There’s a new report up at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, called “Examining Communication and Interaction in Online Teaching,” which examines the communication methods and policies in place at virtual schools. The schools range from state-sponsored programs to cyber charter schools to for-profit online education providers such as K12 Inc.
The survey examined policies for teacher-student, teacher-parent, and student-student communication and what details were in those policies. A large percentage of the programs—65 out of 81 that responded to the survey—outlined specific policies for student-teacher communication, while the number of schools with policies regarding teacher-parent and student-student communication were far lower (43 and 47 out of 81, respectively.)
Most of the communication policies in place outlined the frequency of contact, as well as the way that teachers were responsible for contacting students and parents. Contact methods included phone, e-mail, and message boards. Both the method of contact as well as the frequency of contact required varied widely from program to program.
The report is worth a look if you’re curious as to how different online programs handle communication, but it’s somewhat difficult to draw any serious conclusions from the data gathered. There’s no discussion of how the communication policies in each school relate to student achievement or engagement, or any recommendations made regarding effective communication between students, parents, and teachers. Check it out here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.