This study analyzes the growing trend in the development of online learning in public school K-12 districts in California. Specifically, it analyzes school board members' perceptions of the benefits and challenges to implementing online learning in their districts. Barbour and Reeves (2009) indicate four primary themes regarding challenges connected with online schools, and they include high startup costs, access issues related to technology and high speed internet, the approval and/or accreditation process of online schools, and student readiness issues. Areas indicated as advantages to online learning in the literature include increased educational access, high-quality learning opportunities, improved skills and educational outcomes, increased choice, and administrative efficiency (Barbour & Reeves, 2009). While there is research regarding perceptions of administrators, student, teachers, and parents there is a lack of research regarding school board members' perceptions of online learning.
A total of 82 school board members in California responded to the California Online Education Survey. The California Online Education Survey accessed school board members' perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of online learning and their district's perceived support for implementing online learning in the future. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The following key findings emerged: First, school board members' perceptions of the current implementation of online learning were not consistent with current research. However, findings from the study supported evidence that online learning is reaching a tipping point toward being a common practice in school districts in California. Second, school board members' perceptions of the advantages of online learning centered on increasing educational access for students, and their perceptions of the barriers focused on concerns related to high startup costs. Third, while the limited sample size (N=82) prevented definitively answering the research questions, the findings suggest that support for implementing online learning is positively influenced by city community types but not by rural settings. Fourth, while the limited sample size (N=82) prevented definitively answering the research questions, the respondents in this study indicated that, in times of economic disparity, boards that identify themselves as matching the characteristics of an arena board take a more conservative approach to spending money on the development of online learning.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Barrier to learning, Online learning, School boards|
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