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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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.