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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blogging About Virtual Schooling

It's been a while since I've posted an entry covering all of the items in my Bloglines account dealing with virtual schooling, so here it is.

I told you there were a few... Okay, so most of them came from Ray and the guys over at Online Learning Update, but at least we have some frequent content this week.

Starting in the next day or so I'll begin to preview the 2007 Virtual School Symposium which is happening next week in Louisville, KY. So, I'll be blogging about that from Sunday to Tuesday while I am there (and hopefully for a few days after that). And I know I say this everytime, but this time I promise to come back with at least one podcast (hopefully more).

Also, next Wednesday is the first meeting of the K-12 Online Learning Research group that I have established with some of the doctoral students here are Wayne State. So hopefully I'll be able to get them involved in some of the discussions here. Another project that I am hoping to get them involved with is the creation of a virtual school wiki. Not sure what we'd have for content yet, but I have some ideas and I may put up a post here in the next week or so to get some ideas from you.

Until next time...

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Statistics for October 2007

Since I didn't post statistics for September, over the past two months the straight counter has gone from 14, 121 back on September 1 to 17019 as of 9:58am today, October 31.


There have been 1138 unique visitors to Virtual High School Meanderings in the month of October. Of those, 123 have been first time visitors, while 1015 have been returning visitors. This has meant that there have been an average of 37 unique visitors per day.

These visitors have come from the United States, Canada, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Malaysia.

The most popular entries have been:

And the most popular days appear to have been the first three days of the month, along with October 15, 18 and 29. Until next month, keep reading and commenting...

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Role of Schooling

I've seen several of these posts recently...

I can't say that I blame people for questioning, I mean this post from Darren (see School 1977 vs. School 2007) is a prime example of what is wrong with schooling today - not to mention the constant lore that teaching is one of the few professions where someone who was doig the job back in 1900 could be dropped down today and still be able to function. A nurse or doctor from 1900 wouldn't be able to survive in a modern hospital, neither would a factory worker from 1900. But a teacher from 1900 could walk into today's classroom and do the same job that many of our teachers from 2007 are doing.

But what role does virtual schooling play in the reforming of today's schools to make them into modern instutitions that prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that they will need for the future?

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Series: Right From The Mouth Of Students - Part Two

Well, I began re-posting this series that Darren has going over at his blog (i.e., Teaching and Developing Online) about two and a half weeks ago. You can actually see the first list of links from Series: Right From The Mouth Of Students.

Anyway, since I've taken so long to get the second installment up, it appears that he has finished the series. So here are the remaining entries:

I should also note another post that he made, Online teaching/learning quotations, which isn't part of a series but the content is thematically like these past two series.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Another busy week, as I was catching up from being in Quebec City most of last week and then a trip north of me to visit with some virtual school people here in Ontario. But we'll get some more regular content up next week, including posts from Darren's feature "Right from the Mouths of Students", taking a look at what else is going on in the blogsphere dealing with virtual schooling, looking closer at NACOL and some of the things they have been up to, and then getting ready for the Virtual School Symposium conference from 4-6 November.


But before all of that, this week's virtual schooling in thenews feature... Beginning with the Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.


Gifted Students Log On To Virtual School
Monroe County Advocate & Democrat Mon, 22 Oct 2007 6:05 AM PDT

Hey kids, tired of looking at teacher? Wish you could take more challenging classes than your school offers now? How’d you like to go to “virtual school?”

Virtual Academy Offers Public School Online
CBS 11 Dallas/Fort Worth Tue, 23 Oct 2007 12:54 PM PDT

Thousands of Texas families homeschool their children, but now a public school is offering daily classwork without the classroom. The Texas Virtual Academy is an online charter school where students can access their daily academic work on home computers. More Local News More Education News More Technology News

Texas Virtual Academy Offers Public School Online
CBS 11 Dallas/Fort Worth Tue, 23 Oct 2007 4:09 PM PDT

You can check your child's homework and take college courses online. Now your child can even attend school online. The Texas Virtual Academy is an online charter school on the World Wide Web. More Local News More Education News More Technology News

Blunt seeks to expand virtual school program
Lee's Summit Journal Wed, 24 Oct 2007 5:13 AM PDT

It's not often that a high school student gets to tell the state governor what to do. But late last week, a Lee's Summit North High School student got that opportunity.

Heading online for high school
News 14 Carolina Thu, 25 Oct 2007 6:31 PM PDT

NORTH CAROLINA -- Hundreds of students across the state can earn course credit without setting foot in the classroom by taking online courses through the North Carolina Virtual Public School System.

Education visionary to be inducted into HOF
Kansas City Kansan Thu, 25 Oct 2007 11:20 PM PDT

Josh Anderson entered the world of education on the run. In just his second year of teaching at Basehor-Linwood High School, Anderson was a member of the team that designed the nation’s first virtual charter school.


Teen faces charges in MySpace threat probe
Waynesboro Record Herald Fri, 26 Oct 2007 5:41 PM PDT

WAYNESBORO - A cyber school student who lives in the Waynesboro Area School District is facing 34 counts of making terroristic threats and 34 counts of harassment for allegedly posting threats against other students last month on a MySpace page.

Then the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.


Teen faces charges in MySpace threat probe
Waynesboro Record Herald Thu, 25 Oct 2007 6:26 AM PDT

WAYNESBORO - A cyber school student who lives in the Waynesboro Area School District is facing 34 counts of making terroristic threats and 34 counts of harassment for allegedly posting threats against other students last month on a MySpace page.

Election 2007 -- School Board: Cyber schools hot-button issue for candidates
Penn Hills Progress Wed, 24 Oct 2007 11:27 AM PDT

In a district where charter schools have become a controversial issue, most Penn Hills School Board candidates are against diverting money from the district to these schools. read more »

Teen faces charges in MySpace threat probe
Waynesboro Record Herald Wed, 24 Oct 2007 11:27 AM PDT

WAYNESBORO - A cyber school student who lives in the Waynesboro Area School District is facing 34 counts of making terroristic threats and 34 counts of harassment for allegedly posting threats against other students last month on a MySpace page.

Moving on to the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Board questions virtual charter school
Exeter News-Letter - Exeter,NH,USA

The virtual school is independent of the district but rents space in the Tuck Learning Campus from the district. Several SAU 16 administrators volunteer ...

Blazing new trails
Florida Times-Union - Jacksonville,FL,USA

It's the Florida Virtual School on the Internet - and it's a great option for students and families. It allows middle school and high school students to ... [See all stories on this topic]

Park Hill prepares for online classes
Kansas City Star - MO,USA

The program is provided by the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program — Missouri’s K-12 virtual school program that the legislature enacted last year. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Blunt Announces $1 Million Increase for Missouri Virtual Schools
Government Technology - Folsom,CA,USA

Blunt will recommend an additional $1 million for Missouri's virtual school in next year's budget, bringing total funding to $6.2 million. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Soaring enrollment marks Florida Virtual School's first decade
Orlando Sentinel - Orlando,FL,USA

Olivia Schmitt, 14, and her brother Spencer, 12, work in their living room at home while attending Florida Virtual School. Online classes mean many more ... [See all stories on this topic]

Gifted Students Log On To Virtual School
Monroe County Advocate Democrat - Sweetwater,TN,USA

Wish you could take more challenging classes than your school offers now? How’d you like to go to “virtual school?” Beginning in January, a few of Monroe ... [See all stories on this topic]

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Commentary : Cyber Ed: an insult to intelligence and good sense
Inquirer.net - Philippines

The Cyber Education Project ignores many other priority needs of our public school teachers and students. With an additional P26.5 billion in the DepEd ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Sorry there wasn't a lot of activity this week, I was in Quebec City at the e-Learn conference. Anyway, beginning a little out of the box, with the DEC Weekly News.

Gazette Opinion: Don't Curtail Online, Distance Learning
Source: billingsgazette.net

Montana public schools struggle to meet students' needs with limited resources. Fortunately, schools have found and are using a wide range of creative ideas to ensure that students receive the quality education they need to be successful in their lives. [http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article15619.phtml]

On to the regular Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Civil service school goes online
KableNETSun, 14 Oct 2007 4:13 PM PDT

Civil servants will have 24 hour access to an online learning portal, following the launch of the National School of Government's "Virtual School" on 12 October 2007.


Soaring enrollment marks Florida Virtual School's first decade
Orlando Sentinel Fri, 19 Oct 2007 3:19 AM PDT


Virtual campus drew skepticism at launch 10 years ago -- now it's mainstream The Latin teacher at Lyman High School never sets foot on the school's Longwood campus. She lives in Wisconsin and works from home. Most of her 100 or so students are in Florida, though one girl lives in Japan.

Board questions virtual charter school
Exeter News-Letter Fri, 19 Oct 2007 3:09 AM PDT


EXETER — Support is growing on the Exeter Region Cooperative School Board to hire an independent lawyer to review the process leading up to formation of the new Virtual Learning Academy.

Blunts to up virtual school funding
The Springfield News-Leader Sat, 20 Oct 2007 1:07 AM PDT

Kansas City -- Calling it a major budget priority, Gov. Matt Blunt on Friday announced he will recommend a funding increase of $1 million for Missouri's virtual schools program.

Moving on to the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Online IPS classes help teens catch up, get ahead
Indianapolis Star - United States

Instead of forgoing the credits, Martin enrolled in IPS' new virtual school, which offers basic courses for students like her, remedial courses for those ... [See all stories on this topic]

Google News Alert for: cyber school

2 vie for Chambersburg Area school board seat
Chambersburg Public Opinion - Chambersburg,PA,USA

For example, we have established our own cyber school to begin to recover the costs of students who elect that option or to make cyber alternatives ... [See all stories on this topic]

Kenric Ward: Florida Virtual School chips away at brick and mortar
TCPalm - West Palm Beach,FL,USA

For every grade 6-12 student it enrolls — 31000 at last count — the cyber school shaves education budgets and expands academic choice. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Abad seeks review of cyber school project
Manila Standard Today - Philippines

By Florante S. Solmerin FORMER Education Secretary Florencio Abad has appealed to the government to revisit the $465.5- million Cyber Education project ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Another Virtual Schooling CIDER Session

Well first of all, thanks to those who attended my own CIDER session a couple of Fridays ago. You can access the archived recording at:

Elluminate Recording of the Presentation

Now that I have that out of the way, I'd like to make mention of another virtual school session that CIDER has scheduled.
Research Results from BC’s Connected Learner’s Technology Projects
Institution: BCEd Online
Date and time: Nov 16, 2007 11:00 AM

What factors help to create effective online learning environments in K-12? In this session, Dr. Elizabeth Childs and Lara Jongedijk will report on the final data from nine provincial Connected Learner’s Technology Grant Projects that ran across 18 months and involved 14 school districts in British Columbia. The technologies used in the projects included: webcasting, web-conferencing, synchronous courses using Elluminate Live, use of Smartboards, online tutoring and data archiving. Lessons learned will be discussed and recommendations for making informed decisions when planning and implementing similar technology projects will be shared.
I'll post a reminder about it as the time gets closer, but I wanted to inform you now so you could get it on your calendars.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning as usual with the Yahoo! News Alert for virtual school.

Private company could cash in on online charter school
The Salt Lake Tribune Sat, 06 Oct 2007 11:34 AM PDT

Utah's first virtual charter school will mean big opportunities for students and big profit potential for a private company. K12, a Virginia-based education company, will manage Utah Virtual Academy.

Classes go virtual
Times Herald Wed, 10 Oct 2007 3:39 AM PDT

CROSWELL - Sitting in front of a computer screen a full hour before school begins, Croswell-Lexington High School juniors Nick Morris and John Brandon present one possibility for the future of education.


School committee considers virtual learning academy
East Providence Post Thu, 11 Oct 2007 8:04 AM PDT

EAST PROVIDENCE – The East Providence School Committee held its regular meeting Tuesday night, hearing presentations from Assistant Superintendent Edward Daft and Director of Attendance and Registration Robert Rodericks, on a new virtual learning academy and a current student census report, respectively.

Next, the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

14 schools approve Cyber-Learning
Opelousas Daily World Fri, 12 Oct 2007 0:42 AM PDT

The 14 schools chosen for Qualified Zone Academy Bond renovations are going online to prepare students for life after high school.

Moving on to Google News Alert for virtual school.

Florida Virtual Academy to Showcase Their Successful Online Public ...
Earthtimes.org - USA

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Virtual Academy (FLVA), the state's top-scoring K-8 public virtual school, will exhibit their ... [See all stories on this topic]

Online high school: education of the future?
PSU The Clock (subscription) - Plymouth,NH,USA

The New Hampshire Board of Education approved the State's first entirely virtual school in May of 2007 and it plans to open in January of 2008. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Kaplan Launches Virtual High School Option
Online Degrees - USA

The new entity, called Kaplan Virtual Education will provide high school students with high-quality, online programming. The new virtual school will offer ... [See all stories on this topic]

Virtual Learning :
Winston-Salem Journal - Winston-Salem,NC,USA

So she and 10 other students were offered an alternative: take Advanced Placement classes online, through the North Carolina Virtual Public School. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Private company could cash in on online charter school
Salt Lake Tribune - United States

For the fee it charges, K12 enrolls students, provides curriculum for the virtual school and performs accounting services, among other tasks. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Cyber Academy helps students meet new needs
Rio Rancho Observer - Rio Rancho,NM,USA

Cyber Academy students - there are 143 full-time and 30 blended students there this fall -- often visit the school in north-central Rio Rancho, ... [See all stories on this topic]

DOLE-7: OFWs help bring back working children to school
Philippine Information Agency - Philippines

Mrs. Arroyo wants to implement the government's cyber education project of the Department of Education that is designed to make the country's educational ... [See all stories on this topic]

Teachers' group bats for scrapping of Cyber-Ed
Sun.Star - Philippines

The group also pointed out that cyber education is used inappropriately because this would be imposed to all schools regardless of the actual needs and ... [See all stories on this topic]

District shelves online school
TheNewsTribune.com (subscription) - Tacoma,WA,USA

The Cyber Classroom Program cost $120000 last school year for staffing, software and licensing. While the program enrolled about 100 students, ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Another Archived Virtual School Session

Speaking of the CIDER session archive earlier this week got me thinking about another session that are colleague of mine recently did that was archived. Dr. Cathy Cavanaugh, a professor at the University of Florida, recently presented an overview of virtual school research for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The actual title of the session was:


Learning from the Research on K-12 Online Learning


Like CIDER, the PA Dept. of Ed. also archives their sessions and you can find an archive of Dr. Cavanaugh's session here:



You can also access here PPT slides directly from:


Dr. Cavanaugh has probably published more about virtual schooling than any other scholar, so her session is well worth the time.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Series: Right From The Mouth Of Students

Okay, following on the heels of Darren's (over at Teaching and Developing Online) last series, see Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Four for the most recent entry (and I'd like to point out the nice note Darren wrote about our coverage - Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Four).

Anyway, he's started another one. I'll follow along and post links until he runs out again...

Until his next lot of entries...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Conference: Canada's Aboriginal Virtual Schools and E-Learning

As I wait for CIDER to post the archive of my session last week (so I can post the link here), I discovered that the sister of an old friend of mine from middle school works with virtual high schools that cater to aboriginal fly in communities in Northern Canada. She also alerted me to this conference that is quickly coming up.

2nd Aboriginal National Forum, 2007
October 23-24
Canada's Aboriginal Virtual Schools and E-Learning
The Cutting Edge in Online Education
The sessions being offered include:
  • Starting from Scratch: How to Develop a Virtual School and E-Learning in Aboriginal Communities (Pre-Forum Workshop)
  • A Place Called Virtual School: The Promise of Online Learning
  • KiHS: Bridging the Traditional and Virtual Classroom in Canada’s First Nation Schools
  • Elluminate Inc. - Authentically Interactive: The Impact of Engaging Learners Synchronously
  • The Kuh-Ke-Nah (K-Net) Development Process: A Model for First Nations Broadband Community Networks
  • Preparing Teachers to Teach Online: Innovative Methods for Engaging Teachers
  • G8 Supplementary Courses Program
  • The Development of a Online Course that is Culturally Sensitive to Aboriginal People
  • Partnering for Success: The Use of ICT and e-Learning as Transformational Agents for Social and Economic Development in Aboriginal Communities
  • The Challenges of Delivering e-Learning to Remote Communities
While I'd personally love to attend, as this is a population of virtual school students that I have no experience with, I only found out about this last week and Thunder Bay is a fourteen hour drive from me. Who knows, maybe next year I might even get invited to present there.... :)

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Virtual Schooling in the News

Beginning with the Yahoo News Alert virtual school.

Board member wants lawyer to look at virtual charter school
Exeter News-Letter Tue, 02 Oct 2007 3:08 AM PDT

EXETER — The vice chairman of the Exeter Region Cooperative School Board failed to gain support for a motion to have an independent lawyer advise the board about legal, financial and operational questions she felt needed to be clarified about the...

Georgia Virtual Academy Fall Kick-Off Event at Zoo Atlanta
PR Newswire via Yahoo! News Tue, 02 Oct 2007 7:41 AM PDT

The Georgia Virtual Academy (GVA), the newest statewide virtual public school to use the nationally- acclaimed curriculum and school services provided by K12 Inc., is hosting a kick-off event for hundreds of enrolled and interested families to have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of school staff, hear from K12 Chief Learning Officer Dr. Bror Saxberg and enjoy some family time.

New Gwinnett charter school hailed as model for future
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Mon, 01 Oct 2007 7:13 PM PDT

Be prepared to move fast when you enter the new Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology. Students zoom through the hallways, chattering about a virtual lab or the math exercise they just finished. Teachers talk rapidly, their hands racing in front of them and their voices rising with excitement. Even the lessons move quickly at the school hailed as a model for future Gwinnett ...

'Back to School' Takes on New Meaning for iQ Academies Students
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 01 Oct 2007 1:50 PM PDT

Wisconsin's largest online high school, iQ Academies at Wisconsin, has opened its virtual doors for the 2007-08 school year.

Solanco Virtual Academy receives good report
Lancaster Online Wed, 03 Oct 2007 2:07 PM PDT

Solanco Virtual Academy, an alternative program available to district students who would otherwise attend cyber or charter schools, is doing well.Since its inception as a pilot program for the second half of the 2005-06 school year, SVA has allowed the district to avoid about $83,000 in tu...


Next, the Yahoo! News Alert for cyber school.

Board supports change in charter school funding
York Daily Record Mon, 01 Oct 2007 11:07 AM PDT

Red Lion agreed with a proposal to make the state fund cyber charter students.

Solanco Virtual Academy receives good reportLancaster Online Wed, 03 Oct 2007 2:07 PM PDTSolanco Virtual Academy, an alternative program available to district students who would otherwise attend cyber or charter schools, is doing well.Since its inception as a pilot program for the second half of the 2005-06 school year, SVA has allowed the district to avoid about $83,000 in tu...

York Today
The York Dispatch Thu, 04 Oct 2007 7:57 AM PDT

Scores on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment could fuel the debate over the cyber charter schools, as some people question whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth on the Internet schools.

Moving to the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Florida Virtual School Receives $314000 AT&T Grant to Study Best ...
CNNMoney.com - USA27 /PR

Newswire-FirstCall/ -- Florida Virtual School (FLVS), a nationally recognized e-Learning model for developing and providing virtual K - 12 education ... [See all stories on this topic]

New Gwinnett charter school hailed as model for future
Atlanta Journal Constitution - GA, USA

Students zoom through the hallways, chattering about a virtual lab or the math exercise they just finished. Teachers talk rapidly, their hands racing in ... [See all stories on this topic]

Cirque du Soleil setting up a 'virtual school'
Montreal Gazette - Montreal,Quebec,Canada

The Cirque du Soleil is embarking on a one-year pilot project with the Eastern Townships School Board to create a "virtual school" to educate young ... [See all stories on this topic]


Student count is lower than expected
Janesville Gazette - Janesville,WI,USA

Others joined parochial or online "virtual" schools.Janesville started its own virtual school this year in an attempt to stem the tide. ... [See all stories on this topic]

Florida Virtual School To Study Best Practices for Online Learning
T.H.E. Journal - Tustin,CA,USA

by Dave Nagel Florida Virtual School has received a $314000 grant from the AT&T Foundation for a two-year project in which the online institution will ... [See all stories on this topic]

Online charter school waiver draws opposition from state
Newport News Times - Newport,OR,USA

By Terry Dillman Of the News-Times The Oregon Education Association and the Oregon Virtual School District (OVSD) Advisory Council were among those who ... [See all stories on this topic]

Florida Virtual School Gets $314000 Grant to Improve Online Learning
Associated Content - Denver,CO,USA

By Patty Oh A recent press release announced that the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) was given a $314000 grant to be used to improve online learning for ... [See all stories on this topic]

Finally, the Google News Alert for cyber school.


Cyber charter schools provide opportunities
Gateway Newspapers - USA

Now, through cyber school, they say they get an education that doesn't include distractions. Pennsylvania has 11 cyber charter schools with more than 20000 ... [See all stories on this topic]

Oledan: Myths and garbage
Sun.Star - Philippines

The Cyber Ed project is designed to provide DepEd direct interaction with its intended clientele - the school children and teachers. According to the DepEd, ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Upcoming Virtual School CIDER Session

Okay, just one final reminder about my up-coming session of the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research (CIDER).

Lessons learned in researching virtual schools: The Newfoundland and Labrador experience

Facilitator: Dr. Michael Barbour
Institution: Wayne State University
Date and time: Oct 05, 2007 11:00 AM

In this session, Dr. Michael Barbour will focus upon the lessons learned from researching the development and delivery of virtual school opportunities to secondary school students in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method studies, he captures the experiences of students, teachers, course developers, and administrators in the formative years of a new virtual high school. Issues such as effective course design for this population of students, the benefits and challenges of online learning for secondary students, achievement differences based upon delivery model and geographic location, and what students are actually doing when engaged in virtual schooling are explored.

To join the session please click on the link below 30min prior to the start of the presentation (11:00am MST).

https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?password=M.8B71B60F2931D029AC3837DC06B70D

I hope that this session will be useful on a couple of fronts. The first is that you'll get to see how I got interested in virtual schools in the first place. The second is you'll get to see how I developed that interest from a beginning researcher to someone who I personally think asks better questions and is a better methodologist. The third is that I'll be discussing some of the findings from my various research studies with the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI - the virtual high school in Newfoundland).


Anyway, I'll post the link to the archive of the session some time next week, that way if you can't make the session you'll at least be able to see the recording. And thanks for indulging me as I do some self-promotion. :)


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Monday, October 01, 2007

Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Four

Okay, we are finishing up this series that Darren (over at Teaching and Developing Online) has been posting. I know that he's finished with it because he's started a second series which I'll start posting next week. To see previous entries in this series see Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School?, Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Two and Series: Why Did You Decide To Take Cyber School? - Part Three.

So, the final installment...

Until next week, when we begin the "Right from the mouth of students" series.

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