Sustaining small rural schools via e-learning

Nadeem Saqlain
1.496 348


Many small rural schools have been closed during the reform movement. A mountain of studies suggest that small school have various advantages. Despite these advantages, small schools are still in danger of closure and consolidation. However, the advent of internet is a ray of hope to sustain small schools in rural areas. Many K-12 online programs across the world are providing educational opportunities to students. Most of those virtual schools have focus on urban and suburban students. However, the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) has been established to provide equitable access to educational opportunities to rural students. The author has outlined a short history of distance education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Various issues of e-learning at the K-12 have been identified. It is also intended that the e-learning model which is being used in the province can provide a model to sustain small schools across the globe.

Key words: Virtual schooling, Rural education, Small schools, Distance Education.


Virtual schooling, Rural education, Small schools, Distance Education

Full Text:



Barbour, M. K. (2007). Portrait of rural virtual schooling. Canadian Journal of Educational administration and Policy, 59,1-21.

Barbour, M. K., & Hill, J. (2011). What are they doing and how are they doing it? Rural student experiences in virtual schooling. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 25(1).

Barbour, M. K., & Mulcahy, D. M. (2004). The role of mediating teachers in Newfoundland’s new model of distance education. The Morning Watch, 32(1).

Barbour, M., & Mulcahy, D. M. (2006). An inquiry into retention and achievement differences in campus based and web based AP Courses. Rural Educator, 27, 8-12.

Barbour, M. K.,& Mulcahy, D. M.(2009). Beyond volunteerism and good will: Examining the commitment of school-based teachers to distance education In I. Gibson et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (779-784). Norfolk, VA: AACE.

Barbour, M. K., & Reeves, T. C. (2009). The reality of virtual schools: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 52(2), 402-416. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.09.009

Barker, B. (1985). Curricular offerings in small and large high schools: How broad is the disparity. Research in Rural Education, 3(1), 35-38.

Berge, Z. L., & Mrozowski, S. (1999) Barriers to online teaching in elementary, secondary, and teacher education. Canadian Journal of Educational Communication, 27(2), 125-138.

Berge, Z. L., & Clark, T. A. (2005). Virtual schools: Planning for success. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cavanaugh, C. & Clark, T. (2007). The landscape of K-12 online learning. In Cavanaugh, C. & Blomeyer, B. (Eds.), What works in K-12 online learning. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Cavanaugh, C. S., Gillan, K. J., Kromrey, J., Hess, M., & Blomeyer, R. (2004). The effects of distance education on K–12 student outcomes: A meta-analysis. Naperville, IL: Learning Point Associates.

Choi, H. J., & Johnson, S. D. (2005). The effect of context-based video instruction on learning and motivation in online courses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(4), 215-227.

Compton, L. K. L., Davis, N., & Mackey, J. (2009). Field experience in virtual schools-to be there virtuality. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 17(4), 459.

Cosetti, A. (2002). Tutoring: A different background for the same role. In World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, 2002(1), p. 355-356.

Davis, N., Roblyer, M.D., Charania, A., Ferdig, R., Harms, C., Compton, L.K.L., & Cho, M.O.(2007). Illustrating the “Virtual” in virtual schooling: Challenges and strategies for creating real tools to prepare virtual teachers. Internet and Higher Education, (10), 27-39.

de la Varre, C., Keane, J., & Irvin, M. J. (2011). Dual perspectives on the contribution of on-site facilitators to teaching presence in a blended learning environment. Journal of Distance Education, 25(3).

Department of Education. (1938). Annual report of the department of education, 1938 St. John's (N.L.).

Department of Education. (1950). Annual report of the department of education, 1950 St. John's (N.L.).

Department of Education. (1957). Annual report of the department of education, 1957 St. John's (N.L.).

DeYoung, A. J. (1987). The status of American rural education research: An integrated review and commentary. Review of Educational Research, 57(2), 123-148.

Goodyear, P., Salmon, G., Spector, J., Steeples, C. & Tickner, S. (2001). Competencies for online teaching. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49, 65-72.

Goold, A., Coldwell, J., & Craig, A. (2010). An examination of the role of the e-tutor. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(5), 704-716.

Hannum, W. H., Irvin, M. J., Banks, J. B., & Farmer,T. W. (2009). Distance education use in rural schools. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 24(3), 1-15.

Haughey, M., & Muirhead, W. (1999). On-line learning: Best practices for Alberta school jurisdictions. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Government of Alberta. Retrieved from on-line-learning.pdf

Hawkins, A., Graham, C. R. & Barbour, M. K. (2012). “Everybody is their own island”: Teacher disconnection in a virtual school. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Education, 13(2), 123-144.

Irvin, M. J., Hannum, W. H., Varre, C. d. l., & Farmer, T. W. (2010). Barriers to distance education in rural schools. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 11(2), 73-90.

Irvine, V., Mappin, D., & Code, J. (2003). Preparing teachers to teach online: The role of faculties of education. In World Conference on Educational Media and Technology, 2003(1), p. 1978-1981.

Jimerson, L. (2006). The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools. Rural Trust Policy Brief Series on Rural Education. Rural School and Community Trust.

Johnson, T. (2011). Perceptions of distance education in Newfoundland and Labrador: 1999-2009. 1-80. Retrieved from

Lee, M. & Figueroa, R. (2012). Internal and external indicators of virtual learning success: A guide to success in K-12 virtual learning. Distance Learning, 9(1), 21.

McLeod, S., Hughes, J. E., Brown, R., Choi, J., & Maeda, Y (2005). Algebra achievement in virtual and traditional schools. Naperville, IL: Learning Point.

Mills, S. C. (2003). Implementing online secondary education: An evaluation of a virtual high school. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2003, p.444–451. Norfolk, VA: AACE.

Mulcahy, D. M. (2002). Re-conceptualizing distance education: Implications for the rural schools of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Morning Watch, 30(1-2). Retrieved from

Mulcahy, D. M. (2007). Current issues in rural education in Newfoundland and Labrador. Education in Rural Australia, 17 (1), 17-39.

Mulcahy, D. (2012). Children are not fish. The Morning Watch, 39 (3-4). Retrieved from

Noseworthy, R. P.(1997). The school car. Whitbourne, Newfoundland: R.P.N. Publishing.

Rice, K. L. (2006). A comprehensive look at distance education in the K-12 context. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(4), 425-448.

Rice, K. (2012). Making the move to K-12 online teaching. Pearson Education, Inc.

Riggs, F. T. (1987). Report of the small schools study project. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: Queen’s Printer.

Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Who plays well in the virtual sandbox? Characteristics of successful online students and teachers. SIGTel Bulletin, (2).

Roblyer, M. D. (2006). Virtually successful: Defeating the dropout problem through online school programs. The Phi Delta Kappan, 88(1), 31-36.

Ronsisvalle, T., & Watkins, R. (2005). Student success in online K-12 education. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 6(2), 117-124.

Setzer, C. J., & Lewis, L. (2005). Distance education courses for public elementary and secondary school students: 2002–2003 (No. NCES 2005-010). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Sparkes, R. & Williams, L. (2000).Supporting learning: ministerial panel on educational delivery in the classroom. St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: Queen’s Printer.

Stevens, K. (2008). Collaborative Professional Education for e-Teaching in Networked Schools. International Journal of Human and Social Sciences, 2, 2.

Weiner, C. (2003, July-September). Key ingredients to online learning: Adolescent students study in cyberspace. International Journal on E-Learning, 2(3), 44-50.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.