Virtual Schooling Through  the Eyes of an At-Risk  Student: A Case Study      Michael K. Barbour        Assistant Professo...
Newfoundland and Labrador• the island is 43,359 square miles, while  Labrador covers 112,826• population was 505,469 in 20...
Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationThe CDLI was founded in December 2000  by the Department of Education, in  resp...
Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationSynchronous – Online• 30% to 80%, depending on  subject area• taught via a virt...
Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of the overall study was to examine the nature    of web-based learning in Newfoundland an...
Data Collection• 2 of 4 scheduled interviews• observation of students in the school• observation of students’ asynchronous...
Kevin• at-risk student  – low socio-economic status; from a single parent family; an older sibling    who dropped out of s...
Trends• Kevin was good at prioritizing his attention according to  the daily situation• Kevin took the path of least effor...
Implications for Practice• the design and delivery of the  online instruction did not motivate•• at-risk students often co...
Implications for Research• case study as an example of a larger  population• focus on the support systems and  how they he...
YourQuestions  andComments
Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA     mkbarbour@gmail.comhttp://www.michaelbarbour.com
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AERA 2012 - A Case Study Examining the Perspectives of an At-Risk, Rural Student Enrolled in Virtual Schooling

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Barbour, M. K., & Siko, J. (2012, April). A case study examining the perspectives of an at-risk, rural student enrolled in virtual schooling. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, BC.

A large population of virtual schooling students are defined as “at-risk.” However, there is little research that focuses on the experiences of these students. This case study, based on interviews and video observations of an at-risk, rural student enrolled in an online course, brings light to some of these experiences. The student was good at prioritizing, often took the path of least resistance to achieve the minimum level of expectations, and demonstrated waning productivity during class. The student was also able to clearly express his thoughts on what was needed to succeed in an online course. As more rural students have to learn online, it is important to better understand how to design, deliver and support virtual schooling.

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AERA 2012 - A Case Study Examining the Perspectives of an At-Risk, Rural Student Enrolled in Virtual Schooling

  1. 1. Virtual Schooling Through the Eyes of an At-Risk Student: A Case Study Michael K. Barbour Assistant Professor Wayne State University
  2. 2. Newfoundland and Labrador• the island is 43,359 square miles, while Labrador covers 112,826• population was 505,469 in 2006 Census – 551,795 in 1996 / 568,350 in 1986• 294 schools in 2005-06 – 343 in 2000-01 / 472 in 1995-96• 76,763 students in 2005-06 – 110,456 in 1995-96 / 142,332 in 1985-86• average school size is 220 pupils – 45% > 200 and 25% > 100
  3. 3. Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationThe CDLI was founded in December 2000 by the Department of Education, in response to the recommendations of the 1999 Sparks-Williams Ministerial Panel on Educational Delivery.The vision of the Centre is 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.
  4. 4. Centre for Distance Learning and InnovationSynchronous – Online• 30% to 80%, depending on subject area• taught via a virtual classroom (e.g., Elluminate Live)Asynchronous – Offline• remainder of their time• taught via a course management system (e.g., WebCT)• usually consists of independent work from posted homework or assignments or from their textbooks
  5. 5. Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of the overall study was to examine the nature of web-based learning in Newfoundland and Labrador secondary education. Specifically, this study examined the how students interacted with their web-based courses and the process they undertook when they needed help.1. What is the experience of an at-risk high school student in a supplemental online learning program?
  6. 6. Data Collection• 2 of 4 scheduled interviews• observation of students in the school• observation of students’ asynchronous and synchronous learning environments• 4 surveys
  7. 7. Kevin• at-risk student – low socio-economic status; from a single parent family; an older sibling who dropped out of school; the student had changed schools two or more times; had average grades of “C” or lower from sixth to eighth grade; and has repeated a grade• Grade 12 student enrolled in an online fine arts course – had previously completed an earlier online fine arts course• “If at first you don’t succeed, give no evidence that you tried.”
  8. 8. Trends• Kevin was good at prioritizing his attention according to the daily situation• Kevin took the path of least effort to solving problems and doing assignments• Kevin’s productivity waned as the hour progressed• Kevin was sometimes limited by the technology he had at home• Kevin had strong opinions about the types of courses and the types of students that could be successful in an online environment
  9. 9. Implications for Practice• the design and delivery of the online instruction did not motivate•• at-risk students often come from poorer households and may not have the necessary resources to provide the level of technology needed for a student to work on asynchronous material anywhere but at the school• many of Kevin’s learning habits were developed prior to his enrollment in an online course
  10. 10. Implications for Research• case study as an example of a larger population• focus on the support systems and how they help or fail to help students; if the students are utilizing those supports, and if they are not, what are the reasons for their failure to use those supports• examine how to identify at-risk student behavior in order to help students ASAP• explore the effects of programs that provide students supported online learning opportunities in earlier grades
  11. 11. YourQuestions andComments
  12. 12. Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.comhttp://www.michaelbarbour.com

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