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Michigan Virtual instructor finalist for national award

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Michigan Virtual for Students online teacher Andrew Vanden Heuvel of Grand Haven is one of five finalists for the 2011 National Online Teacher of the Year.

The announcement of the 2011 National Online Teacher of the Year will be made March 10 at the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Teaching and Learning Symposium in Atlanta. The national award is cosponsored by the SREB and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

Vanden Heuvel is a physics and mathematics instructor for the Michigan Virtual for Students. He is also a science education consultant for USA Today Education and a physics and astronomy professor at Calvin College. Andrew was recently appointed as a NASA Solar System Educator and was recognized as a Hubble Space Telescope Gold Star Educator.

Sixty-four exemplary teachers from 25 states were nominated for this distinguished honor. On behalf of the State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan congratulated Vanden Heuvel, saying “Helping our young people to become successful online learners is critical to their future success in higher education and the world of work.”

In online learning, course content and instruction is delivered over the web, with students following lessons, completing assignments and interacting with instructors through email and discussion rooms.

“Online instructors are the critical element to effective online teaching and learning,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Michigan Virtual, the parent organization of Michigan Virtual. “Just like in face-to-face teaching, online instructors must be engaging, knowledgeable and available. Andrew is all of these things and more, and he represents the very best in what is a new and growing field. Andrew truly believes all students can learn and he does a remarkable job of developing a rapport with students he rarely gets a chance to meet in person.”

Online learning is expanding dramatically in Michigan and nationwide. Michigan Virtual has seen its course enrollments climb from 100 during the 1999-2000 academic year to more than 15,000 during 2009-10. National estimates for online enrollments have jumped from 40,000 to 50,000 in 2000 to more than one million last year, according to iNACOL.

About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual is a private, nonprofit Michigan corporation established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to serve as a champion for online learning. It is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual for Students and Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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