The focus of this research is in the area of online learning policy. Online learning is rapidly gaining popularity and is becoming more and more an integral part of the K–12 education landscape. Such a study is important because there are very few policies that have been created to govern online learning differently than traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms. Utah’s Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP) has been largely marketed as policy that does transcend these barriers. This research uses a multidimensional mixed-method case study to evaluate the program. The findings from this research provide evidence that the SOEP falls short of providing policy that can guarantee implementation of the program’s goals and purposes and fails to ensure quality online learning for students. The main conclusions drawn from this study are that principals are hesitant to implement the SOEP because they are concerned about the potential loss of funding and a lack of confidence in the quality of online courses. This dissertation recommends the following: The creation of technology funding that guarantees full access to the Internet for all students, the creation of a performance-based assessment system for all students, and online learning in-service and professional development for both principals and teachers.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





online education, virtual education, digital learning, policy evaluation, online learning policy, policy implementation