Virtual School Meanderings

October 16, 2019

QM Newsletter: Uncover Best Practices For Multimedia Use In Online Classes Plus More K-12 News!

The K-12 newsletter from Quality Matters.

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K-12 Online & Blended Learning Newsletter

October 2019

Putting Quality Assurance Into Practice
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Some professional development helps you stay on top of changes in your field. Other experiences provide great networking opportunities. Deepening subject matter knowledge is also a reason to take a course or workshop. But as  Matthew Tyler — Instructional Designer and Technologist — discovered, at least one professional development opportunity checks all of these boxes and more. Find out how his discovery meets his needs and contributes to his professional growth.


California + QM: What You Need to Know
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K-12 course reviews are on the rise and a new initiative from the State of California will increase that demand. Currently, California requires high school students to meet A-G subject requirements — a series of high school courses that students must complete to be minimally eligible for admission to the University of California and California State University. These courses are available face-to-face and online through online course providers or schools and districts who have developed their own online courses.

In 2020, The University of California will roll out a new directory of online course publishers from which schools and districts can choose online courses that students can take to fulfill A-G requirements. The University of California is also instituting an updated online course publisher policy to support quality online A-G courses. Part of the policy calls for an annual A-G course verification process. That’s where QM comes in.

If an online course publisher or district independently seeks and earns Quality Matters certification for their courses:

  • The registered online course publisher will be specially identified in UC’s public directory.
  • The online course publisher’s QM-certified courses will be exempt from UC’s annual online A-G course verification process.

Further, if a publisher does not seek QM certification and its courses are found, during the verification process, to be out of alignment with A-G course criteria, the courses will be removed from the directory. The courses will then have to be reviewed and certified by QM before they can rejoin the directory.

If you are an online course provider for California, please contact our K-12 team with any questions.

If you want to become a QM-Certified Course Reviewer to help meet the increased demand from this initiative, find out how to get started today.

Act Now!
QM Regional Conference

Call for Proposals Deadline is Nov. 11, 2019
Don’t just join the conversation about online learning — lead it! By presenting at one of our 2020 QM Regional Conferences, you have the opportunity to shape the dialog around today’s key online learning topics, including best practices, research and the student experience.

Presenting at QM allows me to hear other voices as my peers contemplate the topic I am sharing and its relationship to and impact on their teaching and learning context. It is exciting to see them make that connection.” — Don Lourcey, North Carolina Virtual Public School

Share your innovative ideas and experiences related to Reaching for Student Success at the QM West Regional Conference, April 2 & 3 at the University of California, Fullerton. The deadline for submissions is November 11, 2019. Or weigh in on Reimagining Quality Pathways at the QM East Regional Conference, April 23 & 24 at Berkeley College in New York City. The deadline for submissions is also November 11, 2019. That means you have less than a month to get your proposals in for both conferences. Don’t wait any longer. Submit today!

In Case You Missed It…
cover of national standards for quality online courses
The revised National Standards for Quality Online Courses are now available. The standards, which are the result of a broad-based effort led by QM and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, can be downloaded on the National Standards for Quality website.

Building on the work started by iNACOL, the updated standards now reflect today’s best practices. They also include new explanations and examples that expand the guidance provided in previous versions and create flexibility — allowing programs to apply the standards to blended, competency-based or other learning strategies employed.

The Quality Matters K-12 Rubric builds on the National Standards for Quality Online Courses, with the Rubric offering an expanded presentation of the standards and full Annotations. These added elements allow for a robust review process. Course design certification — which serves as the mark of course quality for The National Standards for Quality Online Learning — is achieved through QM Official Reviews using the QM Rubric.

You can learn more about both the National Standards for Quality Online Courses and the Quality Matters K-12 Rubric at this month’s QM Connect Conference or iNACOL Symposium.

A Free Webinar!
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QM is celebrating National Distance Learning Week with a free webinar! Join Dr. Steven Crawford, District Director for the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation at Maricopa Community Colleges, on November 7 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern for Busting Multimedia Myths: An Evidence-Based Approach to Quality Instructional Media. During the webinar, explore different types of instructional multimedia and current research on the topic as well as how to apply these evidence-based best practices. The webinar will also touch on QM Specific Review Standards 1.8, 4.5, 6.3, 8.4, and 8.5 in the context of evaluating and creating media for use in course design. Space is limited. Register for the free webinar today.
trophy witha red ribbon that says QM certified
Please join us in congratulating the following K-12 Secondary and Publisher members for having one or more courses recently QM-Certified:

View more QM-Certified courses>>

Welcome New Members
three people inside a circle that says welcome to the community
We are pleased to welcome new members:

Idaho Connects Online School
Colorado Digital Learning Solutions

Learn more about QM membership >>

Can’t make it to QM Connect? You can still attend virtually. Eleven sessions — plus the keynote — will be available via webcasting for FREE!

Learn more

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October 15, 2019

Virtual Cafe Reminder

An item for my Kiwi readers. Free e-Newsletter 10/14/19

Another newsletter from yesterday. Newsletter
OCTOBER 14, 2019
Free Newsletter Subscriber

As a valued subscriber, Rutledge offers you an exclusive 30% off discount code ADS19 when you purchase Transactional Distance and Adaptive Learning: Planning the Future of Higher Education directly from the publisher

Transactional Distance and Adaptive Learning: Planning the Future of Higher Education takes a fresh look at one of the pioneering educational theories that accommodates the impact of information and communications technologies in learning. The theory of transactional distance (TTD), developed by Dr. Michael G. Moore, provides a distinct analytical and planning foundation for educators to conduct an overarching inquiry into transitioning from mass instructional and management systems in higher education to dynamic and transformational futures that focus on each individual learner.

Based on the TTD, the authors Dr. Farhad Saba, and Dr. Rick Shearer, provide a comprehensive pragmatic planning method to instructors, administrators, students, and other stakeholders for assessing the current state of their instructional, learning, and management practices and developing alternative models to prescribe future improvements in their institution.

This self-organized, and adaptive method includes current and emergent properties of:

  • hardware, software, and telecommunications systems that allow faculty, students, and administrators to communicate;
  • instructional and curriculum systems that provide teaching and learning environments for faculty and students; and
  • management, societal, and global systems that influence how institutions are supported, funded, and managed.


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THE EDTECH OPPORTUNITY: Educational Technology as a Dynamic Growth Sector for Iowa Education is a sector of the economy that is fundamental to the performance of all other sectors of the economy. It is also a sector that stands on its own as a distinct market—consuming products, technologies, content, and intellectual assets to enable its work. […]

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Copyright, Content, & Control: Student Authorship Across Educational Technology PlatformsThere is no longer any doubt about whether the field has been paying attention to “the question of who owns language” (Lunsford & West, p. 383). Today, a vast trove of IP scholarship exists within disciplinary coffers, ranging from issues of textual circulation (e.g., DeVoss & Porter, 2006; Edwards, 2018; Gries, 2015; Ridolfo & DeVoss, […]

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Using the Technology Adoption Model to Assess Faculty Comfort with the Learning Management SystemWhen faculty need to use technology that is not familiar to them, it may take more time to integrate into to their teaching. The purpose of this study was to gather data on the ease of use and usefulness of the Blackboard LMS in anticipation of transitioning to a new LMS. A survey with the […]

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eCelebrations: Virtual Graduations to Celebrate Online StudentsOnline students are often short-changed when they reach their most important milestone—graduation. For many institutions, virtual graduation has proven to be a holy grail of sorts—critically important to student experience, but illusive in form and difficult to achieve. This article explores several existing models of virtual graduations, and proposes a framework to evaluate the quality […]

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What is an ID?Instructional design positions in higher education require greater depth and breadth of knowledge, far beyond the bulleted qualifications found in typical job descriptions. The eDesign Collaborative Research Team wished to explore the discrepancies that exist between commonly identified competencies and those deemed necessary by instructional designers (IDs) actively working in postsecondary education. This study identifies […]

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From confounded to common ground: Misunderstandings between tertiary teachers and students in online discussionsDrawing on findings from two studies, this article focuses on the expectations of students and teachers in higher education, when learning via asynchronous online discussions. In particular, this synthesis highlights a divergence of expectations. The first study investigated how students and teachers experienced asynchronous online discussion within initial teacher education at undergraduate level. The second […]

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The impact of personality on students’ perceptions towards online learningThe aim of this exploratory study was to examine the impact of five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and intellect/imagination) on the perception of students towards online learning. A total of 208 students from Taiwan (male = 96 and female = 112) with previous online course experience participated in an online survey using a […]

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National Distance Learning WeekNDLW for 2019 will be November 4-8, 2019 Purpose: The purpose of National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) is to generate greater awareness and appreciation for distance learning, including K-12, Higher Education, Corporate and Military, while recognizing leaders and best practices in the field. Goal: For schools, colleges, and corporations to conduct local events during NDLW to celebrate […]

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A $50 Million Investment in Academic InnovationThe University of Michigan has allocated $50 million to establish a Center for Academic Innovation. The new unit is an upgrade for what was previously the Academic Innovation Initiative and even earlier the Office of Academic Innovation. Academic innovation programs at the university have focused on technology for both online and on-campus learning. Inside Higher Education

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Teach Access Addresses the Accessible Technology Skills GapTeach Access offers networking and experiential learning opportunities for students and curriculum development grants for faculty to help address gaps in accessibility technology skills in the workforce and move accessibility into the mainstream. EDUCASUE Review

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Network Deal to Serve as Research, Public Services VehicleA newly minted Oregon nonprofit is partnering with a California-based education and research network to better connect universities. The new deal will also help deliver public services, officials say. Government Technology

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How Personalized Support and a Culture of Data Can Jumpstart Student SuccessWhen graduation rates plateaued, the University of South Florida turned to predictive analytics and a case management approach to student support — with striking results. Campus Technology

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Coursera for Campus: A New Way to Help Universities Everywhere Deliver Job-Relevant LearningToday, I’m thrilled to introduce Coursera for Campus, a new offering designed to help any university — even those outside of Coursera’s partner ecosystem — to use content on Coursera to deliver job-relevant, multi-disciplinary online learning to its learners. Coursera

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October 12, 2019

Last Week In Abu Dhabi: Highlander Institute Goes International

An item from a US-based blended learning organization.

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In This Week’s Issue
  • Recapping our CEO Shawn Rubin’s experience at the 2019 Qudwa Forum in Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Last call for educators interested in joining the Link Learning Fellowship
  • Grab your tickets to the Autumn PBL RI Meetup on October 17

Recap: Shawn Rubin Presents at Qudwa 2019

Last week, Highlander Institute’s own Shawn Rubin presented at Qudwa 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Qudwa is a forum for teachers, by teachers, that aims to elevate the teaching profession in the UAE. Qudwa’s organizers, the Education Affairs Office of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, are interested in facilitating conversations to encourage more teachers to use student-centered strategies in their classrooms. Qudwa showcased a commitment to engaging deeply with the OECD PISA Global Competence Framework, and kindly invited Shawn to share our work in multiple ways.Over the course of Qudwa, Shawn facilitated a Master Class with early adopter teachers from schools across the UAE, in which participants broke into small collaborative groups to run through simulated playlists around the global competence framework. His trip also included a book talk and signing for Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Changethe book he co-authored with Cathy Sanford. Shawn closed out his experience by participating in a plenary panel, discussing the merits and potential drawbacks of integrating technology in classrooms. While there, Shawn was interviewed live for a feature on Abu Dhabi TV. Check out the segment by clicking here and scrolling to timestamp 2:57:30.

We are so grateful for the hospitality and warm welcome of the UAE teachers and the Crown Prince Court over the course of event. Thank you!

Last Call for Link Learning Fellowship Applicants

Are you a 3rd-5th grade RI educator implementing Eureka Math through a personalized learning model? Then this opportunity may be a good fit for you! We’re excited to announce the Link Learning Fellowship, a professional learning opportunity over the 2019-2020 school year that will investigate the compelling intersections between personalization and high quality instructional materials, specifically Eureka Math.
Launched in partnership between Highlander Institute, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), and Instruction Partners, the Link Learning Fellowship aspires to test the hypothesis that personalization, high quality instructional materials, and culturally responsive teaching do not exist in opposition to one another, but rather when linked, can create powerful learning opportunities for all students.
We’re looking for the first cohort! Learn more about the program here and indicate your interest by Monday, October 14.
Indicate Your Interest
Our Autumn PBL RI Meetup is next week on Thursday, October 17 from 4:30-6:00PM at the Highlander Institute office. Founded in 2017, PBL RI is a community of educators formed around a passion for project-based learning in classrooms in Rhode Island and beyond. If you’re looking for inspiration, a network, interesting conversations, and thoughtful ideas – OR all of the above – this event is for you.
Over the course of this year’s seasonal meetups, we will be looking at how PBL can help shift the cognitive load from teachers to students. During our Autumn Meetup, we will be showcasing the amazing work being led by the RI Mobile Maker Lab. The Mobile Maker Lab is a hands-on, mobile, learning platform exposing students to technologies associated with 21st Century manufacturing. Leveraging digital tools, students engage in project-based learning that aligns with a variety of career opportunities.
We then will end our night with small group discussion and project tuning. As always, refreshments will be available. We hope to see you there!
Please feel free to contact us directly, visit our website, or connect with us on social media!
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LEARN News | October 2019 – Learn Tutoring Is Back!

A newsletter from a Canadian K-12 online and blended learning program.



Dr. Michael J. Canuel



Time is Running Out! Last Chance to Enter the EWC Contest!

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, October 18th, 2019
Students to take ownership of their learning, to have a global voice, global empathy, a purpose, to be inclusive of the community, ask questions and think critically.
Who: Students (14-17 yrs old) enrolled in Quebec English-speaking high schools.
Prize: 12 prizes of a 7-day EWC Adventure valued at $750.
How: Submit an essay, article, poem, drawing, painting, poster, or video about an individual(s) who, through their compassion and leadership, has inspired you personally and helped make their community a better place.
This contest is courtesy of LEARN in collaboration with Encounters with Canada.

Enter Encounters wIth Canada Contest


LEARN Online Tutoring at no charge!


Registration is Now Open!

After a month of school and the first communications going home, students and their families may be looking for some academic support. For help with homework, review, and subject tutoring, LEARN Tutoring can help!

Evening online tutoring, at no cost to students, is available starting on October 15 for our fall/winter session. LEARN tutors are qualified and experienced Quebec teachers who enjoy supporting students with their homework. Feedback after every session keeps schools and families in the loop.

Register Today for LEARN Tutoring


Students Reached Across the Province

For the first time in our 20 year history, we have students in our online classes from every one of Quebec’s 9 English school boards, and more!

In the same Real-Time Chemistry class, students from the Gaspé work with students from Noranda in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. In a Science option Math class, students from Western Quebec and Eastern Shores join with homeschooled students from in and around Montreal. Making connections with students from across Quebec makes this learning option all the richer.

LEARN About Online Learning



Connecting the Garden to the Curriculum

LEARN and McGill’s Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) is pleased to host the Harvest Institute for teachers, partners and Community Development Agents (CDAs).

The Harvest Institute will take place on Thursday, October 24th – 9:30-3:30 pm at McGill’s Downtown Campus.

The Harvest Festival is an opportunity to reflect on what was learned during the past garden season and provide structured time to plan for spring 2020.

Register for Free to Attend the Harvest Institute



STEAM Makerspace

Curious about Makerspaces, ArtHives, Genius Hours, or Passion Projects? There’s no better way to learn about the Maker movement than by living the experience yourself! LEARN‘s PED Services team is inviting all educators to experience firsthand our Open Creative Space! This is an all-day, hands-on experience, free of charge to all educators.

Upcoming OCS Days at the LEARN office:
October 25th, 2019 – 9:30 – 3:00

Register for OCS Days at LEARN


An Unconference for Educators

Celebrating 5 years of RemixEd! Join LEARN at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (9th Floor) on Saturday, November 2, 2019, for the Annual Bilingual RemixEd Camp 2019 from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

This year’s keynote is Josh Burker. We will have a LEARN Makerspace available all day. There will be EdCamp style sessions, amazing networking opportunities, and great prizes for all. This event is at no charge and open to teachers, pre-service teachers, administrators, education professionals, and anyone who is interested in education.

Register Today


Beyond the Banana PIANO

Join us for a day of hands-on experimental learning and interdisciplinary fun! We will use Makey Makey to learn about circuits, create interactive art and design a prototype that solves a real-life problem. We will model how the design thinking process, the maker mindset and coding with Scratch 3.0 can be integrated across subject areas and at all age levels. All levels of experience welcome!

Register for the QPAT Pre-Conference Workshop


Creative Makerspace and
Spotlight on the Arts

DATE: Friday, November 15, 2019
TIME: 9:00 – 3:00pm
ROOM: Salon Bonaventure

Curious about Makerspaces, ArtHives, Genius Hours and Passion Projects?
There’s no better way to learn about the Maker movement than by living the experience yourself! This on-going hands-on session gives participants the chance to drop in and engage in the process of making and tinkering, with access to resources, tools, ideas and community. Participants can come in at any time and stay for as long as they need to work on a hands-on project with friendly support from the LEARN team. Learn about available and accessible materials and books, and meet like-minded people interested in the hands-on aspects of STEAM education in this self-driven, yet highly engaging, session.

LEARN About Makerspaces


Engaging Students with Today’s Technology

The Quebec Ministry of Education recently launched its Digital Action Plan. LEARN has created this online resource to help you navigate these new technologies and support their use in the classroom.

Discover the Digital Action Plan Resource


Guide pour l’enseignement du français, langue seconde au secondaire

Persévérer et progresser en milieu anglophone minoritaire

LEARN et LBPSB sont fiers de vous présenter ce guide qui vise à fournir des solutions concrètes et pratiques pour surmonter bon nombre de défis rencontrés en enseignement du français, langue seconde au secondaire : la gestion du temps, l’interaction en français dans ma classe, l’intérêt pour apprendre le français, l’authenticité de l’apprentissage, la confiance en soi de l’élève, l’exploitation des technologies numériques, la place de l’anglais dans ma classe, l’évaluation.

Ce document inclut 136 stratégies, toutes conçues pour vous soutenir à court et à long terme dans votre carrière d’enseignant.e de langue seconde.

Découvrez le guide pour l’enseignement du FLS


Get Organized! Social Sciences
Tools Galore

If you dig deep into the extensive Social Sciences sections at LEARN, you will also find many Graphic Organizers, Planners, Icons, Badges, and other paper and digital tools you can use immediately in your classes, or that you can copy and change to suit your needs. Visit the appropriately named “Soc Sci Graphic Organizer Storehouse” to quickly browse what has been produced on LEARN and through projects with our various partners.

Get Organized with LEARN’s Social Sciences Resources


A Question of Time

This fall, Exploreschool cohorts are ‘rolling up their sleeves’, getting real and working hard to address the temporal design challenge, identified as the key to unlocking all other components of the NEXTschool model:
“To create a high school timetable that engages students in interdisciplinary
study and maximizes the opportunities for them to apply curricular competencies
in relevant ways.”

Read About the High School Timetable



Remembering Childhood Play

In looking back to the daily life of her childhood, author Alexandra Fidyk makes a case for the unique ways of knowing that develop through play, place, and tradition.

Read More



Connecting With Qualified Artists

Artists Inspire Grants (AIG) – an ELAN/LEARN partnership to provide students in English communities with hands-on creative experiences, funded by the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages.

Annual funding from 2019-2023:  $1500/English public school (elementary/secondary) to connect with qualified artists from Quebec’s English-speaking Communities to facilitate creative experiences during the school day (plus travel costs for rural/remote schools) that take place before March 31st in each of the 4 years.  

ELAN’s ArtEd Team wants to support your school in getting the maximum benefit from your Artistslnspire Grant.

· School applications – apply once, update annually with artist information – approval within 5 business days
· Artists fees and expenses paid by LEARN – no admin work for schools/boards
– Download the AIG brochure here

Connect with ELAN’s Art Ed Team to learn more and plan your 2019-20 creative experiences: 438-979-1171
Folllow ELANArtEd on Facebook for inspiration and updates.

Apply for the 2019-2020 School Year Now


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