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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rural Context of Virtual Schooling

Okay, I just wanted to post this because I spend a great deal of time talking about the rural nature of virtual schooling and how I see that as my lens through which I look at virtual schooling.

In my particular case, my rural lens has traditionally been focused upon the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. For those of you unfamiliar with this geographic region, I wanted to direct you to a recent online article that I published in the Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy (CJEAP).
Issue Fifty-Nine
February 11, 2007

Portrait of Rural Virtual Schoolingby Michael K. Barbour, University of Georgia (Doctoral Candidate)

Abstract: Over the past two decades, distance education has become a reality of rural schooling in Newfoundland and Labrador. In this article, I provide historical background into the challenges facing rural schools in the province and how distance education was introduced to address that challenge. I also describe how that system of distance education evolved from a system that used the telephone lines and bridging technology to one that uses a combination synchronous and asynchronous system delivered over the Internet. Finally, I examine recent literature concerning the nature of today’s secondary students that would need to avail of this system and relate how this may not be an applicable portrait of youth in rural areas, such as Newfoundland and Labrador.

To download this article in pdf form, click here.
I hope you find this useful in getting a better sense of the lens that I use to look at virtual schooling.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Blogging About Virtual Schooling

Okay, so it has been a while since I have updated by Bloglines and done anything more than post the "Virtual Schooling in the News" and "Re-post from the AECT BlogTrack" features. I'm hoping to change that a bit this week and that should begin with getting all of the virtual and cyber schooling items from my Bloglines and posting them here.

So, let's begin...
Wow! I guess there were a few of them there. I'll try not to wait so long next time, and now that the job hunt has finished and I'm closing in on the last four to six weeks of my dissertation, hopefully it won't be that long.

Anyway, that's it for now... But hey, at least it's some new and regular content again.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Sorry, nothing new this week and I forgot to do the Re-post from the AECT BlogTrack. Getting my dissertation defense set and officially accepting a job for the Fall kept me away from the blog this week - hopefully next week will be better.

Beginning this time with the ASCD SmartBrief.

Online classes gaining in popularity

The North American Council for Online Learning estimates that 1 million K-12 students are enrolled in online courses, and it expects that number to grow. Students welcome the flexibility, and advocates say it gives students more family time, but some teachers say they need face time with students to monitor their progress and attitude. The Boston Globe/Los Angeles Times (2/18)

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

Online schools popularity grows
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune Sun, 18 Feb 2007 1:58 AM PST

Full-time virtual schooling burst onto the Wisconsin education scene in 2002 when Wisconsin eSchool began teaching students from the comfort of their own homes.

Virtual schools gearing up to provide at-home education for Missouri students
Jefferson City News Tribune Mon, 19 Feb 2007 10:57 AM PST

A new program allowing Missouri students to learn at home, as well as at school, is taking shape within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education this winter.

Virtual schools face opposition from teachers
Ball State Daily News Sun, 18 Feb 2007 10:48 PM PST

Ball State University will open the digital doors to two virtual charter schools in the fall, but not without facing opposition from the state legislature and Indiana's largest teachers union.

House debates virtual school bill
The State Tue, 20 Feb 2007 9:02 PM PST

The House voted Tuesday to give preference to public school students who wish to take classes in a new statewide online school system.

West Sussex County Council tackles inclusion with "virtual school"
PublicTechnology.net Wed, 21 Feb 2007 0:14 AM PST

West Sussex County Council has found an innovative approach to educational inclusion by using technology for alternative provision outside the traditional classroom.

FLVS National English Honors Society celebrate African American Authors
North Fort Myers Neighbor Wed, 21 Feb 2007 6:27 AM PST

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Florida Virtual School Cyber Scholar Chapter of the National English Honors Society (NEHS), the country’s first NEHS online chapter, will host the first-ever online African American Read-In to celebrate Black History month.

Virtual school could be the future of education in South Carolina
WPDE-TV Myrtle Beach - Florence Thu, 22 Feb 2007 5:34 AM PST

A bill expanding the South Carolina's Virtual School Pilot Program has received key approval in the house.

Virtual school bill passes House

The State Wed, 21 Feb 2007 9:03 PM PST

A surprisingly controversial bill creating a statewide virtual school system passed the House 85-33 Tuesday.

Four School District Virtual School Collaboration
WEAU Eau Claire Thu, 22 Feb 2007 2:16 PM PST

Four school districts have worked together to build a virtual school to provide more opportunities for students and help increase it's student enrollment numbers.

Does spreading virtual schools make sense?
Gazette Extra Sports Fri, 23 Feb 2007 9:20 AM PST

As Janesville joins public school districts around the state rushing to set up virtual charter schools, we're left with a few questions.

New school plan could click for Liverpool
Lisbon Morning Journal Thu, 22 Feb 2007 9:23 PM PST

EAST LIVERPOOL — Offering an in-house cyber school option is part of a plan Superintendent Ken Halbert has to help the city school district pull itself up by its bootstraps.

Next the Yahoo! News Alerts for cyber school.

Cyber teachers hand out free homework help
Townsville Bulletin Sun, 18 Feb 2007 6:21 AM PST

CAN'T bear to find out if your homework is on the right track? Free homework help is now as simple as logging on to the Internet at the Aitkenvale Library.

More students across US logging on to online classrooms
Boston Globe Sun, 18 Feb 2007 2:08 AM PST

LOS ANGELES -- After Ben Hathaway's father was called to active duty in the Army National Guard, the 15-year-old had to help his family tend the 130 head of cattle on their 345-acre farm in Leoma, Tenn.

Cyber charter school story strikes nerve, prompts diverse responses
The Derrick Tue, 20 Feb 2007 9:28 PM PST

Most seem to view the tally of the money spent by districts on the schools as an "attack" on cyber education. A recent report on local school district spending on cyber charter schools struck a nerve in cyber land, prompting a flurry of cyber responses.

FLVS National English Honors Society celebrate African American Authors
North Fort Myers Neighbor Wed, 21 Feb 2007 6:27 AM PST

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Florida Virtual School Cyber Scholar Chapter of the National English Honors Society (NEHS), the country’s first NEHS online chapter, will host the first-ever online African American Read-In to celebrate Black History month.

New school plan could click for Liverpool
Lisbon Morning Journal Thu, 22 Feb 2007 9:23 PM PST

EAST LIVERPOOL — Offering an in-house cyber school option is part of a plan Superintendent Ken Halbert has to help the city school district pull itself up by its bootstraps.

East Liverpool Board presented with online school option
The East Liverpool Review Thu, 22 Feb 2007 9:15 PM PST

EAST LIVERPOOL — The East Liverpool City Schools Board of Education were presented with options for providing online classes Thursday at their regular meeting.

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber teachers hand out free homework help
Townsville Bulletin - Northern Australia,Australia

Tutoring Australia managing director Jack Goodman said the students could use this service during term and throughout the school holidays. ...

Venango districts start own cyber schools
Oil City Derrick - Oil City,PA,USA

"If they decide a month and a half in that they don't want to (attend) cyber school, the district is stuck with those payments," he said. ...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

uBeginning with the Yahoo! news alert for cyber school.

Cyber schools have test results behind most of their peers
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Sat, 10 Feb 2007 9:21 PM PST

Cyber schools rank among the lowest-performing charter schools in the state, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review analysis.

Moving to the Yahoo! news alert for virtual school.

Kansas Leads Charge in Virtual Schools, Missouri Close Behind
WIBW-TV Topeka Mon, 12 Feb 2007 11:12 AM PST

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) _ About nine years after Basehor-Linwood pioneered the virtual school idea, districts statewide opened three new programs this year.

NACOL Launches Needs Assessment Service for Virtual School Programs
SYS-CON Media Thu, 15 Feb 2007 11:56 AM PST

The North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) announced the nationwide availability of a new service that assists virtual school administrators make strategic decisions about their programs. Known as SNAP (Schools and Students Needs Assessment Program), NACOL's service helps virtual school programs identify the types of courses and services that their constituents desire.

Las Virgenes school district embraces alternative forms of education
The Acorn Thu, 15 Feb 2007 8:33 AM PST

Part II of two parts Alternative education opportunities continue to grow in the Las Virgenes Unified School District, including homeschooling, independent study and long distance learning. There's even a "virtual school" that will allow students to mix and match classes online in order to meet their specific needs.

Upon further review, no Insight School
Baldwin City Signal Wed, 14 Feb 2007 10:12 PM PST

Insight Schools and the Baldwin School District will no longer be partners in a statewide virtual school. After signing the contract last month, a discovery was made regarding the Kansas school funding law and the Insight Schools financial agreement.

Education proposal irks state board
The Salt Lake Tribune Fri, 16 Feb 2007 11:55 PM PST

Would mandate establishment of statewide charter school. Next step: Goes to a House committee. A bill introduced Friday in the House would force state education officials to sidestep certain laws and rules to establish a statewide virtual charter school by fall. The State Board of Education met Friday to take a position on a number of new bills, including HB169 sponsored by Rep. ...

BOE sees demonstration of online language class
McPherson Sentinel Fri, 16 Feb 2007 1:46 PM PST

McPherson High School sophomore, Kathy House, demonstrated to Unified School District 418 Board of Education members how she uses Virtual Greenbush online to complete her study of French 3.

Next the Google news alert for cyber school.

Cyber schools have test results behind most of their peers
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

"A cyber school is a very iffy enterprise at this point," said Pittsburgh schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt. "I hope the state looks at those numbers ... [See all stories on this topic]

"Empire building in Midland"
Beaver County Times - Beaver County,PA,USA

My opinion is money is being funneled from school districts through the cyber school to fund this school. I feel if other school districts are supplying an ... [See all stories on this topic]

Districts face rising cyber school costs
Oil City Derrick - Oil City,PA,USA

The state reimburses school districts for some of their cyber school spending returning, on average, about 27 or 28 percent. They are not reimbursed for ... [See all stories on this topic]

Educators study idea of virtual school
The News Journal - Wilmington,DE,USA

Yet it also cited a 2001 study of Canadian cyber schools, saying, "students in virtual schools showed greater improvement than their conventional school ...school had a code of conduct to address cyber-bullying and 39% said their school didn't have a ...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - What Are Virtual Schools Doing For Digital Natives?

hThis entry from the AECT BlogTrack is the second entry from the month of July and the sixteenth overall in the re-posts from this series.



Okay, first of all I apologize that it has been two weeks since my last post (i.e., June Non-Research Entries) - it won’t happen again.

This evening I was checking my e-mail and on daily Yahoo! alert for cyber school alerted me to a news item that I found interesting.

MasterNewMedia.org Tue, 18 Jul 2006 1:22 AM PDT

“Teaching and learning are changing with the Internet. Students are by and large vastly more digitally literate than many of their instructors. This is a generation that was born to and came of age online. The Internet and technology, in many cases, appears second nature for most. Therefore, setting learning outcomes and educational objective must be concomitant with student behavior. We have…
This is what I saw, listed among a dozen other news items that had nothing to do with cyber schooling (one of the unfortunate features of the Yahoo! alert - that is searches for cyber and school, not “cyber school”).
In any regard, this particular news item got me thinking back to previous posts that I have made on the topic of digital natives (see Do Digital Natives Exist? and Research on Digital Natives). In this news item, which actually describes a series of entries from a class blog for a public journalism class, he makes the statement:

“how important it is that the new academics leverage new communication technologies to meet and challenge students in their new natural habitat: the online world.”
I have to wonder if that is what virtual schooling is doing. Let’s forgot about the automatic assumption that digital natives do exist and that all of the students we have in our classrooms and schools today are included into that category and ask the question, are cyber and virtual schools leveraging new communications technologies when they challenge their students?

I don’t know… I mean one would think that virtual schools would be ideally suited to do this, but it has been my experience that they haven’t. For example, the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) is the professional organization for those involved with virtual schooling. They have recently created a blog, TOTOL NACOL, where one of the first entries was a question to their member: What are the most useful tools you have discovered in your online learning experience? What happened when you started to use them? In reading the responses thus far, I see: availability of the instructor, using an asynchronous discussion forum, simply simulations, digital literacy, maximizing resources and access, providing school-based support, instant messaging, and an inviting instructor.
While I don’t want to be insulting to some who are actually fellow colleagues, but other than instant messaging, what from that list couldn’t be done in a traditional classroom with the students that we have these days (I mean how many classroom-based college courses utilize a WebCT discussion forum)? I the original article I referenced, the author talked about things like blogs, wikis, podcasts, video blogs, screencasts, and RSS feeds. Even when I look at Prensky’s work, as he was the one who termed the label digital native, he talks about cell phone and instant messaging usage, along with gaming (particularly these massive multi-player online games).
So, I guess that brings us back to two basic questions:
  1. Do digital natives exist (and if so, how do we define them)?
  2. Given their unique position of being in the digital world, what are virtual schools doing to cater to these digital natives?

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with something different eSchool News.

Virtual school a victim of its own success
An Oregon virtual charter school soon could be the victim of its own success: The Oregon Connections Academy has existed for less than two years now, but it's already on pace to become one of the largest schools in the state, with about 1,200 students so far. Yet that growth could screech to a halt in just a few years, if state lawmakers don't reconsider a bill passed in the final hours of the 200... Full Story

Then the regular Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Indiana Virtual Charter School Wins Approval Through Ball State
U.S. Newswire via Yahoo! News Mon, 05 Feb 2007 10:39 AM PST

Officials at the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools announced Friday that it has approved the Indiana Virtual Charter School (INVCS). The decision clears the way for one of the two first online K-12 public schools in Indiana, a concept that is now practiced in 18 states by 150+ virtual charter schools serving more than 65,000 students.

Virtual schools’ popularity explodes
Lawrence Journal-World Sun, 04 Feb 2007 10:18 PM PST

When the Lawrence Virtual School opened in 2004, it was only the fourth such program in Kansas.

Indiana Connections Academy Approved to Open for 2007-2008 School Year
U.S. Newswire via Yahoo! News Mon, 05 Feb 2007 5:00 AM PST

Indiana students will have an exciting new public school alternative this fall that delivers exceptional schooling to students in a unique "school without walls." Indiana Connections Academy (INCA), Indiana's first statewide virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, was unanimously authorized by Ball State University earlier this month. INCA will immediately begin collecting names of ...

Indiana Connections Academy Approved to Open for 2007-2008 School Year
PR Web Mon, 05 Feb 2007 0:39 AM PST

Indiana Connections Academy (INCA), Indiana's first statewide virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, was unanimously authorized by Ball State University earlier this month. INCA will immediately begin collecting names of students interested in enrolling in the 700 spots available. In-person and online informational meetings to introduce INCA to Indiana families will be held beginning ...

Indiana Connections Academy Approved to Open for 2007-2008 School Year
PRWeb via Yahoo! News Mon, 05 Feb 2007 4:00 AM PST

Muncie, IN (PRWeb) February 5, 2007 -- Indiana students will have an exciting new public school alternative this fall that delivers exceptional schooling to students in a unique "school without walls.

K12 Inc. to Provide Curriculum and School Services to the New Indiana Virtual Charter School
U.S. Newswire via Yahoo! News Tue, 06 Feb 2007 9:27 AM PST

Following approval from the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools, the Indiana Virtual Charter School (INVCS) became one of the first public virtual schools in Indiana, and the newest statewide virtual school to use the nationally- acclaimed curriculum and school services provided by K12 Inc.

Indiana Virtual Charter School Wins Approval Through Ball State
SYS-CON Media Mon, 05 Feb 2007 2:38 PM PST

Officials at the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools announced Friday that it has approved the Indiana Virtual Charter School (INVCS). The decision clears the way for one of the two first online K-12 public schools in Indiana, a concept that is now practiced in 18 states by 150+ virtual charter schools serving more than 65,000 students.

Virtual Schools Scrutinized
WIBW-TV Topeka Tue, 06 Feb 2007 10:23 AM PST

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ State lawmakers are taking close look at the performance of virtual schools in Kansas. They wonder how many virtual schools there are in Kansas, who attends them and what it means to ``attend'' an online school.

Large Online Charter School Hits Hurdle
KOIN News 6 Portland Tue, 06 Feb 2007 7:41 AM PST

SCIO, Ore. - The Oregon Connections Academy, a Scio-based virtual charter school, opened less than two years ago but already is on track to become one of the larger schools in the state.

Ball State Approves Two Online Charter Schools
22 WSBT South Bend Tue, 06 Feb 2007 10:27 AM PST

(AP) Indiana’s largest teachers union says two new online charter schools shouldn’t be funded at the same level as traditional charter schools. Two online schools were granted charters last week by Ball State University. They are Indiana Connections Academy in Muncie and Indiana Virtual Charter School in Indianapolis.

Online schools popping up thanks to computers, subsidy for Internet connection
Post-Tribune Tue, 06 Feb 2007 2:06 AM PST

About 2,200 Hoosier students from Northwest Indiana and beyond will start school in the fall by powering on computers at home in their pajamas. Free virtual charter schools go online in August offering a hybrid between alternative education and homeschooling.

K12 Inc. to Provide Curriculum and School Services to the New Indiana Virtual Charter School
SYS-CON Media Tue, 06 Feb 2007 1:43 PM PST

Following approval from the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools, the Indiana Virtual Charter School (INVCS) became one of the first public virtual schools in Indiana, and the newest statewide virtual school to use the nationally- acclaimed curriculum and school services provided by K12 Inc.

Virtual schools to hold information sessions tomorrow
Wausau Daily Herald Wed, 07 Feb 2007 11:05 AM PST

The Wisconsin Virtual Academy and Honors High Online of Wisconsin will have two outreach events in Wausau tomorrow. The events are to encourage enrollment in public online courses. A meet and greet will be at 3 p.m. at Starbucks, 306 S. 17th Ave. and information sessions will be at 7 p.m. for the academy and 8 p.m. for the high school at Best Western Midway Hotel, 2901 Martin Ave., in Rib ...

Virtual schools scrutinized
KSHB-TV Kansas City Wed, 07 Feb 2007 1:10 AM PST

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – State lawmakers are taking close look at the performance of virtual schools in Kansas. They wonder how many virtual schools there are in Kansas, who attends them – and what it means to "attend" an online school.

Online charter school facing legislative struggles
Coos Bay World Link Tue, 06 Feb 2007 1:42 PM PST

SALEM - The Oregon Connections Academy, a Scio-based virtual charter school, has been up and running for less than two years now, but it's already on pace to become one of the largest schools in the state, with about 1,200 students so far, who live everywhere from Bandon to Burns.

Moving to the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber School Grand Jury Winding To Close
KDKA Pittsburgh Mon, 05 Feb 2007 4:00 PM PST

A grand jury delving into the operation of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School appears to be winding to a close. Today, the state called one of its final witnesses.

K12 Inc. to Provide Curriculum and School Services to the New Indiana Virtual Charter School
SYS-CON Media Tue, 06 Feb 2007 1:43 PM PST

Following approval from the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools, the Indiana Virtual Charter School (INVCS) became one of the first public virtual schools in Indiana, and the newest statewide virtual school to use the nationally- acclaimed curriculum and school services provided by K12 Inc.

Districts face rising cyber school costs
The Derrick Fri, 09 Feb 2007 9:12 PM PST

The rate the schools pay is based on their own instructional spending per student. The number of local students enrolled in cyber charter schools has nearly tripled in the last five years, as has the bill.

Venango districts start own cyber schools
The Derrick Fri, 09 Feb 2007 9:12 PM PST

About 34 students are enrolled in programs at Cranberry, Franklin, Oil City. Four Venango County public school districts will spend more than $1 million this year on roughly 140 students attending cyber charter schools across the state.

Next, the Google News Alert for virtual school.

School choice window opens
The Capital Times - Madison,WI,USA

The Appleton, Waukesha and Northern Ozaukee districts, among others, have developed virtual school programs, and encourage students from across the state to ...

'Virtual' courses rile teachers union
The Capital Times - Madison,WI,USA

The prospect of a virtual school program in Madison is causing a confrontation in the real world between the Madison school district and John Matthews, ...

Indiana Virtual Charter School Wins Approval Through Ball StateEarthtimes.org
- USA

The day-to-day operations of the Virtual Charter School will be overseen by a non-profit Board of Trustees led by Ron Brumbarger, President & CEO of ... [See all stories on this topic]

Indiana Connections Academy Approved to Open for 2007-2008 School Year
Emediawire (press release) - Ferndale,WA,USA

Indiana Connections Academy (INCA), Indiana's first statewide virtual charter school for students in grades K-12, was unanimously authorized by Ball State ...

Online classes go mainstream
ktla 5 - Los Angeles,CA,USA

But one survey the department completed nearly five years ago found that 36% of school districts in the nation had students enrolled in virtual school, ...

Virtual Academy Poses Threat to Private Homeschool Freedom
Home School Legal Defense Association - USA

The Northern Ozaukee School District is expanding its virtual school, intended to offer high school now. The Northern Ozaukee School District operates the ... [See all stories on this topic]

New Online High School Opens Its Virtual Doors Statewide for 2007 ...Earthtimes.org
- USA

The school will be based in Grantsburg, WI, where pioneers in online learning established the Grantsburg Virtual School. Insight School of Wisconsin will ...

Virtual schools’ popularity explodes
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA

A special audit team is studying the state’s virtual school programs and will complete a report by April, said Barbara Hinton, legislative post auditor. ...

Virtual school tour a learning experience
Ottawa Sun - Ottawa,Ontario,Canada

"This new virtual capability will help families make informed decisions relating to school choices in a timely manner." Jeanne-Lajoie's tour for ...

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber School Grand Jury Winding To Close
KDKA - Pittsburg,PA,USA

The grand jury wants to know whether tax money earmarked for the cyber school actually funded a new building, the National Network of Digital Schools, ...

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - Achievement Differences Between Students in Traditional and Virtual Courses

This entry from the AECT BlogTrack is the first entry from the month of July, the seventh in the series where I described the research work that I have done to date in virtual schooling, and the fifteenth overall in the re-posts from this series.



This study was actually a follow-up to a study that I had conducted a couple of years ago that only considered students in the Advanced Placement program in Newfoundland and Labrador. This particular study is also being used as a foundation for my dissertation study, as my dissertation is looking at what online learning looks like for these students, especially given the lack of student selectivity in this virtual school and their competitive results when compared to classroom-based students.

The purpose of the study was to examine the student achievement in standardized public exams and final course scores in the province between different delivery models to determine whether or not students are succeeding in the virtual high school environment at the same rate as their classroom counterparts. The final course scores and the standardized public exam scores for every student in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for the school years 2001-02 to 2004-05 were obtained and combined with information from the High School Distance Education Course Report.

When considering the students final course scores, the data indicated that for each of the first three years that the CDLI was in operation students from rural areas in the web-based courses and during the fourth year students from both the rural and urban web-based performed as well or better than any of their other counterparts. A similar pattern was found with the annual analysis of public exam scores. Like the final course averages, during the 2002-03 the web-based students in rural areas performed as well as any other group of students (excluding a single urban student who was enrolled in a web-based CDLI course). However, during the 2003-04 school year the performance of both rural and urban students in the web-based courses scored lower on their public exams that students who received their instruction in a traditional classroom. This past year this trend was reversed, with both rural and urban students in web-based courses scoring higher on their public exams than classroom-based students.

While annual comparisons of the students’ public exam scores and final course averages are useful, a comparison of the total four year period is also in order. Table 1 provides such a comparison.
Table 1. Students’ scores based upon delivery model and location (note sure why Blogger formats it like this)


Public ExamFinal Course Average
Web delivered rural61.7 (n = 826)69.3 (n = 3,452)
Web delivered urban65.7 (n = 11)66.3 (n = 81)
Web delivered total61.8 (n = 837)69.2 (n = 3533)
Classroom delivered rural62.3 (n = 15,384)68.5 (n = 90,190)
Classroom delivered urban63.1 (n = 23,080)67.7 (n = 115,029)
Classroom delivered total62.8 (n = 38,464)68.1 (n = 205,219)
# of missing cases1,029 (2.6%)5,650 (2.6%)
Total # of cases40,330214,402


This combined analysis indicated that over the four year period the CDLI has been in operation there had been some fluctuation in both performance measures when both delivery model and location are considered, but little difference in the overall performance of students based upon delivery model on both their public exam scores and final course averages. (For more information, see Barbour and Mulcahy, 2006)

Selected Bibliography

Barbour, M. & Mulcahy, D. (2006). An inquiry into achievement differences in traditional and virtual high school courses. Roundtable presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning this time with the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

Virtual classes come to Rye Neck schools
The Journal News Sun, 28 Jan 2007 2:59 AM PST

MAMARONECK - A dark classroom. A disembodied voice. Complex calculus problems that appear to solve themselves on a luminous projection screen on the wall.

Home-school funding gets axed this summer
Stars and Stripes Sat, 27 Jan 2007 4:42 PM PST

Government funding for a home-schooling program that serves about 400 students — most of them in the Pacific region overseas — will end this summer, the Department of Defense Education Activity announced last week.

Put students first
The Beaver County Times Sun, 28 Jan 2007 0:02 AM PST

As a resident of Midland, I have read the numerous allegations and accusations against Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School with much dismay. As a parent, I read these allegations with disbelief.

Western Pa. charter school center of convoluted legal battlephillyburbs.com
Sun, 28 Jan 2007 9:10 PM PST

BEAVER, Pa. - Twenty-one years ago, the small, economically ailing borough of Midland was forced to close its high school, which ultimately led to students being educated across the border in Ohio.

Measure A oversight panel to meet on Monday
Marin Independent Journal Wed, 31 Jan 2007 1:45 AM PST

The Reed Union School District's Measure A Citizens' Oversight Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss pro ject and program updates. The meeting will be held at the Del Mar Middle School Cyber Lounge at 105 Avenida Miraflores.

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

Lack of funding confronts Gillette virtual school
Billings Gazette Sun, 28 Jan 2007 3:36 PM PST

GILLETTE - The House has unanimously passed a school finance bill that would establish a task force to study virtual schools, a proposal less than what was hoped for by backers of a virtual school here. The Campbell County School District has been ope ...

Lack of funding confronts Gillette virtual school

Billings Gazette Sun, 28 Jan 2007 3:27 PM PST

GILLETTE - The House has unanimously passed a school finance bill that would establish a task force to study virtual schools, a proposal less than what was hoped for by backers of a virtual school here.

Virtual school proposal already has families signing up students
Gazette Extra Sports Tue, 30 Jan 2007 9:34 AM PST

A new study-at-home high school based in Janesville still is being developed, but parents already are registering their kids. The Janesville School District held a public information meeting Monday night for its Janesville Virtual Academy. About 16 families attended.

Michigan Virtual High School Provides Online Test Preparation Tools for the Michigan Merit Exam

SYS-CON Media Mon, 29 Jan 2007 5:29 PM PST

Michigan Virtual High School, a division of Michigan Virtual University (MVU), and Bridges Transitions Co., a Xap Corporation company, have signed an agreement to provide online test preparation tools for portions of the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) to all high school students in the state. The tools include testGEAR for the ACT(R) College Entrance Exam and testGEAR online instructional curricula ...

Michigan Virtual High School Provides Online Test Preparation Tools for the Michigan Merit Exam
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 29 Jan 2007 1:25 PM PST

Michigan Virtual High School, a division of Michigan Virtual University , and Bridges Transitions Co., a Xap Corporation company, have signed an agreement to provide online test preparation tools for portions of the Michigan Merit Exam to all high school students in the state.

Online public school opens virtual doors
Fond du Lac Reporter Tue, 30 Jan 2007 2:30 AM PST

Wisconsins high school students and their parents have a new choice in online learning to consider during Wisconsins open enrollment period, Feb. 5 to 23.

Virtual Academy's bee a real battle
Coeur d'Alene Press Tue, 30 Jan 2007 2:15 AM PST

COEUR d'ALENE -- Eighteen students competed in the Idaho Virtual Academy's first spelling bee Monday, and it was a spirited fight for first at all grade levels.

Virtual school tour a learning experience
The Ottawa Sun Wed, 31 Jan 2007 0:59 AM PST

Wed, January 31, 2007 Virtual school tour a learning experience By SUN STAFF Military families transferring to Petawawa will be able to tour their child's school online through a new program launched by the Conseil des ecoles catholiques de langue francaise du Centre-Est. The French-language board broke new ground yesterday when it unveiled its virtual tour of Centre scolaire catholique ...

New Online High School Opens Its Virtual Doors Statewide for 2007-08 School Year
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Wed, 31 Jan 2007 12:16 PM PST

The Insight School of Wisconsin was launched today at an event that featured a wide array of voices -- from parents and teachers, to Insight's CEO and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Committee OKs bill expanding virtual courses
The Times and Democrat Tue, 30 Jan 2007 9:52 PM PST

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A bill allowing all high school students to earn half their class credit through virtual courses is heading to the House floor after approval from a House committee Tuesday.

'State's original K-8 virtual school' recruiting students in Monroe
Monroe Times Tue, 30 Jan 2007 3:06 PM PST

MONROE -- The second semester has only just begun, but families interested in enrolling their children in a school outside their home district have a brief window in which to do so.

County looks into virtual classrooms
The Herald-Sun Tue, 30 Jan 2007 9:50 PM PST

County schools officials are considering a plan that would allow students in one of the two district high schools to take a class in the other high school without ever leaving their desks.

Virtual schools take slice of open enrollment pie
The Tomah Journal Thu, 01 Feb 2007 12:19 PM PST

Virtual schools are suddenly a big player in open enrollment. When the open enrollment period for Wisconsin public school students opens Monday, half the students could be leaving Tomah for Internet-based education.

New Online High School Opens Its Virtual Doors Statewide for 2007-08 School Year
SYS-CON Media Wed, 31 Jan 2007 4:12 PM PST

from parents and teachers, to Insight's CEO and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Insight School of Wisconsin is raising the bar for online education, combining technology tools with a unique 'iMentoring' program, face-to-face meeting places and dual-credit classes with the University of Phoenix.

'Virtual' courses rile teachers union
The Capital Times Sat, 03 Feb 2007 6:50 AM PST

The prospect of a virtual school program in Madison is causing a confrontation in the real world between the Madison school district and John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., the teachers' union.

Virtual classes find place in local schools
Florence Morning News Fri, 02 Feb 2007 9:11 PM PST

It’s hard to imagine anything other than a traditional classroom where there is a teacher helping students learn. Technological advancements, however, are changing the ways students in public schools earn credits.

Online Classes: Opening a Door to Primary Education
E-Commerce Times Sat, 03 Feb 2007 5:01 AM PST

The idea of students entering a virtual classroom and holding electronic rather than face-to-face meetings has become quite accepted at the collegiate level. The model is now making its way into the K-12 market, mainly as a supplemental educational option. Thirty-eight states support this education model in some form.

Ball State OKs charter for Imagine Academy
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Sat, 03 Feb 2007 0:07 AM PST

A new charter school will open in Fort Wayne this fall. Ball State University on Friday approved Imagine Schools’ proposal to open Imagine Master Academy at the former YWCA campus on Wells Street.

Next, on to Google News Alert for cyber school.

Western Pa. charter school center of convoluted legal battle
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader - Wilkes Barre,PA,USA

In 2005, the state ruled that a cyber school couldn't buy "bricks and mortar" classroom services, so the students were enrolled in Lincoln Park, ... [See all stories on this topic]

Bald Eagle District to Open Cyber School
State College News - State College,PA,USA

Students who attend the cyber school will receive a Bald Eagle diploma instead of just a certificate of completion. Opening their own cyber school could ...

School boards aim to avoid referendums
Centre Daily Times - Centre County,PA,USA

Teacher salaries and benefits, including health care, and student tuition to charter and cyber schools are skyrocketing. The salaries and benefits of State ...

No comparison
Beaver County Times - Beaver County,PA,USA

In Sunday's article on charter schools, including cyber charter schools, Nick Trombetta said his cyber-school educates 6000 students on a $50 million budget ...

Finally, the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Virtual school expansion receives subcommittee approval
WHNS - USA

It would expand the state Education Department's virtual school pilot program. Suzette Lee with the Education Department says if the bill is passed it would ...

Virtual school expansion receives subcommittee approval
The Times and Democrat - Orangeburg,SC,USA

The proposal, heading to the House Education and Public Works Committee, would expand the state Education Department's virtual school pilot program. ...

Virtual classroom means pupils don't miss out on school
eGov monitor - London,UK

Schoolchildren in West Sussex who can't attend school don't have to miss out on live lessons thanks to the help of a 'virtual classroom' set up by the Out ...

'Virtual' physics centre in the Midlands
Scenta.co.uk - London,England,UK

This 'virtual' school between the three institutions will have an emphasis on teaching using the Access Grid Technology (video conferencing), with physical ...

Michigan Virtual High School Provides Online Test Preparation ...
Yahoo! News (press release) - USA

"We are pleased to be working with Michigan Virtual High School in making a difference in students' lives, by offering an engaging learning environment from ... [See all stories on this topic]

Lack of funding confronts Gillette virtual school
Billings Gazette - Billings,MT,USA

While Brown would like to see state funding for the virtual school, he said he also understood legislators' concerns. "It's such a broad topic and you can ...

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Repost from the AECT BlogTrack - Students Perceptions of Web-Based Design

This entry from the AECT BlogTrack is the sixth and final entry from the month of June, the sixth in the series where I described the research work that I have done to date in virtual schooling, and the forteenth overall in the re-posts from this series.



This study was a follow-up to the teachers and designers perceptions of web-based design study that had been conducted the previous year (see Teachers and Designers Perceptions of Web-Based Design). Like the previous study, this is one that I have yet to publish on - although I do have a fairly good findings section created so I hope to build around that over the summer and get something out the door by or early into the Fall semester.

This study involved interviews and focus groups with six students from rural schools. The interviews were conducted via telephone during May 2005 and the focus group was conducted in June 2005 using the Elluminate Live software. Like the previous study, the goal for this study was to determine characteristics of an effectively designed web-based course perceived to be important by these secondary students.

Based upon an analysis of the interview transcripts, students initially indicated that they don’t use the web-based content that much. However, when I began to discuss each of the individual components of the template it did come out that they did use the content more than they initially let on. It should be noted that this level of usage was still not as high as the CDLI wanted, or even as high as was believed by the teachers and course designers that had been interviewed a year earlier. One of the barriers to using the web-based content is the amount of work assigned during offline time. Students simply reported having to complete too much seat work to spend more time using the web-based content. Other barriers included how little the e-teachers actually used it and the fact that students did not necessarily trust that the content was accurate.

When the students were discussing web-based design they confirmed many of the perceptions that had been exposed by the teachers and course developers in the earlier study. For example, the students indicated that they didn’t like text and preferred multimedia be used to explain concepts and provide information. The students also indicated that they wanted to have a good set of notes. Contrary to the belief by teachers and course developer’s that the students simply clicked on random radio buttons and hit “submit” when completing the “Test Yourself” quiz feature, students actually expressed that they found the review questions quite useful. One point that was consistently raised by the students that wasn’t a theme in the earlier study was that while students enjoyed the various media that the Internet was able to offer, in many instances they were unable to access it outside of school – limiting their ability to use the web-based course materials at home.

There were many other trends (e.g., dealing with institutional and school-based tutoring, challenges students experienced, expanding learning communities, the use of the synchronous content, the nature of their online learning) that were generated from these interviews, but were not germane to the research questions for this particular study which may prove valuable in future research projects.

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