Assessment in Online and Blended Learning Environments

Supporting Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online and Blended Learning
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here Michigan Virtual. Parent guide to online learning. About — REMC home. Rice, M. Describing online learning programs and practices that serve diverse learners. Journal of Online Learning Research , 4 2 , Section of the Rehabilitation Act of , 29 U. Simmons, T. Delivering the general curriculum: Pre-service teacher perspectives regarding a technological approach for students with moderate and severe disabilities.

Information Technology and Disabilities Journal , 12 1. Part 36 nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations and commercial facilities. United States Department of Labor. Web content accessibility guideline WCAG 2. Providing educational programs and services to students who have disabilities began with legal initiatives in the mids. Michigan has a long history of advocating for students affected by disabilities in ways that exceed federal requirements in breadth, depth, and scope.

This continues to be true as the state remains focused on the educational and programmatic needs of students, regardless of need, in face-to-face, online, and blended educational environments. This section will focus on some salient legal requirements from both the state of Michigan, as well as a federal government perspective. The legal history of both jurisdictions is long and has the potential to be nuanced based on the specifics of each individual situation. The content here is not intended to be exhaustive coverage of the legal requirements for programs and services; it neither constitutes legal advice, nor should it substitute for legal guidance by counsel.

The coverage here is intended to provide support for future investigations by organizations and individuals wishing to gain basic information related to the broad requirements that guide effective educational programs and supports for students who have disabilities. The following legal documents should be considered when proposing and implementing an individualized educational plan IEP of service for students affected by disabilities within online and blended learning environments.

Requirements for the education provision of all students, in all settings, is established within the Michigan School Code. Understanding the legislative scope that the state of Michigan expects from educational entities in a holistic fashion provides support when attempting to operationalize individualized educational plans and supports to students who have disabilities.

It is important for educators, families, and professionals to understand that the definition and rules provided by the state are a result of both legislation, litigation, and rulemaking. As such, these rules provide the supports necessary to guide the development of appropriate educational programs and services to meet the multiplicity of needs that students who have disabilities bring to educational settings, both face-to-face, as well as in online or blended environments.

Special education services are provided to students with eligible conditions to assist them in meeting graduation requirements for general education curriculum established by their local school district that is in alignment with the Michigan School Code. The intent of special education supports and services is to provide students who have disabilities the individualized, appropriate educational supports necessary to assist them in being successful with general education content, within the general education environment, to the greatest extent possible. It is important for all individuals who are working to provide quality educational support services in online and blended environments to understand the students, how their eligibility for services affects their ability to perform educationally within the general education environment, how the they are able to progress within the general education curriculum, and the ways that appropriate individualized programs and supports might be used effectively within online and blended learning environments.

Section 21f of the State School Aid Act Michigan Legislature, is specific to conditions for students wishing to take courses in online or blended learning environments within Michigan. Section 21f allows K students enrolled in a public school or district full- or part-time to enroll in up to two online courses per academic term. Districts may deny such enrollment requests as defined in a limited number of circumstances. In such an instance, the district must have an education development plan stating such in their records.

Blended learning

For some students affected by disabilities, the provisions of Section 21f provide a great deal of flexibility in meeting their individual educational needs in a supportive environment that allows the students to focus more upon content in a less socially and behaviorally demanding or distractive learning environment. Section 21f is one proactive educational provision that should be considered when determining if an online or blended learning opportunity is appropriate for students who have a disability.

These provisions for a different set of learning opportunities and curricular expectations are available to all students. The appropriateness of each of these should be considered when attempting to provide support programs and services to students eligible for special education services. An articulation of each of these programs is beyond the scope of this document. However, it is important to remember that none of these options exist in isolation, and a combination of these opportunities might be appropriate within online or blended learning environments to meet the individualized learning needs of students who have disabilities.

In addition to state provisions to support students affected by disabilities, there are also corresponding federal legal statutes and requirements that require adherence.

Blended learning: the new normal and emerging technologies

A brief discussion will provide a cursory understanding of the requirements with further resources to consider when participating in a planning meeting to address the individual learning needs of students who have disabilities within online or blended learning environments. However, as in the case of Michigan, states can choose to offer services beyond those required of the federal government. For those unfamiliar with special education and the federal requirements, it is strongly suggested that you consider reviewing the resources provided through the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services.

Although rules and regulations for special education services are found in the MARSE requirements, some students with disabilities may not be eligible for special education programs and services because their level of academic functioning is greater than the levels specified in special education law; these students might be entitled to academic accommodations based on federal civil rights laws through Section accommodations.

This distinction, although apparently nuanced, is incredibly important to understand, since requirements for programmatic supports and the provision of services can be dramatically different, as are the legal requirements for eligibility, program development, evaluation, and due process.

Suitable Tasks

Online and blended learning requires the reconstruction of instructor and learner roles, relations, and practices in many aspects. Assessment becomes an. This book will assist the relevant audience in the theory and practice of assessment in online and blended learning environments. Providing both a research and.

For those unfamiliar with these distinctions, it is recommended that you consult the Special Education Supervisor or Director in your district for more direction. Unlike special education laws that provide opportunities for individualized programs and services to meet educational goals and objectives, the federal provisions listed below provide students with recognized and documented disabilities federal support to effectively access educational programs and services. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA usually is associated with covering employment issues, there are times when the ADA covers access to educational programs for people affected by federally recognized disabilities.

Eligible students are not allowed to be discriminated against due to a legally recognized disability in educational settings. This law has tremendous impact on the ways that identified computer facilities are designed to maximize access to all students, especially for students who have physical or visual disabilities. Section of the Rehabilitations Act of Section , the precursor to the ADA, states that schools need to provide supports to meet the needs of students with disabilities in a manner consistent with the way that they provide supports to meet the needs of students who are not affected by disabilities.

The intent of this law is to give students eligible under a federally-recognized category the services and supports necessary for them to access the general education curriculum and environment. Generally, students with Section accommodations receive services that are not as extensive as those that students who are eligible for special education services receive, since they do not qualify for special education services.

Other areas of the program might also be affected. Consult with a legal professional for more program specific requirements and recommendations. Section of the Rehabilitations Act of Section is of primary importance and concern for educational programs providing online and blended learning opportunities for students with disabilities. The intent of this act is for organizations receiving federal funds to provide access to online content in a way that is accessible to all users, regardless of the level or type of disability the end user might experience.

Programs need to ensure that their online and multimedia content are accessible for all users. This information is a good first step for consideration. It is recommended that the instructional team faithfully consider all portions of the technical compliance aspects to provide a quality instructional and educational experience for all students.

The Assistive Technology Act supports state efforts to improve the provision of assistive technology to individuals of all ages with disabilities through comprehensive statewide programs of technology-related assistance…. To provide States with financial assistance that supports programs designed to maximize the ability of individuals with disabilities and their family members, guardians, advocates, and authorized representatives to obtain assistive technology devices and assistive technology service s Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs, n.

The federal government has made access for all students to quality educational programs and services a priority. The increase in technological capabilities for instructional technology has provided tremendous supports for students who have disabilities and require assistive technology. This support aids not just the student, but also the programs and family members that help them understand the ways that assistive technology can be incorporated into their learning to increase educational flexibility and academic achievement.

It is vitally important that providers of online and blended educational services for students with disabilities realize their legal obligation to meet both the spirit of the laws and regulations, but also the letter of the programs established in individually developed student educational plans. Litigation of these cases within each of these areas have caused courts to rule in favor of the spirit of the law when deciding for many plaintiffs.

It is important to remember that these laws were promulgated to assist individuals who have disabilities in gaining access to buildings, programs, and services. Therefore, for programs to ignore these important federal legislative initiatives sends the wrong signal to the constituent users of the programs and services being provided in online and blended learning programs. It is important to recognize that these laws require a solid understanding of the rules and requirements, and it is important for all involved to be cognizant of their requirements.

Programs providing services to students affected by disabilities in online and blended environments should have qualified, trained professionals available to help the team interpret how state and federal laws affect the learning environment. Additionally, it is important for school administrators to work with the Special Education administrators within their Intermediate School District ISD , Regional Educational Service Agency RESA , or Regional Educational Service District RESD when discussing issues related to school finance or compliance for the special education programs and services being offered to the student in the online or blended learning environment.

Working closely with the administrators in these larger regional districts will provide support and insight that will be important when determining the best way to support students with disabilities in online or blended learning environments. It would be quite difficult to discuss all the potential challenges that might exist when districts or programs plan for effective instruction for students affected by disabilities.


Therefore, Appendix B, although not intended to be exhaustive, may provide an opportunity to discuss areas that need to be resolved for the establishment of effective programs and services in online or blended learning environments. Fortunately, there are many valuable supports and resources available to assist in effective program planning, instruction, and supports when providing online or blended education to students living with a variety of disabilities.

The following resources can offer additional support. Michigan Virtual has been in existence for 20 years to support quality online and blended learning environments for all students. Michigan Virtual is a result of Michigan legislation codified in the school code, and the programs, services and supports that they provide are completed under the direction of a group of professionals with a variety of experiences.

Scaffolding students in hybrid, blended, & online learning environments

The Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning MACUL helps educators identify sound educational practices related to technology as well as understand the implications of rapid changes in technology. Recognizing the challenges in preparing students, we strive to encompass the entire educational community from preschool through college level.

According to their website, the mission of SIG OBL is to support educators and students in their work with online and blended learning. SIG OBL provides a forum for online learning, blended learning, mobile learning devices, and instructional tools and strategies for teaching and learning online.

There are many ways that educators of students affected by disabilities need supports in online and blended learning environments. The local REMC Association of Michigan may be of added support and assistance to teams as they design and develop appropriate interventions. Peer- to-peer interactions are important to help students learn from each other and to challenge their thinking in new directions.

When creating the flow of events in the course, consider Grad ual Rele ase of R espo nsib ilit y Fisher Frey, Early sessions and activities should be sequenced in smaller chunks to develop foundational knowledge and skills with more instructor leadership, feedback, and concrete examples. In effect, the learning should scaffold independence and allow for more student autonomy as their knowledge increases. As the course continues, work can become more conceptual and complex. Students can work more independently and the instructor role should transition to that of a tutor or mentor.

Finally, students should lead activities and presentations as the course culminates. There are tasks well suited to blended learning design such as discussions that expand talks outside the classroom, bringing in remote guests, team work, collaboration on projects, integration of video and media, and access to online resources and tools.

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Use a design framework to guide the creation of the online portion of the course. Choose appropriate tools that enhance learning rather than detract. All decisions about the designs in the program adhere to the overarching direction and purpose. Tweet a comment on your favorite web based tool or app that have you used as a learner or instructor that you feel most enhances interactions within a course.

Consider the key concepts from the blended learning chapter, then think about your own experiences with blended learning. Choose a lesson, unit, or other component of a course that you would like to redesign systematically as a blended component. Then complete each task below after reading this chapter. Create an outline for a lesson from a class including topics, content for each topic, and teaching strategies. Decide which elements of the lesson will be face-to-face and which will be blended.

Provide a brief rationale for your decisions. The readings will lead you through this design process from start to finish. Bonk, C. The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs. Pfeiffer essential resources for training and HR professionals. San Francisco: Pfeiffer. Cavanaugh, C. Redefining school from site to service: Learning in and from K online education.

Distance Learning 7 2 , Examining Communication and Interaction in Online Teaching. Ferdig, R. Lessons Learned from K Blended Programs. Fisher, D.

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Better learning through structured teaching: A framework for the gradual release of responsibility. Innosight Institute. Blended Learning. Means, B. Washington, D. C: US Department of Education. See also: 21st century skills. Electronic Journal of E-Learning. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved The Washington Post. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks.

Journal of Forensic Sciences. Internet and Higher Education. Preparing for the Digital University: a review of the history and current state of distance, blended, and online learning.

Athabasca University. Retrieved May 4, Educause Quarterly : 18— The Free Library. March 5, Retrieved October 18, The handbook of blended learning environments: Global perspectives, local designs. Khan Academy. Archived from the original on District Administration. Education Elements. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Connections Learning. Aspire Public Schools. Idaho Digital Learning. September Retrieved May 10, Education and Science. DreamBox Learning.

Associated Data

The Internet and Higher Education. Alexander International Encyclopedia of Education Third ed. Oxford: Elsevier. The Journal of Media Literacy. Journal of Education Policy, Planning and Administration. Journal of Information Technology Education. The Journal of Educational Technology Systems.