Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning

Published on May 4, 2017
This report, Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Introduction to the Analysis of the iNACOL Program, Course, and Teacher Standards, is part of a series of four reports and includes the introductory information and methodology for the review process. The other three reports in the series are the reviews of the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching, iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses, and iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs as well as implications, conclusion, and suggestions for further research for each specific set of standards.

The National Education Policy Center reported that one in 10 students enrolled in a virtual school has a disability, yet virtual schools — be they state or corporate-sponsored — invest little in this population (Molnar, et. al., 2013). Consequences of not meeting the needs of students with disabilities include high attrition and generally poor achievement (Deshler, Rice, & Greer, 2014; Rice, East, & Mellard, 2015b). These unacceptable outcomes are part of the low performance of at-risk students — the fastest growing segment of virtual student enrollments (Miron, 2016).

To improve service delivery online, several researchers at the University of Kansas, who are also affiliated with the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities (COLSD), have personally undertaken a review process to incorporate research and practical understanding about serving students with disabilities into the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (2011a), iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses (2011b), and iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs (2011c). These researchers assembled under the commission of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

This report, Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Introduction to the Analysis of the iNACOL Program, Course, and Teacher Standards, is part of a series of four reports and includes the introductory information and methodology for the review process. The other three reports in the series are the reviews of the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching, iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses, and iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs as well as implications, conclusion, and suggestions for further research for each specific set of standards.

Following the stages of standards review and revision described above, final versions of proposed revisions to the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Programs, iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses, and iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching were created. These proposed revisions can be seen alongside their original forms in the second, third, and fourth reports in this series, respectively. These reports also include a justification for the indicated changes that stem from cited research or law.

Download the reports:

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Introduction to the Analysis of the iNACOL Program, Course, and Teacher Standards

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Analysis of the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Programs

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Analysis of the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Courses

Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online Learning: An Analysis of the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Teaching

These reports were originally posted in December 2016 and have been reformatted for publication.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.