December Research Round Up

Illustration of the learning process
Each month our team of researchers highlights K-12 online, blended, and innovative learning research, reports, standards, and other noteworthy resources published nationally and internationally in the preceding weeks. Our hope with this series is to inform the educational community of the latest digital learning research in order to better serve students.
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Is training teachers to teach online really preparing them for the reality of online teaching?

An article published in the American Journal of Distance Education, The Effects of Training on Instructor Beliefs about and Attitudes toward Online Teaching addressed this exact question.

The study conducted by Karen E. Brinkley-Etzkorn examined the relationship between one approach to training new online teachers and their beliefs around online teaching over the course of and after the training.

The study used teachers’ program application essays, evaluation conducted after the training, and a follow up survey to teachers after they redesigned their online course.

Teachers were most optimistic about their course and skills/knowledge development immediately following the training and much less so after teaching the online course.

The researcher notes that multiple teachers in the study cited a need for additional training or ongoing training and support.

What do students comprehend when they read digital versus paper texts?

This study, Digital Versus Paper Reading Processes and Links to Comprehension for Middle School Students published in the American Educational Research Journal explored reading comprehension among middle-grade students on a variety of text formats with a variety of comprehension supports.

Overall, reading on paper was somewhat supportive of comprehension for longer text.

Researchers also reported that students highlighted more when reading paper versus digital texts but that paper highlighting was negatively related to comprehension, likely because students highlight unimportant areas of text.

Additionally, researchers found other digital (digital highlighting) and paper text (looking back) behaviors that were associated with better comprehension.

Why are enrollments in teacher preparation programs declining?

Education Week’s teacher blog featured an article, Enrollment in Teacher-Preparation Programs Is Declining Fast. Here’s What the Data Show by Madeline Will.

The post reports on data analyzed by the Center for American Progress and concludes that there was a 28 percent decline in students completing teacher-preparation programs from 2010 to 2018.

Nine states, one of which was Michigan, saw a decline in enrollment of over 50 percent during that same 8 year period.

The post also discusses alternative teacher preparation programs and how those may be impacting the field overall.

Online Learning Journal — Special Conference Issue

Online Learning Journal, published by the Online Learning Consortium, released a Special Conference Issue: American Educational Research Association (AERA) Online Teaching and Learning SIG.

The articles highlighted in this special issue report on the findings of many of the 66 selected proposals on online teaching and learning.

Topics include issues of quality in a variety of settings from both teacher and student perspectives, community development online, faculty mentoring, and instructor perceptions of award-wining courses.

Research Round Up blog series

In our Research Round Up blog series, we compile recent research on K-12 online learning in Michigan and across the nation. This series is designed to provide resources for researchers and practitioners to stay up to date with with what we know about online teaching and learning. Stay up to date on future blogs in this series by signing up for email notifications!

About the authors

Kristen DeBruler
Dr. Kristen DeBruler received her doctorate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University. She taught in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University for three years. Her work focuses on K-12 online learning policy in Michigan and nation wide as well as understanding online learning best practices.

Christopher Harrington
Dr. Christopher Harrington has served public education as a teacher, an administrator, a researcher, and a consultant for more than 25 years and has experience assisting dozens of school districts across the nation in the design and implementation of blended, online, and personalized learning programs. He has worked on local, regional, and national committees with iNACOL and various other education-based organizations aimed at transforming education through the use of technology.

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