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Parents Invited to Participate in Groundbreaking, Nation-wide Study

Posted on Apr 29, 2016

The Center for Online Learning and Students with Disabilities is working to understand parents’ and students’ activities in the fully online learning environment. We are seeking parents with children in grades 2-8 who are currently (or within the past year) educated in fully online learning environments.

Purpose of the Study

We hope to gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of the parent (or other adult) who is involved in their students’ online learning.

Desired Outcome of the Study

We will inform stakeholders (parents, educators policymakers, vendors providing online educational content, and others) of the specific opportunities and challenges that students with disabilities and their families face in online education. With this knowledge, stakeholders can make better informed decisions about online learning programs, program implementation, parent involvement and training, student engagement, and other matters that will improve the learning environment and outcomes for students with disabilities who are being educated online.

Expectations for Parent Participants

  1. Work with the Center to complete an online survey regarding experiences in online learning.
  2. Participate in a focus group with Center researchers and other parents at a central location to discuss these experiences in greater detail.

Cash Stipend

Parents will receive a cash stipend if chosen to participate in focus group portion of the study.

Social Media Toolkit

Help us spread the word by sharing this opportunity on social media! Our Parent Study Social Media Toolkit can help get you started with example Facebook, Twitter, and Newsletter posts.

If you are interested or have questions please call (785) 864-0452 or e-mail

Enrollment, Persistence, Progress, Achievement… Oh My!

Posted on Jan 27, 2015

Here’s how you do it – enroll in an online program, stay with it and you will progress nicely and even make some great achievement – right?

Well, maybe not! It’s a little like the “Wizard of Oz” in that we’re following this “yellow brick road” – but do we know where we’re going?  Dorothy had some problems along the way and states are having some problems too. But they see some promise on the horizon too.

On November 18th and 19th, 2014, COLSD held a forum with state department of education staff to discuss online learning and students with disabilities – We wanted to know what they find important about several topics regarding online learning and students with disabilities.

This is the first in a series of eight blogs about what we learned from them.  Read More..

Parent Survey Findings

Posted on Dec 4, 2014

Paula Burdette and Diana Greer of the Center have published their findings from the 2012 Parents’ Survey about their children with disabilities in online learning.

Here’s a short synopsis of the paper:

While research has been conducted on parental involvement in K-12 online learning, none of this research relates specifically to the parents of students with disabilities. Thus, researchers developed a survey around the following constructs: parental roles, instruction and assessment, communication and support from the school, and parental challenges. Researchers then distributed the survey to parents who had a child with a disability enrolled in an online setting. This article describes the survey findings based on 119 qualified responses from across the United States. In general, parents were pleased with the outcomes that their children were experiencing in online learning, but some issues still exist for educating students with disabilities within this environment.

And here’s where you can find the entire paper at the Journal of Interactive Online Learning:

Let us know what you think about these findings. We always love to hear from you!


Using technology to enhance learning and forming links between schools and homes

Posted on Jul 30, 2012

If primary and secondary students could design their own school, more than 70% would require ubiquitous Internet access and about 45% would provide access to online classes. Administrators feel the same way about internet access, but less than 20% would design a school with access to online courses.

Project Tomorrow at Speak Up has collected information from students, parents, and educators on technology and education since 2003. Along with the previously cited information, much can be culled from their reports.

Their five-year retrospective on the growth of online learning shows that growth in online learning experiences for teachers (i.e., online professional development) directly affects the value they place on online learning for their students, including their support of learning through the use of mobile devices. Since 2007, there has been an 80% increase in parents’ support of online learning for their children. Students and parents alike now have higher expectations for individualized teacher attention through online courses and see the top two benefits of online education to include the ability to work at the student’s own pace (57% of parents believe this is a top benefit) and the ability to review material as many time as the student wishes (54% of parents). Both of these benefits resemble accommodations made for students with disabilities on their individualized education programs (IEPs).

Project Tomorrow is interested in monitoring the annual trends in provision and expectations of online learning and how these trends will affect policies. The Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities shares this interest in these trends with a special focus on how the changing climate regarding the provision of online learning will affect policy for students with disabilities and how changing policy regarding online learning and students with disabilities will affect practices.

Interested in giving input on online learning trends? Speak Up 2012 will be taking input submissions from October 3rd to December 14th, 2012. If you are school or district administrator, you may register here.

Paula Burdette is a Co-Principal Investigator for the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.