Online Learning How Can We Evaluate It?

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1 Online Learning How Can We Evaluate It? Brian Lekander, U.S. Dept. of Education Dr. Jan Keating, Stanford University Debra Von Bargen, Stanford University David Mabe, Davidson College Zach Chaffin, Student, Johns Hopkins University Online Learning is a new feature of the current educational landscape. Determining the quality of the different online learning opportunities will be important for all stakeholders. A Snapshot of the U.S. 32 States have statewide virtual schools (Keeping Pace 2008) More than 70% of all school districts across the U.S. offer online and distance learning (Sloan-C Study) 18 states have 173 full-time virtual school programs 1

2 Growth of Online Learning in the U.S. Year Enrollments in K-12 Online Courses , , , ,000, ,000,000 online/blended State Virtual Schools State Clearinghouses District programs University Programs Virtual Charter Schools Businesses Variety of Providers Supplemental vs. Full-Time Some Initial Growth Areas AP/Dual Enrollment Courses Credit Recovery/Remediation Courses Not Otherwise Available/Teachers Not Available Home Schooling Students with Health Problems 2

3 International Growth Turkey: from 0 to 15 million in K-12 taking online courses in 3 years Singapore: 100% of secondary schools use online learning and all teachers are trained to teach online India: aiming for universal access to K-12 within 10 years, need 200,000 new schools; have Educomp program to digitize learning resources Classroom Education is Moving to Meet the Online World Example: San Diego Unified School District Purchasing netbook computers for all students in grades 3-12 Will use distributed cloud Will equip all classrooms with whiteboards Professional development for all teachers Creating District Virtual School What are These Changes Leading Us To? Student Centered Paradigm Customized Learning Competency-Based Completion (rather than seat time) Interactive, Project Based Learning Choice/Alternatives to Traditional Education Tough Policy Decisions Competition Across Districts/States/Nation? Quality Assurance/Accountability Funding (more on this ) 3

4 Funding of Online For State Programs, Separate Appropriations District payments to external providers Per-pupil allocation from state moves with the student District picks up IT, and shares Support Costs and Counseling with Provider What are Some Things That Could Help? Open Source/Digitized Resources Common National Standards Data Systems/Data-Driven Instruction New Research on Effectiveness New Funding/Assessment Models Based on Achievement rather than Seat/Face Time Useful Resources U.S. Department of Education Innovations in Education Publications (www.ed.gov/oii) Connecting Students to Advanced Courses Online Evaluating Online Learning: Strategies and Challenges for Success International Association for K-12 Online Learning (inacol) (www.inacol.org) Sloan-C Consortium (www.sloan-c.org) Southern Regional Education Board -- Educational Technology Cooperative (www.sreb.org) 4

5 Contact Information Brian Lekander Program Manager, Star Schools Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue SW Room 4W226, TEP Washington, DC Online Learning Catalyzing the evolution of schooling as we know it. Cathy Cavanaugh (May 2009) Getting Students More Learning Time - Online Distance Education in Support of Expanded Learning Time in K-12 Schools The Center for American Progress Broad Foundation 5

6 Terms Distance education: A broad term that encompasses forms of electronically mediated teaching and learning where instructors and students learn at different times and/or places through video, radio, web, and combination formats. Online education: Teaching that occurs though digital, rather than analog, communication. Virtual schools: Web-based distance education programs for K-12 students. These are also called cyber schools, cybercharters, electronic schools, and e-schools. Virtual schools offer full-time or supplemental programs, and in some cases both. Blended learning: Courses or programs that combine face-to-face and distance experiences. Benefits Online courses increase equitable access to quality educational opportunities Expands a student s course choices. Provides more individualized instruction. Students macromanage their time in self paced classes Students can accelerate through course material or take more time as needed. A learner-centered approach to education An efficient learning environment that focuses the teacher s attention on the specific performance of individual students, guiding them as needed to achieve success. Benefits continued Distance education for students who choose supplementary online courses is already a form of expanding learning time. 6

7 Expansion of Online Learning The number of elementary and secondary students taking online courses increased tenfold between 2001 and 2007, from about 200,000 to almost 2 million, and could easily reach several million by As of 2008, 44 states have either significant supplemental online learning programs, which are designed to add courses to the offerings available to students in their face-to-face schools, significant full-time programs in which students take most or all of their courses online, or both. Vator News, Matt Bowman 9/24/09 Online high schools are growing more popular. Roughly 100,000 of the 12 million high-school-age students in the U.S. attend 438 online schools full-time, up from 30,000 five years ago, according to the International Association for K-12 Learning Online, a Washington nonprofit representing online schools. Many more students take some classes online, while attending traditional schools. The National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education, says 1.5 million K-12 students were homeschooled in 2007, a figure that includes some who attended online schools. That is a 36% increase from the 1.1 million in Teaching Virtual schools regularly receive thousands of applications for each online teaching position. University teacher education programs have begun to respond to the inevitability of K-12 distance education by including online teaching competencies in their teacher education programs. States such as Georgia and Wisconsin have added online teaching requirements to their teacher certification systems. 7

8 Online Learning is Effective Research and evaluation studies support the effectiveness of K-12 distance learning. Comprehensive reviews of research published in 2001 and 2005 showed that student academic performance in well-designed online courses is on average equivalent to performance in high-quality classroom-based courses. Virtual school participation has been seen to narrow the state testing achievement gap for those in economically disadvantaged subgroups. Clear Mission/Vision Instructors Educational background Amount of time with instructor Well Articulated Comprehensive Curriculum School Leadership/Governance Software and e-tools Student Results Fully Accredited Features of a High Quality Online Program Social Interaction at the EPGY OHS Small Classes- Instructors know their students Students connect with each other intellectually Extra-Curricular Activities Student Tutor Program In person gatherings - formal and informal Outside activities Iron Chef Contests, Halloween Costume Parties, Club Day, Student Elections, Spirit Week Summer Residential Program Graduation Week 8

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