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ERIC Number: ED533582
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 227
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-6265-8
The Investigation of Teacher Communication Practices in Virtual High School
Belair, Marley
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Virtual schooling is an increasing trend for secondary education. Research of the communication practices in virtual schools has provided a myriad of suggestions for virtual school policies. Although transactional distance has been investigated in relation to certain aspects of the communication process, a small-scale qualitative study has not included observations and interviews in a case study format. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the activities and processes involved in the daily rituals of virtual school teachers and learners with the goal of determining how regular phone calls by teachers contributed to the work habits of students. Eight virtual teachers were observed attempting to contact more than 60 struggling learners. Phone conversations with 12 of these learners showed that teachers repeatedly attempted to help them. Eleven students who were interviewed indicated preferences for written communications. The students reported that they worked in response to phone calls but did not always answer the phone when teachers called. Ten teachers who were interviewed emphasized the difficulty reaching students by phone and the lack of student responses to phone calls attempts. A qualitative research design led to correlation between notes from observations and interviews and the supporting documents from teacher and school records. A preponderance of evidence from the triangulation of data determined that teacher phone calls may not lead to assignment completion for virtual learners. Records from more than 100 contact attempts showed that fewer than 20% of the students responded to teacher phone calls and less than half of these students completed the work requested. The interview data included the ideas that teachers believe written communications or multiple forms of communication may be more effective than regular phone calls. The teachers mentioned autonomy and prioritize as reasons they did not use phone calls for learners who were not struggling. Future research should bridge the gap in current research and expand on sample size and alternate methods of communication. It may involve quantitative measures for responses to teacher phone calls or user activity. Further investigation of learner responses to phone calls and nonresponsive students could add to this data. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A