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Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Providing the groundwork & research to support the success of students and educators through online & blended learning platforms

Helping to define educational practices online and in the classroom

Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) receives directives from the Michigan legislature to define the areas of research in blended and online learning each year. Research is conducted throughout the state, nation and internationally to incorporate a global perspective. Research is also conducted without regard to the provider to ensure that important findings are brought to light and practiced in our own backyard.

Each year MVLRI reports a summary of these findings in its Annual Report. This report, along with other research conducted through the Institute, informs educational policy in the state. Further research including focus groups of teachers, administrators and other school officials provides continuous feedback regarding the effectiveness of the policy as it is implemented in districts across Michigan. The effectiveness of all online learning programs is tracked in MVLRI’s annual Effectiveness Report. Many times the Effectiveness Report uncovers important aspects of online learning implementation that are not working, once again informing policy to ensure that Michigan’s students are receiving the best online education possible.

The work of the MVLRI is internationally recognized for providing accurate research that is utilized throughout the education industry to empower educators and support learners of all ages.

Recent Publications

Recruitment and Retention of Online Teachers

Demand for online education has been on the rise for years and will only continue to increase, but will there be enough professionals willing to teach online given the broader declines in teacher recruitment and retention? What keeps online teachers from staying in their jobs? What keeps people from becoming online teachers in the first place? And what has been done and can be done to address these concerns? This study examines the recruitment and retention of online teachers with an eye toward effective practices in averting a shortage of online teachers.

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Through Community and Culture, Oxford Community Schools Makes Learning Student-Centered

Driven by a culture of sustained improvement, support from the community, and a shared vision for student success (their Portrait of a Graduate), Oxford Community Schools is making learning student-centered. This case study details how through their K-12 International Baccalaureate program, well-developed career and technical education program, early college program that empowers students to take ownership of their education, and virtual academy that is customized to meet the needs of individual students, Oxford meets students at their point of need.

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Empowering Teachers and Capturing Kids’ Hearts®: The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw’s Journey Toward Student-Centered Learning

This case study explores the motivations behind The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw’s shift towards making learning more student-centered. They are breaking the mold of traditional grade levels, spurring creativity and cross-curricular connections with makerspaces, personalizing learning with a multitude of programs and pathways, taking a “student first” approach, and meeting the diverse needs of students and their families. As a school district, they have made some intentional decisions, stepped outside of their comfort zone, harnessed their professional learning, and ultimately capitalized upon the constant state of change in education resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, realizing that they can’t afford to—and don’t want to—return to “normal.”

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The Impact of Virtual Learning in Michigan Schools

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.