Virtual School Meanderings

July 18, 2016

Dissertation Research – Call For Participants

I received this request over the weekend and wanted to pass it on.  If you are eligible to participate, I would encourage you to contact Linda.


University of Maine doctoral candidate is seeking research participants for a Skype/Zoom/Hangout based study concerning high school teachers’ experiences in both the brick and mortar and virtual classroom.

The study is entitled, “A Multiple Case Study of Secondary School Teachers’ Understanding of Learning Relationships in Virtual Schools: Implications for Teacher Identity.”

Current virtual high school teachers with prior brick and mortar teaching experience are invited to contact Linda Fuller, the researcher, at or at 207-461-1700. If you meet the preliminary requirements, you will be invited to participate in three distance interviews scheduled at your convenience. In the interviews you will be asked about your reasons for becoming a teacher, various aspects of your experiences with learners, and some of your thinking about those experiences. The total interview time will be less than five hours and will result in three transcripts, which you are welcome to review and approve. This research may help inform the work of policy-makers and school administrators seeking successful use of technology to enhance school programming, teacher preparation programs as they prepare teachers to teach at a distance from learners, professional development designers working with current teachers who wish to move into virtual teaching, and those individuals deciding where and whether to teach.

Although this is not a compensated study, earlier participants have called the process “engaging” and “rewarding” so hopefully that will be true for others as well.

Thank you for considering this opportunity.

April 29, 2016

Announcing the MVLRI Dissertation Fellowship Program

From Wednesday’s inbox…

An opportunity for doctoral students to expand their research efforts!
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Dissertation Fellowship
We’re pleased to announce our newest initiative, the MVLRI Dissertation Fellowship! This fellowship entails a $2,000 award to be used for activities like conference travel, presentations, or opportunities to expand the fellows’ projects and contribute to the body of research on K-12 online and blended learning. Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program and have passed their comprehensive exams. For more details on application requirements and deadlines, please click here. We look forward to reviewing your applications soon!
Personalized learning isn’t just a buzz word. People like Jim Rickabaugh at the Institute for Personalized Learning are doing some serious work to redesign school models, using research and technology, to put students at the center. Listen to our latest podcast with Dr. Rickabaughhere.
We recently published our third in a series of blog posts from our colleagues at Scout from University of California, focusing on how online gradebooks can be analyzed using the R programming language. The first post, along with links to the second and third, can be found here.
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March 30, 2016

Dissertation – Call For Volunteers

Please note that this is a research request for volunteers from one of my doctoral students (my final doctoral student at Wayne State to be exact).  If you meet his criteria, please consider volunteering.

Call for Volunteers

My name is David Adelstein and I am a doctoral student at Wayne State University, and I am looking for volunteers to help complete the final phase of my dissertation study.

Study Overview

The overall goal will be to create a revised K-12 online course design rubric based off the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses. The first phase of research was to review the iNACOL standards based on the research literature to determine the level of support within the K-12 online learning literature, as well as the broader online learning literature. For the second phase, eight experts in the field from a variety of sectors examined the standards in regards to course design beginning with the results of phase one. This second phase resulted in a revised list of standards and a revised rubric. In the third phase, 3-5 teams of two reviewers on the application of the revised rubric from phase two.

Volunteers Needed for Phase Three

  • Educators with K-12 online teaching experience required
  • Educators with online course design experience preferred

Phase Three Outline

  • Three to five teams of two reviewers
  • Each reviewer will apply the rubric independently to the content of four or five online courses
  • The rubric will be measured using inter-rater reliability

Phase Three Training

  • Reviewers will receive the rubric and an example of a course review
  • Each team will have a practice course to apply the rubric
  • Over Google Hangout, each team and the researcher will review the practice course

Phase Three Time Commitment

  • Each reviewer will have approximately two weeks to complete all four or five reviews
  • Estimated time to review one course is approximately 60-90 minutes
  • Estimated total time to review all courses is four to eight hours

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me at

I thank you in advance

December 17, 2015

[CSSE-SCÉÉ] CAFE Call for Awards | Appel de candidatures pour les prix de l’ACÉFÉ

This may be of interest to several Canadian colleagues…

Dear CSSE Community,

Please take note of the two Publications Awards that will be granted at the 2016 CAFE/ ACÉFÉ conference in Calgary, AB.  The first is for an outstanding scholarly article in the foundations.  The second set of awards pertains to outstanding dissertations and theses in a related field.

Thank you to Dr. Shirley Van Nuland for her work in drafting these calls and serving as Chair of the Awards Committee.  If you have interest in serving on the Committee, please write directly to Dr. Van Nuland, whose contact information is noted in the Calls.

Best regards,


Kurt Clausen, PhD
President CAFE/ ACÉFÉ


Chers collègues,

Veuillez prendre note des deux Prix de publications qui sera accordé au congrès 2016 de l‘ACÉFÉ à Calgary, en Alberta. Le premier est pour un article scientifique exceptionnel dans les fondations. La deuxième série de bourses se rapporte aux mémoires et thèses remarquables.

Je remercie Professeure Shirley Van Nuland pour son travail dans l’élaboration de ces appels et à titre de présidente du Comité des prix. Si vous avez intérêt à siéger sur le comité, s’il vous plaît communiquez directement avec Professeure Van Nuland; vous trouverez les coordonnées dans les appels.



Kurt Clausen, PhD
Président de l’ACÉFÉ

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August 7, 2015

Dissertation Research: Poverty And K-12 Distance Learning

A week or so ago, I received the following message from a doctoral student…

Good afternoon Dr. Barbour,

[stuff deleted] I have been following your posts and work on Twitter and Facebook for some time now, but I wanted to reach out to you and ask a few questions.

My course work is done and I am now grinding through my dissertation. Generally, it looks at how poverty impacts educational outcomes (predominantly high school graduation), but since I work as a teacher in a cyber-school I am specifically focusing on how poverty impacts students in online K-12 settings. I am preparing to undertake a study (at [stuff deleted]), but wanted to ask you few questions first. Are you aware of anyone who has looked at this? Is there any literature that has addressed this that may be informative? I haven’t found much on my own, so any direction or insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

In response (which I’ll be honest took a bit of time), I wrote:

I think the only way to measure this within the K-12 online learning environment is free and reduced lunch. the only work that I have seen done along those lines – at least within the publish research base – is the work that Gary Miron has done with the NEPC (although that is just focused on full-time K-12 online learning).

I should note that many individual K-12 online learning programs release annual reports (sometimes from external evaluators/reviewers) that do look at poverty – at least through the lens of free and reduced lunch.

I would also guess that it probably comes up in dissertations – as there are a lot of good dissertation research that flies under the radar. So be sure to be searching ProQuest.

I’m wondering from my colleagues out there if there is anything I might have missed or any other advice you might provide. Note that I told the doctoral student I was posting this entry, so they are likely monitoring it.

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