Research and Practice in K-12 Online Learning: A Review of Open Access Literature

Cathy S. Cavanaugh, Michael K. Barbour, Tom Clark, The International Review of Research in Open, Distance Learning, Mar 04, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This paper "moves beyond the blanket endorsements of the effectiveness of virtual schooling to examine the themes that are prevalent in the open access documents published online from 1997 through July 2008." It is a systemic survey of 226 open access papers on the subject of distance learning in the K-12 sector. Most were authored (interestingly) "outside the academy." Themes emerging: a typology of initiatives, professional roles addressed, the promise and perception of benefits (or lack of same), course quality standard areas, and teaching quality standard areas. The authors (presumably based on this survey, though the connection is murky at best) offer four recommendations: establish best practices for online teaching strategies, identify the characteristics in adolescents needed for success, encourage more interaction between in-school and online students, and examine the quality of online learning offerings. More articles from the new issue of IRRODL.
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