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REL Southeast 2015 - Brief Overview of Research on Rural Students and Online Learning

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Barbour, M. K. (2015, March). Brief overview of research on rural students and online learning. A webinar presentation to the Regional Education Laboratory - Southeast's Alliance for Online and Blended Learning.

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REL Southeast 2015 - Brief Overview of Research on Rural Students and Online Learning

  1. 1. Brief Overview of Research on Rural Students and Online Learning Michael K. Barbour Director of Doctoral Studies Sacred HeartUniversity
  2. 2. Distance Education & Rural Schooling • 394 randomly selected school districts • 85% of school districts had used or were using distance education • 81% were using it to offer advanced- level courses – 35% using it for foreign language – 12% for algebra • most common barriers – district barriers – not needed, funding, not a priority – logistical barriers – scheduling, difficult to implement – personnel barriers – not trained to support distance education or not available to support distance education Hannum, Irvin, Banks & Farmer (2009)
  3. 3. What Have We Learned? • “a paucity of research exists when examining high school students enrolled in virtual schools, and the research base is smaller still when the population of students is further narrowed to the elementary grades” (Rice, 2006) • described the literature as generally falling into one of two general categories: the potential benefits of and challenges facing K-12 online learning (Barbour & Reeves, 2009) • “based upon the personal experiences of those involved in the practice of virtual schooling” (Cavanaugh et al., 2009)
  4. 4. Academic Tracks in Newfoundland & Labrador • English language arts • mathematics academic stream - graduation, college, university, etc. basic stream - graduation, trade school virtual school program only offers academic streamed courses
  5. 5. Enrollment - English Language Arts
  6. 6. Enrollment - Mathematics
  7. 7. Mulcahy, Dibbon and Norberg (2008) • study of rural schooling in three schools on the south coast of the Labrador • found two had a higher percentage of students enrolled in basic-level courses • speculated because the only way students could do academic course at their school was online, some students specifically chose the basic stream to avoid taking an online course Students who enroll in the basic stream are not eligible for post-secondary admittance!
  8. 8. Virtual School Designer: Course Development • design instructional materials • works in team with teachers and a virtual school to construct the online course, etc. Virtual School Teacher: Pedagogy & Class Management • presents activities, manages pacing, rigor, etc. • interacts with students and their facilitators • undertakes assessment, grading, etc. Virtual School Site Facilitator: Mentoring & Advocating • local mentor and advocate for student(s) • proctors & records grades, etc. Davis (2007) Three Roles of Virtual School Teachers
  9. 9. • 7 principles of effective web-based design for adolescents (Barbour, 2005; 2007) • descriptive instrument for virtual school courses (Keeler, 2004; 2006; Keeler & Anderson-Inman, 2004a; 2004b) Research on Virtual School Designer
  10. 10. Research on Virtual School Teacher • 37 best practices in asynchronous online teaching (DiPietro, Ferdig, Black & Preston, 2008) • synchronous online teaching strategies - e.g., in second languages, learner- centered principles, projecting social presence (Murphy & Coffins, 2003; Murphy & Rodriguez- Manzanares, 2007; 2009; Nippard & Murphy, 2007)
  11. 11. Research on Virtual School Site Facilitator • “Student ability to handle distance education courses appears to depend more on motivation, self-direction, or the ability to take responsibility for individual learning. Because of these determinants of success, facilitators that are directly working with students day by day are key to the success of the program.” Access Alabama evaluation (Roblyer, Freeman, Stabler & Schneidmiller, 2007)
  12. 12. Research on Virtual School Site Facilitator • “As has been well known, but rarely documented, the success of distance education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has been in large part due to the assistance provided by teachers in our rural schools above and beyond their contractual obligations to the school or the school district.” Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation - Newfoundland and Labrador (Barbour & Mulcahy, 2004; 2009)
  13. 13. Research on Virtual School Site Facilitator • “The study thus far has found that the program reduced drop-out rate (i.e., student in an individual course and schools leaving the distance program), but did not appear to affect student learning. Based on the qualitative data, the teachers felt that the presence of a facilitator was crucial.” Created a training program for school-based language arts facilitators in rural schools in North Carolina (Hannum, Irvin, Lei &
  14. 14. Research on Virtual School Site Facilitator• “The TEGIVS project has attempted to build virtual school competencies by developing a tool that can be shared within the teacher education community. Initial findings suggest that such a tool can influence future educators' thinking about teaching and learning in the 21st century.” Iowa State University teacher education program (Davis, Compton, Niederhauser & Lindstrom, 2005; Davis, Demiraslan & Wortmann, 2007; Davis et al.,
  15. 15. The Challenge Whether online learning can be suitable for all K- 12 students? (Mulcahy, 2002)
  16. 16. Your Questions and Comments
  17. 17. Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.com http://virtualschooling.wordpress.com

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