Virtual School Meanderings

January 19, 2020

EBSCO Alerts

ebscoFirst, the alert for virtual school.

1. TI- A Case Study of a Foster Parent Working to Support a Child with Multiple Disabilities in a Full-Time Virtual School
AU- Rice, Mary F.
AU- Ortiz, Kelsey R.
AU- Curry, Toni M.
AU- Petropoulos, Ryan
SO- Journal of Online Learning Research, v5 n2 p145-168 2019
VI- 5
IP- 2
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
SP- 145
EP- 168
PG- 24
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Foster Care; Multiple Disabilities; Electronic Learning; Students with Disabilities; Middle School Students; Parent Attitudes; Parent School Relationship; Disabilities; Educational Legislation; Equal Education; Federal Legislation; Educational Quality; Family Characteristics
SU- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
SU- Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
AB- With increases in the number of students enrolling in virtual schools, increases in students with disabilities can also be expected at virtual schools. Further, not all of these students enrolling in virtual schools will live with their biological parents. As students with disabilities move online, they continue to be protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, these students spend much of the day with their parents or caregivers, if they are supervised at all, which raises questions about the depth and breadth of services that students with disabilities are receiving through their virtual schools. The purpose of this case study was to learn how a foster parent of a student with a disability in a fully online virtual middle school program perceived the school’s response to her child’s needs, as well as how she imagined that the school perceived her. This foster mother determined that virtual school educators could not educate her son in accordance with IDEA. The study offers implications for improving students’ and parents’ virtual school experiences.
LA- English
IS- 2374-1473
FT- Y
AN- EJ1229408
TY- EJ
LV- Available online
EM- 2019
RV- Y

2. TI- Florida Virtual School Impact on the Graduation Rate of a Higher Education Honors Program
AU- Callahan, Michael T.
AU- King, Kathleen P.
SO- Adult Higher Education Alliance, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Adult Higher Education Alliance (42nd, Orlando, FL, Mar 8-9, 2018)
DT- 20180301
YR- 2018
PG- 6
PT- Speeches/Meeting Papers
PT- Report
SU- High Schools; Virtual Classrooms; Distance Education; Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; College Admission; Honors Curriculum; Undergraduate Students; Program Effectiveness; Graduation Rate; High School Graduates; Online Courses; Grade Point Average
GE- Florida
SU- High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
AB- While higher education institutions seek to increase college admissions’ predictions of student success, they have largely overlooked examining possible impacts of online distance education classes completed in high school. Using information from an undergraduate honors program, this study analyzed whether an indicator of undergraduate student success can be influenced by such courses. The results suggest that high-achieving Florida Virtual School students admitted to an honors program do not graduate at a higher rate than students who have not completed online distance education classes. However, the study provides a method that can address the sample limitation and guide future research to determine how postsecondary non-honors student applicants are affected by online distance education courses completed in high school. [For the complete proceedings, see
ED590245.]
LA- English
FT- Y
AN- ED590254
TY- ED
LV- Available online
EM- 2018
RV- Y

3. TI- The Role of the Virtual School in Supporting Improved Educational Outcomes for Children in Care
AU- Sebba, Judy
AU- Berridge, David
SO- Oxford Review of Education, v45 n4 p538-555 2019
VI- 45
IP- 4
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
SP- 538
EP- 555
PG- 18
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Foreign Countries; Foster Care; Principals; Virtual Classrooms; Program Effectiveness; Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Child Welfare; At Risk Students; Educational Quality; Student Needs; Administrator
Attitudes; Adolescents; Early Adolescents; Academic Achievement; Government School Relationship; Agency Cooperation; Admission (School); Resilience (Psychology); Student Placement; Educational Finance
GE- United Kingdom (England)
AB- In England, ‘Virtual Schools’ oversee and support the educational progress of children in care. This paper reports on the analysis of 16 interviews with Virtual School headteachers that were part of two mixed methods research projects on the educational progress of children in care. These interviews explored their role; the types of support they offer young people in care; what they see as the key factors about a young person’s individual characteristics and care experiences that influence their educational outcomes; how schools support young people in care; and the influence of the foster carer/residential staff on the educational outcomes of these children. The interviews were analysed using NVivo and emerging themes were identified informed by the literature on the education of children in care. The paper draws out the main findings which explore the status and role of Virtual Schools in England, their functions, strategies, and what they see as their contribution to improving the educational outcomes of children in care.
LA- English
IS- 0305-4985
AN- EJ1223253
TY- EJ
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2019
RV- Y

4. TI- Promoting the Achievement in Schools of Children and Young People in Care: Virtual School Case Studies. Promoting the Achievement of Looked after Children, PALAC
AU- Carroll, Catherine
AU- Brackenbury, Gill
AU- Herbert, Elisabeth
AU- Lee, Frances
AU- Roberts, Amelia
AU- Cameron, Claire
AU- Freitag, Sara
AU- Crombie, Kerry
AU- Farley, Claire
AU- Parrott, Suzanne
AU- Pike, Jo
AU- Prodohl, Fiona
AU- Connolley, Kelley
AU- MacCarthy, Barbara
AU- Buchanan, Anne-Marie
AU- Brian, Rachael
AU- Lawford, Sarah
AU- Walkey, Amy
AU- Barnes, Kieran
AU- Lane, Sarah
AU- Bettencourt, Michael
AU- Black, Emma
AU- Bland, Michelle
AU- Borrell, Vicky
AU- Middleton, Serena
AU- de Bossart, Jennie
AU- Stanbridge, Peter
AU- University College London (UCL) (United Kingdom), Institute of Education (IOE)
SO- Institute of Education – London
DT- 20180701
YR- 2018
PG- 40
PT- Report
SU- Foreign Countries; Foster Care; Low Achievement; Student Needs; Academic Achievement; School Districts; Program Effectiveness; Intervention; Reading Achievement; Writing Achievement; Lifelong Learning; Emotional Development; Caregiver Role; Agency Cooperation; Educational Psychology; Social Work; Early Childhood Education; Communication Skills; Language Acquisition; Virtual Classrooms; Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Elementary Secondary Education
GE- United Kingdom (England); United Kingdom (Wales)
SU- Early Childhood Education; Elementary Secondary Education
AB- As of March 2017, there were 72,670 children and young people in care in England. The number of looked after children has continued to increase steadily over the last eight years. Sixty per cent of these children are in care because of abuse or neglect and three-quarters are placed in foster care arrangements. Children and young people who are in or have experienced care remain one of the lowest performing groups in terms of educational outcomes. However, research is emerging to show that children and young people in care can have very positive experiences of school if they are supported effectively to reach their full potential academically and socially. The purpose of this report is to share practice in local authorities (LA) from across England and Wales that is contributing to improved outcomes and school experiences for children and young people in care. The case studies were all undertaken as part of the Promoting the Achievement of Looked after Children (PALAC) programme between 2014 and 2017. PALAC is a knowledge exchange programme that aims to support the development of practice in schools and to expand the evidence base to ultimately improve outcomes for children in care. This report presents an account of the programme, including the activities undertaken by the participants and the outcomes of the programme to date for pupils in care and staff in the participating virtual schools (VS) and local authorities.
LA- English
AN- ED598746
TY- ED
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2019

5. TI- An Exploratory Case Study of Middle School Student Academic Achievement in a Fully Online Virtual School
AU- Wolfinger, Suzanne
SO- ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
DT- 20160101
YR- 2016
PG- 242
PT- Dissertation
SU- Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Academic Achievement; Middle School Students; Middle School Teachers; Teacher Attitudes; Student Attitudes; Student Characteristics; Academic Support Services; Social Support Groups; Coaching (Performance); Teacher Role; Parent Participation; Peer Relationship; Extracurricular Activities
GE- Pennsylvania
SU- Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
AB- Virtual school enrollment continues to increase in the United States although the efficacy of this school model remains highly debated. The majority of research conducted about virtual schooling focuses on high school and adult online learners. Recent literature highlights the need for quality research that provides an understanding of the characteristics of adolescent online learners and the types of support they need to achieve academically in a virtual school. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the academic achievement of successful middle school students in a fully online K-12 cyber school (virtual school) in Pennsylvania, through the perceptions of middle school teachers, students, and their learning coaches. The conceptual framework for this study was supported by research and included the following research streams: learner characteristics, academic support, and academic social support. Eight middle school students and their learning coaches and nine middle school teachers participated in this study. In-person observations and interviews were conducted within each student household. The teachers participated in an online focus group interview. This study’s results revealed that the student participants share learner characteristics in common, teachers continue to play an important role in the virtual school model, and specific aspects of parental involvement were revealed that indicate a learning coach’s approach may promote academic achievement. Certain components and features of the education management system were perceived by the study participants as supportive of academic achievement. Lastly, a connection with peers through extracurricular activities appeared to impact student motivation and academic achievement in virtual school. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
LA- English
IB- 978-1-339-87074-8
AN- ED589165
TY- ED
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2018

6. TI- Virtual School 9-12: 21st Century Strategies and Instructional Practices for Students with Disabilities
AU- Schultze, Melissa M.
SO- ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Capella University
DT- 20160101
YR- 2016
PG- 155
PT- Dissertation
SU- Disabilities; High School Students; Distance Education; Educational Technology; Teaching Methods; Online Courses; Virtual Classrooms; Public Schools; Curriculum Development; Compliance (Legal); Educational Legislation; Equal Education; Federal Legislation; Educational Practices; Remedial Instruction; Computer Mediated Communication; Team Teaching; Technological Literacy; Common Core State Standards; Scaffolding (Teaching Technique); Daily Living Skills; Academic Accommodations (Disabilities); Individualized Education Programs; Partnerships in Education; Individualized Instruction; Blended Learning
SU- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
SU- High Schools; Secondary Education
AB- The purpose of this qualitative study was three-fold. First, the purpose was to identify instructional strategies implemented by a virtual public high school to serve students with disabilities. Second, the purpose of this study was to show how the curriculum for students with disabilities developed in a virtual public school in a southeastern state. Lastly, the purpose was to determine how the virtual school in a southeast state addressed the educational requirements of students with disabilities in a manner consistent with the requirements of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Utilizing semi-structured interviews, data were collected and transcribed through Transcribe, a transcription Website. The transcribed interviews where coded and analyzed for themes and findings. The following themes were found throughout the data: remediation activities, video and audio components, announcements, communication, co-teaching, technology skills, technology instruction, Common Core, development, instructional strategies, scaffolding, life skills, no difference, accommodations, IEP policy, partnerships, individualization, and blended learning. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
LA- English
IB- 978-1-339-92820-3
AN- ED589414
TY- ED
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2018

7. TI- Meeting the Potential of a Virtual Education: Lessons from Operators Making Online Schooling Work
AU- Doyle, Daniela
AU- Hernandez-Cruz, Ismael
AU- Public Impact
SO- Public Impact
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
PG- 30
PT- Report
SP- Bluum
SU- Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Virtual Classrooms; Online Courses; Charter Schools; Distance Education; Elementary Secondary Education
GE- Idaho; New Hampshire
SU- Elementary Secondary Education
AB- When the first virtual school began more than 20 years ago, it offered an incredible promise: Suddenly, students could get access to a great education and a diversity of courses regardless of place or time. They could have flexibility to “attend” school around medical appointments, sports practices, or whatever else life threw at them. Outside of schoolhouse walls, students could have a more personalized learning experience, pursuing their interests and speeding up or slowing down as needed. This report draws on the experience of two virtual charter schools that are making online schooling work for their students–Idaho Distance Education Academy and New Hampshire’s Virtual Learning Academy Charter School. Through their examples, this report highlights lessons learned for other online operators and policymakers who are eager to make virtual school success the rule, rather than the exception.
LA- English
FT- Y
AN- ED598612
TY- ED
LV- Available online
EM- 2019

Next, the alert for cyber school.

1. TI- An Exploratory Case Study of Middle School Student Academic Achievement in a Fully Online Virtual School
AU- Wolfinger, Suzanne
SO- ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
DT- 20160101
YR- 2016
PG- 242
PT- Dissertation
SU- Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Academic Achievement; Middle School Students; Middle School Teachers; Teacher Attitudes; Student Attitudes; Student Characteristics; Academic Support Services; Social Support Groups; Coaching (Performance); Teacher Role; Parent Participation; Peer Relationship; Extracurricular Activities
GE- Pennsylvania
SU- Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
AB- Virtual school enrollment continues to increase in the United States although the efficacy of this school model remains highly debated. The majority of research conducted about virtual schooling focuses on high school and adult online learners. Recent literature highlights the need for quality research that provides an understanding of the characteristics of adolescent online learners and the types of support they need to achieve academically in a virtual school. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the academic achievement of successful middle school students in a fully online K-12 cyber school (virtual school) in Pennsylvania, through the perceptions of middle school teachers, students, and their learning coaches. The conceptual framework for this study was supported by research and included the following research streams: learner characteristics, academic support, and academic social support. Eight middle school students and their learning coaches and nine middle school teachers participated in this study. In-person observations and interviews were conducted within each student household. The teachers participated in an online focus group interview. This study’s results revealed that the student participants share learner characteristics in common, teachers continue to play an important role in the virtual school model, and specific aspects of parental involvement were revealed that indicate a learning coach’s approach may promote academic achievement. Certain components and features of the education management system were perceived by the study participants as supportive of academic achievement. Lastly, a connection with peers through extracurricular activities appeared to impact student motivation and academic achievement in virtual school. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
LA- English
IB- 978-1-339-87074-8
AN- ED589165
TY- ED
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2018

2. TI- Cyber Schooling and the Accumulation of School Time
AU- Nespor, Jan
SO- Pedagogy, Culture and Society, v27 n3 p325-341 2019
VI- 27
IP- 3
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
SP- 325
EP- 341
PG- 17
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Virtual Classrooms; Time Factors (Learning); Attendance; Accountability; Computer Assisted Instruction; Scheduling; School Schedules; Flexible Scheduling; Educational Finance; School Funds; Student Certification; Computer Mediated Communication; Asynchronous Communication; Articulation (Education)
AB- Full-time virtual schools problematize what it means to ‘attend’ school. Is it the length of time a child is logged on to the school’s software system (regardless of the amount of work done), or the amount of work submitted (regardless of the log-on time)? How should one figure the amount of work teachers are doing when students work by themselves at home? Using data from documents and from interviews with 22 teachers from 10 full-time virtual schools in the U.S., this article examines schools as economies of institutional time, animated through two circuits of ‘temporal accumulation’: one producing students’ individual academic records, a second tracking the quantity of time schools spend working with students. Cyber schooling reconfigures these circuits and their interlinkages, with implications for school funding, student certification, and teachers’ work.
LA- English
IS- 1468-1366
AN- EJ1224286
TY- EJ
LV- Not available from ERIC
EM- 2019
RV- Y

3. TI- Choice, Cyber Charter Schools, and the Educational Marketplace for Rural School Districts
AU- Mann, Bryan
AU- Kotok, Stephen
AU- Frankenberg
AU- Fuller, Ed
AU- Schafft, Kai
SO- Rural Educator, v37 n3 p17-29 Fall 2016
VI- 37
IP- 3
DT- 20160101
YR- 2016
SP- 17
EP- 29
PG- 13
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- School Choice; Charter Schools; Rural Schools; Enrollment Trends; Distance Education; Geographic Location; Equal Education; School Effectiveness; Budgets; School Districts; Student Mobility; Outcomes of Education; Suburbs; Urban Areas; Race; Special Education; Economically Disadvantaged; Student Records; State Legislation
GE- Pennsylvania
AB- Pennsylvania is a state with significant proportions of students who attend rural schools, as well as students who attend charter schools. This study examines enrollment patterns of students in brick and mortar and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania and how these enrollment patterns differ across geographic locale. We analyze student-level enrollment data, controlling for demographic characteristics, and find that, in contrast to brick and mortar schools, cyber charter schools attract students from a variety of locales across the urban-rural continuum. However, rural students exhibit the greatest likelihood of attending cyber charter schools. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to educational equity, cyber charter school underperformance, and the fiscal impacts of charter schools on the budgets of small school districts.
LA- English
IS- 0273-446X
FT- Y
AN- EJ1225320
TY- EJ
LV- Available online
EM- 2019
RV- Y

4. TI- Does Rural Differ? Comparing Parent and Student Reasons for Choosing Cyber Schooling
AU- Beck, Dennis
AU- Maranto, Roberto
AU- Shakeel, M. Danish
SO- Rural Educator, v37 n3 p1-12 Fall 2016
VI- 37
IP- 3
DT- 20160101
YR- 2016
SP- 1
EP- 12
PG- 12
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Comparative Analysis; Parent Attitudes; Student Attitudes; DecisionMaking; Special Education; Distance Education; Educational Benefits; Charter Schools; Factor Analysis; Course Selection (Students); Institutional Evaluation; School Choice; Secondary School Students; Student Characteristics
SU- Secondary Education
AB- Cyber-schooling offers potentially greater benefits for rural than urban students, by providing a broader range of courses, ending long commutes, and offering more developed special education services than typically found in rural public schools. We survey students (n=269, 53.7% response rate) and parents (232, 48.7%) at a cyber-charter school dubbed SunTech, to test whether rural subjects choose cyber schooling for distinct reasons. Factor analyses and OLS regressions indicate that rural parents are more apt to choose SunTech for structural reasons such as its broader range of classes and to avoid long commutes to school. In contrast, students were more likely to rank curricular reasons as driving their decision to choose SunTech. Rural status did not affect how either students or parents graded the school
(A-F).
LA- English
IS- 0273-446X
FT- Y
AN- EJ1225308
TY- EJ
LV- Available online
EM- 2019
RV- Y

Finally, the alert for K-12 online learning.

1. TI- A Snapshot of Successful K-12 Online Learning: Focused on the 2015-16 Academic Year in Michigan
AU- Kwon, Jemma Bae
AU- DeBruler, Kristen
AU- Kennedy, Kathryn
SO- Journal of Online Learning Research, v5 n2 p199-225 2019
VI- 5
IP- 2
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
SP- 199
EP- 225
PG- 27
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
SU- Online Courses; Elementary Secondary Education; Management Systems; Feedback (Response); State Legislation; Educational Policy; Enrollment Trends; Learner Engagement; Time Factors (Learning); Special Needs Students; School Districts; Academic Achievement; Profiles
GE- Michigan
SU- Elementary Secondary Education
AB- The purpose of this study was to provide a snapshot of successful K-12 online learning in one of the frontrunner states in the field–Michigan. The authors explored the state’s legislative and policy infrastructure; the beliefs, perceptions, and values of various stakeholders; and statewide enrollment patterns and effectiveness for the 2015-16 academic year. With that understanding, the study presented a secondary analysis of student information, activity, and performance data in a learning management system (LMS) in an attempt to explore success factors at the micro-level. The study results revealed the following: (a) the engagement pattern representing students’ consistent and persistent attempts to complete course tasks week-by-week was the most powerful success factor; (b) a more nuanced notion of students’ time spent in the LMS; and (c) a student population who presents unique needs to be successful in the online learning. The paper concludes with discussion about all findings in terms of a way of creating a feedback loop for upper-level systems.
LA- English
IS- 2374-1473
FT- Y
AN- EJ1229422
TY- EJ
LV- Available online
EM- 2019
RV- Y

2. TI- Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning 2016
AU- Gemin, Butch
AU- Pape, Larry
AU- Evergreen Education Group
SO- Evergreen Education Group
DT- 20170101
YR- 2017
PG- 63
PT- Report
SU- Elementary Secondary Education; Educational Technology; Technology Uses in Education; Online Courses; Vendors; School Districts; State Agencies; Educational History; Computer Assisted Instruction; Blended Learning; Virtual Classrooms; Geographic Location; Enrollment; Instructional Program Divisions; Intellectual Disciplines; Web Based Instruction; Public Schools; Distance Education; Consortia
GE- Florida; Montana; Michigan; Indiana; Ohio; North Carolina; Wisconsin; Arizona; Nevada; Texas; New Jersey; Maryland; New York
SU- Elementary Secondary Education
AB- “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning 2016” marks the thirteenth consecutive year Evergreen has published its annual research of the K-12 education online learning market. Throughout the past thirteen years there has been a constant presence that has become the backbone, supporting the growth and success of online learning–the array of organizations that supply online courses, online teachers, digital content and tools to schools. The number and breadth of types of suppliers has changed and grown as the demand for broader and deeper services has increased. Suppliers range from schools that supply regions or whole states, to stand-alone “intermediate” suppliers that provide online courses and related services to schools, to vendors who develop courses and content and deliver their courses directly to schools or distribute them through intermediates. “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning 2016” focuses on these suppliers of online learning and reports on levels and types of activity, including online course enrollments, types of enrollments and number of students involved in online learning. [For the twelfth edition, see ED570125.]
LA- English
FT- Y
AN- ED588910
TY- ED
LV- Available online
EM- 2018

3. TI- Interaction, Student Satisfaction, and Teacher Time Investment in Online High School Courses
AU- Turley, Chad
AU- Graham, Charles
SO- Journal of Online Learning Research, v5 n2 p169-198 2019
VI- 5
IP- 2
DT- 20190101
YR- 2019
SP- 169
EP- 198
PG- 30
PT- Academic Journal
PT- Report
PT- Tests/Questionnaires
SU- Interaction; Student Satisfaction; Time Management; Online Courses; Course Evaluation; Secondary School Curriculum; Teacher Student Relationship; High School Students; Educational Quality; Independent Study; Nonschool Educational Programs
SU- Secondary Education; High Schools
AB- This case study explores differences between two online course models by investigating the results of a student end-of-course evaluation survey and teacher communication logs in two online high school courses. The two course models were designed with different types and levels of interaction, one with high levels of student-content interaction, the second with high levels of student-content and student-teacher interaction. The majority of research on interaction in online learning has been conducted with adult learners at the university level. There is far less literature focusing on K-12 online learning while investigating interaction, student satisfaction, and teacher time investment. This case study addresses this gap by exploring the results of 764 student surveys and investigating the teacher time investments of four teachers. In this study the students’ perception of their learning experience in both models met the online program’s acceptable levels. In some dimensions of the course evaluation, the interactive course had a statistically significant higher rating. The teacher communication logs showed a higher teacher time investment in the more interactive courses, with the highest time investment coming from reaching out to inactive students. Due to the shortage of available literature in K-12 online settings regarding interaction, student satisfaction, and teacher time investment, the author recommends additional research in these areas. By continuing to research and understand better about K-12 online learners, this understanding could influence the development of course interaction standards, assist designers in building better courses, and ultimately lead to higher satisfaction for students.
LA- English
IS- 2374-1473
FT- Y
AN- EJ1229415
TY- EJ
LV- Available online
EM- 2019
RV- Y

January 18, 2020

Virtual Schooling In The News

InTheNewsBeginning with the EdSource Today.

By Ashley A. Smith, EdSource
California’s online community college enrolled its first students in October but now is seeing the departure of its president.

Next the semi-regular SmartBrief on EdTech.

USDA putting $23M into rural broadband for N.D.

USDA putting $23M into rural broadband for N.D.
(Pixabay)
The ReConnect Pilot Program from the US Department of Agriculture is making a $23 million investment in North Dakota’s rural broadband infrastructure. Daktel Communications and Polar Communications are partnering with the agency to expand access to thousands of households and more than 10 municipal facilities in total.
KFGO-AM (Fargo, N.D.) (1/8)

Other News

Successes, challenges ahead for online education

Many institutions have attempted to draw adult students by offering scaled-down programs that feature truncated time frames and reduced tuition, and online learning companies have partnered with universities to create course-sharing programs that help build flexibility into the education track. However, some large universities may be reluctant to participate in such programs out of fear that they will draw students away from their more lucrative traditional courses.
Education Dive (1/10)

Weather disrupts Minn. district’s e-learning launch

Plans for a strategic rollout of an e-learning program in Marshall Public Schools in Minnesota were thwarted by weather. Jeremy Williams, director of teaching and learning, shares how the district adjusted the initial plan to establish an e-learning program more quickly than anticipated because of episodes of inclement weather.
Education Week (tiered subscription model) (1/17)

Back to the regular Google News alert for virtual school.

Choosing Schools – All Kids Learn Differently

A teacher who was ready to leave the education field – until she overcame her skepticism about teaching in a virtual school. A mom who never …

Some history classes could soon become optional for high school students under new WVBE policy

The policy would also require all public high schools and middle schools to offer a full-time virtual school option for grades 6-12, either through the …

Virtual Schools Market 2020 Share, Size, Regional Trend, Future Growth, Leading Players …

Key Players: K12 Inc, Connections Academy, Mosaica Education, Pansophic Learning, Florida Virtual School (FLVS), Charter Schools USA, Lincoln …

MCS gives legislative priorities to lawmakers

Revision of Homeschool and Virtual School Deadline — The Murfreesboro City School Board supports returning the homeschool law to the previous …

Spotlight on schools : lake forest elementary school celebrations

The school is also very appreciative for the donations from Florida Virtual School (through Felicia Brunson) and the Broward Sheriff’s Office staff for …

Virtual Schools Market Competition Landscape, Research, Application and Global Industry …

Basehor-Linwood Virtual School. Scope of Virtual Schools Market: The global Virtual Schools market is valued at million US$ in 2018 and will reach …

Virtual Schools Market Secondary And Primary Research Analysis Forecast to 2025

K12 Inc• Connections Academy• Mosaica Education• Pansophic Learning• Florida Virtual School (FLVS)• Charter Schools USA• Lincoln Learning …

Virtual Schools Market Giants Spending Is Going To Boom | K12, Mosaica, White Hat

Company profile section of players such as Connections Education, K12 Inc, Mosaica Education, White Hat Management, Abbotsford Virtual School, …

Virtual Schools Market 2019 In-Depth Assessment, Key Trends, Demand and Forecast to 2025

… Education, K12 Inc, Mosaica Education, White Hat Management, Abbotsford Virtual School, Alaska Virtual School, Basehor-Linwood Virtual School.

Empowering every child in Alabama to succeed in school

For free part-time classes, ACCESS Alabama functions as the state’s virtual school. Public school students in grades 9-12 can take classes for free; …

Low-performing online school posts unprecedented enrollment growth, again

MALAD — A rural school district’s burgeoning virtual school continues to post the state’s most explosive enrollment growth, impacting millions of state …

Virtual Schools Market To See Booming Worldwide|Connections Academy, Mosaica Education …

… Connections Academy, Mosaica Education, Pansophic Learning, Florida Virtual School (FLVS), Charter Schools USA, Lincoln Learning Solutions, …

Indiana district begins formal process of closing two online charter schools

Daleville Superintendent Paul Garrison told the district’s board of trustees Monday that the Indiana Virtual School still has $35,130 in its fund, and the …

EC virtual school opening lottery enrollment

The Eau Claire school district is opening student applications for its virtual school’s 2020-2021 academic year until 4 p.m. Jan. 30. Students are …

Virtual school software Market 2020-2027 to Bring Projecting Growth with Top Key Players Litmos …

Virtual school software Market research report provides an actual industry viewpoint, future trends and dynamics for market growth rate, market size, …

School Carnival will Celebrate School Choice in Chandler

Various crafts will incorporate sharing of why families and students chose a virtual school. The carnival will take place at 300 E Chandler Blvd.

New release: Virtual Schools Market forecast to 2026

K12 Inc,- Connections Academy,- Mosaica Education,- Pansophic Learning,- Florida Virtual School (FLVS),- Charter Schools USA,- Lincoln Learning …

Global Virtual Schools Market Insights 2019 – K12 Inc, Inspire Charter Schools, Pansophic …

Global Virtual Schools Market Research Report comprises holistic business information and changing trends in the market that enables users to spot …

Pioneer to provide meals to Virtual School in Leyden

NORTHFIELD — Pioneer Valley Regional School will still provide meals to students learning out of the former Pearl Rhodes Elementary School, now …

Eau Claire schools will close early Friday ahead of winter storm

The school district says all after-school activities are also canceled. The Eau Claire Virtual School will also close and community learning experiences …

Pennsylvania schools turning to ‘cyber snow days’ on bad weather days

“When you weigh the pluses and minuses, I think the positives of offering virtual school days outweigh the negatives,” Michael Kozak, a professor at …

Virtual Schools Market Growth, Size, Top Companies, Application, Statistics and 2025 Forecast

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Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

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January 16, 2020

Commentary: OSSTF’s Statement On The Ford Government E-Learning Plan

Yesterday I wrote a brief commentary on The Toronto Star article entitled “Secret Document Shows Ford Government Changed Its Mind Before Making Online Course Mandatory For High Schoolers.”  A day earlier, the President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) released a statement on Facebook about the plan outlined in the ‘secret document’ (for those without Facebook, I’ve re-produced the full statement below.  While the OSSTF (and all teachers’ unions to be honest) are engaged in job action against the Government right now, it is a bit unfortunate how skewed this statement is given how good the OSSTF has historically been when it comes to K-12 distance/online learning.

Let’s look at some of the comments from that statement…

The Doug Ford plan is all about removing investment from the system, reducing students’ access to the teachers and education workers they rely on to help them succeed, and creating an online learning system that amounts to bargain basement education delivered on the cheap.

Based on what has been publicly reported about the secret document, the Government did intend to reduce funding to school boards.

…which also calls for steep cuts in funding to school boards. The plan calls for $34.8 million less in the school year starting September 2020, $55.8 million in 2021, $56.7 million in 2022 and $57.4 million in the 2023-2024 school year.

After that, there would be “continued cost saving of $57.4 million annually with full catalogue of online ‘gold standard’ courses,” the plan predicted.

There was also some comment about the online courses saving money on an annual basis – although there is no mention if this is due to savings from removing duplication by centralizing the system, offsets generated from revenue of the sale of online courses to out-of-province clients, or – as Bischof contends – “bargain basement education delivered on the cheap.”

The OSSTF statement also reads:

Nowhere in the government’s secret plan is the quality of education addressed. Nowhere is it acknowledged that success rates for students taking online courses are significantly lower than for students in a traditional classroom. Nowhere does the plan mention that significant numbers of students simply don’t learn well in a self-directed environment, without the guidance of dedicated education professionals.

Actually, the plan mentions a “gold standard” process for the online courses and the need to increase the number of courses that meet this gold standard from the current small proportion courses to include all online courses.  The lack of an acknowledgement that success rates for students taking online courses are significantly lower than for students in a traditional classroom may be because the research simply doesn’t support Bischof assertion.  In fact, the research into supplemental K-12 distance and online learning has generally found that students in the online environment tends to perform at similar levels or even out-perform students in the traditional classroom.  Now there is a lot of caveats about that research, including the fact that online or face-to-face is just a medium in which education is delivered and does not impact student performance.  It is the design, delivery, and support of learning that impacts learning.  Finally, it is a complete mischaracterization of the current online learning system in Ontario to describe it as “a self-directed environment.”  This completely negates the good work that is done by e-learning teachers across the province – all of whom are members of the OSSTF.

The OSSTF statement continues…

…the plan contemplates the creation of a “business model” for marketing Ontario’s online learning system to international students, and for licensing course content to jurisdictions outside Ontario. It contemplates a system designed not to deliver the best possible education, but designed instead to generate “maximum revenue.”

The business model for out-of-province students is actually a common model outside of Ontario.  In fact, if the revenue generated by selling online course content to out-of-province students was invested back into the quality of the online learning program it has the potential to actually improve the quality of online learning for students in Ontario.  And as I noted in my entry on The Toronto Star article, this is actually happening in Ontario and other jurisdictions in Canada right now – “a private online school in Ontario that enrolls international students and a public school district in BC that established a model to allow them to do the same.”

After a bunch of editorializing about the motives of the Government  (which I tend to agree with, but aren’t actually supported by what is actually in the “secret document” – only the OSSTF’s slanted presentation of that document), the OSSTF statement concludes with:

There is simply no evidence, anywhere, that mandatory online learning is good for students’ learning experiences or that it helps them succeed. All the evidence, in fact, points to the contrary.

Actually, there is no formal evidence at all.  No one has examined the impact of mandatory online learning.  So we don’t know if it “is good for students’ learning experiences” or if “it helps them succeed” – but we also don’t know that it doesn’t.  So the statement “All the evidence, in fact, points to the contrary.” is just incorrect.  The closest to an examination of the impact of mandatory online learning that is available is a look at graduation rates in the US jurisdictions that have implemented this kind of requirement.  According to what Randy LaBonte and I wrote in an article published in the International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education entitled “Sense of Irony or Perfect Timing: Examining the Research Supporting Proposed e-Learning Changes in Ontario,” we write:

In examining the graduation data for some of these jurisdictions, the Michigan Department of Education reported a four-year graduation rate of 74.33% in 2011 (i.e., the first class that would have been held to the online learning graduation requirement), which was a decrease of 1.62% from the previous year.v  However, there was also an increase in the graduation rate each subsequent year since the requirement was implemented. Similarly, the Alabama Department of Education reported that the graduation rate in 2013 (i.e., the first class that would have been held to the online learning graduation requirement) was 80% or five percent higher than the previous year; and their graduation rate had also climbed each year since the online learning graduation requirement has been implemented.

However, we also caution that:

Since 2000, the No Child Left Behind Act and its predecessor, the Every Student Succeeds Act, both placed a major emphasis on raising graduation rates in the United States. As such, graduation rates have been going up consistently but other measures of achievement have not risen. This dichotomy suggests that graduation rates may have been inflated in some way that do not truly represent student academic success, as was reported in the case of Alabama (Carsen, 2016). The main takeaway from examining this information is that, based on the available data, it does not appear that the implementation of an online or e-learning graduation requirement has negatively impacted graduation rates in these other jurisdictions.

A much more nuanced view of the issue than the unsubstantiated statement by OSSTF.

This is not to say that the OSSTF is incorrect in its descriptions of what motivates this Government (i.e., decreasing funding for public services).  What I am saying is that this six-page confidential document that the OSSTF is commenting on doesn’t support these attributions, and that the language that Bischof and the OSSTF uses is continuing to misrepresent e-learning in Ontario and continuing to disrespect those OSSTF teachers who work in this environment.

This is also not to say that the Government should implement their e-learning proposals.  As mentioned above, there is no research to support many of the aspects of their plans (e.g., see the research into class size and online learning in this report and how it aligns with the Government’s proposal).  There is also the issue that publicly these proposals have been driven by a belief that regardless if it is workplace professional learning or some form of post-secondary, students today will need to know how to learn online – or at least learn in an independent fashion.  But there is no research out there to actually show that experience with distance/online learning in their K-12 careers helps students develop those skills.  There’s also no research to disprove it either.  In fact, this is the only research on the topic that I am aware of is a study that was conducted by Dale Kirby and Dennis Sharpe (and I joined the team to add the literature review, but was not involved in the actual study).  The study was designed to “examine the impact that experience with online learning at the K–12 level had on students’ perceptions, attitudes, and habits in online learning at the postsecondary level.”  The authors reported that

These results indicated that when the high school distance learners were compared with the other university students who participated in the survey, there were no significant differences between them on any of the measures.

So the experience of learning online in high school had no impact on students perceptions, attitudes, and habits in online learning at the postsecondary level!  Instead of misleading the public about the nature of online learning in Ontario and demonizing those dedicated OSSTF teachers that work in that environment, maybe we should be talking about what is the best way to prepare students to develop self-efficacy, self-directedness, self-motivation, self-regulation, etc.?

 


The Ford government e-learning plan: a statement by OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) · Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Ford government’s confidential “implementation plan” for e-learning, which has been obtained by the Toronto Star, offers all the proof we need that this government’s approach to education is nothing more than a fiscal exercise.

The Doug Ford plan is all about removing investment from the system, reducing students’ access to the teachers and education workers they rely on to help them succeed, and creating an online learning system that amounts to bargain basement education delivered on the cheap.

Nowhere in the government’s secret plan is the quality of education addressed. Nowhere is it acknowledged that success rates for students taking online courses are significantly lower than for students in a traditional classroom. Nowhere does the plan mention that significant numbers of students simply don’t learn well in a self-directed environment, without the guidance of dedicated education professionals.

Instead, the plan contemplates the creation of a “business model” for marketing Ontario’s online learning system to international students, and for licensing course content to jurisdictions outside Ontario. It contemplates a system designed not to deliver the best possible education, but designed instead to generate “maximum revenue.”

As this document makes abundantly clear, anyone who cares about Ontario’s students and their future should be deeply concerned about the kinds of values and assumptions that underpin the Ford government’s approach to education. We see clearly that the most important concerns for students – the quality of the learning experience and the chance to succeed – do not even register. The only concerns that do register are purely fiscal. This government sees education not as a key to future success for the province’s students, but rather as a product to be marketed. This is a plan clearly designed to set into motion the privatization of Ontario’s world-renowned public education system.

There is simply no evidence, anywhere, that mandatory online learning is good for students’ learning experiences or that it helps them succeed. All the evidence, in fact, points to the contrary.

OSSTF/FEESO members will remain steadfast in their resistance to the Doug Ford secret plan for mandatory e-learning.

Original available at https://www.facebook.com/notes/ontario-secondary-school-teachers-federation-osstf/the-ford-government-e-learning-plan-a-statement-by-osstffeeso-president-harvey-b/2663308370389838/

January 15, 2020

The Toronto Star – Secret Document Shows Ford Government Changed Its Mind Before Making Online Course Mandatory For High Schoolers

On Monday, an article appeared in The Toronto Star entitled “Secret Document Shows Ford Government Changed Its Mind Before Making Online Course Mandatory For High Schoolers” (see here for an open access version).  The crux of the article is that sometime after the 15 March 2019 announcement related to e-learning, but before the revised 21 November 2019 announcement, the Government of Ontario produced a secret six-page document that was “implementation plan for Ontario’s transformed online learning system.”  Based on the article, we’ve learned four new details about the Government’s thinking on how they plan to actually implement some of these broad announcements.

As a reminder, the two announcements – along with a class size consultation process – have stated three main e-learning proposals:

  1. a centralization of e-learning,
  2. a graduation requirement of two e-learning courses, and
  3. increasing the class size limit for e-learning courses to 35 students.

A recent article that Randy LaBonte and I published in the International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education entitled “Sense of Irony or Perfect Timing: Examining the Research Supporting Proposed e-Learning Changes in Ontario” discussed the research on each of these three points…  So I won’t go over these points again.

As for the new details that we have learned, the first point from The Star‘s article was:

“closely monitor uptake of online learning over the first four years of implementation, assess the feasibility of making online learning mandatory for credit accumulation” toward an Ontario secondary school diploma.

the six-page document also envisioned allowing students to get high school diplomas “entirely online” starting in September 2024

The first portion of this quotation is essentially what happened with the 15 March announcement, and was revised with the 21 November announcement – the Government decided to make online learning mandatory, as opposed to simply optional. The only part of this that is news is that for some time the Government was not planning on making online learning mandatory.  As for the second part of this quotation, it essentially says that the Government was interested in allowing students to do all of their secondary schooling online.  To be honest, it is a little surprising that students cannot already do accomplish this.  Within our school system there are students who simply don’t learn well when forced to sit in desks in rows facing the teacher at the front of the room, moving from room to room in one hour blocks.  There are students in our system who have an inability to sit still or quietly in that room for any length of time.  There are students in our system who are bullied on a daily basis, but live in an area where it is geographically impossible for them to simply go to another school.  There are students who have career or talent-related opportunities while they are still in high school that prevent them from attending a physical school on a regular basis.  There are any number of students that don’t learn well or do not have the opportunity to learn in the manner in which schools are currently organized.  Should we ask the student to continue to be bullied, simply to attend a brick-and-mortar school?  Should we ask the student to pass up the opportunity to play on Hockey Canada’s under-17 team?  Or should we provide these students with the opportunity to continue their studies in a non-traditional format?  Right now, these students must enrolled in the self-directed courses offered by the Independent Learning Centre or enroll in a private, Ontario-accredited online school in order to continue to receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma education.  Why not allow students to get their high school diplomas entirely online if they want that option?

The second point from The Star‘s article was:

Under the heading “cost saving and revenue generation,” the document noted “the system does not generate any revenue for the province” and warned “costs for creation of online learning tools and resources may be duplicated across multiple delivery partners.”

Like most systems where there are multiple school boards that deliver similar programs, there likely is some duplication of resources in the current system.  However, the duplication that exists within the current system of e-learning also allows for flexibility at the local level.  Say that the needs of learners and how the school boards feels they can best serve students in Toronto Catholic District School Board is different than Windsor-Essex District School Board or Near North District School Board.  So while there are probably some sayings that could be realized if the duplications were eliminated, and some that could probably even be realized without impacting the existing system, many of these cost savings would come at the expense of the quality and flexibility of programming at these local levels.

The third point from The Star‘s article was:

The plan directed the education ministry “to develop (a) business model to make available and market Ontario’s online learning system to out-of-province and international students and examine feasible options for selling licensing rights to courses/content to other jurisdictions.”

This idea of marketing Ontario’s e-learning program outside of Ontario is a common way for K-12 distance and/or online learning programs to generate revenue without negatively impacting the students within their jurisdiction.  In fact, it might have the potential to improve the quality of programming for students in Ontario if the revenue from out-of-province students were invested back into the e-learning program.  The annual State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada study even began tracking the provinces and territories policies on importing and exporting e-learning with the 2012 report (the very last section reports on how jurisdictions treat in-province students that enroll in a distance/online program outside of the province and how the jurisdiction treats out-of-province students that are enrolled in distance/online programs within the province is described in the “Inter-provincial and International” section at the bottom of each jurisdictional profiles).  There was actually a vignette produced by the annual report that looked at a private online school in Ontario that enrolls international students and a public school district in BC that established a model to allow them to do the same.

The final point from The Star‘s article was:

The confidential document also mentions the need to improve internet data transfer rates in high schools to one megabyte per second by May, which would allow for testing in time for the fall return to school, and to explore opportunities to improve internet service in public libraries within five kilometres of high schools.

In the International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education article, Randy and I wrote:

It is also important to note that e-learning projects have historically led to increased connectivity and broadband, as well as the deployment of technology.

This point in the confidential document seems to agree with this statement – announced projects often drive investment in the necessary technology to successfully undertake or deploy the project.

Unfortunately, even with these additional details, we continue to be left with speculation as to exactly how the Government of Ontario intends to implement many of their announced e-learning changes.  In particular, whether the Government intends to maintain the provisions outlined in their own Ministry of Education’s Provincial e-Learning Strategy: Master User Agreement.

January 13, 2020

Audio Item: Virtual School Flex Ed In Saskatchewan – Jan 6

This radio item came across my electronic desk last week sometime.

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