Virtual School Meanderings

August 12, 2019

EDTECH537 – Guest Blog Entry: How Does An Online Course Become (And Stay) Available For K-12 Students?

As I mentioned in the Week 7 entry for my EDTECH537 – Blogging In The Classroom course earlier this morning, today I wanted to post a sample of a guest blog entry.

Jason Siko has held appointments at Madonna University and Grand Valley State University.  Prior to entering the academy he was a high school biology and chemistry teacher in the metro Detroit area.  Jason’s research is primary focus on K-12 online and blended learning.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “There’s no such thing as a bad medical school. If you graduate bad doctors or ones that can’t pass the licensing exams, they’ll shut you down.” The same could likely be said about law schools. The point I’m trying to make is that there are mechanisms in place for the quality control in some areas of education. Heck, the same could be said about restaurants: even with variations in oversight and regulations from health inspectors, Yelp! ratings matter. If people get sick, or see rats coming out of the kitchen, you know that restaurant will not be around much longer.

However, when we look at K-12 online learning, we see a different story. Course pass rates for online courses pale in comparison to their face-to-face counterparts, yet the growth of online learning at the K-12 level continues. States and third-party providers continue to grow their programs and add new courses. How does the process of getting a course approved and keeping it in the catalog work? In this post I’ll provide an overview of how some states handle this process.

Generally speaking, states can require approval at the course level or the provider level, or both. These processes are fairly self-explanatory; at the course level, the course must meet whatever guidelines are dictated by the state before being accessible by students, while at the provider level, it is the provider who must meet requirements before being allowed to provide/administer online courses in the state. In some states (e.g., California), approval of courses is optional. Finally, some states have different approval options based on whether the course is created for use within a district or if students from multiple districts are allowed to enroll.

As you can see, there is little followup based on student performance once the course is “live.” Two states, Washington and Colorado, have made efforts to include elements of continued approval of courses based on performance and student attendance, but they are still in their infancy. What challenges do you see (i.e., political, logistical, economic, etc.) with creating a system of oversight that monitors (with consequences) online course success rates based on student performance?

Note: Some of the information in this article comes from the following source.

Barbour, M. K., Clark, T., Siko, J. P., DeBruler, K., & Bruno, J. (2019). Cases of quality: Case studies of the approval and evaluation of K-12 online and blended providers. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 22(1). Retrieved from

Jason Siko, Ph.D., is a researcher whose primary focus is K-12 online and blended learning.

May 5, 2019

Still Open: K-12 Blended & Online Learning With University System Of Georgia

Note this up-coming MOOC focused on K-12 distance, online, and blended learning.

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March 7, 2019

SITE 2019: K-12 Online And/Or Blended Learning Sessions

So as I look through the program for SITE 2019 in a few weeks, here is what I’ve come up with as sessions focused on K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning.

Tuesday, March 19th

Wednesday, March 20th

Friday, March 22nd

March 5, 2019

Publication Notice: Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K-12 Online and Blended Learning

This came across my electronic desk last week.

Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K-12 Online and Blended Learning

Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K-12 Online and Blended Learning

Tina Lane Heafner (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), Richard Hartshorne (University of Central Florida, USA) and Richard Thripp (University of Central Florida, USA)
Release Date: January, 2019|Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 608
ISBN13: 9781522580096|ISBN10: 1522580093|EISBN13: 9781522580102|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8009-6


National efforts have been made to encourage technology integration in teacher preparation with expectations for frequent and successful applications with K-12 learners. While online learning has become pervasive in many fields in education, it has been somewhat slow to catch on in K-12 settings.

The Handbook of Research on Emerging Practices and Methods for K-12 Online and Blended Learning is a collection of innovative research on the applications of technology in online and blended learning environments in order to develop quality courses, explore how content is delivered across disciplines and settings, and support the formation of relationships and enrichment opportunities. While highlighting topics including learning initiatives, institutional policies, and program structures, this book is ideally designed for teachers, principals, early childhood development centers, university faculty, administrators, policymakers, researchers, and practitioners.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Collaborative Learning
  • Cultural Aspects
  • Evaluation
  • Institutional Policies
  • Instructional Models
  • K-12 Education
  • Learning Initiatives
  • Learning Theory
  • Online Learning
  • Program Structures
  • Student Achievement
  • Student Learning Outcomes
  • Teacher Roles
  • Technology Applications

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Detailed Table of Contents
Kathryn Kennedy
Tina L. Heafner, Richard Hartshorne
Chapter 1
Marius Boboc
This chapter provides updated background information related to K-12 online education, ranging from definitions to benefits and challenges, based on… Sample PDF
Chapter 2
Vassiliki I. Zygouris-Coe
Demand for online learning is increasing in US colleges and universities. Learning does not occur in a vacuum; students learn independently and… Sample PDF
Chapter 3
Jean S. Larson, Leanna Archambault
This chapter, updated for the second edition of this volume, reviews the current research specific to the characteristics and preparation of those… Sample PDF
Chapter 4
Dixie D. Massey
The subject of students’ reading abilities and achievement are the focus national and international comparisons. Such a broad audience makes… Sample PDF
Chapter 5
Amy Valentine, Butch Gemin, Lauren Vashaw, John Watson, Christopher Harrington, Elizabeth LeBlanc
Discussions of rural America often summon images of pastoral farmland, country roads, and close-knit communities; this vision offers a sharp… Sample PDF
Chapter 6
Tina Lane Heafner
Using a widely accepted measure of teacher candidates’ performance, edTPA, this chapter examines the role of formative supports in supporting… Sample PDF
Chapter 7
Elizabeth A. Anderson
Student engagement has been shown to be essential to improving academic achievement, increasing high school graduation rates, lower dropout rates… Sample PDF
Chapter 8
Kristin Kipp, Kerry L. Rice
Engagement refers to a learner’s interest in their own learning. Engaged students care about what they are learning and spend the time necessary… Sample PDF
Chapter 9
Jean Kiekel, Serena Flores, Nicole McZeal Walters
Online learning for K-12 is the fastest growing segment of education. Advantages include access to courses for college and career readiness; world… Sample PDF
Chapter 10
Steve Joordens, Aakriti Kapoor, Bob Hofman
Online learning allows one to escape traditional constraints and to create learning experiences that allow interactions, and support learning, that… Sample PDF
Chapter 11
Elizabeth A. Anderson
The measurement of online latent constructs, such as student engagement, have mimicked the measurement of these constructs in traditional… Sample PDF
Chapter 12
Aimee L. Whiteside, Amy Garrett Dikkers, Fredrick W. Baker III
Through 15 years of research on social presence examining the level of connectedness among students and instructors, the authors uncovered a… Sample PDF
Chapter 13
Drew Polly, Amanda R. Casto
The term blended learning continues to gain momentum in K-12 classrooms around the United States. While the idea of implementing blended learning… Sample PDF
Chapter 14
Jayme Nixon Linton, Wayne Journell
Although K–12 online education is becoming more common in the United States, there is still much we do not know about how K–12 online teachers are… Sample PDF
Chapter 15
Christina M. Tschida, Jennifer L. Gallagher, Kimberly L. Anderson, Caitlin L. Ryan, Joy N. Stapleton, Karen D. Jones
In this chapter, the authors share the history of a video capture and annotation technology (VCAT) implementation and provide summaries of research… Sample PDF
Chapter 16
Elizabeth Bellows, Aftynne E. Cheek, Morgan Blanton
Three teacher educators partnered with a local high school to pilot an e-coaching model with secondary social studies pre-service teachers. Findings… Sample PDF
Chapter 17
Laura Corbin Frazier, Barbara Martin Palmer
This chapter provides a description of five models for professional development (PD) for online instruction and analyzes each model according to… Sample PDF
Chapter 18
Amani Abdullah Bin Jwair
This chapter explores the quality of learning found when using the flipped learning (FL) approach in K-12 education to promote academic achievement… Sample PDF
Chapter 19
Christina M. Nash
This chapter examines the best practices for creating inclusive online courses, focused at the K–12 level. It presents a theoretical framework that… Sample PDF
Chapter 20
Mary V. Mawn, Kathleen S. Davis
Online professional development courses and programs provide science teachers with ongoing and relevant professional development opportunities that… Sample PDF
Chapter 21
Scott M. Waring
It is undeniable that students today are fundamentally different than those of previous generations and that many students of this generation do not… Sample PDF
Chapter 22
Lauren Lunsford, Bonnie Smith-Whitehouse, Jason F. Lovvorn
The purpose of this chapter is to provide pre-service and practicing teachers a constructivist lens for viewing how they use technology… Sample PDF
Chapter 23
Wayne Journell, David Schouweiler
Online learning is part of the future of K-12 education. However, few online K-12 instructors have been formally trained in online pedagogy. This… Sample PDF
Chapter 24
Gina Tovine, April Fleetwood, Andrew Shepherd, Colton J. Tapoler, Richard Hartshorne, Raquel Pesce
While the growth of blended learning environments in higher education and non-educational settings has continued to increase in recent years, this… Sample PDF
About the Contributors

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Tina L. Heafner earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.Tina is the 2018-2019 President-Elect of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). Tina’s teaching and research focus on effective practices in social studies education with particular emphasis in online learning, technological integration, and disciplinary literacy. Her research also examines curriculum and policy issues in social studies education. Tina’s publications include seven co-authored books and five edited books including titles such as Beginning inquiry: Short texts for inexperienced readers in U.S. History, Seeds of inquiry: Using short texts to enhance students’ understanding of world history, and Exploring the Effectiveness of Online Education in K-12 Environments. She has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals such as Teacher’s College RecordEducational Researcher, Kappa Delta Phi, Journal of Technology and Teacher EducationTeacher Education and Practice, and Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education. Her scholarship has appeared in all of the prominent social studies journals including: Theory and Research in Social EducationJournal of Social Studies ResearchInternational Journal of Social Studies EducationSocial Studies Research and PracticeThe Social StudiesSocial EducationSocial Studies and the Young LearnerMiddle Level Learner, and Social Studies Journal.

Richard Hartshorne is an Associate Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Central Florida. He earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida. At the University of Central Florida, his teaching focuses on the integration of technology into the educational landscape, as well as instructional design and development. His research interests primarily involve the production and effective integration of instructional technology into the teaching and learning environment. The major areas of his research interest are rooted in online teaching and learning, technology and teacher education, and the integration of emerging technology into the K-Post-secondary curriculum. His articles have appeared in such publications as Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Journal of Computing in Higher Education, Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, The Internet and Higher Education, The Journal of Educational Computing Research, and others. He has also authored numerous book chapters and serves in editorial capacities for a number of journals in the field of educational technology.

January 9, 2019

Just Released – Handbook of Distance Education: Second Edition, 4th Edition

I received a notice yesterday that the latest edition (i.e., the fourth edition) of the Handbook of Distance Education.  You can access information about it at:

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