Paul's blog

By Paul Bacsich, published Thursday, 14 March 2013

We may have been quiet-seeming on the Newsletter and in my blog but we have actually been very busy behind the scenes. A set of project Final Reports was sent off to the European Commission in mid February, comfortably before the deadline, and readers should see evidence of this real soon now when the VISCED worker bees mount the Public Report and the public deliverables on the news site. And conferences continue...

By Paul Bacsich, published Sunday, 23 December 2012

Well, it has been an exciting couple of years! As I write, in a few days, the two-year funded period for VISCED comes to an end (31 December 2012). Both volumes of the Handbook are published in web and print. Some final work continues on polishing deliverables, right up till the last day of 2012. Many conferences have been attended and presented at. But all good things come to an end... or do they?

virtual colleges, virtual institutions, virtual schools, VISCED
By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 3 December 2012

It was very useful being at Online Educa Berlin this year, since this year there were a large number of national stands. I did not manage to make contact with the people from United Arab Emirates (UAE) but I had useful conversations with the stands from Egypt, Oman, Namibia, France, Finland and Austria. Readers can expect to see outputs from these on the wiki soon.

virtual schools
By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 1 October 2012

This is my "teaching" week in the Virtual Schools MOOC. This week it is International Research into K-12 Online Learning with material created by Paul and Sara, but leveraging on contributions from many members of the VISCED team, see

By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 2 July 2012

The Sunday Times reported on 1 July 2012 that  the Secretary of State for Education (England) Michael Gove "is expected to sign off on a further 80-100 schools in the next 10 days under the Tory policy to let parents, teachers, charities and other groups set up state schools. They will add to the 92 free schools so far approved of which 24 are already open." One  at least is expected to be a virtual school.

england, free school, united kingdom, virtual free school, virtual school
By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 25 June 2012

I was fortunate to attend the World OER Congress and Exhibition/Seminar last week at the UNESCO Paris office. The main focus was of course on OER as such but several interesting developments for virtual schools came up. 

OER, open educational resources, virtual schools
By Paul Bacsich, published Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The VISCED project is now in its second and final year. We are now finishing off many pieces of work so that we can begin the major task of creating the VISCED Handbook on virtual schools. This means that by the middle of the summer we have to have a list of all the virtual schools in the world (for ages 14-21) which is as complete as it can be within our resources. (With the exception of the US - numbers there are still growing fast.) Since the VISCED project is wiki-based, we shall continue to collect virtual schools right up until the end of the project but it will not be possible to include data from these latecomers in our analyses.  We are hoping that you, our readers, can help us by "crowdsourcing" new virtual schools in the next 6 weeks.

virtual schools
By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 19 March 2012

I've been in New Zealand only 5 days and have not yet visited any institutions, but I have had the benefit of being hosted by Professor Niki Davis at the College of Education, University of Canterbury. In addition to her US and UK experience she is now working with several of the "networked schools" consortia in New Zealand. The conclusions that follow are, I stress, my own.

new zealand, virtual schools
By Paul Bacsich, published Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Last week I attended Learning Without Frontiers, which is rapidly occupying a similar place in the educational conference universe to the late lamented opulent Learning And Technology World Forum, held each year just before BETT at Olympia, whose 2011 event fell victim to government cuts in autumn 2010.  Among the attractions, at the stand for WISE, a Qatar-based Foundation, was a book signing by Charles Leadbeater, the charismatic consultant who was the research leader of the study Learning from the Extremes, conducted for Cisco Education, which was one of the key influences on the VISCED bid. His book is called Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers around the World.

education, innovation, schools, VISCED
By Paul Bacsich, published Friday, 30 September 2011

We have spent September collecting together the various kinds of virtual schools we have found, both in Europe and outside it. We have also from the partners begun to make visits to virtual schools when they are close to partner locations - to begin to prepare for the case studies in Work Package 3. Classification is a big topic but one where we have much experience. However one topic that is newer to us is that there seem to examples of virtual schools which do not want to admit that there are virtual schools who do not seem to regard themselves as virtual schools or do not even want to admit that they offer distance learning to some categories of students.

This is not uncommon in some universities and some colleges in some countries - but in schools, where there is more of a need for an aspect of supervising younger children, it is perhaps more surprising.

hidden, virtual schools
By Paul Bacsich, published Friday, 29 July 2011

A recent news item in the TES (Times Educational Supplement) for 22 July 2011 cites yet another barrier to virtual schools erected by a Ministry, to add to the need for "monitored assignments" in England and even fire safety checks on the homes of homelearning students in Wales!

By Paul Bacsich, published Thursday, 2 June 2011

In order to begin planning for some of the WP3 and WP4 tasks - in particular to get a global overview of the "virtual school" phenomenon, especially its research and taxonomy aspects, I have done a "dawn raid" on the Mendeley database for literature on virtual schools and colleges. Completely unlike our recent experience at Sero with literature on OER, where there is plenty of literature but little of it on Mendeley (till we started), I discovered lots of material - 155 items to be precise.  Now there are 173 items in this group -

literature search, Mendeley
By Paul Bacsich, published Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The first results of a short literature search are now available on the wiki. Check these out at

By Paul Bacsich, published Monday, 30 May 2011

The VISCED project (which formally started on 1 January 2011) has now reached the stage where those following the project will notice a lot of new material appearing in the next few months on the wiki it is using. The VISCED project has decided to build on the success (both in wiki terms and more generally) of the Re.ViCa project on Virtual Campuses. Here are some details.

MediaWiki, virtual schools, VISCED, wiki, Wikipedia
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