Kathryn Kennedy and Leanna Archambault


This chapter focuses on identifying, evaluating, and fostering quality teaching in K-12 online learning environments. The first section describes what is known about research-based, quality K-12 online teaching, and three key elements, online pedagogy, course design, and course facilitation. The second section examines available tools for evaluating online teaching and course design using research-based frameworks and standards. The third section provides an overview of how the field is fostering quality online teaching via coursework and field experiences for teachers in colleges of education, state-endorsed online teaching endorsements, university-endorsed online teaching certificates, and via professional development. The final section explores possible future directions for restructuring teacher education to prepare teachers for K-12 online and blended teaching.

Discussion Questions

1. Based on the research literature cited in the chapter and elsewhere, what are some effective practices for teachers in an online environment?

2. Based on the standards cited, what knowledge and skills do teachers need to have to be successful in an online environment?

3. How are these skills different from those needed in a traditional setting?

4. Based on the chapter and Archambault & Kennedy (2013) (in Additional Resources), what types of experiences should teacher education programs provide to best prepare future educators for online and blended teaching? Where within a program should these experiences occur? How should they be structured?

5. Review Domain A. Mindsets in the blended learning competency framework for teachers proposed by
Powell, Rabbitt, and Kennedy (2013). Is it realistic to expect the majority of K-12 teachers in bricks-and-mortar schools to move beyond use of technology to enrich instruction, and act as facilitators of blended learning? What are some of the factors involved in making such a transition possible?

Additional Resources

Archambault, L. & Kennedy, K. (2014). Research on teacher preparation for K-12 blended and online learning. In R. Ferdig & Kennedy, K. (Eds). Handbook of K-12 Blended and Online Learning Research. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press. Retrieved from http://press.etc.cmu.edu/files/Handbook-Blended-Learning_Ferdig-Kennedy-etal_web.pdf

Kennedy, K. & Archambault, L. (2013). (Eds.) Partnering for success: A 21st century model for teacher preparation. Vienna, VA: International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from http://www.inacol.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/iNACOL-Partnering-for-Success-October-2013.pdf

Powell, A., Rabbitt, B., & Kennedy, K. (2013). iNACOL blended learning teacher competency framework.
Vienna, VA: International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from


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Barbour, M. (2012). Virtually unprepared: Examining the preparation of K–12 online teachers. In K. Kennedy & L. Archambault (Eds.), Mentoring and virtual schools: Supporting teachers in K–12 online education. Vienna, VA: International Association for K–12 Online Learning.

Brennan, R. (2003). One size doesn’t fit all: Pedagogy in the online environment. Kensington Park: National Centre for Vocation Education Research, Australian National Training Authority. Retrieved from http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/965.html

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