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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the Yahoo! Alerts for virtual school.

Offering a virtual education
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sat, 23 Dec 2006 4:48 PM PST

Fredonia - The Northern Ozaukee School Board will expand the district's online school offerings by creating a virtual...

Digital news source links Virtual School students
Lawrence Journal-World Tue, 26 Dec 2006 10:09 PM PST

It makes sense: If a regular high school has a regular student newspaper, then a virtual high school should have a virtual student newspaper.

Cyber schools: High costs, low scores
The York Dispatch Wed, 27 Dec 2006 7:52 AM PST

York County school districts spend more than $3 million per year sending about 500 students to Internet charter schools. Administrators in traditional schools said they're sending students and money to cyber schools that lack accountability and don't perform up to the level of traditional schools.

Students taking shared classes at JCD report
Osgood Journal Thu, 28 Dec 2006 12:39 PM PST

At the Jac-Cen-Del School Board meeting, Eugene Westerman and two of his physics class students, Justin Eaton and Natasha Gregory, reported to the board on the shared physics class with South Ripley. They demonstrated some of their projects.

Local schools foot the bill for cyber students, but lack oversight
The York Dispatch Thu, 28 Dec 2006 8:05 AM PST

On one side, school district officials complain that cyber schools have little accountability and are too costly. On the other, cyber school advocates say school districts are getting a bargain.

Moving on to the Yahoo! Alerts for cyber school.

Cyber School Sues Former Management Company
KDKA Pittsburgh Sat, 23 Dec 2006 11:34 AM PST

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is suing its former business management company, alleging that the company violated its contract and wrongly used money earmarked for community development.

Cyberschool accuses firm of monetary hijinks
The Beaver County Times Sat, 23 Dec 2006 0:30 AM PST

BEAVER - The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School has accused a firm that formerly managed its business operations of violating its contract and fraudulently using money earmarked for community development, according to a civil complaint filed Friday in Beaver County Court.

Cyber charter school suit alleges contract violation
The York Dispatch Sun, 24 Dec 2006 3:51 AM PST

BEAVER -- The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School has filed suit against its former business management company, alleging that the company violated its contract and wrongly used money earmarked for community development.

Cyber schools: High costs, low scores
The York Dispatch Wed, 27 Dec 2006 7:52 AM PST

York County school districts spend more than $3 million per year sending about 500 students to Internet charter schools. Administrators in traditional schools said they're sending students and money to cyber schools that lack accountability and don't perform up to the level of traditional schools.

Parents: Cyber schooling works for their families
The York Dispatch Wed, 27 Dec 2006 7:53 AM PST

On the second day of the first grade, Ranae Cherry got a phone call from a teacher saying that her daughter wasn't paying attention and suggesting that she be tested for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Spencer: Students succeeding in cyber classrooms
The Daily Times Tue, 26 Dec 2006 9:20 PM PST

Rachel Ringiewicz has about a minute before her first class of the day starts. But here she is at 8:59 a.m., still in her bedroom at her Upper Providence home on Crum Creek Road. How will she get to her English class on time? She gets there with the flick of a switch and a couple taps on her mouse, that’s how.

Superintendents: Keep money in York with a regional cyber school
The York Dispatch Thu, 28 Dec 2006 8:05 AM PST

With cyber schools luring away a growing number of students, some York County school superintendents said it might behoove the school districts to launch a counteroffensive.

Local schools foot the bill for cyber students, but lack oversight
The York Dispatch Thu, 28 Dec 2006 8:05 AM PST

On one side, school district officials complain that cyber schools have little accountability and are too costly. On the other, cyber school advocates say school districts are getting a bargain.

On to the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber school sues former consultant
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

Pennsylvania's largest cyber school, the target of a state grand jury investigation, has sued a former consultant who became a leading critic of the school. ... [See all stories on this topic]

State News Briefs
Pocono Record - Stroudsburg,PA,USA

... cyber charter school claims Rodis and its chief executive, Michael Barney, acquired a 143-acre site in Midland to build 275 homes for cyber school teachers but ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Holidays

A happy holidays to you and your's...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Couple draws followers
Port Huron Times Herald - Port Huron,MI,USA

... Second 8th Week University is a virtual school that offers what the couple describes as counseling and a blueprint for dissatisfied Christians. ...

Virtual high school eyed
Janesville Gazette - Janesville,WI,USA

... Jefferson could benefit from association with the virtual school, according to the proposal: The virtual school requires students to fulfill a "service-learning ...

Virtual experiences can cause embellished, false memories
EurekAlert (press release) - Washington,DC,USA

The study by Ann Schlosser, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Washington Business School, showed that virtual experiences may help ...

Board makes virtual school committment
Baldwin City Signal - Baldwin City,KS,USA

... It offers a tuition-free virtual school with a wide array of classes that are offered. For more information, look on its Web site at http://www.insightschools.net/. ...

Moving on to the Google News Alert for cyber school.

New BS superintendent will begin in new year
Blairsville Dispatch - PA, USA

... He said Blairsville-Saltsburg recently received notice from a cyber school that a local enrollee had not logged onto his computer for three days and was ...

Cyber School Founder Faces New Allegations
KDKA - Pittsburg,PA,USA

... KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reports that the central issue in the case comes down to whether the Cyber School misspent tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money. ...

Next the Yahoo! News Alerts for virtual school.

Virtual high school eyed
Gazette Extra Sports Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:13 AM PST

The Janesville School District's new virtual high school would operate out of a classroom at Jefferson Elementary School. The Janesville Virtual Academy would start operations in September 2007 if the school board approves its charter next spring.

Virtual school is net gain for AT student

Community Press & Recorder Mon, 18 Dec 2006 8:03 AM PST

ANDERSON TWP. - For Michael Braun, school starts every morning when he fires up his computer.

Northern Ozaukee School District expands online school offerings
Gazette Extra Sports Wed, 20 Dec 2006 10:28 AM PST

FREDONIA, Wis. - The Northern Ozaukee School District says it will expand its online school offerings by creating a virtual high school available to students statewide starting next fall.

District to offer high school classes online
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Tue, 19 Dec 2006 10:03 PM PST

Fredonia - The Northern Ozaukee School Board will expand the district's online school offerings by creating a virtual high school that would be available to students statewide beginning next fall.

Virtual academy seeks real-live teacher for Yuma
The Yuma Sun Thu, 21 Dec 2006 6:52 PM PST

The Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) supplies its students with everything they need for distance learning: computers, books, science equipment and even musical instruments.

And finally the Yahoo! News Alerts for cyber school.

Cyberschool suit heads closer to trial
The Beaver County Times Thu, 21 Dec 2006 0:15 AM PST

BEAVER - A legal dispute between the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and a firm that formerly managed its business operations inched closer to a 2007 trial date after a mediation hearing Tuesday failed to resolve the case.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Re-Post From The AECT BlogTrack - Learning Styles, Student Performance and Web-based Design

This is the second entryfrom the month of June, the second in the series where I described the research work that I have done to date in virtual schooling, and the tenth overall in the re-posts from this series.



This is the second study that I conducted with the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. It began during the first year of operation while I was the Web-Based Initiatives Facilitator for the Vista School District (i.e., I was responsible for the introduction of the CDLI in my school district). In the first year there was only twenty students at only five different schools in a single school district. This particular study was a follow-up that I did with a different CDLI teacher and the students were from across the province.

The purpose of the study was to determine whether the design of the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation courses were favourable to specific types of learning styles. This particular study considered three learning style theories: traditional learning styles; David Kolb’s theory of experiential learning; and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Thirty-one of the forty-two students in a business education course during the 2002-03 school year completed the inventory.

While there were there are a number of issues that are raised for educators and instructional designers of e-learning material the most important of these appeared to be in designing e-learning environments, developers should make sure to include more audio items as students who were auditory learners or who possessed Gardner’s musical-rhythmic intelligence scored lower than other student. There were also issues that are raised for educators who teach in an e-learning environment. The most important of these appeared to be that e-teachers should attempt to provide additional opportunities for students to interact in a verbal (e.g., audio or text-based) way, as again students who possessed Gardner’s verbal-linguistic intelligence and those who scored high in Kolb’s divergent and accommodative learning styles. (For more information, see Barbour & Cooze, 2004; Cooze & Barbour, 2005.)

Selected Bibliography

Barbour, M., & Cooze, M. (2004). All for one and one for all: Designing web-based courses for students based upon individual learning styles. Staff and Educational Development International, 8(2/3), 95-108.

Cooze, M., & Barbour, M. (2005). Learning styles: A focus upon e- learning practices and pedagogy and their implications for success in secondary high school students in Newfoundland and Labrador. Malaysian Online Journal of Instructional Technology, 2(1). Retrieved on July 31, 2005 from http://pppjj.usm.my/mojit/articles/pdf/02-Michael%20Barbour.pdf

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cleaning Up My BlogLines

Okay, another massive post that is simply cleaning up many of the entries that I have been collecting in my Bloglines account - hoping one day to write on these, but the pressures of dissertating and the end fo the semester mean that this just won't happen.

Establishing Virtual Schools and Virtual Schooling
Homeschooling and Virtual Schooling
Virtual School Growth

Virtual Schooling and the Courts

Digital Divide

Benefits of Online Learning

Teaching Online

Virtual Schooling Resources

Until the next time I see a lot that interests me, but am too busy to really do much about it.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the ASCD SmartBrief.

Audit could slow Colorado cyberschools' growth
Rocky Mountain News (Denver) (12/11)

An audit due Monday on whether state tax money is being spent wisely on online education programs could curb the explosive growth of such programs in rural parts of the state. To the dismay of neighboring districts, small school districts in southeastern Colorado have used online schools over the past few years to exponentially boost pupil enrollments and their budgets.

Moving to the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Verdict due on online schools
Denver Post - Denver,CO,USA

... bias against online education," said Don Wilkinson, superintendent of the Monte Vista school district, which operates the state's oldest virtual school. ...

Virtual School For Missouri Students
MyFox Saint Louis - Saint Louis,MO,USA

... can get extra learning opportunities. If scheduling is a problem, students can take classes that aren't offered at their school.

Public-school classes go online
Orlando Sentinel - Orlando,FL,USA

... Florida -- Parents and students interested in learning about public-school classes offered online can get answers at the Florida Virtual School open house ...

Home-schoolers get help from technology
Richmond Times Dispatch - Richmond,VA,USA

... She received a notice from the Nelson County school system announcing an online virtual school called the Nelson Academy of Virtual Learning, available to any ...

Missouri moves toward virtual school
Kansas City Star - MO,USA

... LOUIS - Missouri will open a virtual school on the Internet next year with the promise of advanced instruction for bright students, makeup opportunities for ...

On to the Yahoo! News Alerts virtual school.

Audit looms over Vilas' Web school
Rocky Mountain News Mon, 11 Dec 2006 0:14 AM PST

An audit to be released today in Denver could stem the soaring growth of the online education programs that have bloomed here in the farmlands of southeastern Colorado, a virtual effort begun with the goal of keeping this tiny community and its single school alive.

Board makes virtual school committment
Baldwin City Signal Wed, 13 Dec 2006 10:05 PM PST

A contractual agreement on paper continues to move the Baldwin Board of Education one step closer to a partnership with Insight Schools.

Distance learning programs expand in South Sound
The Olympian Fri, 15 Dec 2006 4:09 AM PST

OLYMPIA - A new Olympia Regional Learning Academy has 56 students in its distance-learning programs since enrollment began last month and expects to double in size by the end of the 2006-07 school year.

On to the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber school with a twist
Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia,PA,USA

... The arrangement makes her a cyber-blended student who takes courses on a computer but also at the cyber school's gifted education center, where she is taught ...

And finally from the Yahoo! News Alerts cyber school.

School report no surprise to some
Rocky Mountain News Tue, 12 Dec 2006 0:29 AM PST

The state auditor's report on Colorado's online schools and its news of low scores on standardized tests and higher dropout rates came as no surprise, said representatives of community groups that run learning centers associated with a co-op singled out for criticism.

Cyber School Founder Faces New Allegations
KDKA Pittsburgh Wed, 13 Dec 2006 6:19 PM PST

There are new allegations tonight against the founder of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. More than a dozen people, including administrators, board members, and teachers have been ordered to appear this week before a grand jury.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Opinions and Concerns, Volume III - Finished

Apparently, there was only one that I missed in the Opinions and Concerns and Opinions and Concerns, Volume II series.

As a reminder, these were a series that Darren, over at Teaching and Developing Online, had been posting from "a series of questions that are part of an on-going survey of the students at the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School".

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - The Role of the Mediating Teacher

Moving into the month of June in this series - not sure what number I am up to in the reposts but we are moving along. June and July were active months for my involvement in the AECT BlogTrack, so we'll have a lot to post during the holiday season.




This is the first of seven different research studies that I have conducted with the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. Over the next four weeks (basically for the month of June), I’ll be posted two entries a week that describe these seven studies. Your thoughts and ideas about what I have done, what I found, or where I could go from here are all welcome.

In their calls for the creation of the CDLI, Sparkes and Williams (2000) recommended the use of a school-based classroom teacher (a mediating or m-teacher) whose job it was to “ensure appropriate interaction” between the students and their “e-teacher” (p. 79). More specifically, this m-teacher was responsible for all non-technical, non-instructional aspects of distance education in their own school. This study considered the role of the m-teacher in the CDLI by examining how teachers in this role in one school district felt about the position after the first year. This study was conducted using two surveys, one given to the m-teacher at the mid-point of the year and one given to them at the end of the year.

During the 2001-02 school year the m-teachers expressed that they had quite a burden placed upon them due to the wide range of duties and time commitment associated with these new responsibilities. In addition to the time associated with the position, in many cases the mediating teachers responsibilities did include technical and instruction aspects. As has been well known, but rarely documented, in the previous audiographics distance education system the success of distance education in the province has been in large part due to the assistance provided by teachers in our rural schools above and beyond their contractual obligations to the school or the school district. It appears, at least in the first year of this new model for distance education, that this aspect of distance education (i.e., teachers providing additional time and performing voluntary duties) did not change. It should be noted, however, that after the first year of operation the CDLI changed the structure of the mediating role to include multiple teachers who formed an m-team. While the workload has probably remained constant or even increased, with additional teachers and administrators involved in this role the extra work has been spread out over more people. (For more information, see Barbour & Mulcahy, 2004; Mulcahy, 2002.)

Selected Bibliography

Barbour, M., & Mulcahy, D. (2004). The role of mediating teachers in Newfoundland’s new model of distance education. The Morning Watch, 32(1-2). Retrieved on February 3, 2004 from http://www.mun.ca/educ/faculty/mwatch/win05/barbourmulcahy.htm

Mulcahy, D. (2002). Re-conceptualizing Distance Education Implications for the Rural Schools of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Morning Watch, 30(1-2). Retrieved December 16, 2003, from http://www.mun.ca/educ/faculty/mwatch/fall02/Mulcahy.htm

Sparkes, R. & Williams, L. (2000). Supporting learning: Ministerial panel on educational delivery in the classroom. St. John’s, NL: Queen’s Printing for Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the Yahoo! News Alerts virtual school.

County schools opt into online studiesManassas Journal Messenger Sat, 02 Dec 2006 8:23 PM PST

In Prince William County, online education has been an option for some high school classes since 2001. The county's online high school program, Virtual High School @ Prince William County Schools, offers a variety of courses in the summer, fall and spring semesters.

Dual High School Diploma Options for Students in China Through the University of Miami Online High School
SYS-CON Media Tue, 05 Dec 2006 9:24 AM PST

A new bridge is spanning the gap between East and West. Students in China who want to improve fluency in the English language now have the opportunity to be academically immersed in the language while avoiding the financial and emotional difficulties of a traditional foreign exchange program.

Honing home scholars
Wapakoneta Daily News Tue, 05 Dec 2006 12:47 PM PST

The decision of how and where a child should be educated is a fundamental right of parents — but often a frustrating matter for school superintendents.

Board Of Education Approves New AP Classes, Virtual Course
New London Day Thu, 07 Dec 2006 7:27 AM PST

Ledyard - The Board of Education unanimously approved two additions to the high school curriculum at its meeting Wednesday night. In the spring semester, Ledyard High ...

Missouri moves toward virtual school
Southeast Missourian Fri, 08 Dec 2006 7:36 AM PST

ST. LOUIS -- Missouri will open a virtual school on the Internet next year with the promise of advanced instruction for bright students, make-up opportunities for those lagging behind and learning...

Missouri moves toward virtual school
KSHB-TV Kansas City Fri, 08 Dec 2006 0:58 AM PST

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Missouri will open a virtual school on the Internet next year with the promise of advanced instruction for bright students, makeup opportunities for those lagging behind and learning opportunities for home-schooled or sick children.

Public-school classes go online
Orlando Sentinel Fri, 08 Dec 2006 3:07 AM PST

Parents and students interested in learning about public-school classes offered online can get answers at the Florida Virtual School open house Saturday at Barnes & Noble bookstores around Orlando.

Moving on to the Yahoo! News Alerts cyber school.

Midland students caught in middle as school districts wrangle over tuition payments
The Beaver County Times Sat, 02 Dec 2006 8:17 PM PST

MIDLAND — Will Hutchins has never set foot inside Midland’s Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School.

Cyber school with a twist
The Philadelphia Inquirer Thu, 07 Dec 2006 10:17 AM PST

Katie Devanney, a 16-year-old from Paoli, likes the high school she has designed for herself. She takes three courses online through a Chester County cyber charter school but also takes a literature course for gifted students in the basement of a former church in West Chester.

Finally, the Google News Alert for virtual school.

District ponders part in virtual school
Aberdeen American News - Aberdeen,SD,USA

... half of the 2006-07 school year. • Should Central High School provide some teachers and courses for the statewide virtual school? ...

Phil Camillo of PixLit Virtual School Wins StartupNation's On-Air ...
PR Web (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USA

... But in the end, Camillo won the unanimous favor of all three judges by pitching his company, PixLit, a virtual school that sells video lessons and special ...

Board action detailed; group to meet tonight
The Fayette Tribune - Oak Hill,WV,USA

... A second reading was staged on a policy concerning distance learning and virtual school courses. Ben Pettry, director of technology ...

Virtual school faces state cutoff
Cincinnati Enquirer - Cincinnati,OH,USA\nLEBANON - The Warren County Virtual Community School is among\n11 schools statewide that risk losing state funding if they don't provide better student ...

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Re-Post From The AECT BlogTrack - My Research In Virtual Schooling: Context

Okay, so this is the eighth entry from this series and the last entry that I posted to my AECT BlogTrack blog during the month of May.



Given that one of the aspects of this Blogtrack is that it should be research based, that is a look at the research in online learning from each of our individual perspectives, I thought I should begin a series of entries over the next few weeks about some of the research that I have done with virtual schooling. I’ll be honest and say that I got the idea for this from a roundtable presentation that I am doing tomorrow at the CSSE conference (see any of the late May entries in my Breaking into the Academy blog to read more about that conference). Basically, my roundtable was an overview of the development of the virtual school in Newfoundland, Canada and then a description of six different studies that I have conducted with that virtual school (I did exclude a seventh, which was a vey small study that I will include in this series of entries). Over the next four weeks I will try and post two entries per week to get these ideas out, hopefully they will generate some discussion about the different topics that I have been interested in. However, before I begin the short descriptions of the studies I thought that some context about this virtual school was in order.

In 1999, the Government appointed a ministerial panel to, among other things, “examine the current educational delivery model and consider alternative approaches” (Sparkes & Williams, 2000, p. 2). In their report a year later, the ministerial panel recommended the creation of the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) to be based upon the web-based model that had been evolving throughout the province. This model was not to be “totally dependent on high bandwidth technologies [and have a] minimal reliance on synchronous communications, fixed schedules or other constraining elements” (Sparkes & Williams, 2000, p. 65). The vision of the CDLI was to provide access to educational opportunities for students, teachers and other adult learners in both rural and urban communities in a manner that renders distance transparent; eliminate geographical and demographic barriers as obstacles to broad, quality educational programs and services; and develop a culture of e-learning in our schools which is considered to be an integral part of school life for all teachers and students.

The CDLI began in 2001-02 with ten courses field tested in ten districts (i.e., one course per district), having a total of 200 student enrolments from 76 different rural schools. After the initial field test, the CDLI expanded its course offerings so that students from all over the province could access any course. Over the past four years, the CDLI increased its offerings to the point where there had 1,500 student enrolments from 95 different schools in thirty-five courses in 2004-05 (Government of Newfoundland, 2004).

The CDLI also provides a variety of instructional support for students enrolled in any of their thirty-five courses. The two main sources of this support come from synchronous and asynchronous instruction. The CDLI has experienced and highly qualified teachers that provide, depending on the subject area, anywhere from 30% to 80% of the students scheduled time (which is 10 one hour periods over a fourteen day cycle) in synchronous instruction using the voice over Internet protocol software, Elluminate Live®. This software allows for two-way voice over the Internet, a shared, interactive whiteboard, instant messaging, application sharing, breakout rooms, and interactive quiz and survey management. Through this software, teachers are able to provide synchronous instruction in much the same way that they would in a traditional classroom.

The asynchronous instruction is conducted using a course management system called WebCT®. This software provides the teacher and students with a variety of tools, including: a discussion forum, a shared calendar, an internal e-mail system, and a place to house the course web pages. The course web pages are designed by a team of two individuals: a teacher acting as a subject matter expert and a multimedia specialist to add images and interactive items into the content. The course web pages are divided up into the units called for in the provincially mandated curriculum guide, further divided into sections which are akin to themes that may flow in each of the units, and finally into lessons which are designed as the items of actual asynchronous instruction that can be completed in usually one to three hours of student time. Each Lesson is broken down into five component parts (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Overview of the Lesson template
  1. You Will Learn – briefly lists, in student friendly language, the instructional outcomes for the lesson;
  2. You Should Know – lists, and when necessary elaborates on, knowledge and skills students are expected to have mastered prior to the lesson;
  3. Lesson – is self-explanatory and may be broken into multiple pages;
  4. Activities – contains further instructional events the student that students need to carry out in order to master the lesson outcomes; and
  5. Test Yourself – offers an opportunity for the student to gauge the degree to which the outcomes were achieved. (Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation, 2003, p. 12)

In addition to the course web pages, teachers regularly utilize the course calendar to post upcoming work and assignments, deadlines, and a notification for quizzes and tests. Teachers also regularly use the internal e-mail system and discussion forums to communicate with their students outside of their synchronous class time (known as online time, as opposed to the non-synchronous sessions which are known as offline time). Finally, it is not uncommon for teachers to post additional lecture notes, MS Powerpoint presentations, and useful websites in WebCT.

The CDLI also participates in the Tutoring for Tuition program. Through their participation in this program, the CDLI are able to provide senior secondary and post-secondary students in twenty-one different subject areas who are available for synchronous tutoring using the Elluminate Live software for two hours each day outside of the traditional school day (i.e., after 3:00pm on weekdays). The CDLI has also developed a series of 50-100 multimedia learning clips per course, for eleven courses that are evaluated with year-end standardized public examinations. These learning clips were developed by practicing classroom teachers and have been designed to provide a thorough review to complement in-class preparations for the public exams. Finally, the CDLI has created additional learning clips for four public exam courses based upon the June 2004 public exam and has provided resource course webs for two additional grade ten courses.

At the school level, each school would have one teacher that is assigned the responsibility of looking after the computers in the school, including the up to six computers that have been purchased by the CDLI and placed in the school with all of the necessary software and hardware for the students to be able to access all aspects of their web-based courses. The CDLI has also arranged for all schools that have students in courses offered by the CDLI to have ADSL, cable modem, frame relay, or high speed satellite (two-way) connections to ensure adequate bandwidth. In addition to the school-based teacher responsible for technology in each school, schools are also responsible for having a mediating teacher (i.e., m-teacher) or mediating team (i.e., m-team), which may or may not include the teacher responsible for the technology. The goal of this m-teacher or m-team is to provide supervision and support (although not academic support) to the students enrolled in CDLI courses. These are the teacher(s) who proctors tests and exams, monitors student attendance and behaviour, and provide general support in gaining the independent learning and self-motivation skills that may be needed to succeed in the CDLI environment.

Selected Bibliography

Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. (2003). CDLI educator’s reference manual. St. John’s, NL: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved on February 24, 2005 from http://www.cdli.ca/pdf/2003_educators_reference_manual.pdf

Government of Newfoundland. (2004, September 9). CDLI’s reputation continues to grow. St. John’s, NL: Queen’s Printing for Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved on December 9, 2004 from http://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2004/edu/0909n04.htm

Sparkes, R. & Williams, L. (2000). Supporting learning: Ministerial panel on educational delivery in the classroom. St. John’s, NL: Queen’s Printing for Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just How Many Are There?

I had what I thought was a very intelligent question posted in a comment on Saturday to an entry that I made back near the end of September:


Doc said...
Can someone point me to statistics for K-12 enrollment in online courses?
I.e., how many K12 students are taking one or more online courses?
Let's see if we can address this one for Doc...

The easy answer to your question is that we simply don't know. Below is a section from the literature review of my dissertation that speaks to that issue. As you'll see there are many estimates, others tht have figures that include various types of distance education (not only virtual schooling), and then some specific isolated numbers. I should note that the most recent speculation from the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) is:

"In the United States, there were more than 500,000 enrollments in online
courses in grades K-12and more than one-third of public school districts offered
some type of eLearning during the2005-2006 school year. Research has been done
on several virtual schools in North America;however, little information is
available about current K-12 e-learning initiatives across the world."
Anyway, that section from my dissertation:




Shortly after virtual schools were first introduced to rural schools, Clark (2000) presented his important overview entitled Virtual High Schools: State of the States. In this document he outlined three statewide virtual schools that had already been created (i.e., Florida, New Mexico, and Utah), three statewide virtual schools that were in the planning stages (i.e. Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan), and two highly successful non-statewide initiatives (i.e., the VHS and CLASS.com). The following year, he indicated that there were at least fourteen states with operational or planned virtual schools and extrapolated that there were between 40,000 to 50,000 students enrolled in virtual courses in the United States (Clark, 2001). That same year in the monthly magazine published by the National School Boards Association, Vail (2001) found that there were more than fifty charter and public schools running online programs in at least 30 states. This represents significant growth during the first five years that this form of distance education has been available in the United States.

The last four years have continued to see similar growth in the United States. In a summary of the five years of evaluation of the VHS, Zucker and Kozma (2003) reported that the consortium then contained almost 200 high schools within 24 states, as well as an expansion to 10 foreign countries. Two years later, Pape et al. (2005) indicated that this consortium had increased to 232 schools in 26 states and 11 countries. In their review of state-level policy for the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), Watson, Winograd and Kalmon (2004) found that eleven of the twenty-two states that they surveyed had a substantial level of activity, or the presence of legislation and/or regulations concerning virtual schooling. In a more comprehensive follow-up to that study, Watson and Kalmon (2005) surveyed all fifty US states and found that approximately half of them had significant policies for virtual schooling. They also found that there were 21 states that had virtual schools operating on a statewide basis (although in some instances these were district-based or university-based programs that had students enrolled from across the state). In their second follow-up report, the authors found that there were now 24 statewide virtual schools (Watson & Ryan, 2006).

Huerta and González (2004) found that over the 5 years preceding their study there had been approximately 60 cyber charter schools in 15 states serving over 16,000 students. Setzer and Lewis (2005) speculated that there were approximately 328,000 public school enrollments in online or two-way television distance education programs in the United States. However, it should be noted that this figure would include all online distance education programs, not just virtual school students. The combination of state sanctioned virtual high schools, virtual charter schools, students served by online homeschool association endeavors (such as the online course offerings of the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Association), university laboratory schools, and other online course offerings (such as commercial ventures like APEX Inc. and Class.com Inc.) has provided a growing opportunity for secondary school students to complete individual courses, and in many instances entire high school diplomas, through virtual school offerings. Rapidly growing programs such as these provided the basis for the National Education Association’s prediction that by 2006 a majority of American high school students will have completed at least one online course before graduation (Fulton, 2002a). The potential that a majority of high school students have completed an online course was unlikely, however, there have been recent developments which will make this prediction possible. For example, in the Michigan Merit Curriculum Guidelines: Online Experience that Government of Michigan outlined the decision to be the first state in America to require that all students will be required to take at least one online course as a requirement for graduation (Department of Education, 2006). During the 2003-04 school year there were less than 8,000 student enrollments for the Michigan Virtual High School had (Borja, 2005), but there were over 525,000 high school students in Michigan during this same time period (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2005). So the potential for a dramatic increase in the number of students enrolled in virtual school courses, in both Michigan and the country as a whole, is high.

In the Canadian context, from 1995 to 1999 there were 23 virtual school programs operating in the province of Alberta (Muirhead, 1999). In a national survey of virtual schooling in Canada, O’Haire, Froese-Germain and Lane- De Baie (2003) reported that Alberta had the most students engaged in virtual schooling, with approximately 4,500 full-time and 2,500 part-time K-12 students in more than 20 schools. Over the past four years, the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador has increased from 200 student enrolments in ten courses representing 76 different schools in 2001-02, to 1,500 student enrollments in thirty-five courses in 95 different schools in 2004-05 (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2004). Contact North, the virtual school serving Northern Ontario, reported 11,222 registrations in their 548 courses for the year 2000-01, an increase of 12% over the previous year (Betty, Hebert, & Sefton, 2002). More recently in British Columbia, a partnership of eighteen school districts offered a pilot electronic distance education program for 2200 students in 2001-02 (Kuehn, 2002). With over 17,000 student enrollments in distance education, five years later the province of British Columbia launched a new province-wide virtual school, Learnnow BC, to provide rural and remote students “with more course choices and flexibility” (Government of British Columbia, 2006). This growth has even been experienced in urban areas where over the past four years the Vancouver School Board (the largest in British Columbia) and the Toronto District School Board (the largest in Canada) have established their own virtual schools. Even with this growth in Canada and the United States, Clarke (2003) concluded that the majority of schools that participate in K-12 distance education and virtual schooling are rural and small schools.

Selected Bibliography:

Betty, D., Hebert, W. S., & Sefton, D. (2002). Employing open and distance education learning to meet regional social needs: The northern Ontario experience. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Distance Education. Retrieved December 9, 2004, from http://www.cnorth.on.ca/cnorth/CADE/CADE_May_2002.htm.

Borja, R. R. (2005). Cyber schools’ status - As the popularity of virtual schools grows, the funding models for state-sponsored efforts differ across the country [Electronic Version]. Education Week, 2, 22-23. Retrieved November 8, 2006 from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/05/05/35state-s1.h24.html.

Clark, T. (2000). Virtual high schools: State of the states - A study of virtual high school planning and pperation in the United States: Center for the Application of Information Technologies, Western Illinois University.

Clark, T. (2001). Virtual schools: Trends and issues - A study of virtual schools in the United States. San Francisco, CA: Western Regional Educational Laboratories.

Clark, T. (2003). Virtual and distance education in American schools. In M. G. M. W. G. Anderson (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (pp. 673-699). Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Department of Education. (2006). Michigan merit curriculum guidelines: Online experience. Lansing, MI: Government of Michigan.

Fulton, K. (2002). Guide to online high school courses. Washington, DC: National Education Association.
Government of British Columbia. (2006). Province launches new B.C. virtual school, LearnNow BC. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2006EDU0109-001270.htm

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. (2004). CDLI’s reputation continues to grow. Retrieved December 9, 2004, from http://www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2004/edu/0909n04.htm

Huerta, L. A., & González, M. F. (2004). Cyber and home school charter schools: How states are defining new forms of public schooling. Tempe, AZ: Education Policy Research Unit, Arizona State University.

Kuehn, L. (2002). BCTF research report: Developments with distributed learning. Vancouver: BC: British Columbia Teachers’ Federation.

Muirhead, B. (1999). The benefits of an online education consortium for Alberta. International Electronic Journal For Leadership in Learning, 3(4).

National Center for Educational Statistics. (2005). State Education Data Profiles. Retrieved November 8, 2006, from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/stateprofiles/sresult.asp?mode=full&displaycat=1&s1=26

O'Haire, N., Froese-Germain, B., & Lane-De Baie, S. (2003). Virtual education, real educators: Issues in online learning. Ottawa, On: The Canadian Teachers' Federation.

Pape, L., Adams, R., & Ribeiro, C. (2005). The Virtual High School: Collaboration and online professional development. In Z. L. Berge & T. Clark (Eds.), Virtual schools: Planning for success (pp. 118-132). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Setzer, J. C., & Lewis, L. (2005). Distance education courses for public elementary and secondary school students: 2002-03 Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Vail, K. (2001). Online learning grows up: No longer an experiment, virtual school is here to stay [Electronic Version]. Electronic School. Retrieved July 31, 2005 from http://www.electronic-school.com/2001/09/0901f1.html.

Watson, J., & Ryan, J. (2006). Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: A review of state-level policy and practice. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning.

Watson, J. F., & Kalmon, S. (2005). Keeping pace with K–12 online learning: A review of state-level policy and practice. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.

Watson, J. F., Winograd, K., & Kalmon, S. (2004). Keeping pace with K–12 online learning: A snapshot of state-level policy and practice. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.

Zucker, A., & Kozma, R. (2003). The Virtual High School: Teaching generation V. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Opinions and Concerns, Volume II

As a follow-up to a post made early last week (see Opinions and Concerns), here are some more of the entries from a series entitled "School Opinions and Concerns" which Darren, over at Teaching and Developing Online, has been posting from "a series of questions that are part of an on-going survey of the students at the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School".
As I said last time, I'm not sure if there will be more and, if so, how many more - but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

And again, sorry I didn't trackback Darren - but your system still doesn't accept my trackbacks.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with one of our non-regular one, e-School News.

FLVS debuts forum for virtual teachers
Nov 29 FULL STORY

As virtual school enrollments continue to climb nationwide, school administrators are faced with an important question: How to prepare traditional teachers for success in an increasingly online world....

Moving on to the Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Plans readied for new charter school in Appleton
Appleton Post-Crescent Mon, 27 Nov 2006 7:56 PM PST

APPLETON After months of planning, a group of Roosevelt Middle School staff, parents and Fox Cities Performing Arts Center representatives is preparing to debut Kaleidoscope Academy as Appletons next charter school.

UM Online High School Offers Innovative, Dual Diploma Program for Students in Russia
SYS-CON Media Tue, 28 Nov 2006 8:42 AM PST

Foreign exchange programs promise to expose students to another culture and put them on a fast-track to second- language fluency through the time-honored 'immersion' method. But for many exchange students, cultural and linguistic immersion is accompanied by severe culture shock, homesickness, and feelings of isolation - hardly a recipe for broadening one's horizons. Fortunately, immersion

UM Online High School Offers Innovative, Dual Diploma Program for Students in Russia
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Tue, 28 Nov 2006 4:50 AM PST

Foreign exchange programs promise to expose students to another culture and put them on a fast-track to second- language fluency through the time-honored "immersion" method.

District ponders part in virtual school
Aberdeen American News Thu, 30 Nov 2006 1:09 AM PST

The Aberdeen school district is exploring what, if anything, it would like to do to be part of the newly created South Dakota Virtual High School.

Next the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

Boards to meet over tuition rift
The Beaver County Times Wed, 29 Nov 2006 0:02 AM PST

MIDLAND - Western Beaver and Midland school board members and administrators plan to meet in the next week to try to resolve a legal dispute that has put more than 30 students' academic futures up in the air.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Statistics for November

As of this moment there are 8780 hits to this blog based upon the straight counter. It read 8087 at the end of October.

These hits came from 578 unique visitors: 519 first timers and 59 repeat offenders for an average of 19 visitors a day. The most active day was November 13, with the final four days of the month falling second through fifth.

These visitors came from the United States, Canada, Israel, Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the Islamic Republic Of Iran.

Popular pages included:

Until next month...

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