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Home Publications Online course use in New York high schools: Results from a survey in the Greater Capital Region

Online course use in New York high schools: Results from a survey in the Greater Capital Region

by Margaret Clements, Angela Pazzaglia and Jacqueline Zweig

As in most states, New York does not currently have a state-level protocol for collecting data about schools' objectives or methods for offering online courses. The goals of the study conducted by the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands' Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance (NRDRA) were (1) to create a survey tool capable of collecting information about how and why schools in New York are using online learning, as well as the factors that hinder the use of online courses; and (2) to provide information about how and why high schools in the Greater Capital Region of the state used online courses for their students in 2012/13. NRDRA members from the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) administered the survey to their 99 member public high schools at the start of the 2013/14 school year. Researchers analyzed survey data collected from 59 responding schools to produce estimates of online course use in CASDA schools. Results indicate that 59 percent of the responding schools used at least one online course for their students during the 2012/13 school year, with an average of six percent of the student population across these schools enrolling in an online course. The primary uses of online courses were to provide students with opportunities to recover credit and complete core courses required for a high school diploma. Respondent high schools identified three concerns related to their students' educational experiences in online courses: course quality, the academic integrity of online learning, and the lack of student and teacher face-to-face interaction. For responding schools that did not use online courses, the most frequently cited reasons for not using online courses were concerns about students' educational experiences in online courses and limited school resources, including funding and access to technology. Further research is needed to examine the academic outcomes of students enrolled in online courses. Three appendices are included: (1) Online course use survey; (2) Data and methodology; and (3) Supplemental statistical tables. [This report was written in collaboration with the Northeast Rural Districts Research Alliance. For a summary of this research, see ED555634.]

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