Abstract 8- Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 2007

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 2007



Online High School World History: Does Interaction Make a Difference?

Laura Cutchin Herring
Gwinnett County Online Campus, Norcross, Georgia

Lorraine Clevenger-Schmertzing
Valdosta State University


This study investigated the online interaction between students and teachers as well as student interaction preferences, student perceptions of learning and of online classes, and student performance. High school students, in an online world history course, participated in multiple activities that offered opportunities to interact with their teacher and classmates. Data was collected throughout the action research using student surveys, participant interviews, teacher records of daily interaction, pretests and posttests, and assignment grades. Students indicated that interaction with the teacher was very important, while interaction with their peers was less vital to learning. Interaction appeared to have little effect on student performance. Although this study took place over a three-week period rather than over an entire semester (e.g., Pelowski, Frissell, Cabral, & Yu, 2005; Picciano, 2002), results indicate that high school students may view online interaction differently than their counterparts in higher education (Northrup, 2002; Swan, 2002).

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About the Author(s)…

Laura Cutchin Herring currently teaches high school social studies for Gwinnett County Online Campus in Norcross, Georgia. Her interests lie in the use of online learning environments with high school students. Laura hopes to encourage the research community to explore the differences in the way high school students and learners in higher education adapt to and use online resources. Her academic background includes an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology fromValdosta State University in the Summer of 2007; an M.Ed. in Social Science Education from University of Georgia, in August of 1995, and a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University, May 1993. Contact information: lcherring@valdosta.edu

Lorraine Clevenger-Schmertzing currently teaches mostly online graduate courses in a specialist degree program designed to improve eduational practitioner’s skills in the areas of instructional design and technology integration. She has long been interested in the relationship between classroom culture and the adaptation that students and/or teachers make when moving to distance learning environments. Academic background includes an Ed.D. in Educational Management from the University of West Florida, Fall 2000; an M.Ed. in Communication Arts from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Spring 1986, and a B.A. in Radio, TV, Film from Baylor University, Spring 1982. Contact information: lschmert@valdosta.edu