Virtual School Meanderings

May 1, 2017

AERA 2017 – Virtual Schooling, Instructors’ Practices and Perceptions

The tenth session I’m blogging at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA) is:

Virtual Schooling, Instructors’ Practices and Perceptions

Mon, May 1, 12:25 to 1:55pm, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, Fourth Floor, Republic B

Session Type: Paper Session

Sub Unit

  • SIG-Online Teaching and Learning


  • Barbara Ellen Rowan, Pearson North America


Examining Perspectives of Faculty Regarding Online Program Community


This study investigated faculty members’ perceptions of program community in online graduate programs. Few researchers have addressed community in online teaching and learning that extends beyond course community. This study used a quantitative survey developed by the presenters to ascertain perceptions among education and engineering faculty members at land-grant, research-extensive universities throughout the United States. This presentation reports the results of that survey and provides suggestions to further support program community in online graduate-level programs.


  • Doris U. Bolliger, University of Wyoming
  • Craig Erschel Shepherd, University of Wyoming
  • H. Victoria Bryant, University of Wyoming

Motivational Profiles, Learning Satisfaction, and Learning Outcomes for K–12 Virtual School Students


Given the increasing popularity of enrollment in K-12 online settings and the critical role of motivation in students’ learning success, it is necessary to students’ motivational profile and its relationship with online learning outcomes. This study aimed to identified motivational profiles of 466 high-school learners taking online language courses in a Midwestern virtual school, and examined the relationship between different profiles and online language learning outcomes. Using cluster analysis, we identified four motivational profiles (i.e., high quantity, good quality, poor quality, and low quantity). Students with more autonomous motivation (i.e., high quantity, good quality) showed positive results than controlled motivation (i.e., poor quality, low quantity).


  • Yining Zhang, Michigan State University
  • Chin-Hsi Lin, Michigan State University

Elementary Teachers’ Use of the Internet for Literacy Instruction and Professional Learning


This paper presents the results of a study that examined Internet use by elementary teachers for their literacy instruction and professional learning. Forty-five elementary teachers from a metropolitan area in Ontario, Canada completed an online survey and participated in a semi-structured interview about their use of the Internet for literacy instruction and professional learning. Survey and interview data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and an inductive approach to analysis. Key findings include the types of online resources used by participants, their motivations for using online resources, and the most beneficial learning technologies for their teaching practice and professional learning. Implications are discussed.


  • Pamela Beach, Queen’s University

Online Teaching and Learning: Instructor Practices That Support the Formation of Virtual Community


Instructors play a significant role in helping online students develop a sense of community, but little is known about instructors’ roles in online graduate programs (Bolliger & Halupa, 2012). In this case study, the researcher interviewed 20 first and second-year students and analyzed the recordings and message boards of six online classes. Findings indicate that instructors helped students develop a sense of community by creating a warm and welcoming tone in the classroom, and by using technology in a variety of ways to engage all students and create a personalized learning experience.


  • Sharla Berry, University of Southern California

Virtual Terrains: Learning Mathematics and Physics in the Israeli Virtual High School


The exponential growth of virtual schools generates new conditions for teaching and learning. It is thus paramount to better understand these conditions and their impact on students’ experiences and perceptions. This paper explores learners’ experiences of a virtual high school through analyses of qualitative and quantitative data. Data analyses yielded several insights that pertain to pedagogical principles in the context of a virtual high school and that include notions relating to design, delivery, and support mechanisms—to echo Barbour’s three-part framework of online learning. Data have also yielded insights about students’ agency, which we would like to suggest as a fourth dimension in teaching/learning online courses. Implications for establishing potentially better conditions for learning in virtual contexts are discussed.


  • Osnat Fellus, University of Ottawa
  • Yaniv Biton
  • Dafna Raviv, Center for Educational Technology

Note that three of the five papers in this session are K-12 online learning related.  However, I’m presenting a roundtable session myself in a different room, so if you are in this session could you please post your notes in the comments below.

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