How do we make sure K12 online learners receive a quality education?

Here’s a report that provides information about state distance learning policies. It’s clear that states are taking different paths towards the same goal of providing learners with options for their education.  Here are the top three issues I see in K-12 online learning:

  1. How much teacher-student interaction is happening on a weekly basis?  Are students working in self-paced modules that rely on rote assessment techniques for efficiency because of limited access to a teacher? What is the teacher-student ratio? Are states setting a limit to class size?
  2. How much collaborative work is being done?  Are students considering the ideas of other novices as they construct knowledge or do they only consider the ideas of the instructor/text?  We definitely need more collaborative learning in face-to-face education but online learners are likely to study in isolation unless teachers are aware of computer-supported collaborative learning techniques.
  3. How much online pedagogy training are instructors receiving before they teach their first online course?  Have they ever taken an online course?  How much autonomy do they have over the content and activities being used in their courses?

I would love to hear what others consider to be the top issues.

(tags: K12 distance_learning eLearning)

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