Determining My Dissertation Topic

For the past two years I have studied various topics…all related to K-12 online learning.  Now, the time has come to truly design the study and, now, I am struggling to determine that topic.  I can hear the professors at CSU Fresno saying, “the only good dissertation is a done dissertation”  or “you don’t have to save the world.”

So, here is where I’m at.  I know that I want to do something with K-12 online learning.  Listed below are the possible questions I might study.

  • What are the characteristics that cause high school students to be successful in online courses? (Have found Roblyer ESPRI prediction model interesting)
  • Is there a difference in success of online high school students whether they take an online course part time or full time?
  • Do students of color achieve better in charter online schools than in comprehensive schools?
  • Do culturally responsive online schools result in greater student success? (Research by Geneva Gay)
  • Is there a significant difference between student achievement of high school students in charter online schools as compared with students in brick-and-mortar high schools?
  • Is there a relationship between students enrolled in online charter schools and student dropouts?  (Not sure how to find the drop outs to study…)

I would appreciate your thoughts…what most needs to be studied in the K-12 online school world?

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5 Responses to “Determining My Dissertation Topic”


  1. 1 Marie Slim May 23, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I’d like to hear the answers to the part time vs. full time or about achievement of students of color!

  2. 2 Jeanne Nelson May 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Hello, Rob,

    I’m excited that you are narrowing your topic and getting into the final stretch of your dissertation journey.

    Several of your questions focus on the kinds of students who are successful in online learning environments, which may be similar to research on the kinds of students who are academically successful in a basically eurocentric education system. I’d be more interested in how online schools are meeting the needs of students who have not experienced academic success, perhaps by being more culturally responsive or by reducing cultural bias. Online schools, through digital translation programs, now have the potential for meeting the needs of students of the world.

    –Jeanne Nelson

  3. 3 KenGlillsperi August 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Hiya!
    I must say that robdarrow.wordpress.com is a great board!
    I spent tons of hours seeking for a board relevant to my hobbies.
    Fortunately, I came across that forum!

    Excuse me if this is a not the best category to write , however I couldn’t find better http://community.49ersfaithful.net/CleaErwin – 🙂


  1. 1 Defining A Dissertation Topic – Which Aspect Of K-12 Online Learning? « Virtual High School Meanderings Trackback on May 24, 2009 at 8:46 am
  2. 2 Rob’s Continuing Dissertation Journey « Virtual High School Meanderings Trackback on May 29, 2009 at 8:32 am

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