, a consumer’s perception of a brand is important. Brand names allow consumers to form attitudes and expectations about what the brand offers. With our first-year students specifically, the Forbes brand enables us to nurture a sense of belonging and ignite energy and excitement around being part of the business school at UAGC—check out our video We are The Forbes School of Business and Technology®! The Forbes brand also helps assure first-year students of the academic quality at UAGC. Forbes is a trusted source, and its content is either created by or features experienced experts in various fields. Forbes materials are known for their reliable and accurate information, diverse topics, and in-depth analysis and insights. Likewise, Forbes School of Business and Technology® students can expect their experienced faculty to design and deliver relevant, rigorous, and real-world business curricula.

The Forbes School of Business and Technology® is highly committed and dedicated to furthering student success and first-year retention. This includes prioritizing teacher-student relationships, showing genuine and honest interest in their success, and providing gratifying and meaningful learning. Our Forbes partnership is one tool, and UAGC faculty can leverage Forbes to equip students in the following ways.

Use Thought Leader Summit Content

In years’ past, the Forbes School of Business and Technology® has hosted its signature event, the Thought Leader Summit, where thought leaders, business advisers, C-suite executives, and other industry experts can come to discuss and analyze business trends from a cultural, economic, environmental, and technological perspective. The event typically features a keynote address and 5-year economic forecast from Steve Forbes, as well as other keynote speakers, panel discussions, and networking opportunities that provide attendees with a platform to connect with peers, exchange ideas, and learn from some of the most influential leaders in their industries. Last year, more than 1,000 attended the Summit, and the panel presentations and discussions were posted on the 2022 Thought Leader Summit website. Students and faculty can locate session highlights; enhanced video recordings of each session, including transcripts and table of content links; and full biographies for all speakers and panelists.

Faculty can help students get the most out of the Summit. Remember to

1.      Explore the Thought Leader Summit website and highlight relevant content you find beneficial for your students. Creating a supportive and caring environment can go a long way in student retention. Your voice matters!

2.      Utilize Thought Leader Summit videos and panel discussions in designing learning activities and assignments.

Use Forbes Content in the Classroom and Beyond

Each Forbes School of Business and Technology® faculty and student receives a Forbes.com subscription, which includes unlimited access to news, analysis, and insights in business, technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, investment, and other areas. Faculty already use Forbes articles and multimedia in their curriculum, learning activities, discussion forums, and even student clubs to further student learning, to stay current and relevant, and to foster a world-class business education. With that said, faculty can remember to

1.      Post relevant Forbes articles and multimedia in your announcements and reply posts. Pointing out real-world applications and expert analysis will take your students’ learning to higher levels and help students reevaluate their assumptions and think critically.

2.      Draw attention to the Forbes subscription and remind students to visit Forbes.com frequently to read, research, and use in their assignments as a credible resource.

Our UAGC vision is to provide high-quality, accessible, affordable, innovative, and educational programs that meet the diverse needs of individuals pursuing advancement in their lives, professions, and communities. Our partnership with Forbes does just that and it helps our students gain valuable insights, knowledge, and skills and it equips them for future success.


Forbes Media LLC. (2023, March 8). Forbes audience. Forbes.com. Retrieved March 8, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/connect/audience-2/

Daugherty, R. (2017, March). Forbes School of Business and Technology [Presentation]. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Forbes School of Business & Technology Professors, Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad and Bill Davis create “Learning in Practice” website.

Professors Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad and Bill Davis are sharing their knowledge and expertise with students and alumni at the University of Arizona Global Campus through a series of short articles on their “Learning in Practice” website. These short, easy-to-digest articles, each taking only 3 to 4 minutes to read, are designed to pass on meaningful tips, insights, research, and real-world applications in areas such as marketing, management, leadership, teamwork, and more.

It is a tool they designed to further student and alumni success. They are paying their knowledge, research, experiential learning, and wisdom forward for all in an efficient and effective manner.

 Here is the website designed to showcase their articles (body of work). It is called “Learning in Practice”: https://learninginpractice.my.canva.site/

Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad

Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad is a Professor and Program Chair at the Forbes School of Business and Technology at University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC). She holds a Doctoral degree in Business Administration from Golden Gate University. She also holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Sharif University of Technology, and the Digital Marketing Analytics certificate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Certified e-Marketing, and Certified Social Marketing Associate certifications from the eMarketing Association.

Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad

At Forbes School of Business and Technology and along with teaching, she has led the development of the BA in Marketing (BAM) and the MA in Marketing (MAM) programs, and has designed and developed several graduate and undergraduate courses with an innovative and engaging approach. Some of her course designs have won awards from the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning (ADEIL) and the International E-Learning Association. She has served as a member of the UAGC Faculty Council, and currently serves the Center for Women’s Leadership at the Forbes School of Business and Technology as an advisory council member.

Dr. Sadeghinejad has also several years of global industry experience where she practiced strategic marketing, email marketing, video-email marketing, marketing automation, brand management, market research, and market analysis. A few well-known global brands that she handled are NestlĂ©® of Switzerland, NUK® of Germany (products for nursing mothers, babies and children) and Familia® Muesli of Switzerland (Breakfast granola).

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, reading books, and practicing piano, and Persian calligraphy.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/avishasadeghinejad/

Email: avisha.sadeghinejad@uagc.edu

Avisha’s Bio page at UAGC: https://www.uagc.edu/about/faculty/avisha-sadeghinejad

Professor Bill Davis

Professor Bill Davis
Bill Davis has extensive experience and education in all aspects of business: consultant, management, leadership, sales, marketing, strategic planning, human resources, and organizational change. He has over three decades of experience working in the beverage industry, specifically in the PepsiCo system, a Fortune 500 company, serving in front, middle management, and executive level leadership positions.

Bill is a pracademic who successfully transitioned his highly successful career into academia. He has over 18 years of extensive academic experience serving as a program chair, lead faculty, assistant professor, core faculty, instructor, instructional specialist, instructional specialist manager, and associate faculty. He loves furthering student learning and seeing student success. Here is Bill’s Biography: https://www.uagc.edu/about/faculty/bill-davis

and his LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/billdavisforbes/

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

What Does it Take to Launch a Start Up: MBA Club and MBA Faculty Discuss

The MBA Club on Linked Hosted a Coffee Shop Interview with the Owner of Go Prama to discuss how to create a start-up. It was a great opportunity for faculty and industry to collaborate to help students learn from experienced practitioners. Host is Dr. Murad Abel. You may want to stay in contact with the LinkedIn MBA Club

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Collaborative Project and ePortfolio: The Impacts of High-Impact Practices in Online Learning

Clinical care has become more complex and specialized in the U.S. healthcare delivery system. No longer is one specific health professional responsible for the patient's health outcomes. A healthcare team comprises multidisciplinary professionals such as doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from various specialties who work together, communicate often, and share resources. Researchers have found that team-based care can reduce medical errors and increase health care safety, efficiency, and quality. Team training is a critical part of healthcare management education. Learning the fundamentals of teamwork, collaborative care, and effective communication within healthcare management curricula helps students be better prepared for real-world situations. Especially in the online classrooms, students do not feel isolated because they support each other in the learning process and rely on each other to acquire new knowledge, solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product in a collaborative project. If any team members are behind in their studies, they could perform better eventually because of collaborative learning.

Many higher education institutions have incorporated high-impact practices (HIPs) acknowledged by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) to improve student engagement and success. HIPs are a collection of teaching and learning strategies that positively impact student learning and promote deep learning by enhancing student engagement. Compared to those students who did not, students who participated in any impact practices demonstrated higher commitment and more desirable learning outcomes, leading to increased retention, completion, and satisfaction rates. HIPs are necessary for helping educational institutions ensure access, equity, and quality of courses. Collaborative projects and e-portfolios are among 11 high-impact educational practices endorsed by AACU. The use of multiple HIPs has been proven as beneficial educational modalities in understanding and applying concepts and theories of disciplines. This revised course includes a quality improvement collaborative project from week one to week six and an ePortfolio learning activity for students to start their baby steps building their ePortfolios.

Research Method

Course evaluation is the key approach to improving the course quality we offer in the program. After this revised course was implemented, there were inevitably opportunities for improvement. Triangulation from various sources is always the best option to confirm the findings. The study population comprised adult learners who enrolled in this redesigned course after this course was implemented at the first year. The instructors who had taught this course during the same time period were also included in the study population. The information gathered from in-house student and instructor surveys provided valuable information that could be used to inform course redesign. Finally, artifacts collected from classes were the best sources for triangulation.

Key Findings

The survey item, ‘this course increased my knowledge in healthcare’ received the highest score. About 87% of surveyed students agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. Although most of our students are mid-aged frontline healthcare professionals, they learned a lot from this course because the course material is full of practical knowledge. One student commented, “This course went more in-depth about QI and associated topics than I had.” Similarly, another student stated, “I knew a lot beforehand but it enhanced my knowledge.”

Earning four certificates from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) received the second highest score at 82.5%. Students voiced positively about the value of getting the certificates. The IHI certificates not only helped students learn better in this course but also prepared them for dealing with real-world issues. Here are some examples of students’ feedback. “These certifications provided real-world examples for the material we were learning which will be extremely beneficial in the workforce and in the classroom.” “The IHI certificates were worth the time and knowledge needed for the course.” “I enjoyed the IHI certificates. I thought they were a good enhancement to the course.” “Yes, it was a great tool and very excited to list these certificates on my resume.”

Among all survey items, the collaborative project obtained the lowest score. Only 55% of surveyed students felt that the collaborative project helped them learn to work with peers having different backgrounds and experiences to solve problems in a healthcare organization. Some students had a positive attitude toward the collaborative project and felt it benefited them. On the contrary, other students had negative attitudes towards the collaborative project due to the lack of participation from their team members, different time zones/work schedules, and unequal distribution of group work. Positive comments include, “I really enjoyed this part of the course. It was nice to hear from others and get their feedback.” and “I enjoyed working with my team members. Especially my team leader is a great leader who reminded us of things to do in 6 weeks and made sure that we were on the same page.” Negative comments include, “The project was not collaborative. It was workload heavy for 1 person.” and “The collaborative project was a good experience and it did allow us to focus on teamwork, but it can be difficult when everyone is not on the same work schedule. Some team members did not participate as much as others.”

Prior research showed that students who participated in group work in online courses were likely to be less satisfied with the overall experience and possessed a more negative perception when compared to those who took part in the face-to-face format. Favor and Kupl found that 38% of online MBA students preferred to work in a team, and 39% believed teams increased their learning. In addition, two of the most frequently cited challenges of teamwork are free riding and unequal workload distribution. In Smith et al’s study, 65.9% of graduate students felt positive about the group assessment. Thus, the finding (55%) regarding students’ perception of a collaborative project from our study falls between these two empirical studies.

All surveyed instructors offered positive opinions regarding this revised course. Several instructors expressed the need for teamwork in the healthcare administration program. “Team concept helps them to collaborate.” “Because they are in teams, they were more apt to give feedback to their team members, as it may have a direct impact on their final project.” “The activities allowed students to critically think about all aspects of quality improvement. Having students in groups enhanced engagement in discussions throughout the learning week. Students expressed positive experiences with group activities.”

Working on a collaborative project in the online classroom can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Performing a team project without the physical presence of team members in online courses may present an additional challenge as students are in different time zones and work schedules, leading to increased difficulty in setting deadlines and developing team dynamics. Students resisted a team-based project in the online classroom because they did not have time to collaborate effectively or because there was an underachiever on their team for whom they would have to compensate. Although many challenges are inherent in collaborative learning in the online classroom, there are compelling reasons to overcome the difficulties and make collaborative learning a fruitful learning experience. For instance, incorporating the Group Work Contract and peer-review could be the solutions to reduce students’ anxiety and frustration, resulting in better collaboration and learning experiences.


Dr. Hwangji Lu
Dr. Hwangji “Sherrie” Lu is a Core Faculty member in the Master of Arts in Health Care Administration Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arizona Global Campus. Prior to this post, she had over 25 years of professional experience in various industries — inside and outside the health care arena. Dr. Lu holds two master’s degrees in nutrition from North Dakota State University and health services administration from Center Michigan University. She earned her Ph.D. in management with a specialization in leadership and organizational change from Walden University. Dr. Lu has served as a peer reviewer for several international conferences and peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, she is an advisory member for the Institute of Research Engineers and Scientists, the International Society for Engineering Research and Development, and the Universal Conferences Institute. Her research interests include high-impact educational practices, student engagement in online learning, educational technology, course evaluation, and leadership development.

Dr. Robert Smiles

Dr. Robert Smiles is the Program Lead in the Master of Arts in Health Care Administration Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arizona Global Campus. He obtained a Ph.D. in health care administration with a specialization in organizational change resistance from Capella University, a master’s degree in health care administration from Bellevue University, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Maryland. He started his career as a regional marketing and admissions director for a long-term care organization in middle Tennessee, then began working as an adjunct professor with Ashford (now UAGC) in 2011. His research interests include student success, student engagement, and high impact practices.

Contact Information

Dr. Hwangji Lu at hwangji.lu@uagc.edu; Dr. Robert Smiles at Robert.smiles@uagc.edu

Azar, A. S., Keat, O. B., & Arutus, J. S. (2021). Collaborative learning in the classroom: The study of Malaysian University student’ attitude. Ilkogretim Online- Elementary Education Online, 20(4), 272-284. https://doi.org/10.17051/ilkonline.2021.04.30

Favor, J. K., & Kulp, A. M. (2015). Academic learning teams in accelerated adult programs. Adult Learning, 26(4), 151-159. https://doi.org/10.1177/1045159515596928

Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. The Association of American Colleges & Universities

Rosen, M. A., Diaz-Granados, D., Dietz, A. S., Benishek, L. E., Thompson, D., Pronovost, P. J., & Weaver, S. J. (2018). Teamwork in healthcare: Key discoveries enabling safer, high-quality care. American Psychologist, 73(4), 433-450. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000298

Smith, G. C., Sorenson, C., Gump, A., Heindel, A. J., Caris, M., Martinez, C. D. (2011). Overcoming student resistance to group work: Online versus face-to-face. The Internet and Higher Education, 14, 121-128.

Steyn, C., Davies, C., & Sambo, A. (2019). Eliciting student feedback for course development: The

application of a qualitative course evaluation tool among business research student. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(1), 11-24. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1466266.

Walston, S. L., & Johnson, K. L. (2022). Organizational behavior and theory in healthcare. Leadership perspectives and management applications (2nd ed). Health Administration Press.

Warsah, I., Morganna, R., Uyun, M., Hamengkubuwono, & Afandi, M. (2021). The impact of collaborative learning on learners’ critical thinking skills. International Journal of Instruction, 14(2), 443-460. https://doi.org/10.29333/iji.2021.14225a