Virtual School Meanderings

May 18, 2017

Validated Online Course Design Standards

A few weeks ago I saw this news item scroll across my electronic desk – Edmentum Plato Courses Receive iNACOL Standards Approval. When you go to the news item, you get access to this summary:

Edmentum’s Plato Courseware’s iNACOL Standard Review –

A former doctoral student of mine actually completed his dissertation research focused on whether the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses could be validated based on research. Here are the results.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Building better courses: Examining the content validity of the iNACOL national standards for quality online courses. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(1), 41-73. Retrieved from

  • The first round focused on whether there was literature and, more importantly, the research literature support for the standards.  David was able to find something for just about every standard, but there was actually little in the way of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning research literature to support most standards as they were written.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2017). Improving the K-12 online course design review process: Experts weigh in on iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 18(3). Retrieved from

  • The second round had two teams of experts review the standards to determine whether, based on their expert opinions, the standards were appropriate measures of the quality of online course design.  While there was some general support for most standards, many of them were revised or dropped based on this expert feedback.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Redesigning design: Field testing a revised design rubric based of iNACOL quality course standards. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 31(2). Retrieved from

  • The third round had several teams of two reviewers that were responsible for applying the rubric associated with the standards to a variety of online courses to determine if inter-rater reliability could be achieved.  The results of this application were that the rubric could not be reliably applied.

Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016). Redesigning design: Streamlining K-12 online course creation. MACUL Journal, 37(1), 20-21. Retrieved from

  • This final article was targeted to practitioners.  It was basically an attempt for David to translate what he learned from the three rounds of research that would be of interest and of use to a practitioner audience.

November 28, 2016

Article Notice – Redesigning Design: Field Testing a Revised Design Rubric Based of iNACOL Quality Course Standards

Notice of this article came through my inbox today…

David Adelstein, Michael K Barbour

International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education (formerly the Journal of Distance Education) – Vol 31, No 2 (2016)


Designers have a limited selection of K-12 online course creation standards to choose from that are not blocked behind proprietary or pay walls. For numerous institutions and states, the use of the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses is becoming a widely used resource. This article presents the final phase in a three-part study to test the validity and reliability of the iNACOL standards specifically to online course design. Phase three was a field test of the revised rubric based on the iNACOL standards against current K-12 online courses. While the results show a strong exact match percentage, there is more work to be done with the revised rubric.

RésuméLes concepteurs ont une sélection limitée des normes K-12 de création de cours en ligne à choisir qui ne sont pas bloqués derrière des propriétés exclusives ou des péages informatiques. Pour de nombreuses institutions et états, l’utilisation des Normes nationales pour les cours en ligne de qualité iNACOL devient une ressource largement utilisée. Cet article présente la phase finale d’une étude en trois parties pour tester la validité et la fiabilité des normes iNACOL spécifiquement liées à la conception de cours en ligne. La phase trois était une mise à l’essai sur le terrain de la rubrique révisée établie en fonction des normes iNACOL par rapport aux cours en ligne K-12 actuels. Bien que les résultats montrent un fort pourcentage de correspondance exacte, il y a plus de travail à faire avec la rubrique révisée.


K-12 online learning, K-12 distance education, virtual school, cyber school, online course design

Full Text:


Full disclosure: I was a co-author on this article.

November 13, 2014

Article Notice – Testing the Waters: An Analysis of the Student and Parent Experience in a Secondary School’s First Blended Course Offering

From a former doctoral student of mine…

Testing the Waters: An Analysis of the Student and Parent Experience in a Secondary School’s First Blended Course Offering

Jason Paul Siko

International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education (formerly the Journal of Distance Education)
Vol 29, No 2 (2014)


In this study, the perceptions of parents (n = 14) and students (n = 47) enrolled in a blended learning course, the first of its kind at their school, were examined. Student performance in the blended and in the traditional portion of the course was examined, and the Educational Success Prediction Instrument (ESPRI) was administered to predict student performance. Both the students and parents were initially excited about the blended learning experience but were concerned about its effect on student performance. Teacher communication was a perceived concern. Differences in student performance between the two portions of the course were not statistically significant (p = .35). The ESPRI had correctly predicted approximately 84% of the outcomes (n = 43).


blended learning; student perceptions, parent perceptions, International Baccalaureate

Full Text:


October 22, 2014

Article Notice – Autonomy and Responsibility: Online Learning as a Solution for At-Risk High School Students

This came across my electronic desk yesterday…  Please note that it is a “research brief,” and not a full research article (see below for the journal description of a research brief).

Autonomy and Responsibility: Online Learning as a Solution for At-Risk High School Students

Somer Lewis, Aimee L. Whiteside, and Amy Garrett Dikkers

VOL. 29, No. 1 – International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education


In this three-year, mixed methods case study, the benefits and challenges of online learning for at-risk high school students were examined. A key finding was that at-risk students identify the benefits and challenges of online learning to be the same. While students appreciate the opportunity to work ahead and study at their own pace, they see it as a challenge to be responsible for their own learning and manage their time. The authors of this paper argue that, with proper support structures in place, students who are at-risk for dropping out can overcome challenges and find success in an online learning environment.


Dans cette étude de cas à méthodes mixtes, échelonnée sur une période de trois ans, les avantages et les défis de l’apprentissage en ligne pour des élèves à risque au secondaire ont été examinés. Une des principales conclusions était que les élèves à risque identifient que les avantages et les défis de l’apprentissage en ligne sont les mêmes. Alors que les étudiants apprécient l’opportunité de travailler à l’avance et d’étudier à leur propre rythme, ils le voient comme un défi d’être responsables de leur propre apprentissage et de gérer leur temps. Les auteurs de ce document affirment qu’avec des structures de soutien appropriées en place, les élèves qui sont à risque de décrochage peuvent surmonter les défis et trouver le succès dans un environnement d’apprentissage en ligne.


Please note:

Research Brief

Research briefs are short articles in this new section that report on pilot studies, studies based on a single site, and studies with small samples that would limit generalization. Research briefs serve to stimulate further research or alert researchers to work in progress.

May 2, 2014

[JDE] Sharing Exciting News

From Tuesday’s inbox…

Dear Reviewers & Editorial Board Members,

We would like to share some exciting news with you.  After careful consideration and consultation with the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) Board, the title of the Journal of Distance Education will be changed to the International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education (IJEDE) in May 2014.  Respecting the origins of the Journal of Distance Education, the new name still includes distance education while the reference to e-learning will open the journal to new readers and scholars. Because the journal was already functioning as an international journal, the Board has asked that the word international be incorporated into the title.

An official announcement about this change will be made at the 2014 CNIE Annual Conference in Kamloops, BC.  We are working to make the change as seamless as possible and will share more information when it is available.

In the meantime, we are writing to request some information from you.  Most important, we would like for you to confirm your desire to continue in your current capacity either as a reviewer or Editorial Board member.  As a Reviewer, your role is to review, upon invitation, 2-3 papers per year. There will be times when, for various reasons, this may not be possible, but it is an appropriate goal. Timely responses to invitations to review are appreciated. As a member of the Editorial Board, your responsibilities also include a review of 2-3 papers per year.  Additionally, Editorial Board members: 1) contribute to the ongoing development of efficient procedures for peer review and approval processes, and 2) review author grievances if they arise.

Please let us know of your intention to continue in your present role with the International Journal of E- Learning & Distance Education.  If we do not  hear back from you by May 15, 2014, we will understand that you no longer wish to continue in your current capacity.  Please let us know if you have any questions.


Dr. Vince Salyers

Dr. Lorraine Carter
Associate Editor

Chers réviseurs et membres du comité de rédaction,

Nous aimerions partager avec vous quelques nouvelles intéressantes. Après mûre réflexion et consultation avec le conseil d’administration du Réseau canadien pour l’innovation en éducation (RCIÉ), le titre de la Revue de l’Éducation à Distance changera à La Revue internationale de l’apprentissage en ligne et de l’enseignement à distance (RIALED) en mai 2014. Tout en respectant les origines de la Revue de l’Éducation à Distance, le nouveau nom inclut toujours l’enseignement à distance alors que la référence à l’apprentissage en ligne fera découvrir la revue aux nouveaux lecteurs et chercheurs. Puisque la revue fonctionnait déjà comme une revue internationale, le Conseil a demandé que le terme international soit incorporé dans le titre.

L’annonce officielle de ce changement se fera à la Conférence annuelle du Réseau canadien pour l’innovation en éducation (RCIÉ) de 2014 à Kamloops, Colombie-Britannique. Nous travaillons pour rendre le changement aussi transparent que possible et nous partagerons plus d’information, lorsque disponible.

En attendant, nous vous écrivons pour vous demander quelques renseignements. Plus important encore, nous aimerions que vous nous confirmiez votre désir de continuer dans votre fonction actuelle soit à titre de réviseur ou de membre du comité de rédaction. À titre de réviseur, votre rôle consiste à réviser, sur invitation, 2 à 3 articles par an. Il y aura des moments où, pour diverses raisons, cela peut ne pas être possible, mais il s’agit d’un objectif approprié. Des réponses en temps opportun aux invitations de réviser sont appréciées. En tant que membre du comité de rédaction, vos responsabilités comprennent également la révision de 2 à 3 articles par an. En outre, les membres du comité de rédaction : 1) contribuent à l’évolution des procédures efficaces pour le processus de révision et d’approbation par les pairs et 2) examinent les griefs de l’auteur s’ils se présentent.

Veuillez nous laisser savoir votre intention de continuer dans votre rôle actuel avec la Revue internationale de l’apprentissage en ligne et de l’enseignement à distance. Si nous ne recevons pas cette information de votre part d’ici le 15 mai 2014, nous comprendrons que vous ne souhaitez plus continuer dans votre fonction actuelle. N’hésitez pas à nous laisser savoir si vous avez des questions.


Dr Vince Salyers
Rédacteur en chef

Dr Lorraine Carter
Rédactrice en chef adjointe

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