Sponsor Videos

Software Secure

Keypath Education

Conference News

LinkedIn FaceBook YouTube GooglePlus www.instagram.com/onlinelearningconsortium


Download the Mobile App
IOS  |  Android
OLC Mobile App

Make your travel arrangements

Yoga with Jan

Add to my registration


American Higher Education in Crises book cover

Join keynote speaker Goldie Blumenstyk for a book signing.

Books are available for pre-purchase for $16.95 (+tax). 
Read more

Conference Program now posted! This year's line-up includes:


OLC Excellence and Effective Practice Award Recipients Announced


Add/remove sessions from the Program Listing on the website or in the mobile app to create a list of sessions you want to attend!

My Schedule

Join Keynoters Goldie Blumenstyck (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein (MindWires Consulting)

BYOD to learn, explore, and share knowledge within this lab environment

Test Kitchen

Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Going High-Tech in Higher Education: The HBCU Dilemma

Richard Peters (Xavier Uinversity of Louisiana, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 12:45pm
HBCU Innovations (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Southern Hemisphere I
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 2
Virtual Session
Best in Track

This paper addresses three approaches that HBCUs utilize to address online education. These are based on the combination of resources and receptivity HBCUs face.

Extended Abstract

Going High-Tech in Higher Education: The HBCU Dilemma

Much has been written about the revolution and evolution of online education across global campuses. It seems like anyone, and everyone, has embraced digital platforms, presumably convinced of either the benefits of its adoption or the perils of its exclusion.
But despite the momentum of the movement, one specific niche in the United States education system, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), have continued to represent the laggards in both the acceptance and adoption of this key change (Hurd, 2000; Buzzetto-Moore, 2008; Flowers et al. 2012). A recent report conducted by Digital Learning Lab indicated that only 33 out of 106 HBCUs offered online degree programs. And while this number is an improvement from the 27 offerings in 2013, it still demonstrates that 'tech-savvyÕ HBCUs are a distinct minority.
The blame for this under representation has largely been placed at the feet of the: (i) size, (ii) scope and (iii) system of these institutions. Firstly, most of these institutions are generally small in terms of student enrollment, a statistic that has worsened due to the recent economic and political volatility. Small numbers provide fewer resources to aid in the developing and implementing of online education and therefore perpetuates the discrepancy between the have and the have nots.
The second antecedent is the scope of HBCUs, with respect to student population and corresponding tertiary acumen. Evidence suggests that these institutions attract and enroll a high degree of low income, first generation, underprepared students (Buzzetto-Moore & Sweat-Guy, 2006) that are perceived to be ill-equipped to successfully navigate the independence and personal learning demanded of online environments. The lack of online access (Morgan & Van Legan, 2005), training (Jackson et al. 2001), and even comfort (Buzzetto-Moore & Sweat-Guy, 2006) can all help explain why HBCUs have been hesitant to effectively provide ample online offerings to its customer base.
Finally, it can be argued that the differentiating appeal and competitive advantage of HBCUs lie relatively counter-intuitive to the impersonal and detached nature of distance education. HBCUs provide themselves on enacting a focused and personal approach to student education, which has shown to increase student engagement and inevitably, professional success (Fries-Britt & Turner, 2002; Siefert et al. 2006). Thus, the HBCU way, is not often viewed by institutional stakeholders as being prioritized or even accommodated by online education, and this belief has created an obstinacy in both the attitude and actions of these constituents.
What is therefore obvious is that the strategic success of online education at HBCUs is hampered by a deficiency in both resources and receptivity, at the student, faculty and institutional level. This deficiency represent a significant problem, but
The problem with this problem is that it tends to persist. Although recent studies have found improvements related to university and student technological infrastructure, digital experiences, as well as administrative 'opennessÕ to online education (c.f. Flowers et al. 2012), prevailing conditions and trends suggest that HBCUs will have to cope with rather than conquer these challenges to promote online education.
Face with a lack of either resources and/or receptivity, we propose that HBCUs will adopt three distinct approaches, as is illustrated in Figure 1.
The first is dismissal and occurs when the university is faced with an environment scarce on both resources and receptivity. Here, the institution either ignores and/or purposefully distances itself from online education.
The second approach, detachment, occurs when institutional stakeholders are supportive and open to online education, but limited resources are available to meet such demands.
The third approach, decoupling occurs when resources are available, yet lack of legitimate receptivity and motivation for online education permeates the institution.
In the study each approach will be discussed individually. Antecedents and outcomes of all three, will be outlined and examined across multiple levels (student, faculty and institution), to identify key catalysts and consequences to adopting a dismissal, detachment or decoupling response to online education.
Finally, the study will provide some prescriptive details that may help HBCUs and other similarly 'handicappedÕ institutions to optimize the benefits of these approaches, despite their obvious limitations.

Buzzetto-More, N. (2008). Student perceptions of various e-learning components. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects 4, 113-135.

Buzzetto-More, N., & Sweat-Guy, R. (2006). Incorporating the hybrid learning model into minority education at a historically black university. Journal of Information Technology Education, 5 , 153-164.

Flowers, L.O., White, E.N., Raynor, Jr., J.E., & Bhattacharya, S. (2012). African American students' participation in online distance education in STEM disciplines: Implications for HBCUs. Sage Open, 1-5.

Fries-Britt, S., & Turner, B. (2002). Uneven stories: Successful black collegians at a black and white campus.The Review of Higher Education, 25 (3), 315-330.

Hurd, H. (2000, November). Majority of HBCUÕs 'keeping paceÕ with technology: Historically black colleges and universities, provide internet access. Black Issues in Higher Education.

Jackson, L., Ervin, K., Gardner, P., & Schmitt, N. (2001). The racial digital divide: Motivational, affective, and cognitive correlates of Internet use. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31 (10), 2019-2046

Morgan, J., & VanLengen, C. (2005) The digital divide and K-12 student computer usage. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology , 2, 705-724.

Seifert, T. A., Drummond, J., & Pascarella, E. T. (2006). African-American studentsÕ experiences of good practices: A comparison of institutional type. Journal of College Student Development, 47 (2), 185-205.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Richard Peters is an Assistant Professor of Management at Xavier University of Louisiana. He has taught courses in management and strategy for ten years at the undergraduate and graduate level. His research has been published in numerous academic journals and he has presented at conferences nationally and internationally. His research interests include social responsibility and sustainability as well as pedagogical tools to enhance student learning. He is married and is the father of two young sons.