Michigan Virtual recently released the Online Learning Orientation Tool, or OLOT, a free, self-paced, web-based resource that is intended to help students understand what online learning entails and introduces the skills and knowledge that are key to success.

OLOT has four modules:

  1. Knowing What to Expect
  2. Technical Skills You’ll Need
  3. Learning Skills You’ll Need
  4. Managing Day-to-Day

Within each module are a number of units. Students may work their way through OLOT from beginning to end or may focus on individual modules or units. Many online learning mentors and other staff who counsel students about their course choices use the Michigan Virtual Online Learner Readiness Rubric (another free Michigan Virtual resource) to help identify specific areas where students may need additional support to be successful in online learning. The relationship between OLOT and the rubric allows mentors, teachers and parents to direct students to specific areas within OLOT based on the results of the student’s strengths and weaknesses as identified by the rubric.

Even though OLOT may be used by students independently, often it will be more effective if students have someone they are accountable to for the results and someone — their mentor, parent or guardian for example — directing and support their efforts. Students can move at their own pace and work through a unit or module as many times as they choose.

Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Michigan Virtual, notes the impact of orienting students to virtual learning. “Today, being college and career ready means a student has the skills to be successful learning in an online environment. We believe all students planning to enroll in an online course from any provider will benefit tremendously from using this practical, free resource that takes less than five hours to complete.”

OLOT was created by Michigan Virtual to meet a need identified by teachers, mentors, administrators and parents/guardians to help students prepare for online learning and better understand what is expected of them. This free resource from Michigan Virtual is one of several intended to help build the state’s capacity to support successful online learning experiences for Michigan’s students. For more resources for students, parents/guardians, instructors, administrators and other school staff, please see the 21f Tool Kit at micourses.org.

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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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