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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Mark Edward Deschaine
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: How Schools Are Meeting State Legal Mandates to Provide Online Education
Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer, Chair
Dr. Walter Burt
Dr. Robert Leneway
Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
2401 Sangren Hall
This study explores how public schools in Michigan are meeting the mandate to provide online learning opportunities as a condition of graduation. Michigan became the first state in the nation to mandate such online learning opportunities as a condition for graduation with the passage of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Although the mandate for compliance has been in effect since the 2010-2011 school year, there had been no systemic exploration as to how the mandate is affecting students, teachers, schools and systems.
This quantitative study surveys administrators from all public traditional and charter high school programs across the state of Michigan, and 139 provide data. Using documents provided by the State of Michigan, questions are formulated to provide the basis for a researcher developed survey.
Utilizing descriptive and inferential statistics, it has been found that a greater percentage of students enrolled in Online Experience Incorporated within Classes than in Fully Online Semester long courses, with both options being incorporated more into content academic areas than non-core academic areas. Smaller enrollment schools utilize on line opportunities at a higher rate than do their peers in larger schools. Online educational opportunities are most often used as a vehicle for student skillset improvement: to help students with credit recovery needs, to help students considered at-risk for school failure, and to assist students in gaining 21st Century skills. Student and administrator technological training, as well as providing online experiences within existing classes, significantly predicts improvement in student access to curriculum. Providing fully online courses to students significantly predicts improvement in the school programs’ financial and achievement measures. Commercial vendors are the largest provider of content for Fully Online Semester Long Course content, and districts tend to stay within their own organizations for support for their Online Educational Opportunities. Decision makers tend to be influenced mostly by their building administrators, followed by district administrators on the types of opportunities being offered. It has also been found that significant differences based upon district enrollment size exist throughout the state.