Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Conceptual Models for Virtual High Schools
by Purdy, Luke D., D.E., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2016, 160; 10163355
Abstract (Summary)

This study is a hermeneutic phenomenology focused on a virtual high school in Central Louisiana. Because virtual education is growing quickly, and student performance in virtual high schools is inconsistent, the study seeks to provide a conceptual model from which to design virtual school curricula and develop virtual school teaches. The proposed model is grounded in three theoretical frameworks and validated through the experience of virtual school teachers. The theoretical frameworks informing the study are the Community of Inquiry model, Sense of Community theory, and the Theory of Transactional Distance. The research participants’ experiences are used to validate the proposed conceptual model for virtual high school course development. The result is a conceptual model that can be used by virtual high school course designers to guide the development of virtual school curricula.

The study can also be used to guide the development of strategies for delivering online courses and conducting professional development in a virtual learning environment. The study makes four major findings. The study finds virtual high school students vary in their motivation and autonomy. The study finds the teacher-student relationship to more individualized in the virtual school than in the traditional school. The study finds that virtual high school students do not perceive value in virtual learning communities. Finally, the study finds that virtual school teachers experience with technology is positive, but their students often experience trouble with technology. The study uses these findings to suggest a conceptual model from which to develop virtual high school curricula and teach virtual high school classes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Olivier, Dianne F.
Commitee: Cilesiz, Sebnem, Mense, Evan G.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational technology
Keywords: Community of inquiry, Sense of community, Transactional distance, Virtual education, Virtual high school
Publication Number: 10163355
ISBN: 978-1-369-18047-3
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