Michael K. Barbour is Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the College of Education and Health Sciences at Touro University California. He has been involved with K-12 distance, online, and blended learning for almost two decades as a researcher, evaluator, teacher, course designer and administrator. Michael’s research has focused on the effective design, delivery, and support of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning, particularly for students located in rural jurisdictions. This focus includes how regulation, governance and policy can impact effective distance, online, and blended learning environments. This has resulted in invitations to testify before House and Senate committees in several states, as well as consulting for Ministries of Education across Canada and in New Zealand. Michael completed his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia.
In this interview, part of the Lead the Change series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Dr. Barbour discusses his work exploring distance learning and its role in educational change. As he puts it:
I would hope that the field [of educational change] begins to expand its awareness and reach. Two years from now, or five years from now, I would hope that I would be able to point to specific theories or models of change – and be able to describe how I had used or seen them used in specific contexts within the K-12 distance, online, and blended learning environment. In my personal case, hopefully the exercise of participating in this interview will provide some impetus for me to become more aware of this field. But even from the standpoint of a field as a whole, educational change needs to be seen within various educational disciplines – not just educational instructional technology – in much the same way that educational psychology the seen as a guiding or overarching lens for everything that we do. As for what might excite me about the field, based on my limited knowledge… It would probably have to be the potential the field has to engage with folks like myself, who are largely ignorant of the specifics of the discipline, to be able to apply various aspects of the field in a more informed and systematic fashion. Essentially for educational change to exist in much the same way that models of instructional design or systems for program and product evaluation have become inherently embedded, almost to the point that they’ve become second nature, to research and researchers in most educational and instructional technology disciplines. I believe there would be great potential for folks in the field of educational and instructional technology to be able to rhyme off models of educational change in the same way they can rhyme off different models of instructional design.
This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently, Lead the Change has also interviewed Kristin Kew and Osnat Fellus.