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AERA 2017 - Examining the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) standards for K–12 online course design


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Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2017, April). Examining the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) standards for K–12 online course design. A poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

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AERA 2017 - Examining the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL) standards for K–12 online course design

  1. 1. Introduc)on Online education has evolved at a frantic pace over the past two decades. As it quickly became common place in the K-12 environment, there was increased attention paid to design, delivery, and support specific to K-12 online learning. While a handful of private and public institutions created design standards, the non-proprietary National Standards for Quality Online Courses put forth by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) have become widely accepted and used throughout the United States. However, the standards were not developed using traditional methods that are normally used to determine reliability and/or validity of standards. This project sought to begin the process of addressing this oversight. Methodology To review and test the reliability and validity of the iNACOL (2011) course design standards, a common multi-step approach found in a variety of other studies was used. This process consisted of three distinct phases. Phase one was a review to determine support and the content validity for individual elements of the iNACOL standards using both K-12 online and general online education literature. Phase two used two panels of experts to review the standards and results of phase one to continue the testing of the content validity. Over three rounds of review, the experts helped to revise the standards and the rubric. Phase three had four groups of reviewers utilizing the rubric on current K-12 online courses to test the new instrument for inter-rater reliability. Results Conclusions Over the past 20 years there have been a wide range of studies into K-12 online learning. However, that number shrinks considerably when focused on K-12 online course design. The research conducted in phases one and two of this project have the benefit of giving more credence to the iNACOL standards. This not only provides more confidence in the standards, but gives the designers a more nuanced and focused approach to the creation process. Phase three provided a basic blueprint and starting point for future research into this set of course design standards, which should be expanded upon (Adelstein & Barbour, 2016c). Future research should examine other widely accepted standards (e.g., VHS, QM, etc.) using the same methodology and procedure, with results compared between all sets of standards. Further, the revised iNACOL rubric from this project should continue to be tested in the real world by building new online courses, and not just measuring it against existing courses. David Adelstein – Jingsong Schools Michael K. Barbour – Touro University, California References Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016a). Building better courses: Examining the content validity of the iNACOL national standards for quality online courses. Journal of Online Learning Research, 2(1), 41-73. Retrieved from Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016b). Redesigning design: Field testing a revised design rubric based of iNACOL quality course standards. International Journal of E- Learning & Distance Education, 31(2). Retrieved from jde/article/view/976 Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (2016c). Redesigning design: Streamlining K-12 online course creation. MACUL Journal, 37(1), 20-21. Adelstein, D., & Barbour, M. K. (in press). Improving the K-12 online course design review process: Experts weigh in on iNACOL national standards for quality online courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 18(3). International Association for K-12 Online Learning. (2011). National standards for quality online courses version 2. Vienna, VA: Author. Retrieved from online-courses-v2.pdf Redesigning the iNACOL Standards for K-12 Online Course Design Phase One This phase reviewed the current iNACOL standards against current K-12 online education and other relevant literature with a focus on virtual learning (Adelstein & Barbour 2016a). The results showed: •  all standards were aligned with current online education literature, and •  it was difficult to align specifically with K-12 online learning literature due to limited availability research. Table 1. Types of courses used for phase three review. Table 2. Comparing all reviewers across Section C elements as an example of data collection from phase three. Phase Two This phase consisted of an expert panel reviewing and revising the standards based on phase one (Adelstein & Barbour, in press). The results showed: •  the standards were vital as a whole, •  not all of the elements are appropriate specifically for course design, and •  elimination and revision of standards allowed for a streamlined rubric. Phase Three The final and most challenging phase, due to the limited number of reviewers and courses, tested the revised rubric against current K-12 online courses (Adelstein & Barbour 2016b). The results showed: •  the revised rubric did not meet the reliability threshold for percentages, and •  numerous individual elements were found to be reliable.