The Journal of Online Learning Research (JOLR) is a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical, empirical, and pragmatic understanding of technologies and their impact on primary and secondary pedagogy and policy in primary and secondary (K-12) online and blended environments.


The Globethics library contains articles of the Journal of Online Learning Research as of vol. 1(2015) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Student Clickstream Data: Does Time of Day Matter?

    Ricker, Gina; Koziarski, Mathew; Walters, Alyssa (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020)
    Student activity data has a demonstrated relationship with performance in the online classroom. The implications and context of activity levels in K-12 online schools are not yet well understood. This study examined the role of student chronotype, defined here as the time of day a student is most active in an online course, and overall activity level on course performance. Clickstream data captured by a Learning Management System from 411 students enrolled in an 11th grade English course in the fall of 2018 at two Midwestern full-time K-12 virtual schools were used to determine chronotype and activity level. Students were classified as one of four possible chronotypes given the mode of their click activity. Because students who enroll late typically under-perform compared to students who enroll on time, time of enrollment was controlled for. Results of an ANCOVA showed that students who are most active in the morning significantly outperformed students who are most active in the afternoon and evening. Morning students also tend to be the most active overall. The results of a hierarchical regression imply that total student activity in the course is contextualized by chronotype and has a more substantial impact on performance.
  • Responding to a Crisis and Planning for What is Ahead

    Borup, Jered; Archambault, Leanna (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020)
    It is impossible to take inventory of all the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted our field, let alone predict what the future might hold. What is clear is that scholars in our field responded quickly to provide leadership to their universities and institutions as well as to K-12 schools and teachers throughout the world. While learning online was new for most students and teachers, we were able to draw upon decades of research and scholarship on K-12 online and blended learning to provide practical actionable guidance. The 2018 Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning (2nd Edition) edited by Kathryn Kennedy and Richard E. Ferdig, has been an especially helpful introduction to the field. Scholars have also made their voices heard in newspaper and magazine articles, online periodicals, blog posts, podcasts, and on social media.
  • Successful Online Learning: What Does Learner Interaction with Peers, Instructors and Parents Look Like?

    Keaton, Whitney; Gilbert, Andrew (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020)
    The student perspective in research done in online and STEM education is largely absent but is important for understanding how both of these areas can come together to best serve students. This study uses teacher ratings, school data and student interviews to investigate the perceptions students in online STEM courses have of their past and current educational experiences. Also, using an adaptation of Moore’s Framework of Interactions (Moore, 1989), the academic and extracurricular behaviors of these students are examined in relation to their interactions others, specifically instructors, parents and peers. It was found that the interactions that students have with these stakeholders are different in this setting as compared to a traditional learning environment. Teachers in online schools serve the role of a facilitator that students felt was important to their success, but was not their only source of instruction. Parents took on many roles in this setting, including monitoring, motivating, instructing and organizing. Learner-learner interaction looked the most different compared to traditional schools because these participants generally had little interaction with peers due to time and distance constraints. Implications of these findings for students, schools, education and research are given.
  • Keeping our schools safe: Examining perceptions of crisis frequency and preparedness of educators in a statewide online charter school

    McBrayer, Juliann Sergi; Tysinger, Dawn; Tysinger, Jeffrey; Diamanduros, Terry; Fallon, Katherine (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020)
    National trends indicate a need for continued crisis interventions, specifically for online settings. The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of crisis frequency and preparedness of online educators. This research is needed to provide guidelines for detecting and responding to crisis to meet the educational needs of students in a safe school setting. The methodology utilized survey data from participants (n=143) to provide perceptions of frequency and preparedness in varied crisis areas. Findings noted that in the different areas of crisis, the percentage of educators who felt ‘very prepared’ were in need of improvement. Of these educators, indicated feeling ‘very prepared’ in the areas of neglect (45.8%), abuse (47.6%), suicidal ideations (53.1%), homicidal ideations (18.9%), unexpected death of a student (9.8%), unexpected death of a teacher (7.7%), natural disasters (18.9%), and terrorist threat (7.7%). These implications for practice suggest a need for crisis management planning and training for online settings and promotes the need for this plan to translate into professional learning that is purposeful, collaborative, and sustainable to ensure school safety. Recommendations for future research include gathering data on a wider scope from education professionals nationwide. Keywords: Crisis preparedness, online learning, charter school, professional learning, school safety
  • Using Primary Language Support in a Computer-Based Intervention to Scaffold Second Language Learners

    Amro, Falah; Dabbagh, Nada (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020-05)
    The focus of this study is to determine whether the use of students’ primary language as a scaffolding strategy delivered via a computer-based intervention can predict the language outcomes of ELLs. The results revealed a moderately positive relationship exists between linguistic scaffolding and vocabulary scores while no significant relationship could be found between linguistic scaffolding and comprehension scores. As students encounter linguistic scaffolding while working on vocabulary skills within the intervention, their vocabulary scores increase accordingly. Likewise, when students do not encounter native language scaffolding, their vocabulary scores decrease as a result. The findings also imply that providing linguistic scaffolding while working on comprehension skills implies a negative effect.
  • Coming Together as a Research Community to Support Educators and Students in K-12 Online and Emergency Remote Settings

    Archambault, Leanna; Borup, Jered (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020-05)
    In the midst of a global pandemic, our work specific to the field of K-12 online and blended learning has never been more relevant or important. Teachers all over the U.S. and globally are faced with the difficult challenge of working to continue remote learning opportunities for their students. Parents are realizing the many challenges of being a teacher and the importance of their role as many step into the fill the gap and help their students. Schools and districts continue to adjust, adapt, try new approaches, and figure out what works being at a distance. We all struggle with the realities of the digital divide and lack of access to devices, internet connections, and necessary accommodations for learners. To say that we are not sure what to expect or often how to proceed is an understatement. Fortunately, our community is filled with talented and giving individuals who have stepped up to provide a wealth of research-driven advice, resources, instructional design support, guidance, ideas and strategies. From Kerry Rice’s blog to Michael Barbour’s 5 minute video chats with selected colleagues, to Stephanee Stephens’ High Noon Help Desk on Facebook Live, there have been so many examples of coming together to help teachers make the transition to emergency remote learning. This is the kind of community we are proud to be a part of and to continue to cultivate through the Journal of Online Learning Research, an open access, academic outlet.
  • Teaching as Dialogue: Toward Culturally Responsive Online Pedagogy

    Lawrence, April (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020-05)
    Despite the preponderance of online learning in K-12 public schools, still little is known about what constitutes good online teaching. The purpose of this interpretivist investigation was to learn about some of the ways in which culturally responsive teaching occurs online. This study focused on the practices of four full-time online high school teachers. Using the methods of grounded theory research, the author analyzed data generated through observations of online courses, interviews with teachers, and teacher-written narratives in order to learn how four instructors practiced culturally responsive online pedagogy in one state-supported online program. Results indicated that the teachers engaged in frequent and ongoing dialogue with their students. The teachers used multiple strategies to get to know their students, to build class community, to adapt instruction to students’ learning needs and preferences, and to make learning relevant. Teachers also discussed contextual factors that impacted their practice. However, some characteristics of culturally responsive pedagogy, including infusing students’ cultures into the curriculum and helping students to challenge power and hegemony were not identified.
  • K-12 Community of Inquiry: A case study of the applicability of the Community of Inquiry framework in the K-12 learning environment

    Sanders, Kyle; Lokey-Vega, Anissa (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020-05)
    Teaching practices and rationales of experienced online social studies teachers at one fully online high school in the southeastern United States were aligned with the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework using the descriptive case study method. Three male teachers and one female social studies teacher, all with three or more years of experience in the online classroom, were studied using interviews, observations, and document analysis. The resultant data was then coded according to open and theoretical coding methods. Results led to an adaptation of the Community of Inquiry framework to the K-12 setting entitled the K-12 Community of Inquiry framework. Further research is needed to identify practices of K-12 fully online teachers for all subject areas and to verify the applicability of the K-12 Community of Inquiry framework.
  • Relationships Between Young South Koreans’ Online Activities and Their Risk of Exploitation

    Seok, Soonhwa; DaCosta, Boaventura (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2020-05)
    The misuse of the Internet that takes advantage of adolescents and young adults’ lack of understanding along with their growing online presence has left them at risk. A study comprising 1,092 South Korean high school students investigated ways in which adolescents and young adults may be exploited while engaged in popular and everyday online activities. Specifically, exposure to sexually explicit material (SEM) and violent content, cyberbullying, malware, phishing, and identity theft were examined in the contexts of social media, streaming movies and/or television, streaming and/or posting videos, downloading and/or listening to music, downloading and/or sharing files, involvement in free and/or subscription-based online gaming, reading news, emailing, surfing, and completing school assignments. The findings reveal prevalence rates consistent with the literature on young people’s technology use and online activities; moreover, exposure to SEM and cyberbullying were found to have statistically significant relationships with these activities. These are findings consistent with studies concluding that exposure to SEM and online bullying are two of the most serious issues related to young people today and, therefore, warrant continued attention to identifying strategies that can be used to curb risky online behavior. With more and more students using the Internet to access educational content and complete schoolwork, it is imperative that young people are taught how to safeguard themselves when online.
  • Exploring Blended Teacher Roles and Obstacles to Success When Using Personalized Learning Software

    Amro, Falah; Borup, Jered (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-02)
    Schools are increasingly adopting adaptive learning software to better customize instruction to students’ personal needs. While personalized software is not designed to replace the teacher, it does change teachers’ roles and responsibilities. However, research is lacking that examines how teachers implement the software and use the provided data and resources to adapt their instruction to students’ needs. In this case study, 11 teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs) participated in a 45-minute interview to better understand their perceived responsibilities when implementing adaptive learning software and their obstacles to success. The analysis found that teachers worked to support students by (1) orienting students to the software and learning expectations, (2) troubleshooting technical issues, (3) motivating students to fully engage with the software, (4) monitoring students’ behavior and learning in the system, and (5) providing students with additional instruction in small groups or individually. While teachers recognized the need to provide students with individualized instruction using the assessment data and resources provided by the software, teachers largely did not feel prepared or able to provide students with the level of instructional support that they believed was needed. Specifically, teachers highlighted the following three obstacles that prevented from fulfilling their perceived instructional responsibilities: a lack of time, lack of preparation and professional development, and the inability to easily obtain and interpret learning data and resources. The article concludes with recommendations for both researchers and practitioners.
  • A Batch of One: A Conceptual Framework for the Personalized Learning Movement

    Lokey-Vega, Anissa; Stephens, Stephanee (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-02)
    Variation in definitions and models of personalized learning has created confusion and disagreement among practitioners and scholars. However, personalized learning continues to be broadly promoted and funded within schools. This paper offers an inclusive definition of what is happening within the personalized learning movement and aims to be inclusive of diverse epistemologies and cultures. To do this, we revisit the seminal metaphor of the factory model of schooling and follow contemporary changes seen in manufacturing to highlight similar trajectories seen in both fields and justify this new definition, which states that personalized learning is the mass customization of learning through a unique combination of automated and student-centered pedagogies. We then propose the Personalized Learning Continuum Framework (PLCF) as a conceptual framework for this movement to help practitioners and researchers describe the relationships between various models as a function of Academic Learning Time, pedagogical methods founded on contrasting philosophical traditions, and the distribution of power in learning.
  • Cultivating Blended Communities of Practice to Promote Personalized Learning

    Azukas, M. Elizabeth (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-02)
    The purpose of this mixed-methods case study was to examine the effectiveness of a blended learning community of practice model in providing professional development to improve K-12 teacher’s self-efficacy in the implementation of personalized learning. Eighteen teachers participated in a 9-month professional development focused on personalized learning. Participants took pre and post self-efficacy tests based on 9 personal learning constructs. Qualitative data was collected from feedback surveys, online postings, and individual interviews. Teachers demonstrated greater levels of self-efficacy with regard to the implementation of personalized learning after their participation in the professional development community. They reported increased confidence with regard to personal learning in the areas of planning, risk-taking, implementation, continuous improvement, and sharing their knowledge with others. Teachers developed additional competencies such as an increased knowledge of their students and skills related to technology, design, problem-solving, and facilitation. Teachers developed new dispositions such as flexibility and open-mindedness. Teachers found that elements of personalized learning could be implemented without technology, but recommended the integration of technology to effectively implement personal learning across all nine constructs. The online components of the blended design, enhanced the teachers’ sense of community and helped to facilitate collaborative, interdisciplinary work.
  • Blended and Online Practices for Personalized Learning

    Lokey-Vega, Anissa; Stephens, Stephanee (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-02)
    The 2017 National Educational Technology Plan asserted that personalized learning and blended learning are key strategies to technology’s transformation of all schools across the country (US Dept. of Education, 2017). While blended learning has been well conceptualized and communicated, personalized learning has been leaving educators feeling confused in concept and action. To help facilitate a common language and understanding for K-12 practitioners and researchers, this special issue dives into the connections between personalized learning and K-12 blended and online learning from conceptualization, to teacher preparation, and into teacher actions.  A theme that pops up through the issue is the value of planning time and confidence as influences on teacher reception of the personalized learning movement (Tan & Chong, 2018). Additionally, the authors in this special issue share practices that represent the many roles and environments being impacted by the personalized learning movement, and they call us all to engage in future study of this emergent field.  
  • A Time For Reflection: Recognizing Successes and Planning for Improvements

    Borup, Jered; Archambault, Leanna (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-09)
    For many in the field, the start of the academic year is a time when we update our CVs and reflect on the previous year's academic accomplishments. Our attention inevitably also turns to unfinished tasks that we were not able to squeeze into a summer that always seems to end up busier than expected. Thankfully the start of the academic year is full of possibilities that can energize our efforts. Similarly this is an important time for the Journal of Online LearningResearch (JOLR). We are quickly nearing the end of our fifth year, and while we have accomplished many of our goals, there is much work left to be done. As the field’s growth accelerates, we hope to continue to be a leading publication outlet.
  • Experiences with Personalized Learning in a Blended Teaching Course for Preservice Teachers

    Arnesen, Karen T.; Graham, Charles R.; Short, Cecil R.; Archibald, Douglas (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-02)
    Abstract: In this study, we explored the experiences of preservice teachers as they learned about and experienced personalized learning in a one-credit hour class designed to introduce students to four core competencies of K-12 blended contexts: online integration, data practices, personalization, and online interactions. The course included online synchronous, online asynchronous, and in-person class meetings. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, we examined students’ pre and post readiness surveys, activity data, and reflections on their experiences in the course. We found that through course readings; creation of an online module based on blended learning pedagogies, which included personalized learning experiences; and participating in parts of the course that were personalized, preservice teachers felt more prepared to engage in personalized learning at the end of the course than they did at the beginning. Their attitudes generally became more positive and confident as they learned about and experienced personalized learning in the course. They felt they had tools they could use in personalizing their future classrooms and had learned to value the role personalization could play in student growth and motivation.
  • A Newcomer’s Lens: A Look at K-12 Online and Blended Learning in the Journal of Online Learning Research

    Hu, Min; Arnesen, Karen; Barbour, Michael K.; Leary, Heather (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-09)
    In this study, the authors analyzed 51 articles published between 2015 and 2018 inclusive in the Journal of Online Learning Research (JOLR). The purpose of this study was to examine the trends regarding article topics, geography, research methods and article types, authorship, and citation frequency. The results indicated that JOLR gave additional attention to K-12 blended learning; compared to the field overall. Another common topic was professional development, with one special issue and the majority of top-cited articles related to this topic. Most of the studies were conducted in the United States, by researchers also located in the US. Finally, more than half of the studies employed inferential and interpretive methods. Future research is needed to examine if the trends from this study continue over a more extended period and if these results reflect the development of and change in the field of K-12 online and blended learning.
  • Interaction, Student Satisfaction, and Teacher Time Investment in Online High School Courses

    Turley, Chad; Graham, Charles (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-09)
    This case study explores differences between two online course models by investigating the results of a student end-of-course evaluation survey and teacher communication logs in two online high school courses. The two course models were designed with different types and levels of interaction, one with high levels of student-content interaction, the second with high levels of student-content and student-teacher interaction. The majority of research on interaction in online learning has been conducted with adult learners at the university level. There is far less literature focusing on K-12 online learning while investigating interaction, student satisfaction, and teacher time investment. This case study addresses this gap by exploring the results of 764 student surveys and investigating the teacher time investments of four teachers. In this study the students’ perception of their learning experience in both models met the online program’s acceptable levels. In some dimensions of the course evaluation, the interactive course had a statistically significant higher rating. The teacher communication logs showed a higher teacher time investment in the more interactive courses, with the highest time investment coming from reaching out to inactive students. Due to the shortage of available literature in K-12 online settings regarding interaction, student satisfaction, and teacher time investment, the author recommends additional research in these areas. By continuing to research and understand better about K-12 online learners, this understanding could influence the development of course interaction standards, assist designers in building better courses, and ultimately lead to higher satisfaction for students.
  • A Snapshot of Successful K-12 Online Learning: Focused on the 2015-16 Academic Year in Michigan

    Bae Kwon, Jemma; DeBruler, Kristen; Kennedy, Kathryn (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-09)
    The purpose of this study was to provide a snapshot of successful K-12 online learning in one of the frontrunner states in the field—Michigan. The authors explored the state’s legislative and policy infrastructure; the beliefs, perceptions, and values of various stakeholders; and statewide enrollment patterns and effectiveness for the 2015-16 academic year. With that understanding, the study presented a secondary analysis of student information, activity, and performance data in a learning management system (LMS) in an attempt to explore success factors at the micro-level. The study results revealed the following: (a) the engagement pattern representing students’ consistent and persistent attempts to complete course tasks week-by-week was the most powerful success factor; (b) a more nuanced notion of students’ time spent in the LMS; and (c) a student population who presents unique needs to be successful in the online learning. The paper concludes with discussion about all findings in terms of a way of creating a feedback loop for upper-level systems.
  • A Case Study of a Foster Parent Working to Support a Child with Multiple Disabilities in a Full-Time Virtual School

    Rice, Mary; Oritz, Kelsey; Curry, Toni; Petropoulos, Ryan (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-09)
    With increases in the number of students enrolling in virtual schools, increases in students with disabilities can also be expected at virtual schools. Further, not all of these students enrolling in virtual schools will live with their biological parents. As students with disabilities move online, they continue to be protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, these students spend much of the day with their parents or caregivers, if they are supervised at all, which raises questions about the depth and breadth of services that students with disabilities are receiving through their virtual schools. The purpose of this case study was to learn how a foster parent of a student with a disability in a fully online virtual middle school program perceived the school’s response to her child’s needs, as well as how she imagined that the school perceived her. This foster mother determined that virtual school educators could not educate her son in accordance with IDEA. The study offers implications for improving students’ and parents’ virtual school experiences.
  • Developing Pedagogy and Course Design Skills in Novice Virtual School Teachers in Australia

    Cavanaugh, Cathy; Roe, Meredith (Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), 2019-03)
    Ten secondary schools in a large statewide education system initiated a virtual school network to address the lack of upper secondary school courses for university entry in smaller high schools. This article highlights the yearlong professional learning program designed to prepare a cohort of classroom teachers, who were novices to teaching online, for developing and teaching fully online courses. In accordance with program goals, data include pre/post measures of teachers’ capabilities in the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching, and external course reviews using the iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses. Results show that teachers grew in all standards their self-reported online teaching skills, and reviewers rated two-thirds of the 21 course quality items as being Very Satisfactory and Satisfactory for a majority of the courses prior to teachers beginning to teach students. Findings indicate areas of emphasis for the ongoing work of the cohort’s professional learning community.

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