one moment please

array(1) {
  ["MembersOnly"]=>
  bool(false)
}

iNACOL Reports

A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change cover

A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change

Maria Worthen, Lillian Pace, February 2014

Introduction  The world is rapidly changing, and we must ensure that our education system prepares students to be successful in a future that continues to foster innovation and change in...

Introduction  The world is rapidly changing, and we must ensure that our education system prepares students to be successful in a future that continues to foster innovation and change in a way that is difficult to predict. Empowered and emboldened by the changes underway, we must take a serious step to reframe quality, accountability, and access to do everything in our power to ensure that each and every student is prepared for their future with a student-centered, world-class education.

It is time to move away from traditional assumptions about how schools should look, how teachers should teach, and how students should learn. These assumptions too often restrict learning to physical buildings, bell schedules, credit hours, and static, paper-based learning materials. Many of these assumptions are further reinforced by federal, state, and local governments that incorporate them through outdated compliance requirements and funding structures.

Our education system must break free from these traditional views so it can adequately prepare students for success in college, career, and the global economy. Fortunately, a growing number of districts and states have begun to think about the next step to increase equity, rigor, and relevance in the system, increasing achievement for students who have been underserved, and opening new opportunities for advancement. Using college- and career-ready standards as the foundation, these innovators envision a system in which students master deeper, aligned competencies that provide graduates with the skills to navigate the demands of an increasingly dynamic global economy. Their success rests heavily on federal adoption of a new student-centered policy framework that will advance the growth of competency education.

Topic(s): competency education, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education cover

Progress and Proficiency: Redesigning Grading for Competency Education

Chris Sturgis, January 2014

Introduction  Any school that has begun the journey toward competency education, breaking free of the limitations of the time-based system, will eventually come face-to-face with grading...

Introduction  Any school that has begun the journey toward competency education, breaking free of the limitations of the time-based system, will eventually come face-to-face with grading policies and practices. Along with the excitement of creating a new grading system that ignites a dynamic culture of learning will come opportunities to engage students, families and the community in creating a shared vision about the purpose of school. Challenging the traditional system of grading practices, rooted firmly in the American culture with its exhilarating A+ to the dreadful F, will prompt questions, fears, and misconceptions. There are likely to be lively community meetings and even a letter or two in the local newspaper. There will also be the mutual delight when a competency-based grading system is put into place that allows students and teachers to work together toward a shared vision of learning. Most importantly, there will be cause to celebrate as students make progress toward proficiency.

This paper is part of a series investigating the implementation of competency education. The purpose of the paper is to explore how districts and schools can redesign grading systems to best help students to excel in academics and to gain the skills that are needed to be successful in college, the community, and the workplace.

Topic(s): competency education, grading, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning: Barriers and Promising Practices cover

Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning: Barriers and Promising Practices

Eric Werth, Lori Werth, Eric Kellerer, October 2013

Foreword  The need for effective blended learning environments — the best of online and face-to-face learning, coupled with tools driving c...

Foreword  The need for effective blended learning environments — the best of online and face-to-face learning, coupled with tools driving continuous assessment of progress and personalization of content — is on the rise throughout the United States. Transforming K-12 Rural Education through Blended Learning: Barriers and Promising Practices specifically reports on the implementation of blended learning programs in the state of Idaho. Among its findings, three key takeaways are apparent.

First is the positive impact that blended learning has on those teachers who choose to incorporate emerging models of practice into their classroom environments. Clearly showcased in these results is a strong correlation between a teacher’s ability to innovate and their enjoyment of teaching (as well as their self-efficacy/confidence). Educators in the field know that enjoyment of and confidence in their work are essential factors to retain great teachers in the profession.

Second is a correlation between the opportunity for self-pacing and the quality of a student’s work and perseverance. Allowing students to work at their own pace provides them ownership of their education and enables them to achieve mastery on their individual timetable. It also reinforces for them the notion that persistence can lead to success throughout their learning.

Third is the importance of comprehensive teacher training for blended and online learning environments. The report emphasizes just how essential it is to identify and incorporate pedagogical strategies specific to blended and online teaching into teacher preparation for new models of education. Beyond merely “turning on a tool,” educators must perceive and embrace the need to change their teaching style in order to engage and enrich each student’s individual education more effectively.

Throughout all of our work lies an emphasis on the need for the field of K-12 blended and online learning to continue to conduct studies such as this in order to challenge, adapt and strengthen the initial drivers of innovation.

Topic(s): blended learning, research, teaching

  • Download Free: PDF
Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education cover

Mean What You Say: Defining and Integrating Personalized, Blended and Competency Education

Susan Patrick, Kathryn Kennedy, Allison Powell, October 2013

Introduction  The purpose of the personalized learning framework is to open student pathways and encourage student voice and choice in their education. Personalized learning is enabled by...

Introduction  The purpose of the personalized learning framework is to open student pathways and encourage student voice and choice in their education. Personalized learning is enabled by instructional environments that are competency-based. By tapping into modalities of blended and online learning using advanced technologies, personalized learning is enhanced by transparent data and abundant content resources flowing from redesigned instructional models to address the standards. By doing this, new school models can unleash the potential of each and every student in ways never before possible.

This paper is Intended to provide a scan of the literature and expand the knowledge base for the field to integrate the core ideas of personalized learning, blended learning, competency education, and standards. The goal of the paper is to explain the nuances of key terms used across the field of K-12 education related to personalized, blended and competency education, and how the ideas integrate in order to create new learning models. In sum, the goal of this paper is to make sense of the terms and how they fit together.

iNACOL experts receive feedback from thousands of practitioners each year as new learning models are planned, piloted and implemented around the globe using different models of blended and online learning. In our effort to develop this paper, we conducted literature reviews of the definitions, surveyed the field on definitions and concepts, hosted webinars, and conducted focus groups and interviews to inform our work.

We believe that there is a critical need to describe these terms of personalized learning, blended learning and competency education in the context of the dramatic shifts around next generation learning models and new school designs.

The first section of this paper describes personalized learning and its characteristics. The second section describes blended learning and how it supports personalization, and how the two concepts are different. The third section describes how competency education is the foundation for the idea of systemic transformation to new learning models that are student-centered (Jobs for the Future, 2012).  The fourth section describes the critical role standards play in structurally supporting personalized, blended and competency-based learning that is both rigorous and world-class.

Topic(s): blended learning, common core, competency education, personalization

  • Download Free: PDF
Partnering for Success: A 21st Century Model for Teacher Preparation cover

Partnering for Success: A 21st Century Model for Teacher Preparation

Kathryn Kennedy, Leanna Archambault, Kerry Rice, Dazhi Yang, Dina Vyortkina, Michael Barbour, Dean Goon, Michael Hynes, Bryan Zugelder, Janet Zajac, Robin Parent, October 2013

Foreword  As advanced technologies enter the mainstream of everyday life, more than half of K-12 school districts are already offering — or interested in starting — blended and online...

Foreword  As advanced technologies enter the mainstream of everyday life, more than half of K-12 school districts are already offering — or interested in starting — blended and online learning programs.

With the addition of modern tools and resources, what school looks like today — and how classroom teachers teach — changes dramatically. There are human capital issues around making sure teachers are skilled in managing the educational process for students: part concierge (expanding resources through digital content and tools) and part coach or guide, providing improved instructional approaches that are student-centered and personalized for each student’s needs and interests.

This naturally leads to asking our teacher preparation programs to modernize and adapt to these new realities. Programs that provide teacher licensure preparation must be responsible for training today’s teaching workforce for today’s educational needs, not yesterday’s “one classroom, one textbook” model of lecture learning — continuously modernizing skills, methods and strategies to ensure a new generation of teachers are successful with a new generation of students.

New school models are evolving that measure individual achievement based on each student’s learning needs using data, a wider range of academic content choices, new teaching methods, tools, platforms and resources to offer services that are not one-size-fits-all. Rather, they are customized for each child. It is only reasonable that educators seeking to enter into these emerging learning environments should have their training supplemented by practical experience using the tools, techniques and pedagogy inspired by and required for successful teaching (and learning) within digital learning environments.

However, a national survey of teacher education programs conducted in 2012 found that a paltry 1.3% of them were preparing their teachers for next generation learning models. That survey and subsequent studies have identified the need for a dramatic shift in the skills and methods for educator preparation toward next generation learning models, which require many of the same skills as traditional education, yet a more comprehensive set of skills to navigate a diverse range of learning environments — including blended, online, competency-based models emerging in anytime, everywhere traditional classrooms and schools.

Too few educator and leadership preparation programs are up to the task of modernized teacher training for the 21st century. A bright spot, however, has been the growing number of innovative teacher preparation programs that have formed partnerships with blended and online schools around the country.

As they did in their book Lessons Learned in Teacher Mentoring, Drs. Archambault and Kennedy uncover and explore those developing best practices in innovative teacher preparation for next generation learning environments so the field can build upon the work of these pioneering leaders.

This report studies the best practices necessary to rethink the skills, methods and pedagogical evolution that teacher education must address. If we are to ensure great teachers are trained, mentored and retained for our students — the programs themselves must emulate 21st century skills for individualized student learning — no matter where or how a student learns best. The examples found in this report have unique elements and frameworks that others may learn from and replicate.

No teacher should start their career with anything less than complete confidence that they have been effectively prepared for Day One. The partnerships highlighted here are poised to make that a reality and provide guideposts to rethinking and modernizing educator preparation programs for today’s schools.

Topic(s): blended learning, online learning, research, teaching

  • Download Free: PDF
iNACOL’s New Learning Models Vision cover

iNACOL’s New Learning Models Vision

Allison Powell, October 2013

The vision of iNACOL is to transform K-12 education toward a student-centered learning system. New learning models personalize learning using competency-based approaches, supported by blended and...

The vision of iNACOL is to transform K-12 education toward a student-centered learning system. New learning models personalize learning using competency-based approaches, supported by blended and online learning modalities and environments.

Teachers use technology daily to analyze and utilize real-time data to differentiate instruction, customize learning and to engage students in deeper learning. All students are responsible for their own learning and work at their own pace by demonstrating mastery of required concepts, resulting in higher achievement and ensuring all students are prepared for both college and career.

The ultimate power of blended and online learning lies in their potential to transform the education system and enable higher levels of learning through competency-based approaches. Technology-based models can allow for rapid capture of student performance data and differentiated instruction tailored to the specific needs of individual students. By adapting instruction to reflect the skills and knowledge students have mastered, blended and online models have the potential to keep students engaged and supported as they learn and to help them progress at their own pace, leading to dramatically higher levels of learning and attainment.

Topic(s): blended learning, competency education, online learning, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
iNACOL Research Agenda cover

iNACOL Research Agenda

Kathryn Kennedy, October 2013

iNACOL’s publishing of a research agenda is an ongoing and integral part of our work in field-building, capacity-building and knowledge-building. In 2013, iNACOL surveyed the field to identify r...

iNACOL’s publishing of a research agenda is an ongoing and integral part of our work in field-building, capacity-building and knowledge-building. In 2013, iNACOL surveyed the field to identify research needs related to blended and online learning toward the ultimate goal to transform the education system from a traditional model to a learning system that is personalized, student-centered and competency-based. iNACOL is dedicated to an important student-centric mission: that all students have access to a world-class education and quality blended and online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success.

The development of a research agenda involves:

  1. Developing a research agenda that is done collaboratively with the experts in the field, including the iNACOL Research Committee and Research Special Interest Group, leadership experts across iNACOL’s membership, and communities of practice in the field;
  2. Identifying research needs for the field; and
  3. Creating the final national research agenda report.

The purpose of the research agenda is to evaluate broad needs across the field and prioritize future research needs.

Topic(s): blended learning, competency education, online learning, policy, research

  • Download Free: PDF
Fast Facts about Online Learning cover

Fast Facts about Online Learning

iNACOL, October 2013

The latest data concerning online and blended learning, enrollment, access, and courses, as well as key policy indicators for all states offering full-time and/or supplemental online and blended le...

The latest data concerning online and blended learning, enrollment, access, and courses, as well as key policy indicators for all states offering full-time and/or supplemental online and blended learning opportunities to students. (updated October, 2013)

Topic(s): blended learning, competency education, data, funding, legislation, online learning, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
A Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level: A Case Study of the iLearnNYC Lab Schools cover

A Roadmap for Implementation of Blended Learning at the School Level: A Case Study of the iLearnNYC Lab Schools

Rob Darrow, Bruce Friend, Allison Powell, October 2013

Introduction  As blended and online learning models began evolving into more student-centered approaches to learning, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) established the "I...

Introduction  As blended and online learning models began evolving into more student-centered approaches to learning, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) established the "Innovation Zone" (iZone) in 2009 to encourage teachers and school leaders to implement these new learning models. The iZone is now a large community of innovative New York City schools committed to personalizing learning to meet the needs, motivations, and strengths of individual students.

Eight schools within the iZone were selected as "Lab Schools" for implementing personalized learning environments using online and blended learning. Each of these Lab Schools was selected through an application process, where a specific theme and implementation model were identified.

Over the 2012-2013 school year, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) worked with the eight Lab Schools to observe, learn, and document the implementation of blended learning in order to create a roadmap so that all schools across the city may have documentation to implement blended learning in their schools.

iNACOL met with and observed iLearnNYC staff, IMs, administrators, and teachers from the eight Lab Schools over the last year to collect the data used to write this roadmap. This roadmap was developed to assist NYCDOE school administrators in the implementation of blended learning programs within their own school.

This roadmap has several goals:

  • Provide an overview of the current models of blended learning utilized by the Lab Schools.
  • Provide a better understanding of the iLearnNYC program and the support system available to schools in NYC implementing blended learning.
  • Identify and define the six elements of a successful blended learning program.
  • Identify the essential questions for school administrators to consider prior to implementing blended learning.
  • Share promising practices observed at the eight Lab Schools.
  • Provide case studies of the eight Lab Schools.
  • Share resources (rubrics, timelines, continuums, etc.) developed for iLearnNYC blended learning teachers and leaders.

This roadmap is not meant to provide a step-by-step process for implementing blended learning in a school. Blended learning can be successfully implemented in a variety of ways. The roadmap provides guidance for school leaders on how to set school goals and implement the model that will best meet the needs of the individual students in a specific school within the NYCDOE.

Topic(s): blended learning

  • Download Free: PDF
OER and Collaborative Content Development cover

OER and Collaborative Content Development

TJ Bliss, DeLaina Tonks, Susan Patrick, June 2013

Open Educational Resources and Collaborative Content Development: A Practical Guide for State and School Leaders – written by TJ Bliss, Ph.D. of the Idaho State Department of Education...

Open Educational Resources and Collaborative Content Development: A Practical Guide for State and School Leaders – written by TJ Bliss, Ph.D. of the Idaho State Department of Education, DeLaina Tonks of the Mountain Heights Academy in Utah, and iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick – provides educational leaders with a guide describing the benefits of OER, a framework for planning, and strategies for successful collaborative content development.

Open educational resources (OER) include items such as courses, course modules and materials, e-textbooks, professional development, rubrics, assessments, tests, software, and any other tools, or techniques used to transmit knowledge that have an impact on teaching and learning that are openly licensed to permit educators sharing, accessing and collaborating. Open educational resources also include born-public-domain works, such as those produced by the public sector, federal and state governments.

Topic(s): curriculum, legislation, oer, open educational resources, policy, teachers

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
OER State Policy in K-12 Education cover

OER State Policy in K-12 Education

TJ Bliss, Susan Patrick, June 2013

OER State Policy in K-12 Education: Benefits, Strategies, and Recommendations for Open Access, Open Sharing helps policymakers promote collaboration and deeper learning with open educatio...

OER State Policy in K-12 Education: Benefits, Strategies, and Recommendations for Open Access, Open Sharing helps policymakers promote collaboration and deeper learning with open educational resources (OER). Authors TJ Bliss, Ph.D. and Susan Patrick demonstrate how policymakers are helping teachers to build resources, share educational materials and personalize instruction by permitting publicly funded learning materials to be shared openly as OER.

Open educational resources (OER) are learning materials licensed in such a way as to permit educators to share, access, and collaborate in order to customize and personalize instruction.

Among the report's collected policy recommendations, three key principles are apparent for effective sharing of learning materials:

  • Emphasize that materials created by state, regional, or local entities using public funds will hold an open license for sharing, collaboration, and access for all educators and students.
  • Allow states with instructional materials lists to include vetted OER.
  • Allow instructional materials and other funding to support development, maintenance, and infrastructure for OER and technology infrastructure with flexible uses of funding.

Topic(s): legislation, oer, open educational resources, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education cover

Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education

Liz Glowa, Susan Patrick, February 2013

Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education analyzes and examines components and elements of effective competency-based information systems. Base...

Re-Engineering Information Technology: Design Considerations for Competency Education analyzes and examines components and elements of effective competency-based information systems. Based on interviews and research, the ideas in Re-Engineering Information Technology build upon the lessons learned in analyzing information systems developed by competency education innovators, best practices of systemic approaches to information management, and emerging opportunities. The paper is designed for readers to find those issues that are of most interest to them in their role and be used to catalyze strategies, support new competency-based instructional models, and inform decision making for continuous improvement.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Necessary for Success: A State Policymaker’s Guide to Competency Education cover

Necessary for Success: A State Policymaker’s Guide to Competency Education

Susan Patrick, Chris Sturgis, February 2013

An opportunity for state leaders to reflect upon the efforts of contemporaries around the country, Necessary for Success shares insights into re-engineering the policy and practices of o...

An opportunity for state leaders to reflect upon the efforts of contemporaries around the country, Necessary for Success shares insights into re-engineering the policy and practices of our K-12 systems; introduces the main concepts behind competency-based learning; studies important initial steps taken by states in introducing this emerging model; and considers creating a culture of competency within state agencies.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment cover

The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment

Laura Shubilla, Chris Sturgis, December 2012

The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment delves into the fourth element of the definition of competency education: Students receive timely...

The Learning Edge: Supporting Student Success in a Competency-Based Learning Environment delves into the fourth element of the definition of competency education: Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs. Understanding how to structure supports is important because learning in a competency-based environment means that students and adults are often on the edge of their comfort zone and competence — the learning edge. In this paper you will learn how innovators are designing school culture, embedding supports and organizing resources to ensure students are progressing and on pace.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Measuring Quality from Inputs to Outcomes: Creating Student Learning Performance Metrics and Quality Assurance for Online Schools cover

Measuring Quality from Inputs to Outcomes: Creating Student Learning Performance Metrics and Quality Assurance for Online Schools

Susan Patrick, David Edwards, John Watson, Matthew Wicks, October 2012

With the growth of U.S. K-12 online learning enrollments rising each year, this report outlines how policymakers and education leaders might thoughtfully approach...

With the growth of U.S. K-12 online learning enrollments rising each year, this report outlines how policymakers and education leaders might thoughtfully approach implementing new student learning performance metrics and quality assurance for these increasingly popular school environments.

Measuring Quality From Inputs to Outcomes underscores the need of the field to truly take advantage of innovative new learning tools and practices to personalize education for every student, and emphasizes that policy discussions must address measuring success toward outcomes-driven models.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2012) cover

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2012)

Michael K. Barbour, October 2012

This is the fifth edition of the State of the Nation: K–12 Online Learning in Canada report. The purpose of this annual investigation is to describe the policies and regulations that govern K–12 distance education in each of the thirteen Canadian provinces...

This is the fifth edition of the State of the Nation: K–12 Online Learning in Canada report. The purpose of this annual investigation is to describe the policies and regulations that govern K–12 distance education in each of the thirteen Canadian provinces and territories. The study is also designed to survey the level of K–12 distance education activity across the country.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Statement of Principles for Model Legislation in States cover

Statement of Principles for Model Legislation in States

iNACOL, July 2012

iNACOL is student-centered and makes policy recommendations based on doing what is right for kids to have access to a world-class education. iNACOL believes in competency education as a critical design and foundation for student learning. In competency-based learning, students advance upon demonstrating mastery, have clear and explicit...

iNACOL is student-centered and makes policy recommendations based on doing what is right for kids to have access to a world-class education. iNACOL believes in competency education as a critical design and foundation for student learning. In competency-based learning, students advance upon demonstrating mastery, have clear and explicit learning objectives, have systems of assessments that are meaningful to students, include differentiation and immediate support as they need it, and are required to demonstrate acquired knowledge, skills and dispositions to be successful.

Globally, the highest performing nations have competency based education systems – not seat-time based systems. iNACOL encourages quality assurance through outcomes based on student learning (increasing proficiency, student growth, closing the achievement gap, graduation, college and career readiness). iNACOL believes policy should not prescribe inputs or create barriers for innovation.

  • Download Free: PDF
The Art and Science of Designing Competencies cover

The Art and Science of Designing Competencies

Chris Sturgis, July 2012

The Art and Sciences of Designing Competencies paper discusses how innovators in competency education develop competencies. Often this is referred to as a tuning process or reengineering process...

The Art and Sciences of Designing Competencies paper discusses how innovators in competency education develop competencies. Often this is referred to as a tuning process or reengineering process - mapping from what we want students to know and be able to do all the way backwards to the choices for curricular tasks and assessments. This paper provides insights into the orientation and processes that innovators use in designing competencies.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Online Learning: Top 5 Federal Policy Issues cover

Online Learning: Top 5 Federal Policy Issues

iNACOL, March 2012

Guidance for federal policymakers and legislators as they consider online and blended learning, providing background and recommendations on policy implementation covering: 1) Accountability should be based on individual student growth models to support student-centered, competency-based learning 2) Support performance-based systems of...

Guidance for federal policymakers and legislators as they consider online and blended learning, providing background and recommendations on policy implementation covering: 1) Accountability should be based on individual student growth models to support student-centered, competency-based learning 2) Support performance-based systems of assessments 3) Support federal research for high quality online learning 4) Support human capital development through redesigned pre-service/in-service training for online and blended learning 5) Ensure reliable and ubiquitous student access to the Internet and quality learning materials

  • Download Free: PDF
State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2011) cover

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2011)

Michael K. Barbour, November 2011

Online and blended learning are educational innovations providing access to courses, teachers, and educational opportunities for students in Canada, who may not otherwise have because of the geographic isolation of where they live...

Online and blended learning are educational innovations providing access to courses, teachers, and educational opportunities for students in Canada, who may not otherwise have because of the geographic isolation of where they live.

Canada was one of the first countries to embrace technology and the Internet in order to deliver distance learning courses to students in remote locations. Now, countries around the world are providing these opportunities for all students for a variety of reasons from scheduling conflicts, access for hard to staff courses, credit recovery, dual enrollment with local colleges and universities, and to supplement the face-to-face classroom.

Topic(s): online learning, technology

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Online and Blended Learning: A Survey of Policy and Practice from K-12 Schools around the World cover

Online and Blended Learning: A Survey of Policy and Practice from K-12 Schools around the World

Michael K. Barbour, Regina Brown, Lisa Hasler Waters, Rebecca Hoey, Jeffrey Hunt, Kathryn Kennedy, Chantal Ounsworth, Allison Powell, Trina Trimm, November 2011

This is the second International Survey completed by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). The first survey was conducted by Susan Patrick and Allison...

This is the second International Survey completed by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). The first survey was conducted by Susan Patrick and Allison Powell from the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) in response to several requests from members asking for examples from other countries. At the time, there was no research published on the topic of K-12 online learning outside of North America.

In 2006, iNACOL sent surveys to over 60 countries and received 17 responses which were
summarized in An International Perspective of K-12 Online Learning: A Summary of the 2006 NACOL International E-Learning Survey. This report provided data, information, and innovative ideas to policymakers and practitioners in North America.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
The Online Learning Definitions Project cover

The Online Learning Definitions Project

iNACOL, October 2011

The Online Learning Definitions Project is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of definitions related to online and blended learning in order to develop policy, practice, and an understanding of and within the field. The initiative began with a thorough literature review of existing definitions, followed by...

The Online Learning Definitions Project is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of definitions related to online and blended learning in order to develop policy, practice, and an understanding of and within the field. The initiative began with 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.

These definitions should be implemented and monitored by each state, district, or organization, as they reserve the right to apply the definitions according to the best interest of the population for which they serve.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses (v2) cover

iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses (v2)

iNACOL, October 2011

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare...

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Courses is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online course content, instructional design, technology, student assessment, and course management.

The original initiative in version one of the standards began with a thorough literature review of existing online course quality standards, followed by a survey offered to representatives of the iNACOL network to ensure the efficacy of the standards adopted. As a result of the research review, iNACOL had chosen to fully endorse the work of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Quality Online Course Standards as a comprehensive set of criteria.* The standards as identified by SREB, already in use by sixteen SREB states, proved to be the most comprehensive and included guidelines set forth in the other criteria from the literature review. A full cross-reference of standards is available, including the iNACOL-endorsed NEA Guide to Teaching Online Courses, which included the key fundamental criteria. We were and are still grateful for SREB's work and for their permission to distribute these standards on a national scale.

Since the original standards were released, other organizations have released quality standards for online courses. iNACOL organized a team of experts in the area of course development, instructional design, professional development, research, education, and administration to review these new standards and new literature around the topic and determined there was a need to refresh version one of the iNACOL standards. The same process was used in developing version two of the standards in addition to having version one as a starting point in the development of the new version.

Over the past three years, iNACOL has received feedback that several organizations are using these standards in the development and review of online courses. In this new version of the standards, reviewer considerations have been added for each indicator. Additionally, a rubric has been included to assist in the review of online courses based on this new version. iNACOL would like to thank the Texas Education Agency's Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) for developing and sharing this rubric.

These guidelines should be implemented and monitored by each district or organization, as they reserve the right to apply the guidelines according to the best interest of the population for which they serve.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (v2) cover

iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (v2)

iNACOL, October 2011

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepar...

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. National Standards for Quality Online Teaching is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online teaching.

The original initiative in Version 1 of the standards began with a thorough literature review of the existing online teaching quality standards, then conducted a cross-reference of standards, followed by a survey completed by representatives of the iNACOL network to ensure the efficacy of the standards adopted. As a result of the research review, iNACOL chose to fully endorse the work of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Standards for Quality Online Teaching and Online Teaching Evaluation for State Virtual Schools as a comprehensive set of criteria. The standards as identified by SREB were already in use by sixteen SREB states; they proved to be the most comprehensive among those reviewed and included guidelines set forth in the other criteria from the literature review.

iNACOL organized a team of experts consisting of online teachers, professional developers, instructional designers, researchers, course developers, and administrators to review these new standards and the new literature on the topic. They determined that there was a need to refresh Version 1 of the iNACOL standards. The same process was used in developing Version 2 of the standards, in addition to having Version 1 as a starting point in the development of the new version. Over the past three years, iNACOL has received feedback from organizations using these standards for the development of professional development and evaluation of online teachers. In this new version of the standards, the indicators have been divided between what the online teachers should know and understand and what the online teachers should be able to do for evaluation purposes.

These guidelines should be implemented and monitored by each district or organization, as they reserve the right to apply the guidelines according to the best interest of the population for which they serve.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning cover

Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning

Susan Patrick, Chris Sturgis, July 2011

The report sets a policy framework for advancing performance-based learning and builds on recommendations made during the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit convened by iNACOL and CCSSO earlier...

The report sets a policy framework for advancing performance-based learning and builds on recommendations made during the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit convened by iNACOL and CCSSO earlier this year. The report recommends that states begin to transform policies from "rigid compliance" to "enabling policies," by offering seat-time waivers or "credit flex" policies that allow for the flexibility to offer competency-based learning in K-12. The policy development is multi-stage -- building towards a "comprehensive policy redesign" that would require school districts to offer competency-based credits; provide proper training and information systems; establish quality-control; support individual growth models for accountability; and align higher education with K-12 competency-based efforts.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
It’s Not a Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Summit cover

It’s Not a Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Summit

Chris Sturgis, Susan Patrick, Linda Pittenger, July 2011

The It's Not a Matter of Time paper highlights the key issues from the proceedings at the March 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit for advancing competency-based learning.

The It's Not a Matter of Time paper highlights the key issues from the proceedings at the March 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit for advancing competency-based learning.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
K-12 Online Learning: A Smart Investment NOW More than Ever cover

K-12 Online Learning: A Smart Investment NOW More than Ever

iNACOL, June 2011

In times of great economic challenge, citizens look to policymakers for solutions that lay the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. In K-12 education, one of the most promising and cost-effective so...

In times of great economic challenge, citizens look to policymakers for solutions that lay the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. In K-12 education, one of the most promising and cost-effective solutions is quality online learning. Many states have made an important initial investment in online learning. Since every dollar spent this year must count even more than ever, now is the time to preserve and expand investments in online learning. Here’s why...

  • Download Free: PDF
Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways cover

Clearing the Path: Creating Innovation Space for Serving Over-Age, Under-Credited Students in Competency-Based Pathways

Chris Sturgis, Bob Rath, Ephraim Weisstein, Susan Patrick, December 2010

This paper provides guidance on creating competency-based approaches for over-age, under-credited students that have fallen off the track toward graduation. Drawing on a wide range of expertise, th...

This paper provides guidance on creating competency-based approaches for over-age, under-credited students that have fallen off the track toward graduation. Drawing on a wide range of expertise, this paper explores how states can create space for innovation, including design principles, minimum policy conditions and options for moving forward.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2010) cover

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2010)

Michael K. Barbour, November 2010

Two years ago, the then North American Council for Online Learning released the initial Snapshot State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report. This study was the first systematic examination of K-12 distance education policies and activities in each...

Two years ago, the then North American Council for Online Learning released the initial Snapshot State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report. This study was the first systematic examination of K-12 distance education policies and activities in each of the thirteen Canadian provinces and territories. One year ago, the International Council for K-12 Online Learning released the more complete State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report. This examination found that the regulation of K-12 distance education varied from language in the Education Act or Schools Act, Ministerial Directives, policy documents issued by the Ministry of Education, agreements signed between the Ministry and the individual school boards, and articles included in the collective bargaining agreement between the Government and teachers’ union. Additionally, the author reported that all thirteen provinces and territories have some level of K-12 distance education activity, with British Columbia having the highest number and highest percentage of student participation and Prince Edward Island having the least.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning (2nd Edition) cover

A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning (2nd Edition)

Matthew Wicks, November 2010

This is the second edition of A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning. The first edition was published in May, 2007 and was written by John Watson of the Evergreen Education Group. Given the fast pace of change in the K-12 online learning field, it is a testament to the foresight of the first report’s authors and reviewers that the concepts and issues...

This is the second edition of A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning. The first edition was published in May, 2007 and was written by John Watson of the Evergreen Education Group. Given the fast pace of change in the K-12 online learning field, it is a testament to the foresight of the first report’s authors and reviewers that the concepts and issues presented in the initial edition are still quite applicable for today’s online learning landscape. Of course that same fast pace of change has resulted in many of the details in the 3+ year old report no longer being accurate. This second edition of the National Primer continues to maintain a focus on presenting the basics of K-12 online learning useful for policy makers and practitioners alike, while presenting the most current information available.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning cover

When Success is the Only Option: Designing Competency-Based Pathways for Next Generation Learning

Chris Sturgis, Susan Patrick, November 2010

This paper is an introduction to competency-based pathways, a necessary condition to realizing the potential of next generation learning. The most important finding from this investigation is that...

This paper is an introduction to competency-based pathways, a necessary condition to realizing the potential of next generation learning. The most important finding from this investigation is that competency-based pathways are a re-engineering of our education system around learning—a re-engineering designed for success in which failure is no longer an option. This paper is the first of the series.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
An Exploration of At-Risk Learners and Online Education cover

An Exploration of At-Risk Learners and Online Education

Leanna Archambault, Daryl Diamond, Regina Brown, Cathy Cavanaugh, Marla Coffey, Denise Foures-Aalbu, Jared Richardson, Vassliki Zygouris-Coe, Donna Scribner, Michael K. Barbour, April 2010

The purpose of this issues brief was to obtain a better understanding of how online programs are dealing with students who have been identified as at-risk. The first section...

The purpose of this issues brief was to obtain a better understanding of 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, surveyed online schools to determine the online delivery and design methods employed to assist at-risk students. We conclude this issues brief with specific recommendations for future research into the experience of at-risk learners in virtual school environments.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Promising Practices in Online Learning: A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the Right Online Program cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the Right Online Program

John Watson, Butch Gemin, Marla Coffey, February 2010

Online learning continues to grow rapidly across the United States and the world, opening new learning opportunities for students and families. Informed estimates put the number of K-12 students in...

Online learning continues to grow rapidly across the United States and the world, opening new learning opportunities for students and families. Informed estimates put the number of K-12 students in online courses at over 1 million, as parents and students are choosing online courses and schools for a variety of reasons that grow out of their individual needs. They may seek courses that otherwise would be unavailable at the local school; options to learn at the student’s own pace; or accelerated coursework or a class to make up for lost credit. Students who have benefited from virtual schooling include those who have not had success in the traditional school setting, those who wish to learn in a manner that is individualized to their own learning style and pace, with medical conditions that make traditional schooling difficult, teen parents, student athletes, performers and children of military personnel who move frequently. In addition, some states now require an online learning experience as a condition for high school graduation, and even absent this requirement, online courses help prepare students for college and career. Most universities have embraced online learning and many employers use web-based technologies to teach workplace skills.

With this growing interest from students and parents, the number of online learning providers continues to grow as well, ranging from state virtual schools, to online charter schools, to the student’s district of residence. These options may be public or private, full-time or supplemental, fully online or a blend of online and classroom instruction, creating a potentially bewildering array of options from which students and parents can choose.

This guide will assist parents in understanding what online learning is and in selecting the right online school, program or course.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2009) cover

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2009)

Michael K. Barbour, November 2009

In October 2008, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning released the initial Snapshot State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report. The author's intent was to provide a brief outline of the development of K-12 distance education in Canada...

In October 2008, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning released the initial Snapshot State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada report. The author's intent was to provide a brief outline of the development of K-12 distance education in Canada and to note any significant policy issues. Prior to this report, there had been limited national overviews of K-12 distance education in Canada completed. For example, Wynne (1997) reviewed virtual schooling in North America and European for the Open School in British Columbia. There had also been several external evaluations for K-12 online learning programmes that included some discussion of the national scene (e.g., Ballas & Belyk, 2000; Barker & Wendel, 2001; Barker, Wendall & Richmond, 1999). The Canadian Teachers federation (2000) described some trends in individual provinces as a part of a brief to examine potential contract issues related to K-12 online learning. Three years later, the Canadian Teachers federation sponsored a closer examination of the development and major issues arising from K-12 distance education across Canada (O’Haire, froese-germain & Lane-De Baie, 2003). However, the Snapshot State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada was the first systematic effort to examine K-12 distance education policies and activities in each of the provinces and territories. This more complete report continues that examination.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs cover

iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs

Liz Pape, Matthew Wicks, October 2009

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, iNACOL, is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepar...

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, iNACOL, is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success.

This document, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (iNACOL) National Standards for Quality Online Programs, is the third of iNACOL’s online education standards, following the National Standards of Quality for Online Courses and National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.

The standards in this document address what is needed for a quality online program, elements of which include quality course design and quality online teaching. However, this set of standards is more than the third of a series - it is intended that these Standards for Quality Online Programs provide the encompassing and over-arching set of standards program leaders need to assure a quality online program.

National Standards for Quality Online Programs is designed to provide states, districts, online programs, and other organizations with a set of quality guidelines for online program leadership, instruction, content, support services, and evaluation. The initiative began with a thorough literature review of existing online program standards, including accreditation standards, a cross-reference of standards, followed by a survey to iNACOL members and experts to ensure the efficacy of the standards adopted.

These guidelines should be implemented and monitored by each district or organization, as they reserve the right to apply the guidelines according to the best interest of the population for which they serve. These standards start by addressing the foundation of the program: its mission, goals, and objectives, and its underlying beliefs and philosophy. Leadership is also addressed: the program’s governance, the role of the governing body and how the relation between the governing body, and organizational/program leadership work together to support the achievement of the mission.

Beyond the foundation of what the program has as its mission, goals, and objectives are the standards that address how the program operates, its teaching and learning standards, and support standards. In this document, we have provided an overview of the most critical of the course design and teaching standards. In addition, a program needs to provide the support mechanisms for student and teacher success in online courses. This document describes the necessary support standards needed for programs designed to supplement schools’ course offerings as well as those programs designed for full-time students. For a fuller description of course design and teaching standards, please refer to iNACOL’s National Standards of Quality for Online Courses and National Standards for Quality Online Teaching. The National Standards for Quality Online Programs are identified on the following pages.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Examining Communication and Interaction in Online Teaching cover

Examining Communication and Interaction in Online Teaching

Cathy Cavanaugh, Michael K. Barbour, Regina Brown, Daryl Diamond, Susan Lowes, Allison Powell, Raymond M. Rose, Amy Scheick, Donna Scribner, Julia Van der Molen, September 2009

Online teaching is a complex professional practice. In addition to their content knowledge and pedagogical skill, online teachers must be qualified in methods of teaching the content online and h...

Online teaching is a complex professional practice. In addition to their content knowledge and pedagogical skill, online teachers must be qualified in methods of teaching the content online and have experience in online learning.

This document examines some of the aspects of online teaching, specifically those related to communication and interaction. This examination draws guidance from the literature on quality online teaching, school policies regarding online teaching practices, and professional development programs for online teachers.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
A Summary of Research on the Effectiveness of K-12 Online Learning cover

A Summary of Research on the Effectiveness of K-12 Online Learning

Susan Patrick, Allison Powell, August 2009

This memo examines the outcomes and descriptions of the existing studies on K-12 online learning effectiveness and provides a literature review. There are a number of rigorous studies that have examined the question, “Is online learning effective?” However, there is...

This memo examines the outcomes and descriptions of the existing studies on K-12 online learning effectiveness and provides a literature review. There are a number of rigorous studies that have examined the question, “Is online learning effective?” However, there is not a single, large-scale, national study comparing students taking online courses with traditional students, using control groups in the instructional design. The most in-depth, large-scale study to date is a meta-analysis and review of online learning studies from the U.S. Department of Education.

This memo contains three sections: 1) a summary of the major study by the U.S. Department of
Education, 2) a brief literature review of online learning research and studies, and 3) future research recommendations. The conclusion of the meta-analysis of these studies is that online learning offers promising, new models of education that are effective.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
What Can Congress and the Federal Government Do to Promote Quality Online Learning Opportunity for All Students? cover

What Can Congress and the Federal Government Do to Promote Quality Online Learning Opportunity for All Students?

iNACOL, August 2009

What Congress and the federal government can do to promote high-quality online learning options, and recommendations for how it can be done.

What Congress and the federal government can do to promote high-quality online learning options, and recommendations for how it can be done.

  • Download Free: PDF
Promising Practices in Online Learning: Funding and Policy Frameworks for Online Learning cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: Funding and Policy Frameworks for Online Learning

John Watson, Butch Gemin, July 2009

In at least 44 states across the country, students are logging in to learn at all times of the day and night—accessing courses they might otherwise be unable to take, interacting with students th...

In at least 44 states across the country, students are logging in to learn at all times of the day and night—accessing courses they might otherwise be unable to take, interacting with students they might otherwise never know, and working with highly qualified teachers they otherwise could not access. In these and countless other ways, online learning provides new and remarkable educational opportunities and student outcomes.

While the viability and popularity of online learning is gaining widespread acceptance, the policy needed to support its growth is lagging. The continued success and sustained growth of online learning requires state education policy frameworks to be adjusted. The issues are varied and sometimes complex, but as we delve into them, what emerges is quite interesting: by creating frameworks for online learning policy development, exciting possibilities arise for positive policy
change that promotes reform and benefits education as a whole.

To lay the groundwork, though, it might be useful to consider why online learning is even worth the trouble. We’ll also consider the kind of policy problems that have arisen as online learning has taken< hold. What do strong policy and funding frameworks look like, and what specific benefits do they afford? Finally, which online learning policy and funding structures hold promise for all modes of learning?

Topic(s): funding, policy

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Promising Practices in Online Learning: Management and Operations of Online Programs cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: Management and Operations of Online Programs

John Watson, Butch Gemin, April 2009

Online learning is growing rapidly as states and districts are creating new online schools, and existing programs are adding new courses and students. The growth reflects the spreading understandin...

Online learning is growing rapidly as states and districts are creating new online schools, and existing programs are adding new courses and students. The growth reflects the spreading understanding that online courses and programs can serve a wide variety of students and needs. These include:

  • Creating opportunities for small and rural school districts to offer varied course subjects and highly qualified teachers to their students
  • ƒƒAllowing students to blend high school and post-secondary learning options
  • ƒƒReducing class size
  • ƒƒ

  • Helping students recover credits in an alternative learning environment
  • ƒƒProviding individualized instruction and unique learning options
  • ƒƒAllowing students the opportunity to interact with students far beyond their school or town boundaries
  • ƒƒMeeting the needs and expectations of today’s millennial students
  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Sorting through Online Learning Options: A Guide for Parents cover

Sorting through Online Learning Options: A Guide for Parents

iNACOL, 2009

It is estimated that there are over one million K-12 enrollments in online courses across the country. The number of online courses and providers continues to grow at a steady rate each year (a staggering 30% annually), providing scores of options for today’s...

It is estimated that there are over one million K-12 enrollments in online courses across the country. The number of online courses and providers continues to grow at a steady rate each year (a staggering 30% annually), providing scores of options for today’s students.

With all of the benefits that online learning provides to students and their families, many parents find themselves unsure of where to turn or even what questions to ask when sorting through the various online learning options.

In an effort to assist parents with finding the right online program for their student, we offer this list of questions parents should use as a guide.

  • Download Free: PDF
Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models cover

Online Teacher Support Programs: Mentoring and Coaching Models

Karly Wortmann, Cathy Cavanaugh, Kathryn Kennedy, Yoany Beldarrain, Therese Letourneau, Vicky Zygouris-Coe, October 2008

This document describes the mentoring relationship from the perspectives of several virtual schools that have built mentoring programs to assist their new teachers. Each school’s...

This document describes the mentoring relationship from the perspectives of several virtual schools that have built mentoring programs to assist their new teachers. Each school’s mentoring program is unique and has been designed specifically for the school’s staff, size, and instructional approach. These schools have learned that a successful mentoring program is key in developing effective novice virtual school teachers and in supporting the continued growth of experienced virtual school teachers. Mentoring programs are still new to virtual schools, but they may also be a factor in teacher retention. In any case, an effective mentoring program will benefit the mentee through development of knowledge and skills, the mentor through development of leadership and communication capabilities, and the school through the sharing of ideas and expertise.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2008) cover

State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada (2008)

Michael K. Barbour, Robin Stewart, October 2008

To date, most of what is known about K-12 online learning from the media and literature is focused upon experiences in the United States. However, virtual schooling first began in Canada in 1994-95. Over the past fourteen years, there has been little federal funding for the development and research of K-12 online learning in Canada. This has largely been due...

To date, most of what is known about K-12 online learning from the media and literature is focused upon experiences in the United States. However, virtual schooling first began in Canada in 1994-95. Over the past fourteen years, there has been little federal funding for the development and research of K-12 online learning in Canada. This has largely been due to the fact that education is a provincial jurisdiction and there is no federal department with this responsibility in Canada. Therefore, there have been no federal guidelines or standards for these programmes to meet through reporting or external evaluations. With limited government, foundation, and private support for education research, K-12 online learning programmes have not received financial support for research and evaluation. Moreover, there has been little activity in Canadian higher education towards research of K-12 online learning, compounded by the fact that there are fewer than five-dozen Canadian universities, which limits the focus and scope of K-12 education research. As such, K-12 online learning has continued to develop across Canada quietly, and with little dissemination outside of the country and between individual provinces.

This report is the first of many steps that researchers and the North American Council for Online
Learning (NACOL) are taking to begin to address the lack of information about K-12 online learning in Canada. This report will address two main purposes in this report: an examination of online learning activity at the K-12 level, and how it is governed in each province and territory. Thus we provide a brief overview of the national landscape of K-12 online learning, with a more detailed focus on three jurisdictions.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Promising Practices in Online Learning: Socialization in Online Programs cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: Socialization in Online Programs

John Watson, Butch Gemin, September 2008

How can online schools provide the necessary pieces for students’ social development and also demonstrate creative ways to enhance socialization by breaking down barriers of time and place? This...

How can online schools provide the necessary pieces for students’ social development and also demonstrate creative ways to enhance socialization by breaking down barriers of time and place? This paper explores the issues around socialization in online schools, and how online programs are addressing these issues.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Promising Practices in Online Learning: Using Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: Using Online Learning for At-Risk Students and Credit Recovery

John Watson, Butch Gemin, June 2008

Online learning programs are designed to expand high-quality educational opportunities and to meet the needs of diverse students. While the primary reason online courses are offered in school distr...

Online learning programs are designed to expand high-quality educational opportunities and to meet the needs of diverse students. While the primary reason online courses are offered in school districts is to expand offerings to courses that would otherwise be unavailable, the second most commonly cited reason for offering online learning is to meet individual student needs, according to a survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics.1 Today’s online programs and schools offer a broad range of online courses and services to reach a variety of students, from struggling to gifted, who seek personalized pathways to learning opportunities.

Many educators are finding that online and blended learning are effective ways to reach students who fail one or more courses, become disengaged, or who seek an alternative to traditional education. Some of the early online programs that initially focused on high-achieving students, such as the Kentucky Virtual High School, have expanded offerings, and are finding success with a much broader range of students. As online learning moves past the early adopter phase, the growth of online programs focused on at-risk students or credit recovery has redefined how educational technology can be used to address the needs of all students, from advanced students in search of Advanced Placement or dual-credit courses, to at-risk students trying to find the right instructional mix to fit their learning styles.

As online programs increasingly focus on at-risk students and credit recovery, educators are finding that reaching these students presents a specific set of issues that are explored in this paper.

Topic(s): technology

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Goals, Guidelines and Standards for Student Scientific Investigations cover

Goals, Guidelines and Standards for Student Scientific Investigations

Kemi Jona, John Adsit, Allison Powell, June 2008

This publication is intended to provide a set of quality guidelines for developing and evaluating student scientific investigations and surrounding course content that are parts of courses (or other learning experiences) delivered online at a distance from the instructor...

This publication is intended to provide a set of quality guidelines for developing and evaluating student scientific investigations and surrounding course content that are parts of courses (or other learning experiences) delivered online at a distance from the instructor and a traditional science classroom. To be inclusive of the range of approaches that are possible, we adopt the term “student scientific investigations” rather than “laboratory.” This term is in the spirit of the definition of “scientific inquiry” provided by the National Research Council:

“Scientific Inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.” (NRC, 1996, p. 23)

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Promising Practices in Online Learning: Blended Learning – The Convergence of Online and Face-to-Face Education cover

Promising Practices in Online Learning: Blended Learning – The Convergence of Online and Face-to-Face Education

John Watson, 2008

In the past decade online learning has become an increasingly important component of K-12 education. The growth of online education has been driven primarily by state-led online programs (such as t...

In the past decade online learning has become an increasingly important component of K-12 education. The growth of online education has been driven primarily by state-led online programs (such as the Florida Virtual School, Michigan Virtual School, Idaho Digital Learning Academy, and Virtual Virginia) and full-time online schools (such as the charter and contract schools affiliated with K12 Inc., Connections Academy, and Insight Schools) that were started specifically to provide online learning opportunities at a distance. In some cases, online programs evolved from traditional distance learning programs and represent the latest evolution in distance learning, from the days of the correspondence course, to video courses and real-time two-way video, and now to more convenient and efficient online delivery. The advantage to online learning over these other channels is its combination of rich student-teacher-peer communication and interaction, either synchronous or asynchronous, and robust personalized teaching within instructor-led courses.

During the same period, teachers in physical schools have increased their use of Internet-based< content and resources in their classrooms. This evolution has often been driven by a small number of tech-savvy teachers and technology coordinators seeking new ways to provide enriching content and to extend learning beyond the walls of the school and the confines of the school day. These efforts are usually not a formal stand-alone program or school, and often build on the computerbased instructional materials that pre-date widespread adoption of the Internet. However, the spread of the Internet has greatly increased the quality of digital classroom resources and has spurred the creation of district-level programs that blend online learning and face-to-face instruction. In recent years many of these programs have been incorporating online content from providers such as Apex Learning and the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.

Because fully online distance learning programs developed in a different place and with different methods than the use of Internet resources in physical schools, the blending of online programs and the classroom setting has been relatively slow to develop in K-12 education. However, emerging models in other countries, such as Singapore and Australia, as well as in higher education, suggest that a large part of the future of education will involve providing content, resources, and instruction both digitally and face-to-face in the same classroom.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Access and Equity in Online Classes and Virtual Schools cover

Access and Equity in Online Classes and Virtual Schools

Raymond M. Rose, Robert L. Blomeyer, November 2007

Online education is one of the fastest growing phenomena in K-12 education in the United States today. It's a train for which every school district is waiting at the station, if not hopping on board. Over half of the states currently have some form of state-run virtual school, with additional state programs in the planning stage. Additionally, many school...

Online education is one of the fastest growing phenomena in K-12 education in the United States today. It's a train for which every school district is waiting at the station, if not hopping on board. Over half of the states currently have some form of state-run virtual school, with additional state programs in the planning stage. Additionally, many school districts have created virtual education programs or schools, or make virtual courses offered by other providers available to students to address perceived needs. Various surveys have reported that at least one third of high school students have had some form of online education experience. (Selzer and Lewis 2005, Allen and Seaman 2006) With the graduation class of 2010, Michigan requires an online learning experience as a prerequisite to high school graduation.

As with many innovations in education, there's the perception that the innovation has a limited audience. These beliefs influence both program design and accessibility, especially since resources are generally limited in the early stages of new programs.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
Professional Development for Virtual Schooling and Online Learning cover

Professional Development for Virtual Schooling and Online Learning

Niki Davis, Raymond M. Rose, November 2007

Virtual schools and other organizations that offer online courses to K-12 students are eagerly seeking to recruit new staff to match the demand for high quality virtual schooling in many U.S. states. School principals, counselors, and superintendents have...

Virtual schools and other organizations that offer online courses to K-12 students are eagerly seeking to recruit new staff to match the demand for high quality virtual schooling in many U.S. states. School principals, counselors, and superintendents have recognized that online courses are part of the solution to challenges faced by particular students, including access and equity. However, few principals of regular or virtual schools have a clear idea of the range of professional development needs of their staff. This is because online education has evolved to become widely accepted practice only within the last five years. In addition, only a few programs preparing teachers and leaders have recently begun to include virtual schooling. Yet it is widely recognized that quality is tightly linked with professional development and training. Therefore, this report created by the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) research committee aims to raise awareness of misconceptions and provide guidance on professional development for schools, regular and virtual, as well as providers of teacher education and professional development. It raises issues that are important to all educators and policy makers.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning (1st Edition) cover

A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning (1st Edition)

John Watson, May 2007

Despite the rapid growth of K-12 online education and the way it is meeting critical education needs, online learning faces challenges and, in some states, controversy. The issues largely center on fitting this new model of learning into existing policies created for physical schools, and redefining the preconceived notions of some educators...

Despite the rapid growth of K-12 online education and the way it is meeting critical education needs, online learning faces challenges and, in some states, controversy. The issues largely center on fitting this new model of learning into existing policies created for physical schools, and redefining the preconceived notions of some educators, policymakers, and legislators. A few states have voiced concerns about whether online learning is an appropriate way to teach, learn, and use public education funds. Many states have no data or reporting requirements on how many students are taking one or more online courses, how many online programs exist, and how those programs are operating. Some states have begun to create the mechanisms to oversee online programs while allowing the programs the freedom to meet student needs in new and innovative ways. While the challenges of online education are small compared to its actual and potential rewards, it is clear that both online programs and state oversight must evolve thoughtfully to continue to increase educational opportunities and improve outcomes.

  • Download Free: PDF
    • Hardcopy: $9.95
    • Order unit(s)
An International Perspective of K-12 Online Learning: A Summary of the 2006 NACOL International e-Learning Survey cover

An International Perspective of K-12 Online Learning: A Summary of the 2006 NACOL International e-Learning Survey

Allison Powell, Susan Patrick, 2006

is a new study of the state of K-12 online learning in 17 countries by Allison Powell and Susan Patrick. Countries were surveyed on issues such as funding, content, initiatives, professional develo...

is a new study of the state of K-12 online learning in 17 countries by Allison Powell and Susan Patrick. Countries were surveyed on issues such as funding, content, initiatives, professional development, obstacles, and trends. A short summary can be found in the International Matrix.

  • Download Free: PDF
Top Ten Myths about Virtual Schools cover

Top Ten Myths about Virtual Schools

iNACOL, 2006

These top ten myths regarding virtual schools is based on a 2006 NACOL research project.

These top ten myths regarding virtual schools is based on a 2006 NACOL research project.

  • Download Free: PDF

Copyright © 2014, International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Legal Statements