Size Only Matters If You Have Vision: An Exploration of an Urban e-Learning Cluster

Authors

  • Michael K Barbour Associate Professor of Instructional Design, Touro University California
  • Jason P Siko Instructional Technology Consultant for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency

Keywords:

K-12, Online Learning, e-Learning, virtual learning, urban education, secondary schools, schools sector

Abstract

Historically, primary and secondary distance education in New Zealand was focused on providing opportunities for rural students. With the advent of Tomorrow’s Schools, the need for rural schools to compete with urban schools in terms of their curricular offerings were one of the reasons for the creation of e-learning clusters that would eventually become the Virtual Learning Network (VLN). After 25 years of practice, there is a growing body of research into these rural e-learning clusters. However, in 2011 the HarbourNet cluster bucked that trend, and became the first active urban-based VLN program. This study begins to address this research gap by exploring the challenges HarbourNet was able to overcome in order to become a successful member of the VLN.

Author Biographies

Michael K Barbour, Associate Professor of Instructional Design, Touro University California

Michael K. Barbour is Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the College of Education and Health
Sciences at Touro University California. He has been involved with K–12 distance, online, and blended
learning for almost two decades as a researcher, evaluator, teacher, course designer and administrator.
Michael’s research has focused on the effective design, delivery, and support of K–12 distance, online, and
blended learning, particularly for students located in rural jurisdictions. This focus includes how
regulation, governance and policy can impact effective distance, online, and blended learning
environments. This has resulted in invitations to testify before House and Senate committees in several
states, as well as consulting for Ministries of Education across Canada and in New Zealand.

Jason P Siko, Instructional Technology Consultant for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency

Dr. Jason Siko is an Instructional Technology Consultant for Wayne RESA, a regional educational service
agency that provides consulting and infrastructure services to school districts in Southeastern Michigan,
including the City of Detroit. Jason’s work focuses on K–12 online student readiness and advising schools
on the development of online programmes, as well as general consulting on technology integration,
pedagogy, and open educational resources (OER). He has held administrative and academic appointments
at the tertiary level and has been a secondary biology and chemistry teacher for 13 years.

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Published

2020-02-12