Virtual School Meanderings

June 15, 2015

Book Notice – Online, Blended, and Distance Education: Building Successful School Programs (Online Learning and Distance Education)


Clark, Tom, & Barbour, Michael. K. (Eds.). (2015). Online, Blended and Distance Education: Building Successful School Programs. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishers. 256 pp.

Note the 20% discount until 31 December 2015 referenced in the flyer!

Book Summary

This new title in Stylus Publisher’s Online, Blended and Distance Education series begins with a Series Editor Foreword by Michael G. Moore, the top U. S. academic in the field, and a Foreword by Cathy Cavanaugh, internationally renowned online and blended researcher and Director of Teaching and Learning in Worldwide Education at Microsoft.

Internationally, an explosion of K–12 online and blended learning activity has occurred in the last few years. In conceiving this book, Co-Editors Tom Clark and Michael K. Barbour asked, what can North American educators learn from international K–12 educators, and vice versa, about building successful online and blended learning programs?  They then went about finding the people and programs who could help them answer these questions.

The book features chapters by well-known experts in the field on key program components such as teaching, curriculum, and technology, and key issues such as educational equity, the controversy over full-time online schools, and the emergence of blended learning. It also features case studies by experienced practitioners who profile a wide variety of programs in the U.S. and five other nations, looking at challenges, lessons learned and effective practices for achieving program success.

In their overview chapter, the co-editors describe the current status of K-12 online and blended learning in North America and around the world. In the final chapter of the book, they summarize what chapter authors had to say about challenges and lessons learned and key policy and practice issues. Clark and Barbour conclude by presenting eight key trends (Global, Blended, Teacher-Facilitated, Personalized, Adaptive, Mobile, Open, and Evidence-Based) that can guide effective practice in K-12 online, blended, and distance education.

About the Editors 

Tom Clark is president of TA Consulting. In this role, he has undertaken many successful evaluations for state and federal agencies, universities, school districts, museums, and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He led the evaluation of a five-year, $9.1 million project for online professional development and K–12 online learning funded through the U.S. Department of Education. TA Consulting served as contractor for team-based evaluations in the 2000s of state virtual school programs in Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, and Missouri, and the Chicago Public Schools Virtual High School. Dr. Clark has many related publications. He co-edited Virtual Schools: Planning for Success (2005) with Dr. Zane Berge; coauthored one of the first American books in the field, Distance Education: The Foundations of Effective Practice (1991), with Dr. Richard Verduin; and authored an early overview of K–12 online learning in the United States, Virtual Schools: Status and Trends (2001). Recognized as an author in distance and online learning in Who’s Who in America, he was an advisor for U.S. Department of Education’s Evaluating Online Learning (2008).

Michael Barbour is Director of Doctoral Studies for the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sacred Heart University in Fairlfield, Connecticut. He completed his PhD in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Originally from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Barbour’s interest in K–12 distance education began after accepting his first high school teaching position in a regional high school in a rural community of approximately 3,500 people. Having been educated in an urban area, Michael was troubled by the inequity of opportunity provided to his rural students and began a program to offer Advanced Placement (i.e., university-level) social studies courses over the Internet to students at his own school and other schools in the district. For more than a decade now, Michael has worked with numerous K–12 online learning programs in Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and around the world as an online teacher, course developer, administrator, evaluator, and researcher. His current research interests focus on the effective design and delivery of online learning to K–12 students in virtual school environments, particularly those in rural areas.

Please note that as one of the editors of this book, I do receive royalties on the sale of this volume.

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