In order to successfully implement the proposed measures to improve accountability in online education, a number of organizations, researchers, and educators are developing a number of strategies, programs, and techniques to support the facilitation of online courses which have been developing at meteoric rates. Unfortunately, there is currently a dearth of literature on what measures are most effective in online learning. In Education Week, Cathy Cavanaugh (2011) reported “We don’t really know at this point which [methods] tend to be most effective. … We need to get to a much more fine-grained level of understanding.” Because of a scarcity in research material that validates certain methods of instruction for virtual settings as more effective than other methods of instruction for virtual settings, proctors, administrators, educators, and researchers should pool their resources, findings, and materials together to facilitate the spread of knowledge in regards to what techniques and strategies would be most effective in educating students enrolled in online courses.
The National Educational Technology Plan (2016) lists a number of services that allow educational actors to participate in finding which methods work best to successfully implement the proposed policy of improving accountability in online education. The Creative Commons have created open licenses for learning resources, the GNU General Public License has developed software that makes a number of open licenses available for use, as well as has the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation.
Currently, “virtual schools are left to interpret existing attendance laws, many of which originated in the later part of the 19th century. The concept of attendance in K-12 online education needs to be redesigned to meet the needs of a growing number of online students (Archambault, Kennedy, Bender, 2013).” Lawmakers will have to institute standards such as those laid out in the iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Teaching in order ensure effective education in the nation’s virtual classrooms and address accreditation and accountability issues in online learning.
Furthermore, teacher preparation programs designed specifically to train those intending to teach an online course need to become prerequisites in order to become a valid teacher of an online course because the nature of virtual classrooms are fundamentally different from the nature of physical classrooms, both in social interaction, communication, assessments, attendance, etc.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning. (2011, October 1). National Standards for Quality Online Teaching (Rep. No. 2). Retrieved April 25, 2016, from International Association for K-12 Online Learning website: http://www.inacol.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/national-standards-for-quality-online-teaching-v2.pdf
WHAT STUDIES SHOW. (2011). Education Week, 31(1), S19.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, Washington, D.C., 2016.