Virtual School Meanderings

March 10, 2018

LearnTechLib Table of Contents Alert: CITE Journal 17:4

Another table of contents alert from yesterday.

LearnTechLib - The Learning & Technology Library

LearnTechLib Table of Contents Alert: CITE Journal 17:4

Dear Michael Barbour,

The latest issue of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education is now available on LearnTechLib, the Learning & Technology Library.

Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education

Vol. 17 , No. 4 (December 2017)

Table of Contents

  1. Enhancing Preservice Science Teachers’ Use of Text Through E-Readers

    Brian Zoellner , University of North Florida, ; Terence Cavanaugh , University of North Florida,


  2. Computational Thinking in Mathematics Teacher Education

    George Gadanidis , Faculty of Education, Western University, ; Rosa Cendros , Faculty of Education, Western University, ; Lisa Floyd , Faculty of Education, Western University, ; Immaculate Namukasa , Faculty of Education, Western University,


  3. The Role of Photoblogs in Social Studies Classroom: Learning About the People of the Civil War

    Elizabeth Barrow , The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ; Janice Anderson , The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ; Martinette Horner , The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,


  4. Incorporating Multiple Technologies Into Teacher Education: A Case of Developing Preservice Teachers’ Understandings in Teaching Statistics With Technology

    Jennifer Lovett , Middle Tennessee State University, ; Hollylynne Lee , NC State University,


  5. Making and Missing Connections: Exploring Twitter Chats as a Learning Tool in a Preservice Teacher Education Course

    Betina Hsieh , California State University, Long Beach,


  6. Supporting Change in Teacher Practice: Examining Shifts of Teachers’ Professional Development Preferences and Needs for Technology Integration

    Yin-Chan Liao , Indiana University-Bloomington, ; Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich , Indiana University-Bloomington, ; Michael Karlin , Indiana University-Bloomington, ; Krista Glazewski , Indiana University-Bloomington, ; Thomas Brush , Indiana University-Bloomington,


  7. Technology-Supported Science Instruction Through Integrated STEM Guitar Building: The Case for STEM and Non-STEM Instructor Success

    Sean Hauze , San Diego State University, ; Debbie French , Wilkes University,


  8. Editorial: A Report on the 2017 National Technology Leadership Summit

    Chrystalla Mouza , University of Delaware,


  9. Editorial: A Call for Articles on AMTE’s Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics Use of Technology in K-12

    Beth Bos , Arkansas State University,


  10. Editorial: Integrated STEM and Current Directions in the STEM Community

    Andrea C. Burrows , University of Wyoming, ; Joe Garofalo , University of Virginia, ; Steven Barbato , International Technology and Engineering Education Association, ; Rhonda Christensen , University of North Texas, ; Michael Grant , University of South Carolina, ; – Kinshuk , University of North Texas, ; Jennifer Parrish , University of Northern Colorado, ; Christine Thomas , Georgia State University, ; Tandra Tyler-Wood , University of North Texas,


  11. Table of contents for this issue:

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March 1, 2018

Commentary – Virtual School Startups: Founder Processes In American K-12 Public Virtual Schools

Earlier this week I posted an article notice for a recent item in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL).

Brett Drushal Taylor, Delores E. McNair


Traditional school districts do not have a lot of experience with virtual schools and have lost students to state and charter virtual schools. To retain students and offer alternative learning opportunities, more public districts are starting their own virtual schools. This study was an examination of foundational processes at three California virtual schools in traditional school districts.  An analysis of the findings revealed that sites perceived the establishing founder, preliminary research, district support, teacher and staff selection, financial evaluation, and curriculum decisions as keys to the founding process.  The analysis also led to surprising conclusions, including the need for virtual schools to constantly change and adapt and the focus in this study of organizations over technology.  The findings have implications for traditional districts starting virtual schools. The study also indicates that changes in policy could reduce the need for organizational adaptation among virtual schools in traditional school districts.


virtual school, K-12 online learning, organizational structure, traditional public school districts, foundational processes

Full Text:



As I have chatted with some of my colleagues about this article and expressed my concerns about the article, so I thought I would take some time to write some notes on this piece.

Let me begin by saying that I am surprised and disappointed that this article was published by the IRRODLIRRODL is a well received, well respected, and relatively high impact journal (at least compared to other distance education journals).  The fact that an article that was this weak and had this many fundamental flaws was published was disappointing – and I know I’m using this term a second time, but I can’t think of another to reflect how I feel about this.  I’m disappointed because while there is a growing literature based related to K-12 distance, online, and blended learning; there is still a limited literature based (particularly literature based on empirical research).  Due to this situation, at least in my opinion, there is an onus on us as researchers to ensure that what is published builds upon the existing knowledge base, is quality research, and situates the work within the larger field.  This piece fails on all three of these purposes.

For example, there are numerous problems with the literature review. First, there isn’t really a literature review – it is just kind of an extension of the introduction section.  Second, what they do have there is just a summary of the literature, where each piece of literature is presented with the same veracity – regardless of the quality or source of the literature. A literature review is designed to be a synthesis and critique of the literature.  Third, the field of K-12 online learning is an ever changing field, yet with the exception of one citation from the 2015 Keeping Pace report, all of the literature that the authors have used are 7+ years old. This is just not acceptable in any technology-based area, but particularly with cyber schools (where most of the literature has been published in recent years).  Fourth, the authors have little concept of the terminology that is dominantly used in the literature. K-12 online learning, virtual schooling, and cyber schooling – at least within the academic literature – are generally not seen as the same. K-12 online learning is generally used to refer to the larger field. Virtual schooling tends to refer to supplemental forms of K-12 online learning, while cyber schooling is often used to refer to full-time forms of K-12 online learning. The authors have conducted a study of cyber schools, yet much of the literature that the authors have used are focused on virtual schooling (minus the Keeping Pace reports).  This issue alone is a fatal flaw in this article, as it fails to adequately situate the study in the larger body of what is known in the literature (and thus fails to build upon what is already known).

Further, the methodology section should be written to a level of detail that a reader could replicate the study.  In this study, there is a brief paragraph about the fact that this is a case study – and a single, predictable citation.  This is followed by a single sentence to describe what appear to be three different data collection methods (e.g., “Data were collected through document analysis, interviews, and observations.”).  Then two sentence to describe what appears to be three phases of data analysis and two types of coding (e.g., “The data collection followed specific protocol pertaining to three phases of each school’s history: the foundational phase, the adaptation phase, and the current phase.  Data were analyzed through a double coding cycle utilizing descriptive and pattern coding.”).  Finally, a single sentence that describes two different methods to ensure the reliability and validity of the study (e.g., “The findings were validated through triangulation and member checking.”).  Based on these four sentences, I would argue that no individual would be able to replicate this study to any degree of validity at all!

Finally, the authors have a section titled “Findings and Discussion,” but the actual section is basically only a Results section. The purpose of a Discussion section is to discuss what was found in light of what was already known. To put it another way, how do the findings jive with the existing literature. Implicit in this purpose is that there would be specific references in the discussion section to relevant literature that has already been synthesized and critiqued in the literature review. In this article, the authors have a single statement that has two citations – and one of those citations isn’t even included in the literature review.  This is the sum total of their attempts to situate this study within the existing body of knowledge related to K-12 online learning.

I wanted to take the time to discuss this article – and its significant deficiencies that I believe should have prevented it from being published – because as an emerging and developing field of scholarship the publication of bad research hurts the field.  Over the past couple of months I came across an article entitled “The science that’s never been cited: Nature investigates how many papers really end up without a single citation.”  It was an interesting piece that actually tied into, or at least got me thinking about, another project that I had been working on with a group of doctoral students at a colleague’s institution (and this other project was looking at all of the journal articles that were published in the field from 1994 to 2016).  Given the fact that this article fails to build upon the existing knowledge base and fails to situate their work within the larger field, how useful is this article to the field – particularly for folks that don’t know our field well enough to do those things on their own.  As scholars in this field, and in particular as individuals who review for many of these general distance education journals, what is our responsibility to help be gatekeepers against this poor quality research?

February 26, 2018

IRRODL Volume 19, Issue 1

See this notice from the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning and the article focused on K-12 online learning.

IRRODL Issue 19(1)
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Hello IRRODL Readers,

Welcome to IRRODL in 2018! We are delighted to offer you this issue with articles on learner support, K-12, educational videos, MOOCs, and other subjects in our field.


Vol 19, No 1 (2018)

Table of Contents


Editorial – Volume 19, Issue 1
Rory McGreal

Research Articles

Jui-Hung Chang, Po-Sheng Chiu, Yueh-Min Huang
Serpil Kocdar, Abdulkadir Karadeniz, Aras Bozkurt, Koksal Buyuk
Zhijun Wang, Terry Anderson, Li Chen
Jamie Costley, Christopher Lange
Hsiu-Mei Huang, Shu-Sheng Liaw
Michael Paskevicius, George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons
Kennedy Hadullo, Robert Oboko, Elijah Omwenga
Judit T Nagy
Rebecca Yvonne Bayeck, Jinhee Choi
Raniah Adham, Pat Parslow, Yota Dimitriadi, Karsten Øster Lundqvist
Ahmad Samed Al-Adwan, Amr Al-Madadha, Zahra Zvirzdinaite
Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Aras Bozkurt, Uthman Alturki, Ahmed Aldraiweesh
Joy Fraser, Dorothy (Willy) Fahlman, Jane Arscott, Isabelle Guillot
Jingjing Lin, Lorenzo Cantoni
Konstantinos Chorianopoulos
Brett Drushal Taylor, Delores E. McNair

Field Notes

Hakan Özcan, Soner Yıldırım

Book Notes

The Sage Handbook of E-learning Research (2nd ed.)
Lauren Cifuentes

Full Issue

IRRODL Volume 19, Number 1
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International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL)
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January 4, 2018

[CJLT / RCAT] New Issue Published

No K-12 distance, online and/or blended learning specific items in this issue.

Dear Readers,

The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La revue canadienne de
l’apprentissage et de la technologie has published Volume 43, Number 2
(2017). This issue is available on our web site at We
invite you to review the Table of Contents here and then visit our web site
to review articles and items of interest.

Thank you for your continued interest in our work,

CJLT Editors
University of Alberta & York University


Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La revue canadienne de
lapprentissage et de la technologie
Vol 43, No 2 (2017)


Styles de navigation sur un site Web chilien pour des enseignants
d’espagnol | Browsing Styles on a Chilean Web site for Teachers of Spanish
Sandra Meza Fernández, Pascal Marquet

Lecturer e-Training Program to Support University Teaching | Programme
d’e-formation pour les chargés de cours pour appuyer l’enseignement
Chan Chang Tik

Guitars and Makerspace: Examining the Experience of First Nations Students |
Guitares et laboratoires ouverts : examen de l’expérience d’élèves
des Premières Nations
Jay R Wilson, Marc Gobeil

Mon ami Google : une étude des pratiques des futurs enseignants du Québec
en recherche d’information | My friend Google: A study on the information
seeking process of Quebec’s pre-service teachers
Gabriel Dumouchel, Thierry Karsenti

Remote assistive technology training in Newfoundland and Labrador’s rural
schools: Is there a need? | Perceptions des enseignants quant au besoin de
formation en technologie d’assistance dans les écoles rurales de
Terre-Neuve et du Labrador
Kimberly Maich, Tricia Van Rhijn, Heather Woods, Kimberly Brochuhu
Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology /
La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie

December 1, 2017

IRRODL Announcement

Note this latest issue – no K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning articles.

IRRODL Issue 18(7)
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As 2017 draws to a close, we are delighted to offer you this IRRODL issue with articles on mobile learning, OER, MOOCs, and other subjects in our field.


Vol 18, No 7 (2017)

Full Issue

View or download the full issue PDF

Table of Contents


Editorial – Volume 18, Issue 7
Rory McGreal

Research Articles

Greig Krull, Josep M. Duart
Ruth Aluko
Hulya Avci, Tufan Adiguzel
Levent Cetinkaya
Vivien Rolfe
Santosh Panda, Sujata Santosh
Folashade Afolabi
Tarah K. Ikahihifo, Kristian J. Spring, Jane Rosecrans, Josh Watson
Inés Gil-Jaurena, Javier Callejo-Gallego, Yolanda Agudo
Tian Luo, Alexander Murray, Helen Crompton
Karel Kreijns, Marjan Vermeulen, Hans van Buuren, Frederik Van Acker
Dianne Forbes
Hanna Teräs, Ümit Kartoğlu
Marshall P. Thomas, Selen Türkay, Michael Parker
Mik Fanguy, Jamie Costley, Matthew Baldwin
Emilio Ferreiro Lago, Sara Osuna Acedo

Field Notes

Special Report on the Role of Open Educational Resources in Supporting the Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education Challenges and Opportunities
Rory McGreal
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