March and April Research Round Up

Illustration of the learning process
What’s new in the world of K-12 research on online, blended, and innovative learning? This month, we take a look at Michigan's K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report and a recent edition of the Online Learning Journal.
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Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2018-19

This year’s effectiveness report is the seventh in the series that looks at pupil completion and performance data reported by Michigan public schools to the Michigan Department of Education or the Center for Educational Performance and Information and highlights enrollment trends, completion rates, and the statewide impact of online courses. From this year’s report:

About 8% of all K-12 students in the state—over 120,000 students—took virtual courses in 2018-19. These students generated almost 640,000 virtual course enrollments and were present in two-thirds of Michigan public school districts. Schools with part-time virtual learners were responsible for the majority of virtual enrollments.

About four out of five virtual enrollments came from high school students, and the most highly enrolled in virtual courses were those required for high school graduation. Two-thirds of the virtual enrollments were from students who were in poverty.

The overall pass rate for virtual courses (55%) remained the same as the past two years; however, there remains sizable variation in student success.

You can dive into the details and additional findings from this report here.

Online Learning Journal 

A new issue of the Online Learning Journal was published by the Online Learning Consortium. The journal includes 14 articles spanning three sections: 

  1. Faculty, professional development, and online teaching
  2. Students, community, and online learning,
  3. Empirical studies. 

Topics range from “shifting teaching and learning online” to “student preferences for learning resources in online programs,” as well as “using structured pair activities online” to ‘“he validity and usefulness of an online course evaluation rubric.” 

Research Roundup Blog Series

In this series, our team of researchers provide monthly updates on the latest K-12 online, blended, and innovative learning research, reports, standards, and other noteworthy resources published nationally and internationally. Our hope with this series is to inform the educational community of the latest digital learning research in order to better serve students. Stay up to date on future blogs in this series by signing up for email notifications

About the Authors

Kristen DeBruler

Dr. Kristen DeBruler received her doctorate in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University. She taught in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at Michigan State University for three years. Her work focuses on K-12 online learning policy in Michigan and nation wide as well as understanding online learning best practices.

Christa Green

Christa received her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Kent State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She taught middle school language arts and social studies for seven years before coming to work for Michigan Virtual in 2018. As a Research Specialist with the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, Christa enjoys using her passion for education, curriculum, research, and writing to share and shape best practices in online and blended learning with other educators not only in Michigan, but nationwide. 

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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) is a non-biased organization that exists to expand Michigan’s ability to support new learning models, engage in active research to inform new policies in online and blended learning, and strengthen the state’s infrastructures for sharing best practices. MVLRI works with all online learning environments to develop the best practices for the industry as a whole.

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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.