Still Forgotten Teachers in K-12 Online Learning: Examining the Perceptions of Teachers Who Develop K-12 Online Courses

Still Forgotten Teachers in K-12 Online Learning: Examining the Perceptions of Teachers Who Develop K-12 Online Courses

Michael K. Barbour (Touro University California, USA), David Adelstein (VIPKID, China) and Jonathan Morrison (Urbana School District #116, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5466-0.ch005

Abstract

Like many K-12 online learning programs, the Illinois Virtual High School (IVHS) began by utilizing vendor content to populate its online courses. In its fourth year, the IVHS began a concerted effort to design more of its own online course content internally. The aim of this chapter was to examine the support needed and application of tools used by IVHS course developers. The data consisted of a two-part, web-based survey and telephone interviews that were analyzed using descriptive statistics and inductive analysis. The results showed these developers had a strong desire to use interactive elements in their course as well as working in cooperative teams. Further, developers were opposed to using a forced template, but indicated a need for general structural guidance and additional professional development. Finally, developers recommended that subject matter teacher-developers and multimedia specialists be split into two separate roles, and these individuals work together as a part of a team. Further research should be conducted on the intended use of technology tools requested.
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Literature Review

While the research around K-12 online learning is continuing to develop (Barbour, 2013), one aspect that scholars have agreed upon is the fact that the traditional role of the teacher has changed. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher is responsible for designing the instructional activities that get employed with the students, presenting the content or actually teaching the material, and helping to facilitate students while they are completing any independent work. In an online environment it is often the case that different individuals perform each of these tasks. Davis and her colleagues (2005) were probably the first researchers to specifically delineate individual virtual school teacher roles as a part of their “Teacher Education Goes Into Virtual Schooling” (TEGIVS) project. The TEGIVS project would introduce and orient new and current teachers to three roles in the K-12 online learning environment: virtual school designer, virtual school teacher, and virtual school site facilitator (also called mentor teacher, mediating teacher or learning coach – depending on the literature) (Davis, 2007).

Formal and informal course development has been around for decades. The advent of online instruction has made significant impact on course development practices and how educational institutions at all levels approach this process. Developing a model and the support mechanisms to meet course development needs is critical to successful course development products, and it begins with understanding past practices of course development and continues through understanding what tools course developers use and desire to adequately produce their courses. Unfortunately, to date there has been little empirical research into the role of the virtual school designer or K-12 online course design (Barbour & Adelstein, 2013a).

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