Dr. Virginia Little: Online Learning for Multi Age Students.
Dr. Virginia Little has led the Beat Street High School Writing program here on the College of Exploration virtual campus for over 10 years. Her Ph.D. is e titled "Design Implementation and Assessment of an Online Writing Program for Multi-Age Students, Grades 4-12".
Read the Abstract below and read her Ph.D in a PDF file, 1.5 Megs.
“I keep the subject constantly before me and wait till the first dawnings open little by little into
the full light.” Isaac Newton
This dissertation project reports on teaching and learning of creative writing in the online
medium. The problem lay embodied in discovering how technology might be used to enhance
student learning in ways not possible in the regular literacy classroom. The study provides an
overview of pedagogy and research drawn from current learning theory and applied in the new
online context. The use of Empowerment Evaluation generated relevant data concerning the
dynamics between the design and implementation of the online program and insight into how
participants constructed their own writing community as they worked to understand, develop,
and improve it.
Thirty students enrolled in the course with an equal number of male and female participants.
The multi-aged student population ranged from grades 9-12. The study reports on the data
gathered from the core group of 18 students who were continuously involved over the two-year
period of the research study from August, 1996 through May, 1998.
The findings suggest that the online medium provides a learning environment conducive to
significantly improving students’ writing skills, increased technology skills, networking, online
communications, developing a community of learners, and an integrated curriculum based on
authentic inquiry. All measures point to the improvement of the students’ writing abilities as well
as their growth as people and an overall positive learning experience. In addition, the study
strongly proves the need for administrative support in such endeavors and the necessity of
established policies to guide and protect teachers undertaking the challenge of developing,
implementing, and assessing these programs.