Planning Staff Training for Virtual High Schools

Planning Staff Training for Virtual High Schools

Chris Thompson (Elmbrook Schools, USA) and Zane L. Berge (University Maryland Baltimore Campus, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-150-6.ch011
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This chapter briefly profiles three virtual schools, each at a different stage of development, yet each dependent upon a successful and sustained distance education program for its professional staff in order to remain viable long into the future. As virtual schools become more accepted by the public and the attention given to the online schools shifts from their sources of funding to their standardized test scores, a model for sustained distance training and education must be in place to deliver quality professional development that can positively impact students’ achievement scores on standardized tests for each school’s online student population.
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Virtual schools are a rapidly growing phenomenon in American elementary and secondary (K-12) education (Berge & Clark, 2005). They are the latest and potentially the most controversial manifestation of the e-learning revolution in schools. As Clark and Else noted, “For the foreseeable future, the World Wide Web is likely to serve as an umbrella technology uniting distance education media for distributed learning...Virtual schooling is the next wave” (Clark & Else, 2003, p. 35-36).

Distance education in today’s virtual schools describes not only the education of the students enrolled, but also the professional development programs used to train the faculty and support staff working for each online school.

The three virtual schools used here to explore improvements to staff development includes the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow. This is the largest K-12, electronic school in the United States, servicing almost 7,000 students. The second school is the iQ Academies high school, which is in its fourth year of operation at the time of this writing, and claims its 589 (2005-06 school year) students a success. The third school is entirely virtual, and to date imaginary, but ideal in its delivery of distance training and education to its staff and faculty. The first two schools provide examples which collectively will serve as the foundation for a successful professional development program. The Virtual I.D.E.A.L. school will serve as a model for future management consideration. Taking into consideration what is known about barriers to online learning, best practices in virtual schools, and how to sustain virtual schools, success of schools that take into account the Virtual I.D.E.A.L. program will ultimately have a positive impact on the long-term status and its ability to service each of its students’ needs.


The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) was founded in 2000, and today serves as the largest online K-12 school provider in the United States, serving almost 7,000 students (ECOT, 2006). Based in Columbus, Ohio, this school enrolls only Ohio residents, drawing from a student and teacher population that is geographically spread across the state. Like most public, state-sponsored chartered schools, the ECOT high school provides a workstation and internet access for each student and partners with course content providers to offer curriculum through a course management system. Each teacher begins with the provided course content and is able to adapt it to meet the needs of his or her class. Special education teachers are also available, modifying the course content and classroom activities for the students identified with special needs (Hartge, 2005). Like traditional classrooms, each special education student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is meant to guide and document specially designed instruction for each student with a disability based on his or her unique academic, social, and behavioral needs (IEP, 2007). While serving the needs of a very diverse student population and growing at an incredibly rapid rate in its seven years, the ECOT approaches each school year as a work-in-progress, tweaking the system to better serve the changing needs of its online student population.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Mara H. Washburn
Many Western nations face a critical shortage of skilled professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, despite... Sample PDF
Media and Women in Technology
Chapter 2
David Gefen, Nitza Geri, Narasimha Paravastu
Threaded discussions are one of the central tools of online education. These tools enhance student learning and compensate for the lack of social... Sample PDF
The Gender Communication Gap in Online Threaded Discussions
Chapter 3
Princely Ifinedo
In this study, we investigate the influence of two external influences i.e., Ease of finding and Computer anxiety on the technology acceptance model... Sample PDF
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Continuance Intention
Chapter 4
Thanakorn Wangpipatwong
In this article, the study of how a constructivist e-learning system affects students’ learning outcomes was explored and a two-phase study was... Sample PDF
The Influence of Constructivist E-Learning System on Student Learning Outcomes
Chapter 5
Andreas Wiesner-Steiner, Heike Wiesner, Heidi Schelhowe, Petra Luck
This article presents substantial results from two projects that deal with teaching and learning with digital media in basic and higher education... Sample PDF
The Didactical Agency of Information Communication Technologies for Enhanced Education and Learning
Chapter 6
Daniel J. Shelley
E-learning and e-pedagogy continues to grow in importance in the delivery of higher education, due in part to the cost of higher education, a... Sample PDF
Comparative Analyses of Online and Traditional Undergraduate Business Law Classes: How Effective is E-Pedagogy?
Chapter 7
Ido Millet
Data Flow Diagrams and Use Cases are two popular methodologies in teaching as well as in practice. For the last 4 years, we have been using both... Sample PDF
Student Perceptions of Data Flow Diagrams vs. Use Cases
Chapter 8
Hong Lin
Agent-oriented design has become one of the most active areas in the field of software engineering. The agent concept provides a focal point for... Sample PDF
Promoting Undergraduate Education with Agent Based Laboratory
Chapter 9
Tony Jewels, Rozz Albon
For optimum workplace effectiveness in knowledge-intensive industries in which principles of knowledge management need to be applied, it is... Sample PDF
Supporting Arguments for Including the Teaching of Team Competency Principles in Higher Education
Chapter 10
Lawrence Tomei
This article helps classroom teachers create an “Interactive Lesson,” a self-paced, student-controlled, individualized learning opportunity embedded... Sample PDF
Creating an Interactive PowerPoint Lesson for the Lesson
Chapter 11
Chris Thompson, Zane L. Berge
This chapter briefly profiles three virtual schools, each at a different stage of development, yet each dependent upon a successful and sustained... Sample PDF
Planning Staff Training for Virtual High Schools
Chapter 12
MarySue Cicciarelli
Research shows that training prospective online instructors in an online learning environment is advantageous. One effective training topic is on... Sample PDF
Training Prospective Online Instructors: Theories Utilized by Current Online Instructors
Chapter 13
Michael Fedisson, Silvia Braidic
Seventh grade students were tested on their knowledge of sentences and nouns in a language arts classroom. This study was conducted over a two-year... Sample PDF
The Impact of PowerPoint Presentations on Student Achievement and Student Attitudes
Chapter 14
Henry H. Emurian
Information systems students in a graduate section and an undergraduate section of an introductory Java graphical user interface course completed... Sample PDF
Teaching Java™: Managing Instructional Tactics to Optimize Student Learning
Chapter 15
John DiMarco
This research project investigated the existence of web portfolios on academic websites in New York State. It cites disappointing results when... Sample PDF
Toward an Increase in Student Web Portfolios in New York Colleges and Universities
Chapter 16
Marianne Döös, Eva R Fåhræus, Karin Alvemark, Lena Wihelmson
Conducting a dialogue on the Web is a matter of linking thoughts in digital conversations. Dialogue differs from discussion by not being aimed at... Sample PDF
Competent Web Dialogues: Text-Based Linking of Thoughts
Chapter 17
Jeffrey Hsu
A number of new communications technologies have emerged in recent years which were originally used primarily for personal and recreational... Sample PDF
Employing Interactive Technologies for Education and Learning: Learning-Oriented
Chapter 18
Matthew Shaul
As a socially constructive learning tool, discussion forums remain central to online education. They have continued to evolve in functionality... Sample PDF
Assessing Online Discussion Forum Participation
Chapter 19
Solomon Negash, Michelle Emerson, John Vandegrieft
An empirical analysis was conducted to compare synchronous hybrid e-Learning environment with traditional classrooms. Empirical study with 165... Sample PDF
Synchronous Hybrid E-Learning: Empirical Comparison with Asynchronous and Traditional Classrooms
Chapter 20
Diane Hui, Donna L. Russell
Effectiveness of professional development is affected by the quality of social interaction. This study examines how online collaborative dialogues... Sample PDF
Understanding the Effectiveness of Collaborative Activity in Online Professional Development with Innovative Educators through Intersubjectivity
Chapter 21
Silvia Braidic
Teaching is a complex activity that involves careful preparation, delivery and reflection. As an educator, it is essential to create a sense of... Sample PDF
Effective Questioning to Facilitate Dynamic Online Learning
Chapter 22
Cindy S. York
This article briefly reviews two important goals in online education: interaction and presence. These are important goals in online education... Sample PDF
Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Online Instruction: How to Increase Presence and Cognitive/Social Interaction in an Online Information Security Risk Assessment Class
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