Why online learning can be liberating for students with IEP and 504 plans

Why Online Learning Can Be Liberating for Students with IEP and 504 Plans (feat. Lisa Rohde from Michigan Virtual)
Meet Lisa Rohde, special education and instructional support manager at Michigan Virtual, who shares some of the pros and cons of online learning for students requiring accommodations.
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. . .Or listen instead on Apple, Spotify, Google, or another platform.

This past year, many students and their families struggled with a transition to fully remote learning. This held particularly true for students with IEP and 504 plans, who, on top of learning in a new way, also had their own unique needs that had to be met in order for them to be successful.

Although, of course, it’s highly dependent on the student’s personal situation, an asynchronous online environment CAN actually be liberating to some students with IEP and 504 plans.

This week on the BRIGHT podcast, I chat with Lisa Rohde, special education and instructional support manager at Michigan Virtual, who helps me understand:

  • How an IEP or 504 plan might look different in a face-to-face vs. online setting
  • The pros and cons of online learning for students requiring accommodations
  • Examples of students who might thrive in an online learning environment

You can listen to our conversation using the audio player above or read the transcript.

Here’s a sneak peek at our conversation:

Related resources 

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Nikki Herta

Nikki Herta

Nikki’s love for writing, editing and pedagogy brought her to Michigan Virtual as their Content Creator/Editor. A Michigan native, she studied writing at Grand Valley State University before continuing on to the University of Minnesota for her master’s degree. While there, she also taught first-year writing to college freshman. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, playing table-top board games, and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book and her sassy, ancient cat, Princess Eugene.

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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.