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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Comps Foundations question

I said earlier this summer that I would post my comprehensive exams questions, which I really haven't gotten around to. Anyway, given that I have completely finished my Foundations question, I figure that it is safe to post it now (given that my response is supposed to me my own knowledge and ideas and not what others may feed me through adding comments to my blog).

So, here's my foundations question:

Your research interests are focused on enhancing online learning opportunities for rural high school students. My questions are intended to help you examine the foundations of virtual high schools, both within the field of instructional technology and in related fields such as distance education. I want you to explain how virtual high schools have developed over the past decade, what their status is today in education, and where you think they will go in the near future. Here are the specific questions I would like you to answer:

1. In the context of education, describe the development of virtual high schools, exploring international efforts (e.g., Stevens (1999) in Canada), as well as efforts here in the States (e.g., the Virtual High School Project, http://www.govhs.org/website.nsf, Harrington-Lueker (1997)).

2. Briefly describe three examples of well-known virtual high schools (international as well as U.S. based). What are the major lines of research being examined by the developers of these three virtual high schools?

3. Describe the kinds of people who are doing the most interesting work in the area of virtual high schools today. Are they instructional technologists? Distance educators? Teachers? Others? Explain why you think instructional technologists are (or are not) the best people to be doing research and development in this area.

4. Describe three to four theoretical foundations of Instructional Technology (e.g., systems theory, communication theory, learning theory) and how the application of these foundational theories might inform practices in virtual high schools.


Harrington-Lueker, D. (1997). Web high: Move over, distance learning --
here comes the virtual high school. Electronic School. Retrieved on July 4, 2005 from http://www.electronic-school.com/0997f2.html

Stevens, K. (1999). A new model for teaching in rural communities - The electronic organization of classes as Intranets. Prism - Journal of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association, 6(1), 23-26.
What a geat question, don't you think? Out of the three and a half responses (well two completed - note the other one that is completed is my Theory question, see "Theory of Interaction?" - and one that still needs some editing, and one that I am about half way through), this is the question that has helped my current thinking the most, as it forced me to synthesis (and write out) the many thoughts that I have been having about virtual high schools, the work that is currently being done, and the theories/foundations that are currently affecting the literature in the field.

I'll post the Methdology and Practice questions as soon as I have finished with those as well. Until then...

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