Virtual School Meanderings

July 2, 2009

A Quick Word About Reports

dunceI was reading through my Bloglines today and came across a very entertaining entry entitled Time Well Missed by Things from my mind….  On a day when I’ve talked about two reports, I thought this paragraph was quite fitting:

You missed the release of several self-serving reports by organizations that use the big convention to show the world that the giant government grant that they got is at least good for a few papers. Each one of the reports that was released verifies what we already knew, and was published by the Department of “Duh.” Papers with such titles as “Student like Technology Despite Teachers” and “Teachers Still Resist Technology Despite Training” and the obligatory “Games make Good Learning PLatforms Despite the Fact there are not any Decent Education Games .” There also was a plea from the report writers that they still need more time and grant funding to continue this important work. Also, if you paid very close attention, you probably had read the results of the reports on the internet several weeks before the report was released.

You see, the bully of course management systems (i.e., Blackboard) was the sponsor of the first report discussed today (see Report: Students Want More Online Learning) and concluded that schools need to offer more online learning (presumably using their system).  The second report was sponsored by a Department of Education (see US DOE Report: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning) that under the new administration has been pushing every available option of school choice known to man (I’d argue at the expense of the traditional public school system – I thought you Americans elected a Democrat to office?!?).

Anyway, food for thought!!!  Thanks to Tim Holt for the reflective pause…

US DOE Report: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning

inacolThis is another one of these reports that have hit me from a number of directions in the past few days. I suppose the first was from one of the iNACOL forums with this message:

Online learning has definite advantages over face-to-face instruction when it comes to teaching and learning, according to a new meta-analysis released Friday by the U.S. Department of Education.

The study found that students who took all or part of their instruction online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through face-to-face instruction. Further, those who took “blended” courses — those that combine elements of online learning and face-to-face instruction — appeared to do best of all. That finding could be significant as many colleges report that blended instruction is among the fastest-growing types of enrollment.


June 29, 2009

Deadline Extended For Keeping Pace Survey To 7/14

inacolA update posted to one of the iNACOL forums.

DEADLINE EXTENDED to Tuesday JULY 14, 5:00 pm EST

At the request of some programs that needed some extra time to collect data, we have extended the deadline to complete the Keeping Pace ’09 Survey. Please consider responding so your program can be included in this important research.

Thank you! – Jennifer Ryan
Evergreen Consulting Associates

kpDear iNACOL Members:

The annual Keeping Pace with K12 Online Education policy and practice report is seeking input from teacher-led K12 online education programs, including full-time, part-time, supplemental, state-led, district-led, charter schools, and private online programs. Keeping Pace will be distributed to all attendees of the Virtual School Symposium in November 2009. Its findings have been reported in the New York Times, Education Week, and many other mass media and education-specific outlets, and have been used by policymakers and practitioners throughout across the country. The value of the findings is directly tied to the number of survey responses we receive, and we are seeking your help in completing the survey linked below.

If you are an administrator of an online education program, please consider taking the time to complete our online survey to help us collect valuable information for the 2009 report. The survey can be found by following this link:
Keeping Pace ’09 Survey or

The deadline for completing the survey HAS BEEN EXTENDED and is now Tuesday, July 14 at 5:00 pm Eastern. We estimate it will take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete depending on how accessible your program data are. You may start the survey and re-open it later on.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or have trouble opening it, please contact Jennifer Ryan at Evergreen Consulting Associates, or 303-670-7191. For more information or to download the 2008 report, visit Thank you for your invaluable assistance with this effort!

John Watson and Jennifer Ryan
Evergreen Consulting Associates

Each year, this report is funded and guided by a group of organizations with expertise in online learning. This year’s partners are Advanced Academics, Connections Academy, Florida Virtual School, Insight Schools, the International Association for K12 Online Learning, Michigan Virtual School, Pearson Education, Texas Education Agency, Virtual High School and the Wyoming Department of Education.

Keeping Pace ’09 Survey

June 25, 2009

Harpeth Hall Teams Up To Create Online Girls School, Nashville Business Journal

inacolAnother item posted to the iNACOL forums yesterday.  I wonder how this will work.  I know there is a literature base for same-sex schooling, I don’t know what it says, but I do know there is a body of work out there.  Any comments?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 1:08pm CDT
Harpeth Hall teams up to create online girls school
Nashville Business Journal – by Jeannie Naujeck Staff Writer…22/daily10.html

Harpeth Hall School is joining with several other exclusive private all-girls’ schools to create the first online secondary school devoted exclusively to same-sex education.

The Online School for Girls will begin offering courses this September, including two this fall and four in the spring 2010 semester spanning math, science and the humanities. Students at the member schools will take the classes and evaluate them as a pilot run.


Oregeon House Passes Online Charter School Bill, Product Design and Development

inacolThis was posted to the iNACOL forums yesterday.

Ore. House passes online charter school bill
By The Associated PressWednesday, June 24, 2009…ol-bill-062409/

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon House voted 31-28 to place a two-year moratorium on new online charter schools and limit enrollment at existing ones.

The vote on Senate Bill 767 followed 90 minutes of contentious debate Tuesday. Aside from the restrictions, the bill creates a task force to study virtual charter schools.


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