RFQ: Professional Learning Content Vendors

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I. Introduction

Michigan Virtual is releasing this Request for Quotation as a means to develop new content vendor relationships in the adult learning space to service the learning needs of our educational professional customers. By releasing this RFQ, Michigan Virtual makes no guarantee of any awards of work to any respondents now or in the future. Ideally, new content are established by the end of July 2021.

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.   

Professional Learning Portal 

A primary learning delivery method for educational professionals is through our Professional Learning Portal (PLP) which sees more than 370,000 enrollments and houses over 250 courses. Most of our courses are non-facilitated and self-paced. Current high demand courses include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Assessment Security
  • Basic First Aid
  • Early Literacy K-3
  • Introduction to Social Emotional Learning

The full PLP course catalog can be found at https://plp.michiganvirtual.org/ 

Our Customers 

The PLP serves Michigan Educators primarily from these sections of the educational community. 

  • Teachers
  • Counselors and Support Staff (e.g. specialist, coaches)
  • Paraprofessionals and Aides
  • Administrators in schools, both public and private, are our primary target audience. They make decisions regarding professional development courses to provide online and blended learning opportunities for their teachers and support staff.
  • Other School Staff (e.g. Food Service, Bus Drivers)

Our target market is K-12 schools in Michigan, including public, private, and charter schools.  Our main buyer personas are School Administrators and Educators. Their personas follow.

  1. School Administrators – includes superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, and professional development coordinators. Administrators must deliver personalized education to their educators based on a number of factors. Administrators face several buyer challenges: 
    1. To deliver quality, personalized course work to educational professionals
    2. To meet the required amount of district provided professional development hours by the State of Michigan
    3. To align educator professional development to district and school improvement plans
    4. To stay within limited school budgets.
  2. Educators – includes classroom teachers, administrators, and support staff. Educators are responsible for keeping their certifications current by taking coursework that awards State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs). There are also several courses that are highly encouraged on a yearly basis to comply with state law (compliance courses). Educators face these buyer challenges: 
    1. To find relevant courses in their endorsement area 
    2. To find self paced courses with flexible learning options 
    3. To find courses that fit within their budget. 

III. Description of the Request

Michigan Virtual is seeking a full service content provider that demonstrates these characteristics:  innovative, flexible, growing catalog of options that are evidence-based and relevant to a teacher audience; demonstrates diversity, equity and inclusion in content options, communicative about pending changes and new content releases, also seeks feedback from customers about improvements. Ideally we are most interested in the course areas listed below. Courses in these areas would fulfill 5-20 hours of professional development hours (equivalent to 5-20 SCECHs) 

Desired Course Content Areas: 

  • Online teaching and learning
  • Physical Education/Fitness/Health/Wellness
  • Mindfulness/Meditation/Social Emotional Learning
  • Working with students and families experiencing poverty
  • Early Childhood Courses
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Educational Leadership
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • Subject specific (i.e. Math, Science, Language Arts)
  • Special Education 
  • Supporting Teachers with Block Scheduling

IV. Technical Requirements for Request

Customer direct access to source content in our current learning platform, Brightspace, is preferred. However,  content in other platforms accessible by either LTI or Common Cartridge package import is acceptable. Customer Single Sign On (SSO) is preferred to access content in other learning systems. System API library access is desired in order to automate enrollments and account creations. Customer experience is our key concern and priority. Vendor content is preferred to be web accessible and ensure full compliance with WCAG 2.1 AA.

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:

  • Work with Michigan Virtual Team to achieve a customer friendly log-in and course access experience. 
  • Strongly desire new course content and system integrations customer ready by the end of July 2021.
  • Access to Demo Courses/Sandbox Courses for Michigan Virtual Selection Team at time of RFQ submission.
  • Course list, with descriptions, preferably aligned to the Desired Course Content Areas listed above in Section III. This list is to identify all end user additional material costs – online, downloadable, or offline.
  • Define technical and system requirements for product use, including device requirements or restrictions applicable to end users in provider courses.
  • Detail technical support provided to Michigan Virtual and end users, including how users submit support request, expectations of timelines for response and resolution, and processes required to publish corrected content to enrolled users.
  • Define the publication date or year of release for the current version of course offerings and describe the provider’s cycle for course updates, revisions and recreations. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Provide payment terms and billing cycles. Michigan Virtual’s preferred payment cycle includes bulk seat (license) options, and monthly per seat options.

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
  • Match of course offerings available to our Michigan Educators as listed in section III
  • Range of courses that fulfil 5-20 SCECH hours.
  • Availability of courses to integrate smoothly with our learning management system, Brightspace and our student information system
  • Technical Requirements met for content that is not native to Brightspace
  • 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 

DateItem
Friday, March 19, 2021RFQ Distributed
March 22-April 12 2021Vendor questions are submitted by email only to Michigan Virtual.
Thursday, April 15, 2021Michigan Virtual responses to all remaining Vendor questions
Friday, April 16, 2021Written Quotes, signed NDA and availability of a sample demo/sandbox package due to Michigan Virtual.
April 26-30, 2021Hold for virtual clarifying vendor meetings
Friday, May 7, 2021Michigan Virtual begins contract negotiations

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

  1. Emailed questions are due by Noon, Thursday, April 15, 2021.
  2. One (1) electronic copy of your Quote sent by email to the contact below no later than Noon, Friday April 16, 2021.

The single point of contact for RFQ #03192021

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. 

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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.