Unbounded Reading: Why Online Learning for K-12 Students Should Be a Literacy Issue

Unbounded Reading: Why Online Learning for K-12 Students Should Be a Literacy Issue

Dixie D. Massey (University of Washington, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6383-1.ch004
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Students' reading abilities and achievements are the focus of numerous national and international reports. At the same time, research on K-12 distance education offers a very limited description of the types of reading that students are asked to do or the students' abilities to accomplish this reading effectively. This chapter overviews the limited research about reading in online courses. The author then examines the potential of reading in online courses through bounded and unbounded contexts. The chapter concludes with instructional opportunities for teachers of online courses when designing reading assignments.
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What is the role of reading in online courses? Many tasks presented in online courses regardless of level require the student to read, from reading lecture notes and assigned textbook readings to reading peer posts in discussion groups and reviewing teacher feedback on assignments (Kerr, 2010; Thomas, 2008). Program descriptions, as well as anecdotal records, suggest that university and college online courses require more reading and writing than traditional face-to-face courses (Land, 2011; Snyder, 2012; University of Alabama, n.d.). However, little research is available to document the comparison of reading in face to face courses to reading in online courses at either the K-12 or college and university level.

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