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Online Teacher of the Year Selected

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A veteran teacher was named Michigan Virtual’s 2011 Online Teacher of the Year at an awards presentation dinner at the University Club at MSU on Monday, Dec. 5. Julia Swartz of Vermontville was honored for being a true pioneer in working to change the way students learn and educators teach in the state of Michigan.

Swartz has been an online instructor for Michigan Virtual for Students since 2003, where she teaches in a virtual classroom for all schools across Michigan. Swartz also works as the curriculum director at Maple Valley Schools after more than 37 years in the classroom.

Swartz has also held many leadership positions for Michigan Virtual. She has trained other teachers in online instruction, was the English Department chair, a project leader in course development and a presenter at local, state and national conferences for Michigan Virtual.

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.

“Our online instructors play a critical role in helping students succeed in drastically new 21st-century learning environments,” Jamey Fitzpatrick, Michigan Virtual CEO & President, said. “They spend countless hours using innovative tools and strategies to support students before, during and after traditional school schedules. Julie and our two finalists (Holly Rupprecht and Ben Ashby) are experienced classroom educators who are working every day to redefine how teachers teach and how students learn in online communities. These dedicated individuals deserve to be recognized as entrepreneurial educators in today’s global educational landscape.”

Online learning is expanding dramatically in Michigan and nationwide. Michigan Virtual for Students has seen its course enrollments climb from 100 during the 1999-2000 academic year to more than 17,000 during 2010-11. National estimates for online enrollments have jumped from 40,000 to 50,000 in 2000 to more than one million last year, according to the International Association for Online Learning (iNACOL).

The presenting sponsor for the award dinner was AT&T, a company with the stated mission of supporting events that benefit education.

“Each and every day, educational opportunities are becoming more mobile, more high-tech and more personalized to every student. Technology and innovation provide access to materials and learning opportunities like never before,” Roger Blake, Regional Vice President, AT&T, said. “Those are opportunities we celebrate with this award today. At AT&T, we understand that by connecting students, we are connecting them to the world around them and an opportunity to learn great things. This is the real reason why we work to expand our network and increase its speed. So students everywhere, and at any time, have high-speed access to a high-quality education.”

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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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.