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Chat: District Strategies for E-Learning

Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 12 p.m. Eastern time
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 District Strategies for E-Learning>(05/04/2010) 
8:49
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's chat, District Strategies for E-Learning, sponsored by Carnegie Learning, is open for questions. Please start submitting them now.

The chat will begin at 12 p.m. Eastern.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 8:49 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
12:00
Michelle Davis: 
Hello everyone and welcome to today's chat on district strategies for e-learning. We've got lots of questions to get through, so let's get started. Today we have two great guests with us, Themy Sparangis and Joanne Hopper. If you two could take a minute to introduce yourselves and what you do, I'm sure our participants would appreciate it.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:00 Michelle Davis
12:04
Themy Sparangis: 
Hello. It is a pleasure to be here today. My name is Themy Sparangis and my group, Educational Technology, in LAUSD handle the integration of technology into the classroom to increase student achievement and enrich the learning environment.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:04 Themy Sparangis
12:06
Joanne Hopper: 
I'm the Director of Education Services at St. Clair County RESA, an educational service agency. My department provides leadership, programs and services to local school districts, including programs to support administrators and teachers.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:06 Joanne Hopper
12:06
Michelle Davis: 
Great! Thank you both. We have a question from Leslie Raffelson about teacher fears regarding online learning. Joanne, why don't you start with this one:
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:06 Michelle Davis
12:06
[Comment From Leslie RaffelsonLeslie Raffelson: ] 
Our biggest hurdle is overcoming the fears that the computer is going to replace a teacher. What are some of the changing roles that you see teachers adding and dropping because of the virtual classrooms?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:06 Leslie Raffelson
12:11
Joanne Hopper: 
I'm here now and answering
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:11 Joanne Hopper
12:12
Michelle Davis: 
So what do you think about Leslie's question? Also, Themy I'd like to get your input as well.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:12 Michelle Davis
12:12
Joanne Hopper: 
@Leslie: We see exciting new roles for teachers including facilitating learning, modeling for students what it takes to be a learner, coaching students, guiding, connecting students to resources, and identifying potential. I don't believe teachers will be replaced by E-learning.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:12 Joanne Hopper
12:13
Themy Sparangis: 
Thank you. I don't know if the role is "changing" so much as it is being continually "enhanced" through the use of technology, media, and the increased use of E-Learning...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:13 Themy Sparangis
12:14
Michelle Davis: 
In that same vein, Madelyn has a question about professional development strategies. What strategies have been successful in each of your districts?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:14 Michelle Davis
12:14
Themy Sparangis: 
...The use of E-Learning in a hybrid environment allows teachers to better differentiate instruction...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:14 Themy Sparangis
12:14
[Comment From MadelynMadelyn: ] 
What are some of the professional development strategies that have been use to help teachers overcome their reluctance to use e-learning?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:14 Madelyn
12:14
Themy Sparangis: 
...and enrich the teacher/learning environment.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:14 Themy Sparangis
12:15
Joanne Hopper: 
@Madelyn: One of the key considerations for professional learning is that we model what we want to see teachers doing in the classroom. At my organization, my colleagues and I also feel that means we have to live what we want teachers to live. So, I'm twittering and blogging to learn. I'm on LinkedIn to collaborate, etc.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:15 Joanne Hopper
12:16
Michelle Davis: 
Themy, how about in your district? What professional development strategies are you using to make teachers comfortable with using online learning?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:16 Michelle Davis
12:16
Joanne Hopper: 
Re: professional development, this summer we are trying something new for our 21st Century Symposium. We are inviting students to join in the learning along with us. We will showcase their work and involve them in a panel discussion. We hope teachers will become comfortable learning along with their students.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:16 Joanne Hopper
12:17
Themy Sparangis: 
We offer various online PD. We also increase the integration of these skills in the existing PD, such as Math, Sci, Eng, etc.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:17 Themy Sparangis
12:19
Michelle Davis: 
Cathy has a great question, which I hear a lot, about the quality of online learning. What do you both think?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:19 Michelle Davis
12:19
[Comment From CathyCathy: ] 
How can a district ensure the same academic rigor in an online class as a face-to-face class?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:19 Cathy
12:21
Joanne Hopper: 
@Cat;hy: My experience is that online learning is even more rigorous, in many cases, than face-to-face instruction. Some of the professionals I work with agree. The level of discourse among students - whether synchronous or asynchronous - is also often deeper in an online environment...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:21 Joanne Hopper
12:22
Joanne Hopper: 
@Cathy Part II: Planning is critical to assuring high standards in an online course.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:22 Joanne Hopper
12:23
Themy Sparangis: 
Cathy, yes, that comes up a lot and I agree with Joanne. I also ask, though, how do we ensure the rigor of a traditional instructional program?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:23 Themy Sparangis
12:26
Michelle Davis: 
Yvette wants to know how to make sure students aren't cheating in online courses. How you do both deal with this?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:26 Michelle Davis
12:26
[Comment From YvetteYvette: ] 
How are boards dealing with the honesty and integrity issue and e-Learning?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:26 Yvette
12:28
Joanne Hopper: 
@Yvette: There are a variety of ways you can accomplish this. Some schools require proctoring for exams. Others monitor the work through online sites that monitor use of published text...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:28 Joanne Hopper
12:28
Themy Sparangis: 
Yvette, this, too, comes up a lot. There are many ways of getting to "know" the online student. Understanding their "voice" and using various mechanisms of evaluating student work (like in a traditional based classroom) are all good tools. SInce the communication is much more "electronic" in nature, we can better monitor using the online tools.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:28 Themy Sparangis
12:28
Joanne Hopper: 
@Yvette Part II: As for policies, they should align with what the school applies to a face-to-face classroom and enforced in a similar manner.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:28 Joanne Hopper
12:29
Michelle Davis: 
I'd like to take a quick poll to find out how much online learning is going on in the schools and districts of our participants.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:29 Michelle Davis
12:29
What percentage of students in your school or district have used online learning?
10 percent or less
 ( 59% )
25 percent
 ( 21% )
50 percent
 ( 0% )
75 percent
 ( 10% )
100 percent
 ( 10% )

Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:29 
12:31
Michelle Davis: 
Interesting. So far, most of you are answering 10 percent or less.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:31 Michelle Davis
12:32
Michelle Davis: 
G. Bolton has a great question about research on effective delivery for online courses. Many people have told me that the best way to do this in a brick and mortar school setting is using an in-school mentor to go with the online teacher. What do both of you think, and have you seen any research on this topic?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:32 Michelle Davis
12:32
[Comment From G. BoltonG. Bolton: ] 
What research is available on effective delivery of online content. I have seen many students totally detached in some classes.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:32 G. Bolton
12:34
Michelle Davis: 
While we're waiting here's a great comment from James on the cheating issue:
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:34 Michelle Davis
12:34
[Comment From James PirottaJames Pirotta: ] 
We use turnitin.com for assignments - it quickly finds out if cheating is occuring. All students must take module oral assessments with the teacher. These also let the teacher know if the student is working or someone else is doing the work. If we suspect cheating a face to face exam can be given.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:34 James Pirotta
12:34
Joanne Hopper: 
Regarding research and the online environment, a new report recently issued by The Horizon Project, offers information on emerging technologies for teaching, learning. You can find the 2010 report at http://www.nmc.org/horizon/
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:34 Joanne Hopper
12:34
Themy Sparangis: 
@ G. Bolton. Yes. That is primarily the way we have been using online courses in our schools in Los Angeles. It is very effective and increases the various academic opportunities.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:34 Themy Sparangis
12:35
Michelle Davis: 
Many online course proponents say group interaction is key. Louis wants to know the best ways to accomplish this.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:35 Michelle Davis
12:35
[Comment From LouisLouis: ] 
What are good strategies for doing group work online, either synchronously or asynchronously
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:35 Louis
12:36
Joanne Hopper: 
@ G. Bolton Part II: As with any great instruction, the key is getting the student interested in the content first. That's why project-based and problem-based learning is so powerful. Students select topics that are of genuine interest to them. With access to the web, their learning can blossom.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:36 Joanne Hopper
12:38
Joanne Hopper: 
Great question, Louis. My favorite strategy is to structure the content so that students collaborate in groups that rotate throughout the course. This week, you may be paired with Sue and Ron, while next week with Tim and Julie. You get to understand the viewpoint and the strengths of your classmates, even if you aren't in the same room.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:38 Joanne Hopper
12:41
Michelle Davis: 
I'd like to take another poll here about the main reason you'd be interested in online learning.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:41 Michelle Davis
12:41
Why is the main reason you might consider using e-learning in your school or district?
Financial reasons
 ( 15% )
Access to new courses
 ( 22% )
Improve student achievement
 ( 63% )

Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:41 
12:42
Michelle Davis: 
We've got a great question about funding, since in many states funding follows the student.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:42 Michelle Davis
12:42
[Comment From John FryeJohn Frye: ] 
With students enrolled in hybrid courses taught by teachers in other districts, how does state funding "follow" this student if he is enrolled in courses at his home school and then participates in a course taught by a teacher in another school district?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:42 John Frye
12:44
Joanne Hopper: 
Funding: In Michigan, we are experimenting with a policy that allows a "seat time waiver" of the pupil accounting rules. Our State Board of Education permits schools, with prior approval, of counting students for enrollment in their district while the student receives instruction online from another source...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:44 Joanne Hopper
12:45
Joanne Hopper: 
Funding Part II: This is actually a creative way to fund teachers - by sharing teaching responsibilities beyond district borders. We find we can offer a greater variety of coursework in this manner.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:45 Joanne Hopper
12:45
Michelle Davis: 
I think a lot of states are starting to think about this issue of funding now as it relates to online learning.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:45 Michelle Davis
12:46
Michelle Davis: 
Here' s a question from Lyle about when online learning might be most useful.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:46 Michelle Davis
12:46
[Comment From LyleLyle: ] 
When is it most beneficial to supplement regular classroom structure with E-learning? To assist students who are falling behind or failing (remedial) ? To enhance an existing course? To enable a student to dive deeper into a specific area of interest (exploratory)? To graduate early from H.S. or begin accumulating college credits while in H.S. (acceleration)?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:46 Lyle
12:47
Michelle Davis: 
While we're waiting, participants might note that most people said they'd tap online learning to improve student achievement.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:47 Michelle Davis
12:47
Themy Sparangis: 
@Lyle. We have found that online learning works best in providing differentiated instruction and continuing learning beyond the school day and physical boarders.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:47 Themy Sparangis
12:48
Joanne Hopper: 
Lyle, the answer, in my book, is "all of the above." Schools in my region are using E-learning to support classroom instruction, and individual learning in a RtI manner. Certainly, enhancing opportunities for advanced and accelerated students is also popular...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:48 Joanne Hopper
12:49
Joanne Hopper: 
Lyle (continued): A unique way that I have also seen it used is to deliver modules in a pre-teaching manner for struggling learners. Rather than use a "wait-to-fail" model, schools are pre-teaching a difficult concept that students will be learning in the coming week or two. This builds content knowledge and assists them when they get to the unit.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:49 Joanne Hopper
12:49
Michelle Davis: 
Along those same lines, Laura has a question about ages of student using online learning.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:49 Michelle Davis
12:49
[Comment From LauraLaura: ] 
Is e-learning primarily for high school students or can it be utilized in k-6 classrooms?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:49 Laura
12:51
Joanne Hopper: 
@Laura: There are emerging examples of E-learning success with young learners. Primarily, we are seeing it in the middle and high school classrooms, but it is successful earlier...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:51 Joanne Hopper
12:51
Themy Sparangis: 
Good question, Laura. There is a place for online learning for elementary grades and is typically used with students in the home learning environment where the parents are actively involved in the daily instructional program.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:51 Themy Sparangis
12:52
Joanne Hopper: 
@Laura (continued) We have to accept that children - from babies on - are growing up with digital tools. Their world is totally different from our own. I have personally experienced this with my 2 year old and 4 year old grandchildren. They use ipods, play interactive games, and learn from various digital tools. Our classrooms must keep up.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:52 Joanne Hopper
12:53
Michelle Davis: 
This is an interesting question from Jon about the impact e-learning might have on a student's career success.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:53 Michelle Davis
12:53
[Comment From JonJon: ] 
Have you seen research which predicts the impact that a move towards e-learning might have on our future workforce? For example, might a student who learns via the computer have a harder time keeping a job when they are older?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:53 Jon
12:54
Themy Sparangis: 
@Jon. I believe it will have a tremendous positive impact.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:54 Themy Sparangis
12:55
Michelle Davis: 
I'm guessing Jon is concerned about a lack of experience with face-to-face interaction among students.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:55 Michelle Davis
12:55
Joanne Hopper: 
@Jon: While I can't site any studies at the moment, Jon, I do know that the workplace is demanding different skills than in the past. Workers must know how to seek information, collaborate virtually, and invent solutions. They need a dynamic, vital learning environment...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:55 Joanne Hopper
12:56
Joanne Hopper: 
@Jon - My take on the lack of face-to-face is simply that the online learning environment will be only one way that we interact as a society. In fact, I think what we are seeing is that the opportunity to engage as an individual in such social forums as twitter, facebook, etc., has increased the involvement of people as opposed to isolating them.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:56 Joanne Hopper
12:57
Michelle Davis: 
For someone who hasn't seen e-learning in action, this is a basic, but important question.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:57 Michelle Davis
12:57
[Comment From LauraLaura: ] 
What does e-learning look like? Is it a video that students watch? Is it online chatting such as this forum?
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:57 Laura
12:59
Joanne Hopper: 
E-learning can take the form on totally online learning using a digital content provider (and there are many). My favorite manner is combining digital and web tools such as Web 2.0 tools to create an interactive instructional invironment that involves learning beyond the four walls of a brick and mortar classroom...
Tuesday May 4, 2010 12:59 Joanne Hopper
1:00
Michelle Davis: 
We've got to bring the chat to an end now. Thanks to both guests for providing such great information and to all of you who asked insightful questions.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:00 Michelle Davis
1:00
Joanne Hopper: 
E-learning continued...This chat is one way to share and is a form of E-learning. I consider using the web to research a project, trace the history of a topic, explore what others know about it, and capture the learning to be a great model.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:00 Joanne Hopper
1:00
Themy Sparangis: 
Thank you. It was a pleasure to participate!
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:00 Themy Sparangis
1:00
Michelle Davis: 
Thanks to Joanne and Themy for their answers.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:00 Michelle Davis
1:00
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Thanks again to our guests, and to Michelle Davis for moderating today's chat District Strategies for E-Learning, sponsored by Carnegie Learning.

A printable transcript of today's chat will be available on this page within 24 hours.

For more upcoming Education Week chats, please check out www.edweek.org/go/chats
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:00 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
1:01
Joanne Hopper: 
Thanks for letting me engage in learning with you.
Tuesday May 4, 2010 1:01 Joanne Hopper
1:01
 

 
 
 

District Strategies for E-Learning

Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 12 p.m. Eastern time


School districts are starting to embrace online classes as more than just a supplement for their students. Some school officials now view virtual courses as an integral part of their offerings in brick-and-mortar schools, to be factored into daily schedules as much as traditional face-to-face classes. This hybrid approach is one of the fastest-growing areas of online learning, but school officials often have to overcome administrative and financial hurdles in order to provide students with these online opportunities. Our guests offered practical tips on ways to seamlessly incorporate virtual classes into the traditional school day.

Guests:
Themistocles Sparangis, Chief Technology Director, Educational Technology, Los Angeles Unified School District
Joanne E. Hopper, Director of Education Services, St. Clair County Regional Educational Services, Marysville, Mich.
Michelle Davis, senior writer, Education Week Digital Directions, moderated this chat.

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