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Michael Barbour is currently an Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the College of Education and Health Services at Touro University, California in Vallejo, CA. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Director of Doctoral Studies for the Isabelle Farrington College of Education and an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sacred Heart University in Fairlfield, Cconnecticut. Michael began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where he taught Instructional Technology and Education Evaluation & Research. He has also been an adjunct professor for the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University since 2011.
He completed his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia), his Master of Education (Teaching and Learning), with concentrations in Literacy and Computers in Education, and his Bachelor of Education (Intermediate and Secondary) from from Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John's, Newfoundland). Prior to his studies in education, Michael completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours), with a major in Political Science and a minor in History, from Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario). Following his doctoral studies, he completed a Certificate in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) - which he had actually begun after completing his Master's degree.
Outside of his academic endeavours, Michael was a teacher at Discovery Collegiate for four years. During this period, he served as a classroom teacher, web-based distance education teacher and held district-level positions. These positions included the Partnership Development Co-ordinator for the Vista School District and the Web-based Initiatives Facilitator for the Centre of Distance Learning and Innovation in District 8.
As a classroom teacher, Michael was active in the field of providing Advanced Placement courses to secondary students at his own school and throughout North America in an asynchronous, web-based format through the Centre for Advanced Placement Education. As the Director of this research centre, he was responsible for research into various e-teaching methods and different learning styles, student use of instant messaging and asynchronous discussion forums (and how the latter affects student performance), and retention rates in both classroom-based and web-based Advanced Placement courses. The Centre and Michael's contribution to e-teaching Advanced Placement courses received international attention, as evidenced when he was invited to develop and team-e-teach a course with the Illinois Virtual High School . Michael also joined a group of educators to form St. Brendan's College, an incorporated virtual entity which operated from 2003 to 2005 offering web-based Advanced Placement courses to students worldwide.
Michael's research has focused on K-12 online teaching and learning. My research agenda is aimed at improving the design and delivery of these online learning opportunities to enable all students, particularly those in rural areas, the opportunity for success. Over the past decade, I have published approximately two dozen peer-reviewed manuscripts about a variety of topics, including the differences in retention and student achievement based upon delivery model and urban-rural distinctions, and the factors accounting for these differences; components of online learning that K-12 students find helpful and challenging; characteristics of effectively designed and delivered K-12 online courses; whether new technologies, particularly those that allow for interaction, in K-12 online learning affect how students learn; what students do in their schools when scheduled for online learning environment and where they turn to when they need content-based assistance; the preparation of teachers to be able to design, delivery, and support K-12 online learning; and policy and regulatory issues related to the introduction and growth of K-12 online learning at state and national levels.