The final session that I am formally blogging at this 2013 World Conference on E-Learning is:
How Schools Are Meeting State Legal Mandates To Provide Online Education
Type: Brief Paper Topic: Evaluation
Thu, Oct. 24 2:10 PM-2:30 PM
Mark Deschaine, Central Michigan University, United States
Robert Leneway, Western Michigan University, United States
Michigan became the first state in the nation to mandate online learning opportunities as a condition for graduation. This paper is a report on the findings of a study conducted on how public schools in Michigan are meeting the mandate to provide online learning opportunities as a condition of graduation. Descriptive and inferential techniques were used to examine the survey results from K-12 public and charter school principals across Michigan. Findings indicate that that a greater percentage of students enrolled in Online Experiences Incorporated within Classes than in Fully Online Semester Long Courses, with both options being incorporated more into content academic areas than non-core academic areas. Smaller enrollment schools utilized on line opportunities at a higher rate than their peers in larger schools. Online Educational Opportunities are most often used as a vehicle for student skillset improvement: to help students with credit recovery needs, to help students considered at-risk for school failure, and to assist students in gaining 21st Century skills. Student and administrator technological training, as well as providing online experiences within existing classes both significantly predicted improvement in student access to curriculum. Providing Fully Online Courses to students significantly predicted improvement in the school programs’ financial and perceived achievement measures. Commercial vendors were the largest provider of content for Fully Online Semester Long Course content. Districts tend to stay within their own organizations for support for their Online Educational Opportunities. Decision makers tended to be influence mostly by their building administrators, followed by their district administrators on the types of opportunities being offered. It was also found that significant differences based upon district enrollment size existed throughout the state. Implications for policy development and implementation were provided.
Unfortunately, the first two presenters in that slot/room did not show up. As such this presenter began earlier and was about half way through or further when I arrived. In terms of what I was able to view…
The fourth research question focused on where school districts were receiving support for the implementation of the online learning mandate. Apparently, 25.7% of responding districts indicated that they did this in-house, with 92% indicating that they used an external vendor (including Michigan Virtual) to assist them, and there were another six or seven items listed (as many districts were receiving multiple levels or sources or support). Within the internal sources of support, it tended to be sources at the building level – as opposed to the district or ISD level.
When it came to looking for vendors for their online course content, vendors – including Michigan Virtual – were by far the most common source. Michigan-based post-secondary institutions were a distance second on this list, followed by non-Michigan-based post-secondary institutions.
Interesting, the larger enrollment districts seemed to have the greatest reliance on vendors for their online courses and the support for implementing the online learning mandate. Smaller enrollment districts tended to utilize internal resources more (including using Michigan Virtual at a statistically significant lower level). Larger enrollment districts also utilized the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning more than their smaller enrollment district counterparts – possibly because the larger ones have more money for professional development.
The presenter admitted that this study was a cursory look or quick snap shot. This snap shot was further complicated by the fact that many of the administrators that were responsible for completing the surveys did not have a common understanding of the language around the online learning mandate. But clearly this is an area that more research could be done, how schools are implementing online learning mandates (both in Michigan and other jurisdictions that have implemented online learning graduation requirements).