Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a Survey about Training and Challenges. REL 2016-110Report as inadecuate

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Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest

REL Midwest, in partnership with the Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance, analyzed the results of a survey administered to Wisconsin Virtual School teachers about the training in which they participated related to online instruction, the challenges they encounter while teaching online, and the type of training they thought would help them address those challenges. REL Midwest researchers and Virtual Education Research Alliance members collaborated to develop the survey based on items from the Going Virtual! survey (Dawley et al., 2010; Rice & Dawley, 2007; Rice et al., 2008). Wisconsin Virtual School administered the survey to its 54 teachers, and 49 (91 percent) responded to the survey. The responses of the 48 teachers who indicated that they taught an online course during the 2013/14 or 2014/15 school year were analyzed for the report. Results indicate that all Wisconsin Virtual School teachers reported participating in training or professional development related to online instruction and that more teachers reported participating in training that occurred while teaching online than prior to teaching online or during preservice education. The teachers most frequently reported challenges related to students' perseverance and engagement and indicated that they preferred unstructured professional development to structured professional development to help them address those challenges. Further research is needed to determine what types of professional development and training are most effective in improving teaching practice, especially related to student engagement and perseverance. The following are appended: (1) Survey on online teacher training and challenges; (2) Data and methodology; and (3) Supplementary tables.

Descriptors: Online Courses, Teaching Experience, Teacher Surveys, Training, Teacher Competencies, Barriers, Teacher Education, Faculty Development, Student Behavior, Educational Methods, Elementary School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, Technology Uses in Education, Academic Persistence, Student Responsibility

Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest. Available from: Institute of Education Sciences. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20208. Tel: 800-872-5327; Web site:

Author: Zweig, Jacqueline; Stafford, Erin; Clements, Margaret; Pazzaglia, Angela M.


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