Online Learning: Experiences and Perceptions of Gifted Middle School Students, Their Parents, and Principals
Susan H. Buescher, University of Idaho, United States
University of Idaho . Awarded
The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act's focus on raising standardized test scores for underachieving students has created a national education system where teacher time and resources are often not directed to students in the top percentiles and those identified as gifted and talented. As resources for gifted students continue to be limited, opportunities for distance learning have increased exponentially. This qualitative study explored the experiences of 7 gifted middle school students from rural schools in One Western State, their mothers, and their school principals with online courses provided through the Western Virtual School (WVS). This study also investigated the students' experiences in relation to self-regulatory learning theory and self-efficacy theory. Four areas of inquiry included: (a) the significance of the teacher, (b) rural schools' approach to gifted programs, (c) student motivation in the online environment, and (d) challenges with the online learning experience. The findings suggest that additional research be conducted in the areas of (a) student-teacher relationships in the online environment; (b) methodologies related to providing social interaction in online courses; and, (c) the use of online courses specifically for middle school students. Recommendations for educational practice include: (a) the identification of the self-regulatory learning attributes of students prior to online enrollment; (b) the need for more cohesive programs for gifted students; and, (c) increased professional development in the area of gifted education for public schools teachers and administrators.
Buescher, S.H. Online Learning: Experiences and Perceptions of Gifted Middle School Students, Their Parents, and Principals. Ph.D. thesis, University of Idaho.
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