RFQ: Middle School Course Creation

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I. Introduction

Michigan Virtual is releasing this Request for Quote as a means to create middle school content to meet Michigan education standards. By releasing this RFQ, Michigan Virtual makes no guarantee of any awards of work to any respondents now or in the future. Our preference of vendor(s) will deliver developed courses no later than July 1, 2021, however we will consider proposals with courses delivered no later than August 1, 2021. Completed courses will then become the property of Michigan Virtual.

II. Background of Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Lansing, Michigan, and was established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to expand the use of learning technologies with a focus to serve Michigan’s K-12 community with quality online instructional services. Today, Michigan Virtual operates the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®, Professional Learning Portal, and Learning Services Student Learning Portal. Michigan Virtual has traditionally served high school students with online asynchronous courses. However, in response to COVID-19 related changes to schooling, we have seen new demand for middle school (6-8) courses, especially in the core subject areas of English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. We intend for the courses developed under this RFQ to be used by middle school teachers in Michigan in fully online or hybrid courses, with both assignments and assessments hosted in Michigan Virtual’s instance of the Brightspace LMS from D2L and content hosted in Michigan Virtual’s instance of CourseArc, integrated into Brightspace via LTI.

III. Description of the Request

Michigan Virtual is seeking an instructional design and course development company or companies to create complete middle school courses including content, assignments and assessments (grades 6-8) aligned to Michigan education standards. Content should be comprehensive, and include standards-aligned documentation for digital curriculum in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies that is vertically and horizontally aligned and intentionally designed for all students, including English Learners and students receiving specialized services. Content should demonstrate a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Michigan Virtual will provide existing content in the desired subject areas that the vendor(s) may use to their discretion as a basis for the framework of each course and a source of select lesson content while building comprehensive courses. Regularly scheduled progress meetings will be scheduled between parties to ensure work meets Michigan Virtual quality standards.

To maintain a consistent look and feel, Michigan Virtual will provide a template in which courses should be created. Michigan Virtual also requires that if a vendor can only create courses in a specific subject area, they will create courses for all grade levels requested on that subject. E.g. Science for grades 6,7 and 8. Vendors may provide a quote on one or more of the desired subject areas. A full list of course expectations can be found by referencing Appendix A. Ideally the content also includes the following:

  • Supplemental resources that utilize Michigan’s Open Educational Resources (OER) #GoOpen
  • Inclusion of media elements that could potentially be used as standalone learning objects (e.g. videos, interactives, practice activities)
  • Content that is organized into smaller learning chunks so that pieces could be used for individual microlearning lessons.
  • Inclusion of standalone files for any of the above mentioned learning objects.
  • Metadata including alignment to standards and/or clear documentation of alignment.

IV. Technical Requirements for Request

Final courses with both assignments and assessments will be hosted in Michigan Virtual’s instance of our current learning platform, Brightspace. Michigan Virtual’s preference is that content is developed in CourseArc. Michigan Virtual is willing to consider other content delivery proposals, however, Michigan Virtual would then require that the vendor supply all lesson scripts, media objects and attributions used to develop content. Please reference Appendix B for all other technical requirements.

V. Key Deliverables

Deliverables and tasks to achieve them noted below that will occur during implementation and include but may not be limited to the following elements:

  • Expected timeline for content testing, review and final delivery
  • Develop a regular cadence for progress and feedback checks between both parties
  • Access to demo course(s) and content for Michigan Virtual selection team at time of RFQ submission
  • Completeness of requirements listed in Appendix A and Appendix B.

VI. Quote Instructions

Quote Content and Format

In order to simplify the evaluation process and obtain maximum comparability, Michigan Virtual requires that all responses to the RFQ be organized in the manner and format described below. Any relevant supplemental information should be included as attachments.

  1. Business Information.  Describe your business including legal business name, year the business was organized, legal status (corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.) and state of corporation.  Detail your (organization’s) experience with not-for-profits related to our request. 
  2. Qualifications and Deliverables Review.  Define how you satisfy the needs and requirements in sections III ,IV, V. 
  3. Key Service Providers. Identify the individuals who will provide services, including main point of contact, technical support staff, instructional design staff, etc. Include full contact information of consultant’s/SME’s cited.
  4. Client References. Provide the names and contact information for a minimum of three similarly sized clients for reference purposes.
  5. Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA).  All entities wishing to submit a response to this RFQ are required to sign and submit Michigan Virtual’s Nondisclosure Agreement along with their Quote in response to this RFQ.  The NDA was included in the email granting access to the RFQ.

Selection Criteria

The following factors will be considered by Michigan Virtual in making the Award.

  • Quality of course content
  • Ability to meet deadline of content delivery
  • Ability to meet requirements listed in Appendix A and Appendix B.
  • Value delivered in proportion to fees proposed
  • Completeness of the Quote

Michigan Virtual reserves the right to make the Award to the Vendor of its choosing, reflective of our understanding of needs, the audiences served and results desired rather than solely based on pricing or other combinations of factors. Further, this RFQ does not obligate Michigan Virtual to award any contract. We reserve the right to cancel the RFQ at our discretion. 

VII. RFQ Questions, Due Dates, Contact

Here are key dates to be aware of for this RFQ process.

 Important Dates 

April 26, 2021Written Quotes, signed NDA and availability of sample courses and content package due to Michigan Virtual by 5:00 p.m. EST
April 30, 2021Contract negotiations begin
July 1, 2021Completed courses are delivered to Michigan Virtual

Please direct all correspondence and questions related to this RFQ and the required elements as indicated below. 

  1. Emailed questions are due by Noon, Monday, April 19, 2021.
  2. One (1) electronic copy of your Quote sent by email to the contact below no later than 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday April 26, 2021.

The single point of contact for RFQ #04122021

Melissa Graeser
Process/Project Manager
Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual reserves the right to not consider late or incomplete proposals. Amendments to proposals will be included in our review only when they are received by the above deadline. 

Appendix A – Course Requirements

Michigan Virtual courses are generally developed to meet quality standards as defined by the Quality Matters (QM) K-12 rubric.

  • Scale and Scope Requirements:
    • 6 to 8 units per semester-length segment of each course.
    • 4 to 6 lessons within each unit.
    • 45 to 65 graded assessments included in each semester-length segment of the course.
  • Alignment requirements:
    • Clearly written and measurable learning objectives at the Unit and Lesson level that are aligned to relevant Michigan standards.
    • Instructional content provided is clearly aligned to each learning objective.
    • Summative assessments aligned to each learning objective.
    • Provided documentation to demonstrate alignment of standards and learning objectives to course content and assessment.
  • Lesson content requirements:
    • Instructional content may include a variety of types of media and learning objects, but should be organized into coherent individual lessons.
    • Learning objectives addressed in the lesson should be stated at the beginning of each lesson (preferably in the format of “I can…” statements).
    • Michigan standards addressed within the lesson should also be identified in each lesson.
    • Includes instructional content made up of a combination written text, images, video or other interactive elements.
    • Content must either be originally developed as part of this work or be available under a license for re-use that allows commercial re-use (some content will be shared from Michigan Virtual partners that meets this requirement and can be used).
    • All written material is at the 6-8 grade reading level or lower.
  • Assessment Requirements:
    • Each lesson should include formative assessment opportunities for each of the learning objectives identified in the lesson. Formative assessments include any form of test, quiz or practice activity meant to provide learners with an opportunity measure and receive feedback on their own learning. They are not graded and generally provide unlimited opportunities for practice (e.g. knowledge checks).
    • Each learning objective should be assessed in a summative assessment at the lesson and/or unit level. Summative assessments include graded assignments including quizzes and tests, but also projects, written assignments, discussions, labs or any other activity submitted for a grade. Ideally, courses should use a variety of forms of summative assessments.
    • Each course should include a final exam.
    • Graded assignments and assessments should meet a ratio of 50:50 to 60:40 of teacher-graded to auto-scored assessments in each course.
    • Grade calculation should include discussions, assignments, lesson quizzes, unit tests, and final exams, but should exclude auto-scored practice quizzes or self-checks for understanding using interactive media that provide immediate feedback.
    • Include grading rubrics for teacher-graded discussions and assignments and answer keys for quizzes; the required format for assessment rubrics will also be supplied by Michigan Virtual.

Appendix B – Technical Requirements

  • Vendor content must be web accessible and ensure full compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA.
  • Detail technical support provided to Michigan Virtual including levels of support offered for course repair, clarifications or fixes.
  • Detail Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) levels for course content and content hosting platforms, particularly under Section 508 and/or WCAG 2.1 standards and include certification level – A, AA, or AAA levels if content will be developed outside of CourseArc.
  • Licensing commitment on the part of the content provider that the “[Vendor] will make a good faith effort to resolve web accessibility issues pertaining to their proprietary content arising from formal complaint, made by end-users of [Vendor]s product enrolled through Michigan Virtual, of ADA non-compliance under Sections 504 and/or 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. [Vendor] agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Michigan Virtual from any claims arising out of its failure to comply with Federal disability laws and regulations, including but not limited to those pertaining to web accessibility requirements.”
  • Other communications and/or marketing-related assistance as required to ensure compliance with our LMS Platform.


About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual is a nonprofit educational organization that is leading and collaborating to build learning environments for tomorrow. Driven by student success, we have a strong record of supporting Michigan education that spans more than two decades. While many know us for our research-based, quality online learning options for students and professional development for educators, we also do a great deal of work behind the scenes to conduct original research, test innovations in learning, and provide consulting partnerships to promote effective practices. Education is changing faster than ever. Discover new models and resources to move learning forward at