Secondary Online Education: A Review And Synthesis Of Central Elements

Thomas G. RYAN

In this paper the authors illuminate the distance education field of endeavor to point out that online education can now be found at most educational levels (elementary, secondary, post-secondary) globally. This enterprise requires a multitude of traits which are detailed herein in order to alert the new online educator and remind the veteran educator of the essential elements required to achieve desired outcomes. To instruct online clearly requires informed goal setting, clear processes, and predictable outcomes, from the onset. As well designers need to examine current research, conduct online research, and listen to feedback from online students to maintain and nurture both the program and the students. Some key factors of online education are laid out which include strategic intent (planning), content (curriculum), and pedagogy (incorporating current learning theories into delivery models). As well several underpinning qualities are described that must be present such as the teacher’s quality of online instruction, and level of expertise in distance learning. All online educators need to be aware of the student (profile of successful online learners, interaction), assessment/evaluation (rigorous, comparable and authentic), support (student support and training on using the technology), technical infrastructure, and the need to review program frequently which is key to the development and maintenance of successful online education efforts

KEYWORDS: Online Education, Secondary Education.