Virtual Schooling Karlie Schaefer, SME May Alashwal Jack Hall Tureka Louis Darleen Roche
Table of Contents Overview ................................................................................. 1 Goal Analysis ............................................................................ 2 Fig. 1 Goal Analysis Diagram ............................................................ 2
Learner Analysis ........................................................................ 3 Table 1 Learner Analysis for Virtual Schooling ..................................... 2
Subordinate Skills Analysis .......................................................... 5 Fig. 2 Subordinate Skill Analysis Flowchart ......................................... 6
Performance and Learning Context Analysis ..................................... 7 Table 2 Performance Context Chart .................................................... 7 Table 3 Learning Context Chart ......................................................... 9
Appendix ............................................................................... 11 Table A: Goal Analysis â€“ Elements of a Virtual Course .......................... 11 Table B: Context Analysis â€“ Virtual Schooling Course Standards ............. 11
“Today, student learning is no longer confined to a physical space. Computers and the Internet have broken through school walls, giving students greater opportunities to personalize their education, access distant resources, receive extra help or more-challenging assignments, and engage in learning in new and unique ways.” – Margaret Spellings, Secretary U.S. Department of Education 2005 - 2009
Overview Online learning is one of the fastest growing sectors among K-12 public education and school districts. Administrators, teachers, students and parents have to rethink how instruction is delivered and how students access instruction necessitating a paradigm shift from the traditional to the technical. Teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities must adapt their curriculum to address the growing need of teacher graduates to have training in curriculum and program development for the successful delivery of virtual instruction. Informal interviews of recent graduates of a teacher education program at the University of North Florida indicate that very little instruction is given on training future teachers to teach in the virtual environment. An informal survey of faculty members at St. Johns River State College bears this out. Of 20 instructors interviewed, no instructor received any formal training in the development of online instructional programs at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. All instructors are required to complete the college’s Distance Learning Academy prior to being certified in teaching online courses, however, the primary objective of the program is to acclimate instructors to the college’s Learning Management System (Blackboard) rather than curriculum development and instructional training. While written materials do state that instructors should alter their courses for virtual learners, some instructors admitted making no substantive changes to make the course student driven. These instructors expressed frustration at the lack of available training and recognize that student learning suffers as a result. At Florida Virtual School, K-12 teachers are provided with professional development courses that provide training specifically for online teaching. The training courses are delivered in several ways, virtually, face-to-face, and through webinars. FLVS uses the A.D.D.I.E instructional design model of Analysis, Design, Develop, Implementation and Evaluation. These findings support the need for additional training for instructors who are expected to deliver instruction through virtual schools.
Goal Analysis The Virtual Schooling training course will run six weeks with most of the training done online. The target audience will be any qualified teacher new to virtual instruction. This can include teachers right out of college or teachers who have only previously taught face-to-face. In addition to the online training, the teachers will meet once a week to show their work and receive additional help from the training instructors and/or teacher mentors who have already received certification to teach online courses. They will also use this time to compare their work and methods with one another. The training course will demonstrate how to use Course Management Systems like Blackboard and WebCT to create a curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of a virtual classroom. Participants will also receive training in Learning Management Systems such as Connexus, NETDimensions and Saba. Teachers will also be taught the significant differences between teaching a virtual course and a face-to-face course (see Appendix: Table A for examples). Instruction will also be provided on how to implement Elluminate and PowerPoint into course delivery. There will be a video section included that shows veteran virtual instructors explaining some of their own experiences and sharing “tried-and-true” practices for successful virtual instruction. At the end of the course, teachers will be required to complete a virtual course simulation builder project implementing all of the training areas covered. All teachers will be able to solve any encountered problems while establishing and creating their own virtual classrooms. The goal statement, identified by Jack Hall, Darleen Roche, and the Subject Matter Expert for this course, Karlie Schaefer of the Florida Virtual School Full Time, states that: After completing the training course, the teachers will be able to adequately demonstrate proficient use of virtual education technologies by establishing their own virtual classrooms through the virtual course simulation builder. The goal statement was classified as an intellectual (problem-solving) skill based on Gagne’s learning outcome taxonomy.
Figure 1. Goal Analysis Diagram
Learner Analysis It is important to analyze learners’ characteristics to be able to effectively design and implement instructions. Table 1 listed below provides a visual layout of five information categories describing the learner and include: prior knowledge of virtual instruction, general teaching preferences, educational levels, general group characteristics, and attitudes towards instructors new to virtual education. To collect data for this analysis we conducted interviews with the Subject Matter Expert, Florida Virtual School Full Time High Stakes Testing Coordinator, Karlie Schaefer and Florida Virtual School Full Time Course Instructor, Tureka Louis in addition to interviews with instructors participating in St. Johns River State College’s Distance Learning Academy and former graduates who received certification to teach online courses. A review of Florida Virtual School’s program, as well as St. Johns River State College’s online coursework was also used to determine learner characteristics. A number of Florida Virtual School online instructors were informally surveyed on their experiences in virtual schooling. The specific learner characteristics related to each information category are also described in the table, along with implications for delivery. Table 1. Learner Analysis for Virtual Schooling Information Categories Prior Knowledge of Virtual Instruction
Data Sources Interviewed: Karlie Schaefer Surveyed: 8 FLVS virtual instructors, 20 St. Johns River State College instructors
Instructors need to have a basic knowledge of virtual instruction through schooling, personal experience, or career training.
Because none of the instructors surveyed had received any training in virtual education, some training course will need to be implemented here.
Of the 28 instructors surveyed from Florida Virtual School and St. Johns River College, none of them had received any formal training in virtual instruction.
Supplemental instruction in virtual education can be provided here. These can include notes, pamphlets, PowerPoint’s, and/or virtual instruction courses taught by experienced virtual teachers. The ability to work with other virtual instructors will allow for the sharing of tried and true virtual instruction practices.
General Teaching Preferences
Interviewed: Tureka Louis Surveyed: 8 FLVS virtual instructors, 20 St. Johns River State College instructors
Educational Levels/Entry Skills
Interviewed: Tureka Louis and Karlie Schaefer Surveyed: 8 FLVS virtual instructors, 20 St. Johns River State College instructors
Attitudes Towards Instructors New to Virtual Education General Group Characteristics
Interviewed: Karlie Schaefer Surveyed: 8 FLVS virtual instructors Interviewed: Karlie Schaefer Surveyed: 8 FLVS virtual instructors, 20 St. Johns River State College instructors
Virtual instruction is much different than faceto-face instruction. Instructors new to the virtual world of education need to understand that they cannot just use face-to-face curriculum and lesson plans for virtual instruction. Of the 28 instructors surveyed, all agreed that traditional, face-to-face learning is much more comfortable and what they are used to, compared to virtual schooling.
Virtual instructors (target population) need to have a developed understanding of education instruction. All instructors need to have obtained, at least, a Bachelor’s degree in education, or in a content area related to the course they are teaching. This is a Florida Department of Education state requirement for teacher certification. According to the survey, all FLVS instructors surveyed were certified teachers in the state of Florida. The St. Johns River State College instructors all held at least a Master’s degree in the subject area in which they taught. A teaching certificate is not required to teach at the postsecondary level. Of the 8 Florida Virtual School online teachers who responded to the informal survey, 7 of them stated that they learned how to create a successful virtual classroom by modeling and being mentored by fellow FLVS teachers. The survey sample was composed of 28 instructors (8 FLVS teachers, and 20 St. Johns River State College professors. The majority of these instructors had master’s degrees in education. All of the FLVS instructors are Florida-certified instructors and have achieved a "highly qualified" status in their subject areas. In addition, all FLVS instructors have undergone an extensive interview, screening, and training process.
Because all of the teachers agreed that face-to-face instruction is the more comfortable, “fall back” style of teaching, some sort of virtual instruction incentive training course should be made available. This can include information on virtual schooling in the past and today. It will include the main differences in teaching styles between virtual and face-to-face instruction. All of the target population will have achieved these characteristics, just by being an employed instructor in the State of Florida.
It is important for current virtual instructors to be willing and able to offer assistance to incoming instructors new to virtual education. Because the majority of the instructors have such a highly qualified degree, education and experience in their subject area of instruction, general teaching instruction and training is not necessary. All training will focus on delivery of successful virtual instruction.
Additional demographic information would need to be collected from the instructors surveyed.
Additional Information Requirements: To complete the Learner Analysis, additional surveys will need to be conducted on more virtual instruction teachers. We informally interviewed a number of St. Johns River State College instructors, as well as about 10 Florida Virtual School Full Time online instructors. However, more will need to be interviewed in a more formal manner in order to truly get a more accurate description.
Subordinate Skills Analysis Step 1. Analyze Course Activities
Review course activities to determine what activities need to be transformed into online course o List the following activities for each week of the course: Lecture Discussion Presentation Individual project Group project o Are all assignments/activities necessary to meet course goals and objectives? If not, revise. o Questions to consider: Do most students seem to have a problem understanding certain concepts or ideas in your course? Do some directions and assignment require more clarification than others? o Are all handouts, materials ready for online upload? Consider using electronic media (pdf, web content, video) o Verify pace and sequencing of course content o Review assignments and content again to ensure all are necessary to meet course goals and objectives
Subordinate skill analysis for Step 1. Analyze Course Activities follows.
Subordinate Skills Analysis The subordinate skills for the goal step “Analyze course activities” are represented in the figure below. It starts with listing all the activities that are needed for delivering the online course. The learning type for this subordinate skill is “verbal information”; therefore, it needs a cluster analysis as described in boxes 1.2 and 1.3. Then, it should be determined whether the provided list meets the goals and objectives of the course. If not, it should be revised before moving toward the next step. When all the activities are listed properly and have been revised, they should be reviewed to determine if they are ready to be uploaded online. If not, digital documents such as pdf files, presentations and video clips should be prepared for the course. If these materials exist, then an assignment schedule should be developed. After doing all of the above, all the required materials should be loaded and the course flow tested. The entry skills for this step are shown below the dashed line. Virtual Schooling
Figure 2. Subordinate Skills Analysis Flowchart
Performance and Learning Context Analysis Context analyses were conducted to evaluate both environment in which newly acquired skills and knowledge would be used as well as the setting in which those skills would be learned and practiced. Sources of data include interviews with five currently employed Florida Virtual School instructors, first hand observation of three FLVS new-hire training sessions, observation of three home office worksites and team meetings as well as Florida Virtual School written materials including public records and team newsletters. Additionally, 20 instructors were interviewed at St. John’s River State College: 10 instructors who were participating in the college’s Distance Learning Academy and 10 instructors who teach virtual courses. Observations were held with 2 SJR State virtual instructors in their college office and the observer participated in selected sessions of the Distance Learning Academy. (see also Appendix: Table B).
Table 2. Performance Context Chart Information Categories Managerial/Supervisory Support
Data Sources Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. Current SJR State faculty. FLVS Records: Weekly Newsletters. Weekly phone calls. Weekly virtual team meetings. Monthly journaling and supervisor feedback
Performance Site Characteristics Supervision is extensive although teachers work alone in their home office. They are connected to supervisors via cell phones, Instant Messaging, emails and virtual trainings. Supervisors conduct monthly walkthroughs during which they examine all major elements of an instructor’s online classroom and student work completion and contact data. Consistent observation performed by supervisors through virtual access to all teacher classroom data and activities. Reward is provided in the form of team and organization wide recognition in meetings and newsletters. Performance feedback is recorded through a Human Resource journaling system called Kenexa. For college instructors, most distance-learning work is either performed at the faculty member’s home or in their on-campus office. Faculty administrators require new virtual educators to participate in the Distance Learning Academy. College administrators and departmental chairs routinely audit and evaluate instructors in their virtual classrooms.
Physical Aspects of Site
Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators and SJR State faculty and staff Observations: Observed 5 typical work sites Training Materials & Resources: Observed Mentor office setup through online video IM. Viewed online training materials. Observed and participated in SJR State Distance Learning Academy training.
Social Aspects of Site
Relevance of Skills to Workplace
Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators, SJR State faculty and staff. Observations: Observed one current FLVS educator performing skills at their work-site – the home office. Observed one current FLVS educator performing skills via online via video IM. Observed 2 college faculty members. Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. SJR State faculty and staff. Observations: Observed one current FLVS educator performing skills at their worksite – the home office. Observed one current FLVS educator performing skills via online via video IM.
Facilities: Each teacher’s worksite is a solitary home office. College staff either work from home or use their college offices. Equipment: FLVS provides each instructor a laptop, headset with microphone, and printer. FLVS provides a stipend to each instructor for a dedicated phone line and internet service. The college only issues computer equipment to faculty for on-site use. Off-site management of virtual courses is done with personal equipment. Resources: All instructors have year-round access to online training materials as well as access to a mentor team and other experienced colleagues available by cell phone and IM. College instructors must complete the Distance Learning Academy to be certified to teach in a virtual environment. The college also has an Instructional Technologist who assists faculty members in course development and basic troubleshooting issues. Timing: Teachers are expected to be available from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday and there is implied need for availability on weekends. College faculty have no prescribed times to be available for virtual students but are expected to respond to students in a timely manner and provide regular feedback. Supervision: All supervision is conducted online through phone calls and IM, though faculty members often meet with departmental chairs and others face-to-face. Interaction: Co-workers interact with each other via IM, email, during training sessions and team meetings. Others effectively using skills: All other current Full time FLVS Instructors are expected to utilize best practice skills taught during training and acquired over time of successful employment. Meet identified needs: The training should meet the identified needs of increasing instructor self-efficacy and therefore increase attainment of organization-wide instructor performance goals as well as improved student performance. Newly hired instructors will be able to use their acquired skills to more effectively teach their course thereby reducing teaching turnover in the first year.
Table 3. Learning Context Chart Information Categories Number/Nature of Sites
Data Sources Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. SJR State College staff. Site Visits: Toured Training Facility. Observations: Attending training sessions.
Site Compatibility with Instructional Needs
Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. SJR State College staff. Site Visits: Toured Training Facility Observations: Attending training sessions
Learning Site Characteristics Number: One administrative facility with 3 training rooms. Facilities: The mixed-method web-based and face-to-face training will take place either in the FLVS training facility or multipurpose training rooms at SJR State. There are four training rooms that have the capacity to seat 40 trainees each. The site is open from 8am to 6pm with one trainer for each training room available for instruction, demonstrations, equipment assistance, technical support and guidance. SJR State has multiple rooms on each of its 3 campuses that can provide space for training sessions. Equipment: Each training room has approximately seven tables with workstation set-ups and Wi-Fi access, an LCD projector, desktop computer for the trainer, and whiteboard. Resources: Federal grants provide for extensive online training materials, two instructors â€“ one main instructor and one support, handouts. Constraints: 1. Instructors work remotely so that the training rooms are not always prepared when trainings are held. 2. Instructors are not always subject area experts and often do not have online teaching experience. Instructional Strategies: Integrated instructional strategies utilized. Classroom presentations and discussions, demonstrations, live practice in the training room with actual student calls and live website, simulated training, small-group discussion sessions, and self-study materials such as print and electronically published materials. Students will be able to build and implement a course in the LMS testing environment. Delivery approaches: The facility is equipped for live direct instruction; teleconferencing, computer-based instruction with FLVS issued laptops or workstations. Web instruction can be accessed online and is delivered asynchronously. Print and non-print materials are utilized as well. Multimedia formats are facilitated as well. Time: New Hire training time allotted is 48 hours divided over 3 days onsite, 2 days via the web. Then there is one additional day of onsite training held at the administrative officesâ€™ training facility 90 days after hire. Professional development with trainer assigned to each new-hire group is ongoing for the first year of hire and trainers are available for support indefinitely. Training is continuously provided and instructors needing certification can choose from many offerings. Personnel: The training site has 4 trainers each assigned to several groups of trainees. The trainers serve as support and backup for one another if group needs are high. The college has a full time Instructional Technologist and Distance Learning Specialist dedicated to providing instructional and technological support to instructors during and after course completion.
Site Compatibility with Learner Needs
Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. SJR State College staff. Site Visits: Toured Training Facility Observations: Attending training sessions
Feasibility for Simulating Workplace
Interviews: Current full time FLVS instructors, administrators. SJR State College staff. Site Visits: Toured Training Facility
Location (distance): The FLVS training site is located in Orlando, FL. Instructors live throughout the state of Florida and occasionally other states so travel to the facility can prove inconvenient and hotel lodgings costly, however this is still more feasible than opening additional centers at this time. The training is designed to be hosted at any location with minimal specialized equipment allowing for other institutions to utilize the program. Conveniences: There are many restaurants in the surrounding area and there are standard break rooms within the building equipped with microwaves, refrigerators, ample seating space and televisions for entertainment during breaks. Space: Classrooms are equipped for laptop workspace and trainer/instructor presentations. Equipment: Power outlets, table space, Wi-Fi available for each student to receive hands-on application experience with new skills and knowledge being acquired. Constraints: No break out rooms for small group work or discussions. Space is not always large enough for small groups to separate. Sometimes noise level is an issue. Power outlets are not always active at each workspace. Supervisory characteristics: Supervisory tactics can easily be simulated in workspace set up much like trainees’ home office might be. Although there is much support offered it is virtual in nature. There will be no onsite supervisory support in home office workplace. Physical characteristics: Are not always easily simulated since there are unknown variables in home offices that cannot be accounted for in a controlled training environment. Social characteristics: Web-based teaching community can easily be simulated in training environment.
Observations: Attending training sessions
Appendix Table A: Goal Analysis – Elements of a Virtual Course
A majority of the course is delivered via the Internet The student and teacher are separated by time, space or both The course is asynchronous Teachers should not simply import face-to-face curriculum into the virtual course but rather should tailor the curriculum to the delivery method. Instruction should: o Be student-centered (rather than instructor-led) o Be collaborative o Be problem-based (critical thinking skills) o Emphasize group activities o Promote student-to-student discussion o Promote the use of technology
Table B: Context Analysis – Virtual Schooling Course Standards Standard 1. Plans, designs and implements an online course geared towards interaction among students and collaboration to facilitate student learning.
2. Establishes clear expectations, provides feedback and promptly responds to student inquiries.
Indicator Demonstrates effective strategies at facilitating collaboration among students Fosters learning through group interaction
3. Demonstrates effective learning strategies for a variety of student learning issues including those with special needs.
4. Utilizes data to modify and improve instructional methods.
5. Develops and administers effective assessments to monitor student achievement.
Demonstrates effective communication skills Engages students to ensure success Provides an online syllabus with clear goals and objectives Provides timely feedback to students Demonstrates an ability to work with students at varying skill levels Engages students proactively to overcome challenges to learning Uses student comments to gauge instructional effectiveness Uses data to assess course set-up, pacing, etc. Ensures course materials are in alignment with learning objectives Creates assignments, projects and assessments that address differing learning modalities Uses assessments to demonstrate student acquired knowledge and skills