leading online k — 12 learning environments (Baker, 2005) and a security risk analysis of the data communications network proposed in the nextgen air traffic control system (Wood, 2009). Both use qualitative research in significantly different roles within their methodologies, making significant contributions to each.

Analysis of the Baker Dissertation

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The general problem that this dissertation addresses is how to increase the effectiveness of online educators on asynchronous learning platforms intended for use by k-12 students. The specific problem addressed is how to develop more effective courses, supporting courseware including Web-based applications and personalized learning scenarios for students in k-12 grades. The research relies on the Delphi technique, using an initial sample of 24 experts throughout the Southern California area (Baker, 2005). The sample of 24 experts represents those educators with experience in face-to-face and online classroom instruction in the k-12 grade levels. With the specific goal of gaining insights into how to create a collaborative learning framework, the researcher also relies on the Delphi technique to understand the best possible platforms for collaboration across the educator and instructor base.

The research design is predicated on the Delphi technique due to the success of this specific technique in previous studies on how online education within these grades can be improved (Palloff & Pratt, 2001). In addition, this research design effectively captures the need for individualized instruction online with scaffolding techniques (Najjar, 2008), which have proven to be effective in asynchronous learning environments where in-class and online instruction is defined. This research design is appropriate for the study as the key success factors for creating a hybrid-learning environment that captures the best practices for in-class and online teaching require open-ended feedback. The use of the Delphi technique for capturing more complex, open-ended feedback form industry thought leader is essential (Palloff & Pratt, 2001). The study also fits with the need fro instructors that can have a duality of skill sets in the 21st century, capable of moving between online and in-class instruction while concentrating on individual learning strategies for each student (Najjar, 2008). The essence of effective use of both teaching strategies is in meeting the needs of student and individualizing learning experiences using technologies, which is at the center of this dissertations’ research effort (Baker, 2005).

Analysis of the Wood Dissertation

In the dissertation, A security risk analysis of the data communications network proposed in the nextgen air traffic control system (Wood, 2009) the researcher concentrates on defining the potential risks of defining and implementing the next generation in air-to-air, air-to-ground and satellite-to-air traffic control systems. His specific focus in this research is on ADS’ role in the NextGen air traffic control and communications system. The selection of Qualitative Risk Analysis is ideal for this type of research as it brings together what the author calls “informants” (Wood, 2009) who are also thought leaders in the technology communities working on the nextgen air communications and traffic control system. The research design encompasses the disciplines of aviation, avionics ADS-B, academic and computer science, all from a commercial aviation perspective (wood, 2009). This stratified research design makes the reliance on Qualitative Risk Analysis even more relevant, as the need for contacting then interviewing key thought leaders in each of these disciplines forms the foundation for the secondary analysis of the dissertation. The sampling frame geographically is national in scope, and limited to the corporations who are publicly accessible working on these programs.

The selection of a staged methodology where Qualitative Risk Analysis is the initial phase followed by additional interviews and what the research calls the “snowball effect” actually refers to additional investigative research through social networking (Wood, 2009). In effect, the researcher is also determining the network of experts in this area of the NextGen flight system in addition to completing research on critical success factors. Ultimately, a map of the key influencers in this industry and their insights are gained as a result. As a result of the study being on threats and risk to the NextGen system being the primary and secondary goals of the analysis, the selection of Qualitative Risk Analysis as the research method is highly appropriate and effective.


Baker, K. (2005). A model for leading online k — 12 learning environments. Dissertation for DOCTOR OF Management IN ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP, 172. University of Phoenix Graduate School of Business. Phoenix, Arizona.

Najjar, M.. (2008). On Scaffolding Adaptive Teaching Prompts within Virtual Labs. International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 6(2), 35-54.

Palloff, R.M., & Pratt, K (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wood, R. (2009). A security risk analysis of the data communications network proposed in the nextgen air traffic control system. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 70, Retrieved from PsycINFO database.