/ Blended Learning / Change, The Monster Lurking Under your Blended Learning Bed

Change, The Monster Lurking Under your Blended Learning Bed

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Girl under covers, looking at camera.

Change is not always easy for me. Ok, it is never easy for me. I dread the unknown, funny since a major part of my job is to support changes in education. Every day I encourage educators to take a leap and blend their instruction, to sail into uncharted water, dive in, take a risk, change their way of thinking about learning. Don’t get me wrong, I know in my heart that change and growth is important, and frankly, necessary but it is uncomfortable.

So why change? Why put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable? What’s wrong with keeping things the way they are? These are questions we often ask ourselves when we are faced with change. A point made by a colleague recently has stuck with me, she said blended learning isn’t about throwing out the good things but making what is good even better. Innovative approaches to helping students, like blended learning, build on the successful practices teachers are already doing.

Blended learning isn’t about throwing out what is working in your classroom, but stretching thinking and growing opportunities. It isn’t about using the latest flashy tool or being told you have to blend your instruction because it is the latest fad. This change should be driven by a desire to push and expand learning, to better what works for some students and not others, to give all students a voice and chances to collaborate.

Blended Learning doesn’t have to consist of sweeping change, but small supports like giving students the opportunity to ask questions or share ideas in an online space. Opening up options for sharing understanding using mediums they feel comfortable with, creating videos or collaborating on a presentation with others outside the brick and mortar classroom are also entry points to blending learning. Small changes that support quality instruction and give students choice in their learning can have a big impact on student outcome.

Blended learning doesn’t happen overnight and yes, there will be times where things go off track– difficulties arise and technology fails. But there will also be times where the pieces fall into place and the ah ha moments materialize, when students blow all your expectations away because they have been given an opportunity to go beyond what is “good” and find their own voice, because they were given a choice in their learning. All because you as an educator made a change.

This is the part of the blog where I tell you I’ve taken my own advice and have embraced change with open arms, and it has always been amazing. Well not quite. Little by little I’m making changes to push myself and trying to expand on the familiar. I’m a work in progress when it comes to accepting change. Recently, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and leave my job as an Educational Technology Consultant to work with the Michigan Virtual team as a Blended-Learning Coach. I want to stretch my skills, learn from educators and administrators statewide and focus on blended instruction. This change was not easy, but in the end I took the leap. Looking back over the experiences of my first week I am confident in saying, change feels pretty good.

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Stacey Schuh

Stacey Schuh

Stacey is the director of Professional Learning Services at Michigan Virtual. She is responsible for planning and implementing professional learning experiences and works directly with teachers and administrators to ensure personalized professional development. Stacey is a former classroom teacher, national presenter and is an instructor for the Master of Educational Technology program at Michigan State University.

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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.