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Barbour, M. K., McLaren, A., & Zhang, L. (2009, April). It’s not that tough: Students speak about their online learning experiences. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.
K-12 online learning is growing in Canada. However, the vast majority of literature is focused on practitioners and not on systematic inquiry, and even published research has largely excluded the perspectives of students engaged in virtual schooling. This interview study examines student perceptions of components of virtual schooling that are beneficial and challenging for secondary school students. Students largely enjoyed their online courses and found synchronous classes, the technology, and the ability to control their own learning as positive aspects of their experience. They also found the lack of a sense of online community, working during their asynchronous classes, and the asynchronous content to be challenging; and made suggestions for improvement to each, along with advice to future online students.