Virtual School Meanderings

January 10, 2014

More Dissertation Research Ideas

Earlier this week, Misty-Dawn James commented on Dissertation Research Ideas?.

Dr. Barbour,

Do you have any suggestions on researching sub-groups of virtual high school students? Specifically, special education students. I am in the early stages of forming my dissertation questions and so far, I have found very limited research on how well these students are performing compared to their peers at traditional brick and mortar schools. What are your thoughts on this topic or suggested authors who may have articles on this topic?

Thank you a ton in advance!

I responded to her on that thread that I would post an entry to highlight her query and allow others to comment.

Right now there is a wealth of topics that could be researched, and there is very little published in this area.  Right now Article Notice – Virtually Forgotten: Special Education Students in Cyber Schools is one of the few research articles on special education available.  Beyond this single entry, you might just use the “special education” tag on my blog to see what else you might find.

In terms of actual publications that you might want to check out, might I recommend:

Cavanaugh, T. W. (2004). Distance learning as a form of accommodation. In C. Cavanaugh (ed.), Development and management of virtual schools: Issues and trends (pp. 84-115). Hersey, PA, Idea Group, Inc.

Crow, K. L. (2008). Four types of disabilities: Their impact on online learning. Tech Trends, 52(1), 51-55.

Grabinger, S. R, Aplin, C. & Ponnappa-Brenner, G. (2008). Supporting learners with cognitive impairments in online environments. TechTrends, 52(1), 63-69.

Keeler, C. G., & Horney, M. (2007). Online course designs: Are special needs being met? American Journal of Distance Education, 21(2), 61-75.

Keeler, C. G., Richter, J., Anderson-Inman, L., Horney, M. A., Ditson, M. (2007). Exceptional Learners: Differentiated Instruction Online. In C. Cavanaugh & R. Blomeyer (Eds.), What works in K-12 online learning (pp. 125−178). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Müller, E. (2010). Virtual K-12 public school programs and students with disabilities: Issues and recommendations–A policy forum proceedings document. Alexandria, VA: Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Repetto, J., Cavanaugh, C., Wayer, N., & Liu, F. (2010). Virtual high schools: Improving outcomes for students with disabilities. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 11(2), 91-104.

Rose, R., & Blomeyer, R. L. (2007). Access and equity in online classes and virtual schools. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning. Retrieved from

Smith, S. J. & Meyen, E. L. (2003). Applications of online instruction: An overview for teachers, students with mild disabilities, and their parents. Focus on Exceptional Children. 35(6), 1-15.

Watson, J., & Gemin, B. (2008) Promising practices in online learning: Using online learning for at-risk students and credit recovery. Vienna, VA: International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from

I might also suggest looking at the Center for Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (although note the following caveat – see the bottom).

December 26, 2013

Request To Complete Survey

Back to the content-based entries (I think this may be the first)… This came across my desk via the iNACOL Research in Review Blog.  As this is a difficult time of year to get responses, I wanted to increase the coverage of this doctoral student’s survey.

A Grounded Theory Study of Best Practices for K12 Virtual Teacher Professional Development is in progress. In this research context, virtual education consists of both online and blended instruction and using virtual tools including social media technology.

The purpose of this qualitative grounded theory study is to explore practices utilized for K12 virtual teacher professional development that may lead to the creation of a best practices model for K12 virtual schooling.
Request assistance of U.S. K12 administrators, teachers, and curriculum developers involved in online education complete the survey. The 30-40 minute survey consists of the informed consent form, five demographic questions and nine open-ended questions to obtain your perspective on K12 virtual teacher professional development experiences. Participant privacy will remain safeguarded as I am the only individual with access to the raw survey data. If you are interested in completing the survey, please click the following link:

Thank you for taking time to assist me and if you have any questions please feel free to email me.

Janet Peterson
Doctoral Candidate
North Central University

– See more at:

October 14, 2013

Online Teacher Survey: Follow-Up Posting

This is being posted on behalf of a doctoral student that contacted Kathryn Kennedy of iNACOL.

Last week I posted to this forum asking you to respond to a short survey about your experience and training as a K-12 online teacher. Your participation in this study is important and will help in describing the current population of K-12 online teachers and how they were trained for this environment.

This brief survey should only take you 15 minutes to complete. If you have already completed the survey, I appreciate your participation. If you have not yet responded to the survey, I encourage you to complete the survey today.

Please click on the link below to access the survey.

Survey Link:

I appreciate your time and consideration in completing the survey. Information gathered from online teachers like you is crucial to improve ways in preparing future distance educators.

Many thanks,

Jean Larson
PhD Candidate, Educational Technology
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

October 7, 2013

Online Teacher Survey: Invitation With Link Posting

This is being posted on behalf of a doctoral student that contacted Kathryn Kennedy of iNACOL.

I would like to ask for your participation in a survey on K-12 online teachers in the United States that I am conducting for my dissertation.

As mentioned in my previous post, members of iNACOL are identified as being affiliated with U.S. virtual schools. If you are a K-12 online teacher (or can distribute this information to those that teach online) your participation would be most appreciated.

Your responses to this survey are very important. Information gathered will help capture an accurate representation of who is currently teaching online to K-12 students and will provide valuable information for both university teacher education programs and virtual schools.

This is a brief survey and should take you no more than 15 minutes to complete. Please click on the link below to begin the survey.

Survey Link:

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary and all of your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Your name will be removed from the list once you have completed the survey. Any reports of this data will not associate your responses with any personally identifiable information. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Thank you in advance for your help. Your responses are important in getting a true depiction of K-12 online teachers and how they were prepared to teach online.


Jean Larson
PhD Candidate, Educational Technology
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

September 30, 2013

Online Teacher Survey: Pre-Notification Posting

This is being posted on behalf of a doctoral student that contacted Kathryn Kennedy of iNACOL.

My name is Jean Larson, and I am an Educational Technology doctoral student at Arizona State University. I am conducting research about K-12 online teachers in the United States for my dissertation study. Because very little is known regarding this population, this research seeks to provide a clearer picture of the background and training of those teaching online.

As a member of iNACOL, you are identified as being affiliated with a virtual school in the United States. In the next few days, I will be posting a link to a web-based survey on this General Forum. If you teach online, your response to this short survey would be greatly appreciated.

I am providing this information in advance so you will recognize the request in a few days when it is posted on the General Forum. Results from this important study will help to provide meaningful insight into the characteristics of K-12 online teachers and how they are prepared to teach online.

This study can only be successful with the generous help of people like you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Jean Larson
PhD Candidate, Educational Technology
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Arizona State University

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