Virtual School Meanderings

December 13, 2018

These New Articles For Distance Education Are Available Online

Note the earlier access to this K-12 online learning article that will be coming out in the new year.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the authors.

December 12, 2018

Article Notice – Preparing Social Studies Teachers And Librarians For Blended Teaching

This was referenced earlier in the week through a couple of my open scholarship networks.

Preparing Social Studies Teachers and Librarians for Blended Teaching

by Mark Stevens, George Mason University; Jered Borup, George Mason University; & Michael K. Barbour, Touro University, California


Blended learning has grown rapidly in K-12 schools and is commonly seen as a potential vehicle to make learning more student centered by providing students with some level of control over their learning pace and path. As a result, blended learning is most likely to have a transformative effect when it is paired with constructivist learning strategies, such as guided inquiry, that emphasize student choice. In the research described in this paper, the authors examined one school district’s year-long professional development efforts to prepare social studies teachers and school librarians to design and facilitate blended learning units. They conducted 11 interviews with six participants and two focus groups with seven participants. Based on their analysis of the interview and focus group transcripts, they found that the professional development was effective at improving participants’ blended teaching knowledge, skills, and perceptions. Participants valued the facilitators’ feedback and modeling. They also found their interactions and collaborations with other participants to be valuable when attempting to apply their learning to their classrooms. Actually facilitating units with their own students resulted in the largest impact on their perceptions of blended learning.

December 11, 2018

Article Notice – Exploring The Impact Of Small-Group Synchronous Discourse Sessions In Online Math Learning

I also noticed that this K-12 online learning article was in the same issue.

Jinnie Choi, Alyssa Walters


Students in a fully-online learning environment have limited access to opportunities to talk about math problem solving. While discourse is a promising pedagogical model, less is known about how it translates to online math learning. We analyzed online platform data from two fully-online virtual elementary schools in the United States to address the following research questions: (a) Is participating in math discourse about reasoning and problem-solving related to students’ confidence, self-efficacy toward math, and math mindset in an online learning environment? (b) Is participation in math discourse related to math performance? The results showed that (a) repeated participation in the discourse sessions in a course was not directly related with changes in confidence, self-efficacy toward math, and math mindset, and (b) higher numbers of sessions that students participated in was associated with higher performance in final math course score and state assessment results, after controlling for prior performance and confidence, self-efficacy and mindset scores.


math discourse; mathematics instruction; online learning

Full Text:


Article Notice – Accessibility that Supports Literacy: Virtual School Course Design Teams’ Instructional Planning For Students With Disabilities

This article was referenced in one of the open scholarship alerts yesterday.

Mary Frances Rice



As more students with disabilities in K-12 settings enroll in online courses, virtual schools and programs are working make courses accessible through stronger course design. When course designers approach the issue of accessibility, they must comply with legal requirements and mitigate the challenges many students with disabilities face for literacy and learning. These challenges include less well-developed content vocabulary and background knowledge, as well as inefficient skills and strategies for engaging with and comprehending online text. This study describes phenomenological research where course designers worked to meet accessibility standards and promote literacies online for all students, especially students with disabilities. Four strategies for promoting accessibility emerged as findings: (1) composing clear articulations of learning outcomes; (2) promoting personalized and contextualized learning, and; (3) planning for visual and audio representation of concepts. However, course designers may need additional support for addressing the interplay between literacies that promote access and accessibility features that promote literacies.


K12 online course design, collaborative online course design, instructional design for students with disabilities, course design literacies, accessibility in online courses

Full Text:


December 6, 2018

Distance Education, Volume 39, Issue 4, November 2018 Is Now Available Online On Taylor & Francis Online

There aren’t any K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning items in this issue.

Taylor & Francis Online - The new journals and reference work platform for Taylor & Francis
The online platform for Taylor & Francis Online content

Distance Education, Volume 39, Issue 4, November 2018 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

EditorialRecalibrating existing choreographies for open and flexible learning
Som Naidu
Pages: 437-440 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1525279

Original ArticlesAn exploratory literature review on open educational practices
Suzan Koseoglu & Aras Bozkurt
Pages: 441-461 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520042

Temporal flexibility in the digital university: full-time, part-time, flexitime
Philippa Sheail
Pages: 462-479 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520039

The experience of international postgraduate students on a distance-learning programme
Roger A Harrison, Annie Harrison, Christine Robinson & Barbara Rawlings
Pages: 480-494 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520038

A trend analysis of opportunities and challenges of open and distance learning provision in dual-mode institutions
Bogadi Nage-Sibande & Bantu Lulu Morolong
Pages: 495-510 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1457951

ArticlesInstitutional mapping of open educational practices beyond use of Open Educational Resources
Fabio Nascimbeni, Daniel Burgos, Lorna M. Campbell & Anita Tabacco
Pages: 511-527 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520040

Original ArticlesSelf-regulation of the use of digital resources in an online language learning course improves learning outcomes
Christopher D. Hromalik & Tiffany A. Koszalka
Pages: 528-547 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520044

Evaluating alignment of student and tutor perspectives on feedback on language learning assignments
María Fernández-Toro & Concha Furnborough
Pages: 548-567 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520043

Instructor and student perceptions of online student engagement strategies
Doris U. Bolliger & Florence Martin
Pages: 568-583 | DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1520041

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