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Mechanics of Launching an Online Initiative

Michael Ehrhardt, Ed.D. Head of School Marshall School, Duluth MN

or Oops, what have I gotten us into?

The Big Bang in Online Learning

The Big Bang in Online Learning

Traveling the path to your online goals

Many methods for engagement

Supplemental OR Full-Time

Institution OR Individual students

Entry Point
Buy into expertise OR Build from scratch

Partner OR Customer

Dimensions of Online Programs

Type Face-to-Face Delivery Interaction Grades Reach Async Low Elementary Regional Blended Synch Moderate MS National

Factors to evaluate when you review programs / partnerships

Online Co-Sync High HS Global

Source: Adapted from Gregg Vanourek, A Primer on Virtual Charter Schools (2006) and Keeping Pace (2012)


Benets associated with collaborative model

Mission Program Professional Costs

Integrating 21st century skills into curriculum

Expanding course catalog beyond what can be offered locally

Capturing faculty ready to move and pushing other faculty to nd ways to integrate new skills

Sharing research and development and economies of scale


Trustees Faculty Parents Students

Different groups will require different approaches

Linking online learning to mission of the school

Overcoming conservative tendencies / answering practical questions

Differentiating from remedial reputation of many online classes

Dispelling myths of the gut course


Five years from now on the Web for free youll be able to nd the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university. Bill Gates in 2010

Data supports benets of online ed

Federal meta-study points to learning advantages of online and blended learning

Enhanced Performance

Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.

Benets for all types

The effectiveness of online learning approaches appears to be quite broad across different content and learner types.

Source: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, US Department of Education (2009)

Mobile tools t goals of online schools

Increased student engagement Development of innovation skills -- critical thinking and creativity Increased collaboration and more self-directed learning

Source: The William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University (March 2011)


College students in online courses

By 2015, as many college students will be exclusively online as are exclusively on face-to-face campuses
Current Projected





0 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Source: Babson Research Group and Ambient Insight

12 11


Percentage of states that have state virtual schools or stateled online learning initiatives 75% of districts report courses developed elsewhere Most common provider: universities

Source: iNACOL Fast Facts about Online Learning (February 2012)


Setting up the program

Key questions to consider before you get started

Who grants the credit? / What do you put on your transcripts? What courses do you allow (graduation requirements)? Which students can take online courses? When and where are the courses scheduled? Drop/add policies and mixed start/end times Who provides the in-house support for your students?

Source: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, US Department of Education (2009)


The Process

Timeline of groups to be included

Study Group(s): Mission, Landscape, Whys, Hows Action Committee: Try out options/expand research Pilot Project: Test with limited grade, group Policy: Determine rules of the game Launch: Faculty, Students, Parents, Trustees Ongoing Communication: Highlight Innovation/Successes

Source: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, US Department of Education (2009)


Case Studies
School-Led Consortium

Variety of ways to leverage outside expertise to build program

Student-Led Courses

Faculty-Led MOOCs

Large catalog of AP and elective courses expands options for students. Teachers receive training to teach VHS courses to other students in collaborative. Classes capped at 25 students.

Students must apply and be accepted into program individually. Courses taught via web video and blended learning approach. Students can remain enrolled in regular school. Separate OHS transcript issued.

Individual teachers can embed certain elements of a MOOC into their regular course, and supplement with discussion, projects and essays. For a fee, a student can purchase credentials in the Signature Track.

VHS Collaborative in Action


Keeping Pace 2012 Babson Survey of Online Education in the US US Dept of Ed Online Learning Metastudy NAIS Online Education Literature Review Natl Center for Ed Stats: Condition of Education iNACOL Course Standards

Source: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning, US Department of Education (2009)


iNACOL Online Standards

Content Design Assessment

Evaluating the quality of online curriculum

Technology Evaluation

The course provides online learners with multiple ways of engaging with learning experiences that promote their mastery of content and are aligned with state or national content standards.

The course uses learning activities that engage students in active learning; provides students with multiple learning paths to master; the content is based on student needs; and provides ample opportunities for interaction and communication.

The course uses multiple strategies and activities to assess student readiness for and progress in course content and provides students with feedback on their progress.

The course takes full advantage of a variety of technology tools, has a user-friendly interface and meets accessibility standards for interoperability and access for learners with special needs.

The course is evaluated regularly for effectiveness, using a variety of assessment strategies, and the ndings are used as a basis for improvement. The course is kept up to date, both in content and in the application of new research on course design and technologies. Online instructors are provided support during the course.

Source: iNACOL Online Course Standards (2011)

Online courses provide massive choice


Michael Ehrhardt, Ed.D.