Michigan Virtual releases guide to help schools navigate the virtual learning journey

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Michigan Virtual recently released a guide for mentors of online learning students, “Mentor Fundamentals: A Guide for Mentoring Online Learners,” that is intended to provide an understanding of the fundamental elements of mentoring or coaching students for success with online courses.

Mentors are critical partners in ensuring student success in navigating the virtual learning journey. The mentor, student, parent and online instructor form a team to help students become proficient online learners and successfully complete their courses.

“Achieving success as an online learner has become an important part of being college and career ready for all secondary students in Michigan,” Jamey Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of Michigan Virtual, said. “’Mentor Fundamentals’ is a free resource for school personnel to help them better support students enrolled in online courses available from the Michigan Virtual® or any online course provider.”

The guide was prepared with the assistance and insight of experienced mentors, instructors, administrators, and customer service representatives from Michigan Virtual. It describes the roles and responsibilities of the mentor and contains tools to prepare mentors for working with online learners.

The guide’s resources include defining the characteristics of a good mentor, mentor best practices and an Online Learner Readiness Rubric. The rubric can be used by mentors as a resource to help identify specific areas where students may need additional support to better ensure success in online learning.

Additional information includes sections on Expanded Online Learning Options, Mentor Fundamentals and Research on Mentoring in Schools. The research section was authored by Dr. Jered Borup, assistant professor in the Division of Learning Technologies at George Mason University and a fellow at the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™.

According to Dr. Borup, although current research is limited, the emerging research indicates that mentors can improve course outcomes. For instance, one study examined 2,880 survey responses and found that online students who worked in a mentor-monitored classroom were nearly twice as likely to pass the course as those who did not.

View the latest Mentor Guide

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®, Michigan LearnPort®, and Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute™. Visit www.mivu.org for more information.

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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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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.