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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore why online learners do not engage with their studies. Online high schools can create social change by creating learning environments that can flex place, pace, path and time. Theoretical constructs of student engagement were based on recent work in brick and mortar schools and adapted for an online context. Over 400 high school students were surveyed for their perceptions of what are the most engaging aspects of online learning. Twenty three teachers were interviewed about how they engaged students. Students who were engaged showed a pattern of having and keeping a work schedule, communicating with teachers, feel confident about their reading skills, and have involved parents. Teachers engaged students by personalizing lessons, communicating frequently through multiple channels, learning about their students personal lives, and understanding school is not the most important thing in many students lives. The research affected social change by raising awareness among students and faculty about the importance of staying connected to school for academic success.
National Harbor, MD
Education | Online and Distance Education | Secondary Education