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Parent Guide provides support and guidance in making online learning decisions

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More and more students are taking courses online — enrollments in virtual courses jumped more than 60% last year for Michigan students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and approximately 76,000 K-12 students participated in nearly 320,000 online course enrollments in the 2013-14 school year, up from 185,000 enrollments in the previous year.

Online learning is growing at a rapid pace, research suggests that most students and parents need additional support and guidance as they make important decisions about enrolling in online courses. In response to this growing need, Michigan Virtual published the “Parent Guide to Online Learning.” This 16-page booklet developed by online learning experts will help parents and others discuss online learning opportunities, characteristics of a successful online learner and how to prepare for online learning with students.

“Learning online is an important part of being college and career ready and we need to do more to help students be successful in navigating these new learning environments,” Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Michigan Virtual said. “The Parent Guide examines how online learning supports next generation learning models, poses practical planning questions, provides a preparation checklist, offers advice for parents, and includes an online learner readiness rubric.”

The Parent Guide includes a profile of a successful online student, derived from the observations of instructors who have had years of online teaching experience. The profile includes a list of several critical characteristics of successful online learners, which include time management, self-motivation and being technologically prepared.

Michigan was the first state to implement an online learning requirement as a condition for high school graduation in 2006. Seven years later, in 2013, state policy expanded student access to digital learning options. As a result, students enrolled in a public local district or public school academy in grades 6-12 are eligible to enroll in up to two online courses during an academic term — or more if parents, students and school leadership agree that more than two are in the best interest of their student. The law also requires schools to cover the cost of the online courses.

The Parent Guide provides Michigan parents, students, and school personnel with a brief explanation of Michigan’s online learning policies, an introduction to online learning, and suggested guidelines for making the personal choice about taking courses online. The Parent Guide was initially shared with over 2,000 school superintendents and widely distributed across the state.

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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