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Virtual Education

National Standards for Quality Online Teaching

This new brief from iNACOL, the International Association for K - 12 Learning, is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with guidelines for high-quality online teaching. (iNACOL, 2011)

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The Online Learning Definitions Project

This new brief from iNACOL, the International Association for K - 12 Learning, provides states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with definitions related to online and blended learning in order to develop policy, practice, and an understanding of and within the field. The project was based on a thorough literature review of existing definitions, followed by a research survey to iNACOL members and experts to ensure the efficacy of the definitions adopted. (iNACOL, 2011)

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American High Schools Increasingly Embrace Online Education, According to Babson Survey Research Group Study

This new brief describes key findings in a new study by the Babson Survey Research Group, Class Connections: High School Reform and the Role of Online Learning. Using data collected from a national sample of over 400 high school principals, the study found that despite concerns that online learning is not as effective as face-to-face instruction, these administrators see online learning as meeting the diverse needs of their students whether through advanced placement, elective college courses, or credit recovery. (Babson College, 2010)

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Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies

This meta-analysis and review of online learning studies from 1996-2008 found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. The report of the meta-analysis and review of studies details findings related to four research questions:

  1. How does the effectiveness of online learning compare with that of face-to-face instruction?
  2. Does supplementing face-to-face instruction with online instruction enhance learning?
  3. What practices are associated with more effective online learning?
  4. What conditions influence the effectiveness of online learning?
(U.S. Department of Education, 2009)

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Guidelines for Professional Development of Online Teachers

SREB developed the nation's first Standards for Quality Online Teaching, which define the qualifications of a quality online teacher and the standards needed for academic preparation, content knowledge, online skills and delivery. Building on those standards, these Guidelines for Professional Development of Online Teachers can assist state virtual schools as they hire, train, support and evaluate online teachers. The content and strategies suggested in the guidelines are based on the skills and knowledge essential for high-quality online teaching and describe the support that state virtual schools should provide for their online teachers. (Southern Regional Education Board, 2009)

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iNACOL National Standards of Quality for Online Courses, Online Teaching and Online Programs

iNACOL, The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning. iNACOL's National Standards of Quality for Online Courses, Online Teaching and Online Programs help ensure the quality and consistency of online learning in K-12. Each set of Standards offers an important measuring tool to help policy leaders, schools, and parents across the nation to evaluate course, teacher or program quality and implement best practices. (iNACOL, 2007-2008)

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iNACOL Research Committee Issues Brief: An Exploration of At-Risk Learners and Online Education

The purpose of this Issues Brief is to help policy makers and practitioners better understand how online programs are dealing with students who have been identified as at-risk. The first section, Strategies for Working with At-Risk Student Populations in Online Environments, documents a sampling of K-12 online programs currently working with at-risk student populations by examining the strategies these programs were implementing. The second section, Trends and Instructional Practices for Teaching At-Risk Students in Virtual Courses, shares survey results from online schools to determine the online delivery and design methods employed to assist at-risk students. The brief concludes with specific recommendations for future research into the experience of at-risk learners in virtual school environments. (iNACOL, 2010)

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Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: A Review of State-level Policy and Practice

Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning is the latest in a series of annual reports that began in 2004 that examine the status of K-12 online education across the country, providing a research-based overview of the latest policies, practices and trends affecting online learning programs across all 50 states. (Evergreen Education Group, 2010)

Author: John Watson

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Laboratories of Reform: Virtual High Schools and Innovation in Public Education

This report by the Education Sector, an independent education think tank based in Washington, D.C., describes an important trend in public education that has often gone unnoticed in policy proposals: the rise of public "virtual" schools and how they are bringing about reforms that have long challenged traditional public schools. The Internet has allowed virtual schools to personalize student learning and extend it beyond the traditional school day. Virtual schools have created new models for the practice of teaching, with opportunities to easily observe, evaluate, and assist instructors. (Education Sector, 2007)

Author: Bill Tucker

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Lessons Learned from Virtual Schools: Experiences and Recommendations from the Field

This document shows the dynamics, progress, and pitfalls of virtual schools from the perspective of many state virtual schools and pioneers in virtual learning. (iNACOL, 2010)

Authors: Richard E. Ferdig and Cathy Cavanaugh

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The Online Learning Imperative: A Solution to Three Looming Crises in Education

This issue brief outlines three major challenges to K-12 education in the United States: global skill demands versus educational attainment; declining local, state and federal revenues; and a looming teacher shortage. The brief recommends looking at new technologies, particularly online learning to generate new ways of thinking about how the U.S. education system is structured. (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2010)

Author: Governor Bob Wise

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Overcoming Doubts about Online Learning

This report outlines recent research that can help educators and state decision-makers understand the benefits of online learning. The report focuses on two clear measures of the benefits: increased student learning and increased student access to high quality courses. (Southern Regional Education Board, 2009)

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Serving Students with Disabilities in State-level Virtual K-12 Public School Programs

This document describes how state-level virtual public school programs are serving students with disabilities and to identify both significant benefits and challenges associated with virtual special education. Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) completed this analysis as part of its cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. (Project Forum, 2009)

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A Special Report on the Emerging Policy Debates in Virtual Education

In response to recent major policy moves by states to expand the opportunities for students to take online-only courses from a variety of providers, this special report aims to highlight the progress made in the e-learning arena, as well as the administrative, funding, and policy barriers that some experts say are slowing the growth of online education. It also examines the trends that are likely to force policymakers to re-examine the current rules of engagement for virtual learning. (Education Week, 2010)

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Virtual K-12 Public School Programs and Students with Disabilities: Issues and Recommendations

This policy forum proceedings document details the organizing and outcomes of a February 2010 policy forum held to identify the challenges associated with serving students with disabilities in virtual K-12 public school programs and to develop policy recommendations to address these challenges. The document includes information about the current online learning landscape; information about what works when providing special education and related services to students with disabilities in a virtual environment; and key issues and recommendations relating to serving students with disabilities in a virtual context. ( Project Forum, July 2010)

Author: Eve Muller

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When Failure Is Not An Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning

Technological advancements are opening new educational opportunities that emphasize personal, student-centered, performance-based, anytime, anywhere educational opportunities. This paper explores competency-based pathways, a necessary condition to realizing the potential of next generation learning.( iNACOL, 2010)

Authors: Sturgis and Patrick

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