Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia [8 VAC 20 ‑ 542]
Action Comprehensive Revision of the Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 10/31/2015
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10/28/15  6:39 pm
Commenter: Radford University Professional Education Committee: Greg Sherman

8VAC20-542-90 - Online Instruction

8VAC20-542-90. This section describes recommendations for early/primary education, elementary education, and middle education teacher preparation that include “Understanding of the principles of online learning and online instructional strategies and the application of skills to deliver online instruction…”  As worded, these recommendations are far too vague and may not be applicable to most teachers at this level. More specifically, “principles of online learning” are essentially no different than “principles of book learning” (or any other mediated environment). Modality does not meaningfully affect learning principles. Similarly, effective “online instructional strategies” are no different from effective classroom instructional strategies in general. The only difference is that a teacher may need to learn how to manipulate an online system, such as a Learning Management System (LMS), to implement and deliver a discussion board or provide access to a video lecture. The principles of good discussions, or effective presentations are the same whether =such strategies take place in the classroom or online. But if the intention is to promote the “…application of skills to deliver online” then a certain degree of specificity seems in order. Does “online” refer to synchronous or asynchronous technology and delivery (or both)? Should all teachers learn how to set up a course in an LMS? If so, which system….any? And most importantly, how relevant are these skills for the target teachers (early/primary education, elementary education, and middle education)?

From an instructional design perspective, “online” is just another form of technology-supported instruction. It might be best to remove the references to “online” and just keep the revised portion of the existing wording earlier in the paragraph:

“…selection and use of materials, including media and contemporary technologies.”