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Online learning an ‘integral part of the total education environment’

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Alliance for Excellent Education brief advocates for changes in education

LANSING – According to an IssueBrief published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, K-12 education is dealing with three major crises nationwide, and the time to “change crisis to opportunity” is at hand.

The Online Learning Imperative: A Solution to Three Looming Crises in Education, authored by Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, and Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance, says that the U.S. education system is facing three major crises: global skill demands vs. educational attainment; a funding shortfall; and a future teacher shortage.

At the forefront of the proposed solutions is online learning. The IssueBrief argues that it’s time for online learning to no longer be “thought of simply as an add-on tool in education, but rather an integral part of the total educational environment.”

Jamey Fitzpatrick, president of Michigan Virtual says that, in Michigan, “fortunately, online learning is no longer viewed as an experimental way to deliver educational services to K-12 students. Michigan Virtual has provided 70,000 online course enrollments to middle and high school students in Michigan since 2000.”

The IssueBrief’s authors say that technology has transformed American life in every other facet of society, but schools have been “slow to embrace the transformative power of technology.” Young people are avid users of technology in all its forms but when they enter the classroom they may find computers but they are “used more like electronic textbooks” instead of for the “active application of online learning, the use of the Internet for research and original-source documents, real-time chats with experts, social networking with peers around the globe, simulations, and much more — offer innumerable possibilities.”

Fitzpatrick says that through Michigan Virtual students can take a wide variety of online courses throughout the school year and in the summer. And online learning will continue to expand in the state.

“During the next five years the use of online learning will continue to grow dramatically for all Michigan school districts, regardless of their size or location,” Fitzpatrick said. “We can attribute this projected growth to three significant factors: (1) what we know today about student learning; (2) the instructional value of online learning environments; and (3) the ongoing school funding crisis. These important factors will cause school administrators to transform their delivery models in new and innovative ways.”

The Alliance IssueBrief states the case for online learning similarly: “The time for merely rethinking and upgrading the role of technology in education has passed; policy decisions today must embrace a dramatic transformation of teaching and learning.”

About the Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national policy and advocacy organization, based in Washington, DC, working to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. Visit the Alliance website at www.all4ed.org.

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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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Keep up with the latest Michigan Virtual has to offer

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.