EDC and REL Midwest: New Report on Online Teachers’ Preparation and Challenges

Photo of Jacqueline Zweig

Few studies have examined the kind of training online teachers receive to prepare them to use multiple technologies effectively, facilitate student engagement online, and develop or customize online courses. A November 2015 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) report authored by a team of EDC researchers—Jacqueline Zweig (at left), Erin Stafford, Peggy Clements, and Angela Pazzaglia—in collaboration with the REL Midwest Virtual Education Research Alliance provides new insight into both the training in which online teachers participate and the challenges they perceive in their professional practice.

The report, Professional Experiences of Online Teachers in Wisconsin, presents findings from a survey that Wisconsin Virtual School—a state online learning program that offers courses to partner districts in Wisconsin—administered to teachers who taught an online course during the 2013/14 or 2014/15 school year. “We found that teachers most frequently reported challenges related to student perseverance and engagement,” said Zweig. “Online learning programs and training providers may want to use the survey instrument that we include in the report to assess and better meet online teachers’ needs, including providing teachers with effective strategies to encourage students to interact and remain engaged throughout the course.”

Last Updated: December 2015