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Assignment 1:
Models/Forms/Types of Virtual Schools
Maria Meli
October 7, 2014
EDTC 650 Dr. Allen Grant

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There are several types of virtual schools. There are classes that are offered fully online
or blended classes. Online learning can be asynchronous or synchronous. These classes can also
be independent study or online courses with specific outcomes/requirements. Virtual schools are
available to students from Kindergarten to grade 12, and even offered in higher education. There
are many advantages of virtual schools. Barbour and Reeves (2009) identified some benefits of
virtual schools are the ability to provide individual instruction to meet specific needs and
learning styles of students, flexibility in both scheduling and in geography, opportunity for
students who are not physically able to attend a brick-and-mortar school, and higher levels of
motivation (p. 407). Online learning is also student-centered. Students will benefit from online
learning no matter what type of virtual school they attend. It is important to find the best form of
online learning for each individual student. Throughout this paper, we will discuss the different
types of virtual schools and identify the benefits for each one.
Virtual schools that are fully online conduct all learning, assignments, or communication
through the virtual classroom. Virtual schools in K-12 have an educator that will lead the class
and provide support to students as needed. All types of students can benefit from learning fully
online. As the students get older, they do not need as much support from the teacher to
participate in the online courses as the younger students in lower grade levels do. Many online
courses require an online parent facilitator that will provide support for his/her students in K-12.
Also some students who many not be able to attend a traditional classroom due to illness or
physical distance would be allowed to receive high quality education. Students with special
needs can also attend online courses. These learners may be more successful in an online

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classroom instead of attending a traditional classroom. This will allow them to have a more
individualized education plan where they can work at their own pace based on their specific
Classes fully online can also be used for students who are unable to take a class because
it is not available within their current school system, but is available at a distance through a
virtual school. Barbour and Reeves (2009) identified home-schooled students as another group
of participants in online learning. They stated as students progress to the higher grades and
more specialized subject areas, many parents are unable to provide curriculum support to their
children due to a lack of their own knowledge (p. 408). Home-schooled students are able to
advance their education y giving them the opportunity to attend virtual schools. This is another
benefit of attending virtual schools.
Another type of virtual schools is called blended learning. This type of virtual school
integrates online learning and face-to-face learning. The percentages for each type of learning
may vary as well. Students can mostly attend face-to-face classes with additional support or
enrichment provided through online learning to individual students. Some blended virtual
classrooms have students attend mostly online and many meet face-to-face also. This allows
students to receive individual instruction that they may not be able to receive on a regular basis.
Rausch and Crawford (2012) identified the trust and safety established in the face-to-face
session are supported by the comfort created with the anonymity and flexibility provided by the
virtual classroom. Within the virtual classroom, the role of teaching/facilitator presence is also
critical to support a sense of community (p. 179). The blended classroom allows students to
transition from a solely face-to-face classroom to more of the virtual schooling for those students

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who have never received online education. Some students who receive special education
services or other students could benefit from the blended classroom if they need more of a
variety of presentation. Blended education can still be individualized and student-centered just
like fully online.
The independent student is another form of a virtual school. Learning is individualized
based on individual students. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, and Zvacek (2012) noted that
Charles Wedemeyers theory of independent students places greater responsibility for learning
on the student, frees faculty members from custodial-type duties so that more time can be given
to truly educational tasks, and offers students and adults wider choices (more opportunities) in
courses, formats, and methodologies (p. 43) The main idea of independent study is that
students may work at their own pace. This type of virtual school may benefit students who need
support for enrichment in a specific content area. These students need to be responsible of their
own learning throughout the course.
Both, asynchronous and synchronous communication can be used throughout virtual
schools. This may depend on the learner or educator of the course. Wicks (2010) identified
most online programs today are asynchronous meaning that students and teachers are working
at different times, not necessarily in real-time interaction with each other but those that operate
classes in real time may present a somewhat different set of program and policy questions
depending on state policies (p. 13). Some virtual schools use asynchronous communication
where the educator posts course content, assignments and discussions and the student logs-in at a

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different time to complete assignments. This may help those learners who are unable to attend
synchronous communication classes. If the school is using synchronous communication, the
educators are online at the same time to participate in the class. This type of virtual school
format will help those students who need instant feedback or support from the educator in order
to complete work.
Virtual schools come in many forms; however, all types support individual learners.
These virtual schools also provide student-centered activities. There are many possibilities for
distance education from fully online to blended to independent study to synchronous or
asynchronous. All types of learners can be supported by virtual schools. There are several
benefits that will support students academic growth throughout their K-12 education and on into
higher education.

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Barbour, M., Reeves, T., (2009). The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature.
Computers and Education, 52, 402-416.
Matthew Wicks and Associates. (2010). National Primer on K-12 Online Learning. Washington
DC: iNacol.
Rausch, D. W., & Crawford, E. K. (2012). Cohorts, communities of inquiry, and course delivery
methods: UTC best practices in learning--The hybrid learning community model.
Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 60(3), 175-180.
Simonson, M.; Smaldino, S.; Zvacek, S. (2011). Teaching and learning at a distance:
Foundations of Distance Education (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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Rubric for Assignment One


The introduction
is focused, welldeveloped and
states the main
thesis with
precision, and
clearly previews
the structure of
the essay.

The introduction The
states the main introduction
topic and
states the main
previews the
topic, but does
structure of the not adequately
essay, but the
preview the
introduction may purpose of the
be a little vague essay or its
in places or may structure. It
only partially
may be unclear.
address the
authors thesis or


Student selected Student selected

article is current article, but may
and scholarly.
be older than
three years.
All sources used
for quotes and All sources used
facts are credible for quotes and
and cited
facts are credible
correctly using and most are
APA Style in-text cited correctly
citations and
using APA Style
in-text citations
and references.

There is no
introduction of
the main topic
or structure of
the paper.

Student selected Student fails to /20

article is not
select an
current and are article.
not scholarly.
Many sources
Most sources used for quotes
used for quotes and facts are
and facts are
less than
credible and
(suspect) and/or
correctly using are not cited
APA Style in- correctly.
text citations
and references.

Focus on Topic There is one

Main idea is clearMain idea is
clear, wellbut the
somewhat clear
focused topic.
but there is a
Main idea stands information may need for more
out, is perceptive, be somewhat
and is supported general or the
by clear,
essay may be
convincing and more descriptive
than analytic in
Synthesis of
The writer
The writer
The writer is

The main idea

is not clear.
There is a
collection of


The writer fails /20

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outlines forms,
models/types of
virtual schools.

outlines forms, to successfully
outlines forms, models/types of outline forms,
models/types of virtual schools, models/types of
virtual schools. but at a very
virtual schools.
However, key
base level.
items for
There is no nod,
include mention interpretation
or very little
of special
may be missing mention of
populations and or unclear. There special
are categorized is a nod to
populations, but
specifics are
Student writes a The writer fails /20
packages the
conclusion that to include a
packages the
essay, but may be fails to
missing key
summarize and paragraph.
package the