A Study of Web-Based Distance Learning Perceptions and Concerns of Superintendents and High School Prinicipals in Iowa
Prescott, Jay B.
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The problem: This study was designed to identify the perceptions and concerns of superintendents and high school principals in the state of lowa related to Web-based distance learning. In addition, it will provide an inventory of Web-based distance learning taking place in K-12 schools in lowa. No research currently exists on the concerns school leaders have about Web-based distance learning and how this might affect the facilitation of this innovation. Procedures: Qualitative measures combined with a quantitative data gathering instrument were used to identify perceptions and concerns of superintendents and high school principals and to compile an inventory of Web-based distance education efforts among public school districts in lowa. The survey included all superintendents and high school principals in the state of lowa. The three instruments used were the Web-based Inventory Questionnaire, the Open-Ended Statement of Concerns Questionnaire, and the Change Facilitator Stages of Concern Questionnaire. Findinqs: Nearly half of the superintendents stated they knew of some type of Web-based distance learning course being offered by their district, but the student enrollment figures showed that Web-based distance learning is still in its beginning stages and enrollment in lowa lags compared to national figures. Students are taking courses predominately for college credit. Administrators' main concern focused on studen/teacher interactions. School administrators are overwhelmingly in the stage of awareness. Conclusions: School administrators are unaware of the implications specific to Web-based distance learning and relate best to this innovation by comparing it to the traditional classroom. Administrators have concerns about other issues and priorities besides the facilitation of Web-based distance learning. Recommendations: An effort should be made by Iowa's school leaders to increase their awareness and knowledge about Web-based distance learning. Without dialogue taking place regarding Web-based distance learning, the restraints of traditional teaching models will be very difficult to break. Effort should be made to address school administrators' major concerns identified in this research and to identify needs of students, besides the college bound, that might benefit from a Web-based format.
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