Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Woods Scherr, PhD Director; Mary M. Williams, EdD; Fred McFarlane, PhD


accountability, British Columbia (Canada), collaboration, decision-making, Leadership studies, New Directions in Distance Learning, site facilitators, student advocates


The purpose of this study was to understand the roles and responsibilities of site facilitators in successful New Directions in Distance Learning (NDDL) project school sites, to learn with whom site facilitators communicate within and outside their working environments, and to discover with whom they build working relationships. E-mail questionnaires and two sets of telephone interviews generated the research data from six site facilitators and three teacher-mentors who worked at eight New Directions in Distance Learning (NDDL) school sites located throughout British Columbia. Indicators of success for an NDDL site included participation in the NDDL project with minimal technical difficulties as well as completion of and registration in NDDL courses by students. Data indicated that a designated room in the school for NDDL student-mentor conferencing and instruction with the necessary computer equipment, support from parents and increased student independence also characterized a successful site. In addition to their current roles of maintaining technological learning environments, establishing triad communication, instructing students in course work, and completing administrative tasks, the role of student advocate emerged as a result of the site facilitator's proximity to the student and of the relationship that developed between the student and the site facilitator. Data indicated that site facilitators required training in technology, mediation and negotiation, in light of the student advocate role. Study participants recommended the necessity for specific training in site facilitation and online training. Participants reported that a site facilitator's network consisted of communication links with students, teacher-mentors, school administrators, school staff and NDDL project administrators, who worked either within or outside the site facilitator's working environment. Site facilitators also established relationships with the other triad members, teacher-mentors and students, school personnel, and NDDL project administration. The leadership model that best described the NDDL project was collaboration. The NDDL project met the definition and the criteria listed by Chrislip and Larson (1994). Further research is recommended on the roles and responsibilities of the teacher-mentor; the site facilitator role of student advocate; the training in facilitation, negotiation, and mediation skills; and the leadership model of the NDDL project to identify the stakeholders in the project, as well as clarify issues concerning decision-making and accountability. Accountability of site facilitators to the NDDL project and to other stakeholders also requires further exploration, because at the time of this study, site facilitators lacked clarity regarding to whom they were accountable.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access