Legislative Directives

Legislative Directives

Each school year, MVLRI is directed by Section 98 of the State School Aid Act to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning.

This report is being submitted in fulfillment of the following legislative directive:

The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, which shall include a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2021-2022. Not later than March 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide an update to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid to show the progress being made to meet the benchmarks identified.

Mission: Advance both learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

Test, Evaluate Tools

Organizational Priority

2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.

Updates

  1. Explore and test the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in developing and deploying instructional content and share findings through the Michigan Virtual.

As part of Michigan Virtual’s work to explore different applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in K-12 settings, the research and development team is involved in conversations with a Michigan-based company on the possible use of their data-driven AI platform that integrates natively with learning management system (LMS) providers to “nudge” students and increase student engagement. Other activities of the team included the exploration of an AI-based language learning platform for providing personalized skills practice for German and French as well as an AI-based platform for creating flexibility with formative and summative assessments from content.

  1. Participate in IMS Global’s technical project group focused on comprehensive learner records.

Michigan Virtual continues to play a leadership role within the IMS Global community with a member of the executive leadership team serving as the chair of the IMS Global Virtual School Innovation Leaders Network (ILN), which is part of the K-12 Statewide Programs Board. Leadership activities this year included the delivery of a presentation on the use of comprehensive learner record standards for virtual schools in November 2020 as well as the facilitation of discussions at both the K-12 Statewide Programs Board meeting in February 2021. An additional presentation was delivered in partnership with the Clayton Christensen Institute, Texas Education Agency, and Virtual Virginia in February 2021 at the IMS Global Quarterly Meeting.

  1. Explore and test adaptive learning tools including the application of learning record stores and share findings through the Michigan Virtual.

The Michigan Virtual research and development team also sees great value in exploring and testing adaptive learning tools such as learning record stores. Plans are currently being made by the internal Instructional Product Development (iPD) and Technology Integrations teams at Michigan Virtual to conduct some deeper research on the best standard to adopt between xAPI or IMS Global’s Caliper standard.

  1. Publish six blog posts focused on competency-based learning tools and resources to the Michigan Virtual.

Competency-based education is also at the forefront of the work of the Michigan Virtual research and development team. Personnel are currently shaping a blog series that will focus on exploring competency-based learning solutions in K-12 schools. The blog posts will be published starting in April 2021.

  1. Conduct research throughout the duration of the SLiDE mobile app pilot that informs the ongoing development of the app.

Data collection is focused on existing features, functions, and content needs within the app. A focus group with school practitioners is planned for March 2021. These data will be used to develop a roadmap for ongoing future development.

  1. Continue development of the SLiDE application that can be used to support students, mentors, and parents.

While the current pandemic continues to impact the availability of school-based mentors and students, the development of the SLiDE mobile app is moving forward. Development will intensify during the second semester of this current school year with a focus on providing the functionality to support the Statewide Mentor Network that is currently housed in the Michigan Virtual Professional Learning Portal (PLP).

Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models

Organizational Priority

2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.

Updates

  1. Design and execute a statewide research study on the digital learning model trends of schools and districts.

The Michigan Virtual research team has designed and is ready to execute a statewide research study on the digital learning model trends of schools and districts. A concept paper for this particular study has been finalized, detailing the need for the study, the overarching research questions, and the methodology for executing the study. In March 2021, research partners and research study subjects will be identified in preparation for the development and distribution of an online survey to collect data from Michigan school leaders. The anticipated date of completion of this study is late summer 2021.

  1. Design and execute a research study that interprets the ways in which Michigan schools and districts are implementing student-centered learning.

The research team has also begun the execution of a research study that interprets the ways in which Michigan schools and districts are implementing student-centered learning. This particular study is currently underway and is on schedule to be completed by late spring 2021. Survey questions were developed and distributed to participants from five different Michigan K-12 school districts in December 2020, and interviews of school leaders and teachers of these schools were conducted in January 2021. Data are currently being compiled and analyzed, and the development of a written report is scheduled for March/April 2021.

  1. Design and execute a research study specific to best practices for providing SEL support for virtual learners.

Based on research and experiences during spring 2020 and summer 2020, researchers at Michigan Virtual developed a firm understanding of the need for sound social and emotional learning (SEL) practices to support virtual and remote learners. In response, the research team is developing a research study that is specific to sharing best practices for providing SEL support for virtual and remote learners. The concept paper for this study has been developed, and outreach to secure a partnership for this study has been made. Beginning in March 2021, data collection instruments will be developed, and the collection of data will occur throughout the spring months. The final report for this study is on schedule to be completed by September 2021.

  1. Design and execute a research study on competency-based learning models in Michigan.

Michigan Virtual researchers have also designed and are in the process of executing a research study on competency-based learning models in Michigan. This study is focused on the ways in which Michigan schools and districts are implementing competency-based learning, the motivations for doing so, and the challenges and success relating to the design and implementation of their models. Several school leaders throughout the state, as well as some national experts, have confirmed participation in the study. Individual interviews with these leaders and experts will occur during the months of March and April 2021. This study is expected to be completed by late summer 2021.

  1. Continue collaboration with Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung on a study focused on early warning predictive models.

The Michigan Virtual research team is continuing its collaboration with Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung from Boise State University on a study focused on early warning predictive models within virtual learning environments. The research team intended to conduct its first intervention study in Spring 2020 to test the predictive model for accuracy as well as to investigate whether providing teachers with an early warning notice of students predicted as at-risk for failure would lead to improved outcomes. Although the researchers were able to collect data through most of the semester, the last weeks were disrupted by school closures due to the COVID-19 restrictions. This disruption made the data unreliable. Therefore, the team used what they had done to further test the predictive model and to analyze the intervention study processes for future feasibility. It is the team’s hope is to resume their work during spring 2021.

Michigan Virtual’s collaborative efforts with Boise State University continue to make an impact in the data mining field related to the potential for machine and deep learning techniques in better understanding how student success can be supported through predictive analytics. Based on this work, Boise State faculty members have submitted several papers for publication that highlight some highly innovative approaches:

An Innovative Learning Pattern Analysis Approach – The Long Short-term Memory Based Autoencoder. IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing – submitted for publication.

Using Convolutional Neural Networks to Recognize Learning Images for Early Warning of At-risk Students. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies.

Improving Predictive Power Through Deep Learning Analysis of K-12 Online Student Behaviors and Discussion Board Content. Information Discovery and Delivery.

Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.

Updates

  1. Offer to conduct online program reviews using the NSQOL standards for up to 10 Michigan schools at no cost. If Michigan Virtual has additional capacity and schools express greater need, any additional reviews would also be done at no cost for Michigan schools.

Michigan Virtual continues to offer virtual program reviews at no cost to all Michigan schools and districts. These reviews involve a data collection process comprising the distribution of an online questionnaire and subsequent interviews of key school or district personnel to understand the design and operation of their programs. Once data are collected and analyzed through the use of a standards-aligned rubric, Michigan Virtual personnel write a summary of the school’s or district’s program along with recommendations for optimizing the program for increased student performance. The rubric and the review recommendations reflect the National Standards for Quality Online Programs.

In January 2021, Michigan Virtual extended an invitation to approximately 3,000 schools and districts throughout the state of Michigan to participate in a virtual program review at no cost. So far, six schools responded requesting to participate. The reviews of two of the schools’ virtual programs are currently in progress, and follow-up communications with the remaining schools continues. Ongoing outreach will also continue for the remainder of the year to encourage higher levels of participation.

  1. Provide written recommendations for online program design and maintenance that are aligned with best practices per NSQOL to each Michigan school or district participating in the voluntary online program review process.

As part of the program review process, Michigan Virtual provides each school with written recommendations aligned to NSQOL. Schools are also given time to review, reflect, and share feedback prior to the recommendations being finalized.

Michigan Virtual also continues to have staff members who serve as part of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning Leadership team. As such, they serve as experts to help shape the design and development of the standards.

Effectiveness Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.

Updates

  1. Publish the Effectiveness Report on the Michigan Virtual website by the March 31, 2021 deadline with copies sent to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department postmarked no later than March 31, 2021.

Work is currently underway in the development of the 2019-20 Effectiveness Report. A presentation will be given to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) in March 2021 to gather feedback and to receive permission to release the report. The report will be made publicly available through the Michigan Virtual website in March 2021. As with the prior year, the entire report will be posted directly as a webpage on the Michigan Virtual website in addition to providing a .pdf format for downloading. Making the report available in this format will help users find the content more easily by improving search engines’ abilities to discover the findings and make them available to users. Putting the content directly into the website also helps meet web accessibility standards and provides a mobile-friendly version. Information about the report and how to view it online will be provided to the required subcommittee personnel and other government staff identified under this section.

  1. At-a-Glance Report Infographic and cover letter detailing the online report and resources will be mailed to superintendents and high school and middle school principals (approximately 2,000 people) no later than April 30, 2021.

A summary infographic and cover letter related to the report will be mailed to superintendents as well as high school and middle school principals in April 2021, providing easy-to-consume key findings and communicating how to access the full report.

  1. Conduct and record a webinar in April 2021 to present key findings from the report.

A recorded presentation of the report is expected to be completed in March 2021.

  1. Post the recording on the Michigan Virtual website for on-demand viewing.

The recorded presentation will be posted on the Michigan Virtual website for on-demand viewing.

Deliver PD and Submit PD Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.

Updates

  1. Develop and update professional learning courses based on the needs of schools and districts identified through market research.

With many districts now providing remote learning opportunities for students, Michigan Virtual staff have created a number of new professional development opportunities for educators, including two new courses focused on supporting early elementary students in a remote environment with a third course in this series to be released in late spring 2021. These courses are available at no cost to educators. In addition, the Michigan Virtual team continues to develop the Online Lessons with Littles professional learning series – designed for preschool and kindergarten educators, both teaching face-to-face and remotely – based on overwhelmingly positive feedback from educators.

The Michigan Virtual staff recognized the need to accommodate flexibility in student scheduling during this challenging time for schools, so the team shifted nearly 40 third-party online courses from a facilitated to a self-paced model. Additional efforts were made to help schools and districts that are utilizing Michigan Virtual courses for students. These schools and districts are offered a 10-month ongoing professional development experience to help build educators’ understanding of the delivery of online content. Michigan Virtual staff members have also updated this experience based on feedback from partners and provided opportunities for educators to take part in monthly webinars for even more opportunities for learning.

Conversations with schools and districts that have partnered with Michigan Virtual have also led to the development of additional support for educators related to Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Through a collaborative partnership with the College Board, Michigan Virtual developed a professional development course to help support the needs of AP teachers in a virtual environment.

  1. Offer professional learning partnerships to schools, districts, and educational groups.

With the dramatic increase in the demand for professional learning caused by the pandemic, MIchigan Virtual personnel have also responded to the needs of school leaders as they relate to enrolling large quantities of educators in professional learning courses hosted within the Michigan Virtual PLP. The Michigan Virtual team created and implemented a process to group enroll educational professionals into a course or variety of courses within the PLP. This Group Registration and Enrollment (GRE) service includes communication to all learners, PLP account setup and registration, enrollment into course(s), automated State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) processing, and customized reporting with staff’s learning progress.

Michigan Virtual has also partnered with MEMSPA to group-enroll educators across the state into social emotional professional development courses. Approximately 2,500 educators were enrolled in the course titled, SEL: Introduction to Social Emotional Learning through the GRE service

In addition, two school district based “shared time” programs have chosen to use the Michigan Virtual GRE service to group register their staff into the Michigan Virtual PLP, giving them access to a program-chosen subset of the Michigan Virtual professional learning course catalog. The total number of “shared time” participants is now six school districts.

Michigan Virtual is currently in the process of developing an integration between their PLP and the 2gno.me company. This integration offers educators the opportunity to self-assess their knowledge and habits with regard to certain educational frameworks such as the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching or the Danielson Group’s Framework for Teaching. Upon receiving results from their self-assessment, educators receive personalized suggestions of appropriate learning experiences based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. Educators will be able to select the assessment like any other course on the catalog, take the assessment, and then select the suggested training from Michigan Virtual’s offerings and additional resources, mostly provided by other members of the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, a state virtual school network. The integration is currently in the testing stages, and a pilot of the system is expected to begin in March 2021.

Additional professional learning opportunities are being offered in collaboration with higher education institutions. Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Michigan Virtual are in the process of developing and making available a series of online professional learning modules for K-12 school personnel. The series of 6-9 modules will identify the latest research and best practices for serving a variety of special populations in face-to-face and remote settings, as well as cover several important topics designed to promote inclusive teaching and learning that includes SEL and trauma-informed education. The online modules will be made available to educators at no cost.

  1. Offer competency-based professional development courses to Michigan teachers and administrators.

Michigan Virtual is currently offering competency-based professional learning courses to Michigan teachers and administrators. To date, Michigan Virtual is offering 22 micro-credential courses: 16 in collaboration with MEMSPA for current and aspiring school administrators, five in collaboration with MASA for current and aspiring district leaders, and one in collaboration with STEM for educators in the STEM field (not limited to only teachers). Additionally, Michigan Virtual is offering five courses in collaboration with MACAC, which consist of a traditional course with some competency-based assignment components. These courses are currently being considered for micro-credentials.

  1. Host the 2021 Collaboration of the Minds professional learning conference.

The Michigan Virtual Collaboration of the Minds committee has formalized a theme for this year’s annual gathering and has begun decision-making on the event’s organization and structure. Due to the significant increase in their internal staff, Michigan Virtual has determined that they will close the event to the public and focus on internal professional development. Key decisions regarding the format of the event (virtual as compared to face-to-face) will be determined during the spring of 2021, and the committee is moving forward with outlining the program and offerings to be available to staff.

  1. Submit the 2020 PD report as part of a combined annual report that also includes Michigan Virtual’s annual Institute report specified under 2(b)(xiii) and the annual report required under subsection 7 for the Michigan Virtual School no later than December 1, 2020. This is a requirement from the previous fiscal year that crosses over fiscal years.

The 2019-2020 Professional Learning Report was sent to the legislature in December 2020 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report.

  1. Submit the 2021 Professional Development report detailing Michigan Virtual’s professional learning services and the identification of barriers and opportunities report by December 1, 2021.

The 2020-2021 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2021.

Identify/Share Best Practices

Organizational Priority

2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Updates

  1. Maintain and update our Guides to Online Learning.

Michigan Virtual previously published and currently maintains six widely used guides recognized as being important to school and district online learning programs. The six Guides to Online Learning will be reviewed and updated this year to add any changes to Michigan’s Section 21f legislation. This year, Michigan legislation addressed the shift to pandemic learning in March 2020 and its continuation into the current school year. As research in digital learning continues to surface promising practices for improving outcomes for students learning virtually or remotely, these practices will be incorporated in the appropriate guides along with links to any resources freely available for schools to enhance their programs. This work is scheduled to begin in April 2021.

  1. Design and execute a research study specific to the learning models Michigan schools and districts are implementing during the 2020-21 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Virtual research team is conducting a study specific to the learning models Michigan schools and districts are implementing during the 2020-21 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study was broken down into two phases. Phase 1 focused on seeking to understand the learning continuity plans formulated by schools and districts in the spring of 2020 as well as teacher, parent, and student perceptions of how these plans were executed. That report, Learning Continuity in Michigan: Plans and Perceptions From Spring 2020 Emergency Remote Instruction, has been published and can be found on the Michigan Virtual website. Phase 2 of this study is currently underway and will focus on the learning continuity models formulated by school districts in the 2020-21 school year as well as lessons learned, challenges, and recommended best practices for virtual or remote learning. School administrator interview questions have been developed, and the next steps are to secure subject schools and schedule and conduct interviews. This study is scheduled to be completed by late spring 2021.

  1. Design and execute a research study on best practices for providing special education support for virtual learners.

Another study being conducted by the Michigan Virtual research team is focused on best practices for providing special education support for virtual learners. This study was launched in February 2021 with the review of resources that were previously published by Michigan Virtual. Some resources will need to be converted from their current PDF state to HTML and/or moved to a new page on the Michigan Virtual website so they can be more accessible and easily located. This study is on schedule to be completed by late summer 2021.

  1. Develop and offer a consulting services model that provides guidance and shares best practices with schools and districts related to the design, implementation, and maintenance of digital learning programs for students and educators.

In another effort to share best practices with Michigan schools and districts, Michigan Virtual designed and implemented a consulting model to help schools grow and share their innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Michigan Virtual staff have completed the process of developing a consulting services model that is intended to help schools move forward with the design and implementation of innovative digital learning programs for students. The scope of consulting services to be made available to Michigan schools and districts include, but are not limited to, strategic planning and program design, program implementation and support, instructional design and pedagogy, professional learning planning, and technology resource evaluation and selection. Michigan Virtual staff are currently providing consulting services to three Michigan school districts, sharing the successes and challenges other schools and districts encounter in their work.

  1. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares stories of student-centered learning practices.

The Michigan Virtual research team believes another way to share best practices with education practitioners throughout the state of Michigan is through the writing and publishing of short blog posts. The team has identified and begun the writing and posting of multiple series of blog posts related to innovative learning models. Topics for the six blog posts focused on student-centered learning blog series have been identified and developed. Some of the content for this blog series – stories of how educators are implementing student-centered learning practices into their classrooms – will be extracted from the interviews that have been conducted for the student-centered learning study. As the data from these interviews are analyzed and the report is drafted, the blogs in this series will be developed and drafted as well. The final post of this blog series is on schedule to be published by September 2021.

  1. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares guidance and best practices related to the design, implementation, and maintenance of digital learning programs.

A blog series entitled, School Leader Insights is planned for spring of 2021, and it will focus on providing guidance to school leaders on how to design, implement, and maintain digital learning programs to meet the instructional needs of their unique school communities. The topics to be discussed are vision; curriculum, instruction and assessment; technology; professional learning; school operations; and leadership. The series will be published in sequence throughout the spring and summer of 2021.

  1. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares summaries of recent research related to digital learning.

Another blog series that shares summaries of recent research related to digital learning is currently underway. The first blog post in this six-part series was published in February 2021, and it shared insights from existing Michigan Virtual research on best practices related to K-12 online learning. New blog posts will be published monthly on the Michigan Virtual website throughout the spring and summer of 2021.

  1. Publish a minimum of four blog posts in a series that shares innovations in education.

The final blog series to be written and published by Michigan Virtual will center on general innovations in education. Blog post contributors are being recruited to provide their perspective on innovative trends in education. One blog post has already been created focusing on the trend of design thinking and its application to educational settings. This post is scheduled for release in March 2021.

Policy Recommendations to Gov./Legislature

Organizational Priority

2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.

Updates

  1. Before December 31, 2020, submit virtual learning policy recommendations to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the Department.

The virtual learning recommendations, shared by Michigan Virtual in December 2020, included six areas of opportunity. The first was to explore summer learning options to help mitigate learning loss related to the pandemic. The second was to resume legislative conversations about e-learning days to create greater flexibility for schools to move online in the event of school closures due to inclement weather or as a pandemic or outbreak precaution. The third recommendation was to allocate funding to redesign the state’s outdated Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS). The fourth was to revisit retirement policies in the hopes of providing greater flexibility to hire teachers during crises such as the pandemic. The fifth was to change teacher effectiveness reporting responsibility — in the case of third-party online instructors — to the entity providing the instructors rather than the various schools who are contracting for them. The final recommendation was to modify the existing virtual learning data collection process to update the “virtual method” data field from the current options of Not Virtual, Blended Learning, Digital Learning, or Online Course to a reduced set of Not Virtual, Virtual – Credit Recovery, Virtual – Not Credit Recovery.

Research Clearinghouse

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.

Updates

  1. Create and distribute quarterly newsletters that highlight new resources and document progress toward newly added resources to the clearinghouse by the end of the fiscal year.

Michigan Virtual continues to maintain the nationally-recognized Research Clearinghouse, and there were 1,144 resources in the clearinghouse as of the publication of the Quarterly Newsletter in January 2021. The next quarterly newsletter is on schedule to be distributed in March 2021.

  1. Continue to promote and add resources in the form of blogs, publications, webinars, and podcasts to the clearinghouse and the Michigan Virtual.

The execution of six research studies and the development of four blog post series are currently underway. When completed, these works will be published to the Michigan Virtual website and made available through the clearinghouse. Furthermore, the availability of these resources will be promoted through select social media channels by Michigan Virtual personnel.

  1. Continue to update the clearinghouse platform for improved functionality.

Michigan Virtual staff are committed to the ongoing improvement of the Research Clearinghouse and have engaged with Web Ascender, a web development company, to help audit the current functionality and user experience of the clearinghouse website/platform. Once the audit is completed, a development plan will be put together to provide a new user experience and functionality to the clearinghouse and will be made available by October 2021.

Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.

Updates

  1. Include links to instructional design guidelines and standards in the Research Clearinghouse tagged under the keywords “instructional design” and “standards.”

Michigan Virtual continues to promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching. Instructional design resources are continuously added to the Research Clearinghouse on a quarterly basis with specific resources being highlighted through the Quarterly Newsletter and in Michigan Virtual’s annual report to the state legislature.

  1. Propose a session focused on instructional design best practices at a minimum of two Michigan-based education conferences.

Another way that Michigan Virtual is promoting and distributing instructional design guidelines and standards is through the delivery of presentations at Michigan-based education conferences. Michigan Virtual’s iPD team led two sessions at the Teaching for Today and Tomorrow conference that was held February 23, 2021 for educators in the state as a collaboration between MASSP and Michigan Virtual. The session titles and descriptions are as follows:

Practical Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Teaching Online

The teaching and learning landscape has drastically changed in the past year, as have the demands on teachers to learn and adapt quickly to online instruction. We’re here to help! In this session we will share tips, tools, and techniques that you can use for planning and teaching your online or hybrid classes. You’ll walk away from this session with ideas and access to resources you can start using today!

Using a Design Mind for Doing Learning Online

Teachers wear many hats. You might be the lesson planner, the learning facilitator, the feedback provider, the school-to-home intermediary, the colleague, along with many other responsibilities. In our current world, you are also likely designing online experiences for students to rise to the challenge of supporting students beyond the physical classroom. This session will focus on mindsets that can help guide decisions as you design online learning experiences.

  1. Create and make available six resources related to instructional design for schools seeking to develop their own digital content.

Michigan Virtual is also making available several resources related to instructional design for schools seeking to develop their own digital content. The team has created resources to share out after the Teaching for Today and Tomorrow conference related to organizing digital content, tips for teaching live synchronous sessions, and digital tools. Additionally, as part of the team’s work on an onboarding course for instructors of Michigan Virtual partner schools, the team has created a number of resources that can be shared more broadly with instructors. A plan to make these resources to instructors is currently being developed.

  1. Promote, maintain, and support free online professional development courses to train teachers in the instructional design of online content.

Michigan Virtual continues to promote, maintain, and support free online professional development courses to train teachers in the instructional design of online content. Currently, Michigan Virtual is offering 77 free courses focused on instructional design and online learning. Each course provides SCECH credit, which are also processed by Michigan Virtual. Below are the Michigan Virtual offerings that are available to educators:

          • 4x Blended Courses
          • 3x Podcast PD
          • 7x Transitioning to Remote Teaching
          • 2x Intro to Online Course Facilitation
          • 2x Online Lessons with Littles
          • 1x Introduction to Blended Learning for School Leaders
          • 4x Online National Standards
          • 4x Courses for Whole School
          • 1x GLPS: Tech Use Strategies for Supporting Distance Learners
          • 2x Online Teacher’s Guide
          • 1x So you want to be an Instructional Designer?
  1. Train or coach at least 100 Michigan teachers on instructional design through live training sessions and/or an open “office hours” model.

The Michigan Virtual team is also committed to training or coaching Michigan teachers on instructional design through live training sessions and/or an open “office hours” model. As of February 2021, the team has trained 48 teachers on instructional design through either live training sessions or open “office hours” coaching.

Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.

Updates

  1. Work with interested Michigan teacher preparation institutions to coordinate access to the Michigan Virtual-hosted content, or where applicable, provide technical support for materials made available for self-hosting by the college or university.

Beginning in April 2021, Michigan Virtual personnel will be communicating with various Michigan teacher and administrator preparation institutions to inform them of the various online resources and courses that can help pre-service teachers develop their knowledge and understanding of literacy, digital teaching and learning, and the myriad open educational resources that are available to support virtual teaching and learning.

  1. Provide an opportunity for interested colleges and universities to collaborate and participate in a student-centered research study.

The Michigan Virtual research team will also be providing opportunities for interested colleges and universities to collaborate and participate in research studies. The scheduled student-centered learning study is currently underway and the data collected from school leaders and teachers through an online survey and individual interviews are being compiled and analyzed. Once the findings of the study are documented, Michigan Virtual researchers will reach out to personnel at select colleges and universities to offer discussion related to the findings and the possibility of collaboration related to the dissemination of the findings to the greater Michigan educational community.

  1. Provide an opportunity for interested colleges and universities to collaborate and participate in a Michigan-specific digital learning model trends research study.

In an upcoming study scheduled to begin in March 2021, researchers at Michigan Virtual will contact personnel at institutions that offer teacher and administrator preparation programs to discuss partnering on a research project focused on school leaders’ visions of the future of education in Michigan. Partner responsibilities are expected to include such tasks as assistance with the development of data collection instruments, the collection of data through an online questionnaire and school interviews, data analysis, and/or report writing.

  1. Invite at least one member from a higher education institution to serve on an Innovation Advisory Board to guide the development of Michigan Virtual’s innovation portfolio.

Additional collaboration with higher education is planned through the invitation of at least one member from a higher education institution to serve on Michigan Virtual’s Innovation Advisory Board to guide the development of Michigan Virtual’s innovation portfolio. This advisory board is currently being assembled with the expectation of meeting in late spring or early summer of 2021. Multiple higher education members from Michigan State University have expressed interest in serving on the board and are currently under consideration.

Public/Private Partnerships

Organizational Priority

2(b)(v)- Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.

Updates

  1. Form at least one public/private partnership with an organization to provide guidance with the design and execution of a research study.

The lead investigators of the Michigan Virtual research team have partnered with multiple organizations to conduct research studies that are highly relevant to Michigan schools and districts. Specifically, Michigan Virtual and the Michigan CoOp have joined forces to study how student-centered learning practices are being implemented in specific school districts within the state. In addition, the member school districts of the Michigan Competency Consortium are partnering with the Michigan Virtual research team to investigate the motivations for schools implementing competency-based education along with the challenges and best practices related to system-wide implementation. A third study that is focused on learning continuity within the state of Michigan is being supported by MEMSPA.

  1. Continue partnerships with MASA, MEMSPA, and MAC to help support the professional learning micro-credentialing effort through the development of four micro-credentials in high-need areas.

Michigan Virtual is continuing partnerships with MASA, MEMSPA, and MAC to help support the professional learning micro-credentialing effort through the development of micro-credentials focused on knowledge, skills, and experiences related to high-need areas. To date, activity within the MEMSPA membership includes 39 elementary schools that were enrolled via GRE into SEL: Module 1 and 45 administrators were enrolled in the Literacy & Leadership micro-credential series. Other activity includes the write-up of the Online Lessons with Littles courses to promote in their newsletter, as MEMSPA is looking to provide more resources and professional development for their preschool and lower elementary members. Michigan Virtual is also working with MEMSPA to create Challenge Coins, a form of recognition, to be given to micro-credential earners.

The existing MASA District Leadership Team micro-credential and the MASA Communications micro-credential have been redesigned, redeveloped, and re-released in the following series. The MASA District Leadership Team micro-credential (released in January 2021) is comprised of the following courses and micro-credentials:

          • Course 1: District Leadership Team: Roles & Responsibilities
          • Course 2: District Leadership Team: Effective Relationships
          • Micro-credential 1: Board Responsibilities and Relationships
          • Course 3: District Leadership Team: Effective Board Meetings
          • Micro-credential 2: Board Meetings

The MASA Communications Micro-credential (released in December 2020) is comprised of the following courses and micro-credentials:

          • MASA Communications (was one micro-credential; now five courses and two micro-credentials)
          • Course 1: Communications Law
          • Course 2: Being an Effective Communicator
          • Course 3: Developing a Great Communication Plan
          • Micro-credential 1: Communication Plan
          • Course 4: Communicating in a Crisis
          • Micro-credential 2: Crisis Communication
          • Course 5: Handling the News and Social Media

Moving forward, Michigan Virtual is continuing to work with MASA on a new series of human resource focused courses and micro-credentials, while work with MAC has been delayed due to shifts in work priorities caused by the pandemic.

  1. Maintain membership in at least one national-level organization that advocates for and supports digital learning at the K-12 level.

Michigan Virtual has committed to maintaining membership in at least one national-level organization that advocates for and supports digital learning at the K-12 level. Currently, Michigan Virtual serves as an official supporting member of the Digital Learning Collaborative (DLC). In this role, members of the Michigan Virtual leadership team regularly contribute to the DLC leadership conversations and planning of events.

  1. Participate in a statewide competency-based education work group to provide thought leadership.

As part of the competency-based education research study being conducted by the Michigan Virtual research team, the lead investigator of the study is working closely with the Michigan Competency Consortium to help shape conversations and provide research resources to help the consortium advance their efforts. In addition, the director of the consortium has been contracted by Michigan Virtual to play a leadership role within Michigan Virtual as a learning strategist.

  1. Invite at least two members from the public or private sector to serve on an Innovation Advisory Board to guide the development of Michigan Virtual’s innovation portfolio.

The Michigan Virtual Innovation Advisory Board is currently being assembled with the expectation of meeting in late spring or early summer of 2021. Efforts are underway to invite at least two members from the public or private sector to serve on the board.

Mentor Network

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.

Updates

  1. Continue to update and build training resources and content for mentors in the Online Mentor Network while simultaneously building and testing content within a mobile application to raise engagement and draw new participants.

Michigan Virtual personnel continue to update and build training resources and content for mentors in the Online Mentor Network while simultaneously building and testing content within a mobile application to raise engagement and draw new network participants. In fall of 2020. internal staff met to discuss the next steps to support mentor development in the field, which included investigating the possible use of the SLIDE mobile app to facilitate professional development and training in the future. This tool could provide opportunities for ongoing communication and collaboration for mentors across the state. The group will have follow-up meetings to make final decisions and discuss options.

  1. Conduct two “Mentor Meet-Up” trainings.

Additional efforts to support mentors includes the planning and execution of “Mentor Meet-up” trainings. Michigan Virtual staff are currently in the process of planning at least two trainings to be conducted by the end of summer 2021. The internal planning team has been working to address challenges related to the complicated schedules of the face-to-face mentors as they manage pandemic response requirements.

  1. Host a webinar series for mentors of online learners, outlining strategies for providing support in online environments and providing opportunities for mentors across the state to convene and share in a virtual setting.

Michigan Virtual is also hosting two webinars for mentors of online learners, outlining strategies for providing support in online environments and providing opportunities for mentors across the state to convene and share in a virtual setting. In December 2020, a webinar titled, “Best Practices of Mentoring Online Students” was held with a focus on starting the year with clear expectations, getting students enrolled into courses smoothly, demonstrating the value of communication with students and teachers, and following through with student accountability and related student expectations. Throughout the webinar, the Michigan Virtual team provided many resources to support the effectiveness of the mentors. This webinar was available to both Michigan Virtual mentors as well as the general public. Planning for the second webinar to be conducted is currently in progress.

Focus Groups/Annual Surveys

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.

Updates

  1. Convene a minimum of three focus groups of online students.

Michigan Virtual typically collects feedback from key users and stakeholders through surveying, focus groups, and other means. Three remote focus groups with students enrolled in online course are planned for late Spring 2021.

  1. Distribute an end-of-course survey to students and professional learners taking courses through the Michigan Virtual Student Learning Portal and the Professional Learning Portal.

In addition, all learners enrolled in Michigan Virtual professional and student courses (educators and students) are presented with an end-of-course questionnaire. Since October 2020, the Michigan Virtual professional learning questionnaire has received 6,740 responses. The student end-of-course questionnaire has received 2,304 responses in that same period (through January 2021).

  1. Distribute an end-of-year survey to mentors with students in Michigan Virtual.

An end-of-year survey is also distributed to mentors of students enrolled in Michigan Virtual courses. This survey will be administered near the end of the spring 2021 semester.

  1. Conduct at least two mentor advisory committee meetings, in person or virtually.

Barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning are also identified through Michigan Virtual’s execution of Mentor Advisory committee meetings. The first mentor committee meeting of the year was held in October 2020, and the majority of the committee membership was able to attend despite the unique circumstances created by the pandemic. The focus of this meeting was on the transition to the Brightspace learning management system, meeting students’ needs during a pandemic, providing support to students in remote learning environments, and engaging in a mentor support network during these difficult times. The second meeting of the committee will be held in late March or early April 2021.

Consumer Awareness Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.

Updates

  1. Update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually (fall and spring).

Michigan Virtual continues to host and update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually. The fall 2020 update is complete, and the spring 2021 update is forthcoming. In addition to updating the report with the spring data, the spring report will also include data from the upcoming Effectiveness Report for the 2019-20 school year. The purpose of this resource is to make consumers aware of the status of online learning in Michigan. It is specifically designed to inform parents, school personnel, and school board members of the nature of virtual learning options, their effectiveness for Michigan students, the cost of these programs, and current trends related to virtual learning.

Internet-based Platform

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Updates

  1. Continue to offer content from more than 70 high-quality Michigan Virtual courses to Michigan schools at no cost.

Michigan Virtual continues to offer digital content from over 70 high-quality student courses at no cost to Michigan schools and districts. This effort is intended to help support educators and parents as a resource to support and supplement student learning throughout the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and parents can access these resources from Michigan Virtual’s Free Learning Content website.

  1. Provide leadership to the state’s GoOpen initiative by contributing staff members who serve on the GoOpen strategy teams and sub-teams.

Michigan Virtual participates in the Michigan #GoOpen task force in collaboration with MDE and other Michigan stakeholders. Specifically, a Michigan Virtual staff member serves on the Michigan #GoOpen Strategy Team. This individual has been working with others to plan professional development for utilizing Open Educational Resources (OER) and training.

  1. Make available modules on the Professional Learning Portal that address open educational resources, including the state’s GoOpen initiative.

Michigan Virtual is hosting a course on its PLP where teachers can learn about the state’s #GoOpen initiatives. This course is free for educators to access and Michigan Virtual covers the cost of all related SCECH processing. To date, there are 5,235 enrollments in the course with a current total of 3,000 course completions.

  1. Make available modules on the Professional Learning Portal that support educators in developing their own digital learning objects.

Michigan Virtual also makes available various modules on the PLP that support educators in developing their own digital learning objects.

Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses

Organizational Priority

2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:

(A) The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (B) The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (C) The pass rate for each virtual course.

Updates

  1. Maintain catalog functionality that was redeveloped during FY20.

Michigan Virtual continues to utilize internal and external resources to update and maintain functionality of the newly redeveloped statewide catalog. Staff members are continuously soliciting and acting on user feedback to bring new functionality to the system and to maintain a good and accessible user experience as well as support current course catalog needs. Updates to the backend interface of the statewide catalog were deployed by Web Ascender, a web development company under contract with Michigan Virtual, which places emphasis on system stability, usability, and live interaction with system data. The interface updates rolled out in February 2021, and continued maintenance and support of the system will be provided thereafter.

  1. Add the ability for schools to use the National Standards for Quality Online Courses when reporting their course reviews.

The inclusion of the ability for schools and districts to use the National Standards for Quality Online Courses when reporting their course reviews is part of the scope of work to update and maintain the statewide catalog. Specifically, the updates to the backend of the system offer expanded and more accessible functions for schools to filter and report by the standards.

  1. Offer professional development courses to Michigan schools and districts specific to applying National Standards for Quality Online Courses when performing course reviews.

The Michigan Virtual team also offers professional development courses to Michigan schools and districts specific to applying National Standards for Quality Online Courses when performing course reviews. Michigan Virtual currently offers the following professional development opportunities in the form of self-paced courses at no cost to school and districts:

Getting Started

Tweak your existing teaching practices for an online or blended environment in ways that align with National Standards for Online Learning (4 SCECH credits)

Course Content & Design

Apply National Standards for Quality Online Learning to online content as you begin to design, develop, and deploy blended and online learning (3 SCECH credits)

Assessment

Explore the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and Courses to measure student progress in your online classroom (2 SCECH credits)

Meeting Needs

Recognize the National Standards for Quality Online Learning that help you better meet students’ needs online (2 SCECH credits)

  1. Submit a minimum of five MVS semester-length courses to Quality Matters for independent course quality reviews as well as a minimum of 10 semester-length course renewals.

Michigan Virtual continues to add online courses that have been successfully reviewed for quality to the statewide catalog. To date, 11 semester-length courses have been submitted to Quality Matters for recertification. These courses include the following: World History & Geography A, World History & Geography B, AP Physics 1A, AP Physics 1B, AP Environmental Science A, AP Environmental Science B, Anatomy & Physiology A, Anatomy & Physiology B, Oceanography A, Oceanography B, and Entrepreneurship. The Michigan Virtual team plans to submit an additional five semester-length courses that are currently in development through the Quality Matters review process in July and August 2021. These courses include Psychology, Employability Skills, AP Physics C Sem 1, AP Chemistry Sem 1, and AP Computer Science Principles Sem 1.

  1. Revise Section 21f publications made available through the statewide catalog.

Recently, Michigan’s Section 21f legislation was modified to address the shift to pandemic learning in March 2020 as well as the continuation of the shift into the current school year. The changes to the legislation and their impact on other Section 21f resources developed by Michigan Virtual to support schools in their virtual programs have been updated and published to the Michigan Virtual website.

Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.

Updates

  1. Provide technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog.

Michigan Virtual continues to improve and update the statewide catalog to provide a better end-user experience. A public knowledge base for the statewide catalog is hosted in the Michigan Virtual website and is constantly updated as changes and new functions are introduced to the website. Any technical support required by users is handled through either the customer care or technology integrations teams at Michigan Virtual.

Michigan Virtual’s Customer Care Center is also available on business days from 7:30am – 5:00pm ET to answer calls and to respond to online support tickets that are submitted for the statewide catalog.

  1. Based on customer feedback and help-desk tickets, update help documentation to assist users to promptly resolve common issues.

Michigan Virtual continues to use customer feedback to improve the functionality of and to add new features to the statewide catalog. As changes are implemented, the knowledge base and other technical documentation are updated and made easily accessible through the Michigan Virtual website.

Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

Updates

  1. Continue evaluations of Michigan Virtual teachers using the modified Danielson rubric.

Michigan Virtual continues to evaluate its teachers using a modified Danielson rubric. The Student Learning Services team at Michigan Virtual began its annual evaluations in November 2020 to accommodate the needs of their expanded instructional staff, which now exceeds 230 teachers (part-time and full-time). The ongoing evaluation process will resume with the remainder of the teachers receiving their evaluation in April and May 2021. Aside from the formal evaluation process, Michigan Virtual support staff provide ongoing coaching walk-throughs to help support and engage instructional staff in best practices associated with teaching in a virtual environment.

  1. Provide a personalized professional learning platform with Michigan Virtual resources aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching in partnership with the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and Quality Matters.

Michigan Virtual has also developed and is currently implementing the ability to deliver a personalized professional development tool through the Michigan Virtual PLP that is aligned with the National Standards for Quality Online Learning. Integration work with 2gno.me will be completed by early March 2021, and the Michigan Virtual marketing and communications team is in the planning phase to message the opportunity to Michigan school districts and individual educators.

Institute Annual Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

Updates

  1. By December 1, 2020 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2019-20 year.

The 2019-2020 Institute Report was sent to the legislature in December 2020 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report.

  1. By December 1, 2021 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2020-21 year.

The 2020-2021 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2021.

Operate the Michigan Virtual School

Organizational Priority

(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters:

(a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.

Updates

  1. Participate in the full re-accreditation process through Cognia during the 2021 fiscal year.

The process for re-accreditation of the Michigan Virtual School has begun. The Student Learning Services internal team is actively engaged in collecting evidence to share with the Cognia review committee for their scheduled visit in March 2021. Internal training has been completed in preparation for this visit, and multiple meetings are scheduled in advance of the visit to ensure that the Michigan Virtual team is ready and resources are organized for review.

Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS

Organizational Priority

(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.

Updates

  1. Adopt a fiscal year 2021 budget which allocates no more than $1M to subsidize the virtual school.

In October 2020, Michigan Virtual’s board of directors approved its fiscal year 2021 budget fulfilling this benchmark.

  1. Based on audited figures from the prior year, demonstrate that no more than $1M of the state allocation was used to subsidize the virtual school.

Similarly, based on audited figures from the prior fiscal year, an independent third-party auditing firm concluded that Michigan Virtual adhered to this requirement for the 2019-20 school year.

Background Checks for MVS

Organizational Priority

(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.

Updates

  1. Conduct criminal background checks on Michigan Virtual staff and maintain appropriate documentation.

Michigan Virtual is approved by the Michigan State Police (MSP) as a qualified entity to use the MSP Criminal History Record Internet Subscription Service (CHRISS) for fingerprinting for employment, assignment, or volunteer placement as authorized by the National Child Protection Act. Michigan Virtual works with its teachers and staff to complete background checks and MSP fingerprint checks through this process.

Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs

Organizational Priority

(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.

Updates

  1. Design, test, and pilot new iterations of products and services associated with the delivery of effective professional learning for teaching in online and blended learning environments.

As part of a process to be more innovative and personalized in supporting Michigan teachers, Michigan Virtual has established virtual “office hours,” which connect teachers who have expertise in online and blended learning practices to other teachers seeking to develop their skills in this model of instruction. The purpose of this program is to allow teachers seeking assistance to select a topic of conversation and then provide access to an experienced teacher they can learn with. This service is free for educators, and it allows teachers the ability to receive some direct, one-on-one guidance and advice to help them improve their own practice.

  1. Develop and pilot micro-credentials targeting alignment to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and educator evaluation frameworks in Michigan.

Michigan Virtual is also planning to create a set of leadership micro-credentials focused on understanding and aligning the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching for principals and evaluators of teachers working in virtual learning settings. These micro-credentials are paired with access to the national standards-aligned resources through the 2gno.me personalized professional learning platform. Currently, the rollout of the training platform has been delayed to April 2021 due to some technical difficulties. The creation of the actual micro-credentials will be scheduled to allow for a pilot that coincides with the availability of the training platform.

MVS Catalog

Organizational Priority

(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(a) Information technology courses.

(b) College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471.

(c) Courses and dual enrollment opportunities.

(d) Programs and services for at‐risk pupils.

(e) High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth.

(f) Special interest courses.

(g) Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.

Updates

  1. Design and execute market research to determine the needs of schools and districts related to virtual courses to be developed and included in the statewide course catalog.

As part of Michigan Virtual’s plan to conduct formal market research to identify the various needs of Michigan schools and districts that are specific to digital learning, staff members reached out to 19 schools and Intermediate School Districts in January 2021 to assess their general needs as well as needs that are specific to summer 2021 learning recovery. This outreach was accomplished via email and telephone calls, and the data collected are currently being compiled. During the months of March and April 2021, the data will be used to design and implement solutions for Michigan schools to address the summer learning needs of their students.

  1. Continue to offer and expand online courses and digital content options to support schools’ and districts’ changing digital learning needs.

Michigan Virtual also completed a needs analysis related to its catalog of course offerings in the 2020-2021 school year in light of school districts’ requests for additional offerings in the context of specific delivery models for their students. The following needs were identified:

        • Middle school core and world language curriculum (math, science, ELA, social studies, French, German, and Spanish) that could be offered in the Michigan Virtual Whole School delivery model to coincide with those offerings already available under the Collaborative Partnership and the Michigan Virtual Plus delivery models.
        • Advanced Placement (AP) world language curriculum (French and Spanish) that could be offered in both the Michigan Virtual Whole School and Collaborative Partnership delivery models to coincide with those offerings already available under the Michigan Virtual AP delivery model.
        • Evaluation of the Michigan Virtual current high school core science offerings (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) in an effort to obtain more recently developed content that better aligns with current high school science content standards.
        • Consideration of the development of additional high school elective courses within the social studies subject area to address gaps in the Plus and Collaborative Partnership offerings related to diversity and minority studies in the United States.
  1. Develop and update digital content and assessments based on the needs of schools and districts identified through market research.

The Michigan Virtual team is in the process of updating the digital content and assessments of existing courses based on the needs of schools and districts identified through market research. As of March 2021, the team has realigned the Michigan Virtual Civics, Economics, and World History & Geography courses to align to the most recent Michigan Social Studies Standards and has also made updates to the course content where necessary. In addition, the team is redesigning the Michigan Virtual Employability Skills course to eliminate costly vendor content. The team is also redesigning its AP Chemistry courses to eliminate the need for schools to purchase a costly textbook and have instead adopted a College Board approved OER textbook.

Home-Schooled and Non-public Students

Organizational Priority

(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.

Updates

  1. Produce 2020-21 pricing with no additional charges for a home-school or nonpublic school student.

Michigan Virtual’s prices for 2020-2021 school year are the same for home-schooled and nonpublic school students as they are for district students using the same services. Pricing Information is available on the Michigan Virtual website.

MVS Annual Report

Organizational Priority

(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year:

(a) A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School. (b) A list of virtual course titles available to districts. (c) The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course. (d) The overall course completion rate percentage.

Updates

  1. Publish MVS Annual Report no later than December 1, 2021.

The 2019-2020 report on the Michigan Virtual School was sent to the legislature in December 2020 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report. The 2020-2021 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2021.

MVS Schools Served

Organizational Priority

(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).

Updates

  1. Serve at least 600 Michigan schools with online courses or free content.

Michigan Virtual is on schedule to serve a minimum of 600 schools throughout the 2020-21 school year. As part of this, Michigan Virtual continues to offer digital content from over 70 high-quality student courses at no cost to Michigan schools and districts as well as supporting free learning objects that were added to the Michigan #GoOpen website.

Advisory Board

Organizational Priority

(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.

Updates

Since this section pertains to the actions of the Governor’s office rather than Michigan Virtual, no plan has been created by Michigan Virtual.

MVS Budget Costs

Organizational Priority

(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Updates

  1. No later than November 1, 2020, submit a detailed budget for 2020-21 fiscal year that includes a breakdown on Michigan Virtual’s projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services.

A detailed budget breaking down 2020-2021 projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services was submitted by November 1, 2020.

  1. No later than March 1, 2021, submit a breakdown on Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

The breakdown of Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year was included for legislators in the same mailing as this update.

This report is being submitted in fulfillment of the following legislative directive:

The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, which shall include a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2021-2022. Not later than March 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide an update to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid to show the progress being made to meet the benchmarks identified.

Mission: Advance both learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

Test, Evaluate Tools

Organizational Priority

2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will explore different applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the creation and deployment of instructional content in K-12 settings. A series of blog posts will be published documenting different tools and their application in creating pathways for teachers to use AI to achieve instructional goals in their online, blended, and traditional classrooms.

Michigan Virtual will also continue to participate in IMS Global as a contributing member to develop a deeper understanding of digital learner records and how it impacts the recognition and portability of student achievements and outcomes in K-12 settings. Comprehensive Learner Records (CLR), digital badges, and learning record stores are all technology infrastructure of a competency-based learning environment and enable the documenting and sharing of achieved competencies, skills, knowledge, and aptitudes of students. This allows for greater flexibility of instructional pathways and portability and recognition of achievements between providers, schools, and the workforce.

Expanding upon its membership role with IMS Global, Michigan Virtual will independently explore the use of learning record stores to increase the adaptability of instructional content delivery within Michigan Virtual courses and publish written recommendations on how these technologies might enable greater levels of student personalization and learning outcomes, in general.

Michigan Virtual will also develop and publish a blog series that focuses on the tools and resources educators can use to create competency-based, blended, or online learning environments.

Throughout 2019-2020, Michigan Virtual developed a mobile application to help students become successful online learners by providing useful content for students and mentors. This mobile application was made available to select school districts in the form of a pilot. Michigan Virtual will design and execute a focused research study to understand the benefits and value this resource brings to the pilot schools as well as its challenges and shortcomings in an effort to refine the application on an ongoing basis throughout the year.

Benchmarks

  1. Explore and test the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning in developing and deploying instructional content and share findings through the Michigan Virtual website.
  2. Participate in IMS Global’s technical project group focused on comprehensive learner records.
  3. Explore and test adaptive learning tools including the application of learning record stores and share findings through the Michigan Virtual website.
  4. Publish six blog posts focused on competency-based learning tools and resources to the Michigan Virtualwebsite.
  5. Conduct research throughout the duration of the SLiDE mobile app pilot that informs the ongoing development of the app.
  6. Continue development of the SLiDE application that can be used to support students, mentors, and parents.

Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models

Organizational Priority

2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.

Plans

In an effort to lead statewide conversations about the opportunities and benefits associated with digital learning in Michigan schools, Michigan Virtual will design and execute a research study that includes a large, statewide survey of Michigan schools’ and districts’ adoption of digital resources and their impact on learning in K-12 schools. By understanding the different learning models, motivations, catalysts, and barriers for schools and districts in Michigan, including those that emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Virtual can then support schools by helping them understand what is working, what is not, where further research is needed, and identify policy needs.

Building off the 2019-20 abbreviated study on student-centered learning, Michigan Virtual will design and execute a new research study designed to interpret the ways in which schools are implementing student-centered learning along with the factors that impact the successful implementation of such practices. The research team will also develop recommendations and compile resources that can help school and district personnel overcome barriers to successful implementation.

As Michigan schools are increasingly incorporating online or virtual education into their academic programming, there is an increasing desire to understand the best practices for providing social and emotional learning (SEL) support for virtual learners. Michigan Virtual will lead a study that identifies best practices in providing SEL support and will share these emerging practices with educators throughout the state.

Michigan Virtual will intensify its support of Michigan schools and districts seeking to understand and implement competency-based education practices by executing a high-level research study that identifies the core components of competency-based education models as well as the ways in which schools and districts within Michigan and across the nation are designing and implementing effective models.

Michigan Virtual will also continue a collaboration with researchers Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung from Boise State University on a research study that uses Michigan Virtual course data to develop early warning predictive models to accurately identify students at-risk of falling behind in their online courses. This collaboration will include a pilot study intended to test the model developed by Dr. Rice and Dr. Hung.

Benchmarks

  1. Design and execute a statewide research study on the digital learning model trends of schools and districts.
  2. Design and execute a research study that interprets the ways in which Michigan schools and districts are implementing student-centered learning.
  3. Design and execute a research study specific to best practices for providing SEL support for virtual learners.
  4. Design and execute a research study on competency-based learning models in Michigan.
  5. Continue collaboration with Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung on a study focused on early warning predictive models.

Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.

Plans

For the past two years, Michigan Virtual has been part of a national effort to update standards for quality online learning. This effort led to the release of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning (NSQOL) which includes quality standards for programs, teaching, and courses. As more and more schools and districts throughout the state of Michigan are including the online learning format in their academic programs, there is a related growing need to ensure students are receiving the highest quality of education in this format. Given this need, Michigan Virtual will offer to conduct reviews, with recommendations for improvement, of online learning programs at no cost to Michigan schools and districts. These reviews will be in alignment with research-based best practices for online learning as well the National Standards for Quality Online Learning.

Benchmarks

  1. Offer to conduct online program reviews using the NSQOL standards for up to 10 Michigan schools at no cost. If Michigan Virtual has additional capacity and schools express greater need, any additional reviews would also be done at no cost for Michigan schools.
  2. Provide written recommendations for online program design and maintenance that are aligned with best practices per NSQOL to each Michigan school or district participating in the voluntary online program review process.

Effectiveness Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.

Plans

By March 31, 2021, Michigan Virtual will produce the Effectiveness Report in a form and method consistent with the past version, while being reflective of the impact of the existing COVID-19 pandemic, as it has been generally well-received and represents the most in-depth, state-level analysis of virtual course enrollments in the country. Like last year’s report, Michigan Virtual will also create an infographic summarizing key findings from the report. The report will be mailed to required recipients and published on the Michigan Virtual website. The report’s author will produce a recording that will be made available on-demand through the Michigan Virtual website.

Benchmarks

  1. Publish the Effectiveness Report on the Michigan Virtual website by the March 31, 2021 deadline with copies sent to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department postmarked no later than March 31, 2021.
  2. At-a-Glance Report Infographic and cover letter detailing the online report and resources will be mailed to superintendents and high school and middle school principals (approximately 2,000 people) no later than April 30, 2021.
  3. Conduct and record a webinar in April 2021 to present key findings from the report.
  4. Post the recording on the Michigan Virtual website for on-demand viewing.

Deliver PD and Submit PD Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to grow and advance its professional development services by gathering and acting on feedback from the field, from individuals currently taking professional development courses, and also from individuals who may be seeking professional development in the future. Michigan Virtual will also develop new partnerships with schools or educational groups to provide professional learning to groups while integrating professional learning communities to build engagement. The Michigan Virtual professional development platform will be continuously improved through course updates, new courses, and pilots to explore opportunities for more competency-based learning at scale.

In affiliation with the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (a state virtual school network), Michigan Virtual will also develop and maintain a personalized professional development platform that allows schools and districts to connect their teachers directly to resources aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching to support online and blended learning pedagogies. The system will provide individualized assessments for teachers and a collection of resources aligned to areas of growth for the user.

Michigan Virtual will continue to host the annual event called Collaboration of the Minds (COM). COM is an annual professional development conference that serves as an opportunity to bring the large remote teaching staff of Michigan Virtual, many of whom have full-time teaching positions in local school districts, together to learn, explore, and collaborate with each other. This is an opportunity for all instructors to meet face-to-face or virtually and provides time for like-content instructors to explore best practices and strategies for supporting students. The event introduces new learning in the virtual environment, training in best practices, and collaboration time to explore with fellow instructors. The event also includes a mentor workshop to support the needs of this unique group.

Michigan Virtual will continue to fulfill the requirement of the PD report through the publication of its annual report.

Benchmarks

  1. Develop and update professional learning courses based on the needs of schools and districts identified through market research.
  2. Offer professional learning partnerships to schools, districts, and educational groups.
  3. Offer competency-based professional development courses to Michigan teachers and administrators.
  4. Host the 2021 Collaboration of the Minds professional learning conference.
  5. Submit the 2020 PD report as part of a combined annual report that also includes Michigan Virtual’s annual Institute report specified under 2(b)(xiii) and the annual report required under subsection 7 for the Michigan Virtual School no later than December 1, 2020. This is a requirement from the previous fiscal year that crosses over fiscal years.
  6. Submit the 2021 Professional Development report detailing Michigan Virtual’s professional learning services and the identification of barriers and opportunities report by December 1, 2021.

Identify/Share Best Practices

Organizational Priority

2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Plans

Michigan Virtual developed a series of guides related to online learning, which are made available to students, parents, teachers, mentors, school administrators, and school board members. Michigan Virtual will review and update the content of these guides as needed and make this content available to the public through the Michigan Virtual website.

With the COVID-19 related school closures in spring 2020, schools were pushed to adopt emergency remote instruction and student support. Michigan Virtual will conduct a research study that seeks to understand the learning continuity plans formulated by districts, as well as teacher, parent, and student perceptions of how these plans were executed. This research study draws on original MVLRI research as well as published research by researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. These resources will be reviewed and synthesized to bring out a more comprehensive understanding of the experience of transitioning to remote learning from stakeholders.

While Michigan Virtual has published several resources that focus on serving special education students in an online environment, some of them are in need of updating. Michigan Virtual will design and execute a study that aims to update the research and best practices and present findings in a way that is easy for educators to apply to their practice. The overarching goal of this study is to produce a suite of resources on best practices for providing special education accommodations to online learners. These resources will be both foundational and practical, designed for schools serving K-12 online students with disabilities.

Michigan Virtual will also offer support to Michigan schools and districts by developing a consulting model that shares research-based best practices with school leaders and teachers. The scope of consulting services will include support for schools and districts seeking to design, implement, and/or maintain student-centered digital learning programs.

During fiscal year 2021, Michigan Virtual will publish a blog series that shares stories of how educators are implementing student-centered learning practices into their classrooms. In addition, a second blog series will be published focusing on providing guidance to school leaders on how to design, implement, and maintain digital learning programs to meet the instructional needs of their unique school communities. A third blog post series that provides summaries of recent research related to online and blended learning programs will be published to help educators stay abreast of the latest findings related to instructional strategies and program design. Finally, a fourth blog series featuring innovations in education will be published by Michigan Virtual. This series will include a wide variety of education-related topics aimed at expanding the vision of teachers and school leaders. All blog posts will be published on the Michigan Virtual website.

Benchmarks

  1. Maintain and update our Guides to Online Learning.
  2. Design and execute a research study specific to the learning models Michigan schools and districts are implementing during the 2020-21 school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Design and execute a research study on best practices for providing special education support for virtual learners.
  4. Develop and offer a consulting services model that provides guidance and shares best practices with schools and districts related to the design, implementation, and maintenance of digital learning programs for students and educators.
  5. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares stories of student-centered learning practices.
  6. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares guidance and best practices related to the design, implementation, and maintenance of digital learning programs.
  7. Publish a minimum of six blog posts in a series that shares summaries of recent research related to digital learning.
  8. Publish a minimum of four blog posts in a series that shares innovations in education.

Policy Recommendations to Gov./Legislature

Organizational Priority

2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will provide feedback on current virtual learning policies and make recommendations that will accelerate the use of effective virtual learning in the state.

Benchmarks

  1. Before December 31, 2020, submit virtual learning policy recommendations to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the Department.

Research Clearinghouse

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will maintain the existing clearinghouse website and add additional resources to the website throughout the fiscal year. Currently, the nationally-recognized clearinghouse acts as an aggregator of K-12 online and blended research and key publications. To date, there are over 1120 resources cataloged in the clearinghouse. On a quarterly basis, Michigan Virtual will email a clearinghouse newsletter to the MVLRI mailing list and share it via social media outlets to highlight new resources added during that time period.

Benchmarks

  1. Create and distribute quarterly newsletters that highlight new resources and document progress toward newly added resources to the clearinghouse by the end of the fiscal year.
  2. Continue to promote and add resources in the form of blogs, publications, webinars, and podcasts to the clearinghouse and the Michigan Virtual website.
  3. Continue to update the clearinghouse platform for improved functionality.

Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will maintain and update the instructional design guidelines and standards tagged in the Research Clearinghouse. Michigan Virtual will also promote the National Quality Standards for Online Teaching, National Quality Standards for Online Programs, and National Quality Standards for Online Courses which will all help to inform Michigan-based work in the area of online and blended learning.

Michigan Virtual is committed to helping Michigan educators develop their skills and abilities in designing and delivering quality digital learning experiences for students. Therefore, Michigan Virtual will also submit at least two presentation proposals to Michigan-specific education conferences to promote and share best practices related to instructional design and standards of quality. In addition, a minimum of six resources related to instructional design will be made available to all Michigan schools that are working toward developing and delivering their own digital content to students.

Michigan Virtual will offer free online professional development courses on instructional design through its Professional Learning Portal. This offering will help schools as they continue to navigate the challenges associated with the increased need for virtual or remote learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan Virtual instructional designers will also support Michigan teachers directly in their transition and implementation of remote learning. This will be accomplished by providing live, synchronous instructional design training sessions for teachers as well as an online “office hours” model where teachers are able to sign up for individual or group coaching from a Michigan Virtual instructional designer.

Benchmarks

  1. Include links to instructional design guidelines and standards in the Research Clearinghouse tagged under the keywords “instructional design” and “standards.”
  2. Propose a session focused on instructional design best practices at a minimum of two Michigan-based education conferences.
  3. Create and make available six resources related to instructional design for schools seeking to develop their own digital content.
  4. Promote, maintain, and support free online professional development courses to train teachers in the instructional design of online content.
  5. Train or coach at least 100 Michigan teachers on instructional design through live training sessions and/or an open “office hours” model.

Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will make available a wide variety of online resources and courses to institutions that operate teacher and administrator preparation programs. These resources, which include digital content and professional learning related to early literacy, online, blended, and student-centered learning, and the use of open educational resources, will be available to colleges and universities through Michigan Virtual-hosted environments. In some cases, these resources may be made available in university-hosted environments.

Michigan Virtual values partnerships with colleges and universities for the execution of the planned research studies related to teaching and learning. During the 2021 fiscal year, researchers at Michigan Virtual will contact personnel at institutions that offer teacher and administrator preparation programs to discuss partnering on research projects related to student-centered learning and school leaders’ visions of the future of education in Michigan. Partner responsibilities may include such tasks as assistance with the development of data collection instruments, the collection of data through an online questionnaire and school interviews, data analysis, and/or report writing.

Furthermore, Michigan Virtual is interested in collaborating with colleges and universities in ways that drive innovation in education across the state. Michigan Virtual will be forming an Innovation Advisory Board with the intent of including representatives from higher education institutions that operate teacher and/or administrator preparation programs.

Benchmarks

  1. Work with interested Michigan teacher preparation institutions to coordinate access to the Michigan Virtual-hosted content, or where applicable, provide technical support for materials made available for self-hosting by the college or university.
  2. Provide an opportunity for interested colleges and universities to collaborate and participate in a student-centered research study.
  3. Provide an opportunity for interested colleges and universities to collaborate and participate in a Michigan-specific digital learning model trends research study.
  4. Invite at least one member from a higher education institution to serve on an Innovation Advisory Board to guide the development of Michigan Virtual’s innovation portfolio.

Public/Private Partnerships

Organizational Priority

2(b)(v)- Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.

Plans

Michigan Virtual’s research team will seek partnerships for specific research studies that will be conducted during the 2021 fiscal year. Lead investigators of Michigan Virtual research studies will conduct outreach to relevant public and private organizations to form research partnerships that provide guidance and/or assistance with the design and execution of studies related to competency-based, technology-rich learning.

Michigan Virtual will also maintain existing partnerships with specific educational organizations to support efforts related to professional learning micro-credentials. Through collaboration with the educational organizations, Michigan Virtual will continue to support the design, development, and delivery of micro-credentials focused on knowledge, skills, and experiences related to high-need areas.

Michigan Virtual will continue to lead conversations about digital learning throughout the state of Michigan. Maintaining memberships and affiliations with national digital learning organizations such as the Digital Learning Consortium and Aurora Institute will help gain insight into other state and national trends as they relate to key issues in digital learning, policy development, and program best practices, in general. Michigan Virtual will gather and share such information with schools and districts throughout the state as they continue to implement digital learning opportunities for their students.

Michigan schools and districts continue to discuss and consider the merits and challenges of implementing competency-based learning models, and Michigan Virtual has prioritized its own work to be able to better support schools in this process. Key personnel within Michigan Virtual will engage with schools and districts throughout the state to help facilitate conversations related to competency-based education, providing thought leadership in this effort.

As Michigan Virtual develops its innovation portfolio, it will seek participation from a variety of external stakeholders to bring diversity of thought to the process. Michigan Virtual will actively solicit participation on its Innovation Advisory Board from organizations in both the public and private sectors.

Benchmarks

  1. Form at least one public/private partnership with an organization to provide guidance with the design and execution of a research study.
  2. Continue partnerships with MASA, MEMSPA, and MAC to help support the professional learning micro-credentialing effort through the development of four micro-credentials in high-need areas.
  3. Maintain membership in at least one national-level organization that advocates for and supports digital learning at the K-12 level.
  4. Participate in a statewide competency-based education work group to provide thought leadership.
  5. Invite at least two members from the public or private sector to serve on an Innovation Advisory Board to guide the development of Michigan Virtual’s innovation portfolio.

Mentor Network

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to provide a critical service to schools by highlighting the importance of mentors in online learner success. The Online Mentor Network, the primary hub for more than 400 active mentors across the state to connect and access resources and guidance, will continue to widen its reach and grow its list of valuable assets while also experimenting with alternative delivery models such as a mobile application.

Michigan Virtual staff will also conduct face-to-face and virtual live, synchronous events and webinars allowing mentors to go deeper in the examination of their practice and make connections with one another.

Benchmarks

  1. Continue to update and build training resources and content for mentors in the Online Mentor Network while simultaneously building and testing content within a mobile application to raise engagement and draw new participants.
  2. Conduct two “Mentor Meet-Up” trainings.
  3. Host a webinar series for mentors of online learners, outlining strategies for providing support in online environments and providing opportunities for mentors across the state to convene and share in a virtual setting.

Focus Groups/Annual Surveys

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will collect feedback from key users and stakeholders through surveying, focus groups, and other means. Student focus groups will center on the student experience in online learning, their motivations for taking an online course, and their preferences for online or in-person learning. The results will help Michigan Virtual refine its offerings and identify opportunities to improve online learning for students.

Surveys will be used with students and professionals to focus on the learner experience, their motivations, and opportunities for Michigan Virtual to improve its offerings and the outcomes for learners. The professional learning survey results will be filtered by the learner’s role (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.) to help identify and understand opportunities that may be unique to each role.

Michigan Virtual will also survey mentors of online students and conduct advisory committee meetings to learn from the field, gathering information on what supports work best for students in online learning and what doesn’t work in terms of supports, content, and systems.

Benchmarks

  1. Convene a minimum of three focus groups of online students.
  2. Distribute an end-of-course survey to students and professional learners taking courses through the Michigan Virtual Student Learning Portal and the Professional Learning Portal.
  3. Distribute an end-of-year survey to mentors with students in Michigan Virtual courses.
  4. Conduct at least two mentor advisory committee meetings, in person or virtually.

Consumer Awareness Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.

Plans

The Consumer Awareness Report is available as an important link on Michigan’s Online Course Catalog homepage with sections devoted to background, providers, delivery models, performance data, cost structures, research trends, conclusions, and resources. Including the Consumer Awareness Report resource as part of the Micourses website provides high visibility for parents, students, and schools exploring Section 21f options. Data on areas such as the school districts that are putting courses in the catalog, the distribution of courses by ISD, PSA, LEA, and the Michigan Virtual School, and disaggregation by key variables such as who is providing the content or the instructor, are updated once in the fall and once in the spring to reflect the changes in those two enrollment windows. Other data throughout the report are also updated on an ongoing basis with a particular emphasis on the fall and spring updates.

Benchmarks

  1. Update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually (fall and spring).

Internet-based Platform

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to offer digital content from over 70 high-quality student courses at no cost to Michigan schools and districts. This effort is intended to help support educators and parents as a resource to support and supplement student learning throughout the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and parents can access these resources from Michigan Virtual’s Free Learning Content website.

Michigan Virtual acts as a close partner with the Michigan Department of Education and the #GoOpen Michigan Strategy Team to make available a common Open Educational Resources system throughout the state. On the GoOpenMichigan website, educators can access open educational resources for modification and use in the classroom. In addition to providing leadership on the platform, Michigan Virtual also creates free learning objects for the platform, having contributed over 1,000 learning objects to the platform to date.

Michigan Virtual also supports educators in the creation and sharing of digital learning objects by providing courses on its Professional Learning Portal. These courses provide training to educators on how to develop their own learning objects as well as learning more about open educational resources, including how GoOpenMichigan can be leveraged for their classrooms.

Benchmarks

  1. Continue to offer content from more than 70 high-quality Michigan Virtual courses to Michigan schools at no cost.
  2. Provide leadership to the state’s GoOpen initiative by contributing staff members who serve on the GoOpen strategy teams and sub-teams.
  3. Make available modules on the Professional Learning Portal that address open educational resources, including the state’s GoOpen initiative.
  4. Make available modules on the Professional Learning Portal that support educators in developing their own digital learning objects.

Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses

Organizational Priority

2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:

(A) The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (B) The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (C) The pass rate for each virtual course.

Plans

During the 2020 fiscal year, Michigan Virtual redeveloped portions of the statewide catalog to improve performance and user functionality. Moving forward into the 2021 fiscal year, this functionality will be maintained and improved upon as needs arise. Such functionality will include the ability for schools to use the National Standards for Quality Online Courses developed in 2019.

Michigan Virtual has developed a series of four asynchronous professional development courses housed on its Professional Learning Portal in an effort to help schools understand ways in which they could develop high-quality online courses for students. These courses, aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Courses, are titled: Online National Standards 1: Getting Started; Online National Standards 2: Course Content & Design; Online National Standards 3: Assessment; and Online National Standards 4: Meeting Needs, and they will be made available at no cost to all Michigan schools throughout the duration of 2021 fiscal year.

Michigan Virtual will also continue its commitment to modeling and disseminating quality practices for online learning by providing free, asynchronous online professional development courses on the National Standards for Quality Online Learning. Michigan Virtual will also submit a minimum of five semester length courses and 10 course renewals to Quality Matters for independent course-quality reviews.

Lastly, Michigan Virtual will revise the documentation that is specific to Section 21f made available through the statewide catalog website. These revisions will reflect recent legislation that was passed by the Michigan legislature during the summer of 2020.

Benchmarks

  1. Maintain catalog functionality that was redeveloped during FY20.
  2. Add the ability for schools to use the National Standards for Quality Online Courses when reporting their course reviews.
  3. Offer professional development courses to Michigan schools and districts specific to applying National Standards for Quality Online Courses when performing course reviews.
  4. Submit a minimum of five MVS semester-length courses to Quality Matters for independent course quality reviews as well as a minimum of 10 semester-length course renewals.
  5. Revise Section 21f publications made available through the statewide catalog.

Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to support the registration, payment services, and transcript functionality of the catalog. This includes providing technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog. Michigan Virtual will also continue to maintain a public facing knowledge base allowing catalog users to browse for instant help.

Benchmarks

  1. Provide technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog.
  2. Based on customer feedback and help-desk tickets, update help documentation to assist users to promptly resolve common issues.

Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to implement the modified Danielson evaluation rubric with all instructors both full- and part-time (a minimum of 150 instructors). This effort allows Michigan Virtual to continue its effort to support district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues.

Michigan Virtual will work with the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (state virtual schools) and Quality Matters to provide resources aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching for delivery through a self-assessment based personalized professional learning platform. This platform will be available to educators and districts interested in aligning their professional development activities towards best practices in online learning through the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching domains and indicators.

Benchmarks

  1. Continue evaluations of Michigan Virtual teachers using the modified Danielson rubric.
  2. Provide a personalized professional learning platform with Michigan Virtual resources aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching in partnership with the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and Quality Matters.

Institute Annual Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

Plans

Submit required reports detailing Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute activities.

Benchmarks

  1. By December 1, 2020 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2019-20 year.
  2. By December 1, 2021 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2020-21 year.

Operate the Michigan Virtual School

Organizational Priority

(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters:

(a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.

Plans

Michigan Virtual is accredited through Cognia. Michigan Virtual will complete any necessary requirements from Cognia to maintain that accreditation.

Benchmarks

  1. Participate in the full re-accreditation process through Cognia during the 2021 fiscal year.

Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS

Organizational Priority

(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will pass a board-approved budget that caps appropriation spending for Michigan Virtual School to no more than $1M.

Benchmarks

  1. Adopt a fiscal year 2021 budget which allocates no more than $1M to subsidize the virtual school.
  2. Based on audited figures from the prior year, demonstrate that no more than $1M of the state allocation was used to subsidize the virtual school.

Background Checks for MVS

Organizational Priority

(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will conduct background checks through a private security firm that uses the FBI’s LiveScan fingerprinting process to comply with these requirements.

Benchmarks

  1. Conduct criminal background checks on Michigan Virtual staff and maintain appropriate documentation.

Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs

Organizational Priority

(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will work with a design thinking firm to address areas, identified by the Statewide Learning Continuity workgroup, to develop, test, and pilot professional learning products and services focused on instruction in online and blended learning environments. These quick iterations of design, test, and build will provide opportunities to increase the reach and impact of both existing, and newly identified, professional learning programs for Michigan teachers.

Michigan Virtual will work with statewide organizations to create a set of leadership micro-credentials focused on understanding and aligning the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching for principals and evaluators of teachers working in online learning settings.

Benchmarks

  1. Design, test, and pilot new iterations of products and services associated with the delivery of effective professional learning for teaching in online and blended learning environments.
  2. Develop and pilot micro-credentials targeting alignment to the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching and educator evaluation frameworks in Michigan.

MVS Catalog

Organizational Priority

(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

(a) Information technology courses.

(b) College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471.

(c) Courses and dual enrollment opportunities.

(d) Programs and services for at‐risk pupils.

(e) High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth.

(f) Special interest courses.

(g) Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.

Plans

During the 2021 fiscal year, Michigan Virtual will be designing and conducting formal market research to identify the various needs of Michigan schools and districts that are specific to digital learning. This process will include extensive outreach to Michigan school and district leaders as well several Michigan-based educational organizations. The data collected through the market research will be analyzed, and decisions will be made by Michigan Virtual leaders relative to the need to redesign its existing digital content and assessments or the need to develop new content and assessments.

This effort to determine the adjustments needed to the digital content and related assessments is expected to be a multi-year process. This year, Michigan Virtual will continue to offer online courses and digital course content in a variety of ways that support schools’ and districts’ digital learning models. These offerings will include fully online courses taught by Michigan Virtual teachers, online courses that can be taught by a school district’s local teachers, and whole-school digital content options that support schools’ hybrid learning options implemented during the 2020-21 school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These currents offering will be evaluated and refined throughout the 2021 fiscal year to meet the changing needs of Michigan schools and districts.

Benchmarks

  1. Design and execute market research to determine the needs of schools and districts related to virtual courses to be developed and included in the statewide course catalog.
  2. Continue to offer and expand online courses and digital content options to support schools’ and districts’ changing digital learning needs.
  3. Develop and update digital content and assessments based on the needs of schools and districts identified through market research.

Home-Schooled and Non-public Students

Organizational Priority

(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to adhere to this requirement. Michigan Virtual makes available its courses to Michigan home-schooled or nonpublic students at the advertised base rate. Michigan Virtual pricing is available to view on the Michigan Virtual Pricing page.

Benchmarks

  1. Produce 2020-21 pricing with no additional charges for a home-school or nonpublic school student.

MVS Annual Report

Organizational Priority

(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year:

(a) A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School. (b) A list of virtual course titles available to districts. (c) The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course. (d) The overall course completion rate percentage.

Plans

Submit the report detailing Michigan Virtual School activities for 2020-21 school year as part of an annual report that also includes the Michigan Virtual’s professional development report specified under 2(a)(v) and the Institute annual report required under 2(b)(xiii) no later than December 1, 2021.

Benchmarks

  1. Publish MVS Annual Report no later than December 1, 2021.

MVS Schools Served

Organizational Priority

(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).

Plans

Michigan Virtual plans to serve over 600 schools with online courses and free content as well as free learning objects created by Michigan Virtual and made available through the state’s GoOpenMichigan website. Michigan Virtual is currently working on maintaining a minimum of 1,000 Michigan Virtual-created learning objects into the website by the end of the fiscal year. The content is also available to website visitors without a registered account.

Benchmarks

  1. Serve at least 600 Michigan schools with online courses or free content.

Advisory Board

Organizational Priority

(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.

Plans

Since this section pertains to the actions of the Governor’s office rather than Michigan Virtual, no plan has been created by Michigan Virtual.

MVS Budget Costs

Organizational Priority

(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to submit the required materials in accordance with the identified deadlines.

Benchmarks

  1. No later than November 1, 2020, submit a detailed budget for 2020-21 fiscal year that includes a breakdown on Michigan Virtual’s projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services.
  2. No later than March 1, 2021, submit a breakdown on Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

 

For the 2020-21 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs MVLRI to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning.

MVLRI supports and accelerates innovation by:

Supporting and Accelerating Innovation in Education

  • Testing, evaluating, and recommending as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design, and recommending virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Researching, developing, and recommending annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyzing the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.
  • Providing an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.
  • Identifying and sharing best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Providing Leadership for This State’s System of Digital Learning Education

  • Developing and reporting policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.
  • Promoting and distributing the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, supporting implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.
  • Pursuing public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.
  • Creating a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.
  • Convening focus groups and conducting annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.
  • Producing an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.
  • Providing an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Creating and maintaining a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The pass rate for each virtual course.
  • Supporting registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.
  • Providing a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

This report is being submitted in fulfillment of the following legislative directive:

The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, including a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2020-2021.

Mission: Advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

Test, Evaluate Tools

Organizational Priority

2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual is deep into the development of a mobile app that is designed to help students become successful online learners by providing useful content for students, mentors, and parents. The code for the app has been developed, and it is currently being tested for functionality. The content of the app that is specific to students, mentors, and parents continues to be added, and the piloting of the app is on schedule to begin during the months of April through June of this school year.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) technologies will be tested and evaluated throughout the spring of 2020. During the month of February, Michigan Virtual personnel began the process of loaning VR equipment to two Michigan educators who will document their experience using the equipment in their classroom for several activities. Interviews with these educators, as well as with students and experts in the VR space, will be conducted and synthesized into a publication on the Michigan Virtual website by September 30, 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual has established itself as a “contributing member” of IMS Global. IMS Global works to develop interoperability standards for technology. As a contributing member, Michigan Virtual participates in the design groups working on IMS Global supported standards and programs. Michigan Virtual personnel attended the IMS Global Quarterly Meeting and Digital Credentials Summit on February 10-13, 2020 and presented “Credentialing Online: Compelling Stories of Three Online K-12 Programs.”
  • Michigan Virtual is committed to supporting educators who are utilizing technology in the classroom through the publishing of a series of 12 blog posts throughout the 2019-20 school year. The first three blog posts written are focused on different technology tools being used by educators. The first post highlighted a tool called Autocrat, which is an app being used to automate emails using Google Forms. This tool allows for better communication between educators and others. The second blog post focused on a recent update within Google Forms, which allows educators to utilize this tool to create auto-graded quizzes and to import previously created form questions. This tool can not only be used with students as a formative assessment, but it can also be used to gather information from others. Finally, the last blog post was centered around the use of annotated images and how teachers are using the ThingLink app and annotated images to create interactive opportunities for students.
  • Michigan Virtual also published the first podcast in a series of four designed to explore topics in educational innovation, digital learning, educational technology, and instructional design. This podcast, featuring an interview with 2019 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Spencer Kiper and focused on STEM and community engagement, was released in January 2020 through the Michigan Virtual Upcoming podcast interviews with representatives from the Stanford d.school’s K-12 Lab Network and from 2Revolutions are scheduled to be released by April 2020.

Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models

Organizational Priority

2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual’s Essential Findings of Prior Research study is well underway and on schedule to be completed this spring. Eligible resources from prior publications and blog posts by Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) have been identified and organized. The research team has begun reviewing the resources in order to identify what the resource contributes to research on online learning and as well as the practical implications of the new knowledge.
  • The Early Warning Predictive Models research study is also underway and on schedule. This study will be ongoing throughout this fiscal year. Primary investigators Dr. Rice and Dr. Hung of Boise State University have added Michigan Virtual School data from the 2018 school year to their model and have obtained Institutional Review Board consent for a study with Michigan Virtual in 2020 to test their predictive model in real time. Findings from this research will be published on the Michigan Virtual website in fall 2020.
  • The formal design and procedures related to the Student-Centered Learning research study, aimed at providing a snapshot of how Michigan schools and districts are using technology to personalize learning for students, have been finalized, and the data collection instruments for this Michigan Virtual study are currently being developed. The study will utilize both quantitative and qualitative data; therefore, an online questionnaire and individual interview and focus group questions are being drafted. Formal data collection from schools across the state is scheduled to occur during April 2020, while the analysis of data and report writing is expected to occur during the summer of 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual’s Suite360 Implementation and Impact Study, focusing on how the Suite360 program facilitates social emotional learning, is underway with data collection currently in progress. To date, an online questionnaire was distributed to qualifying schools, and individual interviews with personnel of participating schools are scheduled to be completed by March 2020. The analysis of all data as well as the development of a summary report is on target for completion by the end of April 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual has also been collaborating with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation throughout the beginning of this fiscal year to develop a concept paper detailing a possible pilot study that focuses primarily on the effectiveness of the use of micro-credentials in teacher professional development. The concept paper was completed in January, and the Michigan Virtual leadership team has determined that it is feasible to execute such a pilot in the next fiscal year with a limited number of Michigan schools, providing that additional funding is secured to offset the costs incurred by Michigan Virtual.
  • Michigan Virtual is currently working with a small, focused group of practitioners to document the complexities involved in delivering a quality virtual course experience to students in a way that provides flexibility to begin and complete coursework at different times throughout the school year, while also allowing schools to meet Michigan’s reporting schedule established by the state’s academic calendar. A framework detailing the complexities and identifying potential pathways toward solutions is currently in development and expected to be completed in May.

Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual continues to offer online program reviews at no cost to all Michigan schools and districts. These reviews involve a data collection process comprised of the distribution of an online questionnaire and subsequent interviews of key school or district personnel to understand the design and operation of their programs. Once data are collected and analyzed through the use of a standards-aligned rubric, Michigan Virtual personnel write a summary of the school’s or district’s program along with recommendations for optimizing the program for increased student performance. The questionnaire items, interview questions, and rubric have all been updated to reflect the National Standards for Quality Online Programs, and Michigan Virtual has begun outreach to schools to offer these updated program reviews.
  • Beginning in April 2020, Michigan Virtual personnel will begin the development of a written brief aimed at raising the awareness of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning. This document aims to raise the Michigan Department of Education’s familiarity with the standards and also to communicate how Michigan schools and districts can apply the standards within their own virtual programs to increase the statewide virtual course pass rate. The written brief is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2020 and will be published to the Michigan Virtual

Effectiveness Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit the report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.

Updates

  • Work is currently underway for the 2018-19 Effectiveness Report. A presentation to the Michigan Department of Education and Center for Educational Performance and Information is scheduled for March to gather feedback and to receive permission to release the report. The report will be made publicly available through the Michigan Virtual website at the end of March.

As with the prior year, the entire report will be posted directly as a webpage on the Michigan Virtual website in addition to providing a .pdf format for downloading. Making the report available in this format will help users find the content more easily by improving search engines’ abilities to discover the findings and make them available to users. Putting the content directly into the website also helps meet web accessibility standards and provides a mobile-friendly version. Information about the report and how to view it online will be provided to the required subcommittee personnel and other government staff identified under this section.

  • A summary infographic and cover letter will be mailed to superintendents as well as high school and middle school principals in April, providing easy-to-consume key findings and communicating how to access the full report. A presentation will also be recorded and posted on the website for on-demand viewing.

Deliver PD and Submit PD Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report must also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.

Updates

  • As of March 1, 2020, Michigan Virtual added twelve new courses to its Professional Learning Platform and updated and/or revised additional course offerings. These courses include five new counseling courses and seven MEMSPA courses for administrators. In order to provide educators with quality professional development, Michigan Virtual revised four courses offered through MASA and seven Phenomenal Science courses. In addition, the Michigan Department of Education Assessment Security course that is currently offered has been revised, and the MyPD course focused on promoting independent personalized professional learning has been revised to include new options. Currently, the Michigan Virtual course catalog has over 243 online professional learning courses available through its Professional Learning Portal.
  • As of February 18, 2020, there were almost 24,600 enrollments in professional learning courses offered through Michigan Virtual. It is likely that enrollments will exceed 30,000 by June 2020, resulting in the achievement of this benchmark.
  • Michigan Virtual is currently offering content for ACES Academy (Alpena Public Schools), and extensive support has been provided through frequent meetings with teachers and administrators of the Academy. These meetings were held virtually and in-person since the beginning of the school year. In addition, Michigan Virtual personnel have conducted classroom observations coupled with debriefing sessions with teachers of the school aimed at providing additional guidance and resources to help increase student and teacher success. Additional meetings, classroom observations, and debriefing sessions are planned in future months of the 2020-21 school year.
  • Michigan Virtual facilitated a two-day design thinking session with MiSTEM regional directors in November 2019 to produce an overall framework and format for the production of “playbooks” (resources) to be used by educators, business and industry representatives, and MiSTEM directors in initiating and implementing STEM programs for students in Michigan. The group’s work resulted in the creation of topic areas for the development of the playbooks and the general organizational structure and format for their production. Michigan Virtual is currently working to provide capacity and strategic input on the actual production of the resources with the intent of finding additional opportunities to collaborate with the MiSTEM network.
  • The planning of the 2020 Collaboration of the Minds (COM) event, which will take place on August 5-6, is underway. The event’s theme for this year has been finalized – Obstacles are Opportunities – and will be the centerpiece of the conference with each element tying back to the theme throughout the two-day event. Michigan Virtual personnel are in the final stages of negotiations with a high school in metro Detroit to house the event this year. As part of its goal to expand its network and partner with schools across the state, Michigan Virtual is focused on securing contracts for this event in schools rather than in traditional venues. In addition, Michigan Virtual personnel have secured a prominent keynote speaker to present on the second day of the event. In lieu of a keynote speaker for day one, COM organizers have opted to follow a “TED Talk” format, showcasing teachers and how the event theme has guided an aspect of their lives or career. Michigan Virtual personnel are also in the process of finalizing the schedule for the event. It is anticipated that attendees of the event on the first day will include Michigan Virtual instructors along with mentors from across the state. The second day is likely to be open to the public.
  • The 2018-19 professional development report was published as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report, and the report for 2019-20 year is on schedule to be submitted no later than December 1, 2020.

Identify/Share Best Practices

Organizational Priority

2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual has previously published and maintained six widely used guides recognized as being important to school and district online learning programs. Three of the guides related specifically to virtual learners, their parents, and their mentors in schools are being updated to align with the recently released National Standards for Quality Online Programs. These three guides are expected to be published and made available through the Michigan Virtual website in webpage format, updated from their current .pdf format, no later than March 31, 2020. The remaining three guides related to teachers, administrators, and school board members are all expected to be converted to webpage format by the end of August 2020.
  • Four blog posts related to designing, implementing, and maintaining online learning programs have been published to the Michigan Virtual blog under the category Success in Online Learning. These first four posts in the series highlighted how to prepare and support online learners, common elements of successful online programs, unseen elements of successful online courses, and the importance of the relationship between students, mentors, and parents. The remaining blogs of the series are on schedule to be published by September 30, 2020.
  • In addition, three blog posts focused on student-centered learning have been published to the Michigan Virtual blog under the category StudentCentered Learning. These posts define student-centered learning, how the approach relates to online and blended learning, and how one Michigan teacher has implemented components of student-centered learning in their classroom. The topics for the remaining nine blog posts have been identified, and these posts are on schedule to be published by September 30, 2020.
  • Voluntary online program reviews, aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Programs, are currently being offered to all Michigan schools and districts at no cost to the schools or districts. When schools or districts contact Michigan Virtual and express interest in having a program review conducted, a service agreement that details the expectations of both parties during the review is executed. The school completes an online questionnaire using their program’s data and participates in an interview where they expand on their survey responses. Michigan Virtual personnel then draft a report and obtain feedback from the school. The review concludes with a final report submitted to the school incorporating their feedback.
  • Virtual learners represent a relatively small but growing portion of the total students reported on Michigan’s “Count Days.” Michigan Virtual is connecting with school practitioners (typically mentors of virtual learners) and the business officials of schools and districts responsible for reporting student counts to identify a set of best practices and/or resources schools can incorporate into their virtual programs. Michigan Virtual personnel will distill the legislative guidelines for reporting virtual learners detailed in Michigan’s Pupil Accounting Manual as they were interpreted by the Michigan Department of Education in a webinar recently hosted by Michigan Virtual. Michigan Virtual is also in the process of seeking input from the Michigan Pupil Attendance and Accounting Association, whose membership includes the school practitioners involved in an audit as well as the auditors performing the audits. These best practices are on schedule to be published by September 2020.
  • On Friday, October 25, 2019, Michigan Virtual presented two sessions to educators at the MACUL Computer Science Summit in Detroit. The first session titled, “Getting Data for your Students with JavaScript (without a server!)” shared tips and tricks and lesson plans related to computer science and online instruction that session attendees can use in their classrooms. Other Michigan Virtual staff members presented “Minecraft “Social: How to Build Minecraft into Your Classroom.” Together, they shared their experiences using Minecraft for Education in online and blended environments and engaged the attendees in a hands-on learning opportunity that allowed them to blend Minecraft for Education into their curriculum.
  • On Thursday January 16, 2020, Michigan Virtual staff presented to school superintendents at the MiCoOp Winter Conference in Mt. Pleasant. The focus of this session was a discussion on the challenges that school districts face related to the implementation of blended and online learning. As part of this discussion, resources produced by Michigan Virtual were shared, including the guides to online learning; published webinars, podcasts, and blogs; the web-based Online Learning Orientation Tool (OLOT); and the availability of online program reviews – all free resources aimed at helping schools and districts design and implement effective digital learning programs for students.
  • Also on Tuesday January 16, 2020, Michigan Virtual personnel presented “Creative Uses of Online Learning for MMC Requirements” at the Michigan Merit Curriculum Flexibility Conference hosted by MASSP in Lansing. This session was an interactive discussion with a panel of Michigan counselors sharing how their schools implemented Michigan Virtual student courses to help their students meet their individual MMC requirements for graduation.
  • Moving forward, Michigan Virtual will be delivering seven presentations at the annual MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) conference in March. The MACUL conference has approximately 5,000 attendees and is the state’s premier educational technology professional learning conference. Session titles include: “Coaching: A playbook for Teachers,” “10-Year Challenge: Teaching in 2020 vs 2010,” “20 Tech Tools to Bring into Your Classroom in 2020” (presented twice), “Beyond the Basics: Hidden Features of Google Classroom,” “Experience It for Yourself: Student-Centered Learning,” and “A Face-to-Face Teacher’s Guide to Designing Online Experiences.” In addition, a lab session entitled “No More Wasted PD – Design Your Own Learning Pathway & Earn SCECHs” will also be presented. Michigan Virtual will also be submitting sessions for the upcoming MASSP and MASA annual conferences in addition to the MAA (Michigan Afterschool Association) Spring Conference.
  • Michigan Virtual personnel have been busy connecting with educators across the state to provide guidance and insight on the design and implementation of personalized learning models. To date, four onsite training sessions for educators have been conducted: Mt. Pleasant Teacher Boost (11/4/19), Ingham Teacher Boost: (11/21/19), Wayne RESA Teacher Boost (1/29/20), and Kent ISD Teacher Boost (2/13/20). Based on the success of these sessions, additional on-site trainings are being planned.
  • Michigan Virtual researchers are currently investigating best practices associated with identifying and evaluating learning management systems/platforms (LMS) that can meet the customized needs of schools and districts. Through the execution of a study that follows their own evaluation, selection, and implementation of an LMS, Michigan Virtual is seeking to understand and share the challenges and opportunities experienced by schools and districts regarding the implementation and maintenance of such systems/platforms. This research study is currently in the study design process, and formal data collection is expected to occur in April 2020. The data collection and analysis are expected to last several months, culminating in a written brief made available to schools and districts no later than September 30, 2020.

Policy Recommendations to Gov./Legislature

Organizational Priority

2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual shared virtual learning recommendations which included three areas of opportunity. The first area of opportunity was to shift the teacher effectiveness rating reporting requirement from the local school to the virtual provider when the teacher is an employee of the virtual provider rather than the school. The second area was to create an online mentor training course, endorsed by the Michigan Department of Education, to inform and reinforce best practices in local support strategies for virtual learners. The final recommendation was to update a data field, Virtual Method, in the Michigan Student Data System whose current data value is not yielding insightful data with a simpler set of values that provide data on whether an enrollment is delivered virtual as well as whether it was for credit recovery.

Research Clearinghouse

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual continues to maintain the nationally-recognized Research Clearinghouse, and there were 1,051 resources in the Research Clearinghouse as of the publication of the Quarterly Newsletter in November. The next quarterly newsletter is on schedule to be distributed in March 2020.
  • Four blog posts related to research on online and digital learning have been published to the Michigan Virtual blog under the category Research Round Up. The first four posts in the series highlighted approximately 16 resources including peer reviewed journal articles, journal special series, white papers, educational thought leader blogs, and updated online course and program standards. The final two blogs currently being planned are on schedule to be published by September 30, 2020.

Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual continues to promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching. Recently, Michigan Virtual issued a press release about its involvement in the creation of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning. As a result of that press release, Michigan Virtual staff were interviewed on Education Talk Radio, and the recorded interview is now published on the Michigan Virtual In addition, Michigan Virtual personnel updated several pages on its website to incorporate the new information about the standards, and four separate blog posts sharing the standards were published to the Michigan Virtual website. The webpages and blog posts were also promoted through Michigan Virtual social media channels.
  • Michigan Virtual personnel continue to add instructional design guidelines, aligned to the National Standards for Quality Online Learning, to the Research Clearinghouse on an ongoing basis. These standards have all been tagged and entered into the Research Clearinghouse in addition to three other instructional design specific resources in 2019.
  • The instructional design team at Michigan Virtual created a course titled, “So You Want to be an Instructional Designer?” which is now available and open for enrollment in Michigan Virtual’s Professional Learning Portal. This course provides an introduction to instructional design as well as the role of an instructional designer. A second instructional design course is currently being planned and development is expected to begin in March 2020. An instructional designer has been identified to take the lead on the development, the course content has been outlined, and the timeline is under development.
  • The promotion of instructional design courses for teachers throughout the state is a priority for Michigan Virtual, and a session titled, “A Face-to-Face Teacher’s Guide to Designing Online Experiences” is scheduled to be presented at the 2020 MACUL conference. The goal of the session is to provide classroom instructors with mindsets and strategies, based on instructional design theories, to support them in designing and developing online learning experiences for their students.

Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.

Updates

  • Beginning in April 2020, Michigan Virtual personnel will be communicating with various teacher preparation institutions to inform them of the various online resources and courses that can help pre-service teachers develop their knowledge and understanding of literacy, digital teaching and learning, and the myriad open educational resources that are available to support virtual teaching and learning.
  • In addition, the design and planning of a research study focused on student-centered learning across the state (including the ways in which technology and virtual learning supports such pedagogy) is currently underway at Michigan Virtual, and the execution of an outreach strategy to invite colleges and universities to partner with Michigan Virtual is scheduled for March 2020. Specifically, institutions that offer teacher or administrator preparation programs will be contacted to participate in the development of data collection instruments, the collection of data through an online questionnaire and school interviews, data analysis, and/or report writing.

Public/Private Partnerships

Organizational Priority

2(b)(v)- Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competencybased technology-rich virtual learning models.

Updates

  • As part of Michigan Virtual’s planned student-centered learning research study, the organization’s research team will be collecting data through the dissemination of an online questionnaire and the execution of individual and focus group interviews. Specific questions related to the use of technology and competency-based strategies will be included in the process. The collection of this data is scheduled to begin in April 2020, with outreach to possible education-related organization partners to occur during March 2020. Anticipated partners of this research study may include colleges, universities, or education organizations that have statewide memberships.
  • Michigan Virtual is also continuing partnerships with other organizations through its microcredentialing work. Meetings with the Michigan Assessment Consortium are currently underway, preparing to launch a district-wide pilot in late spring or early fall using assessment micro-credentials created in 2018-2019. In addition, the MASA Human Resources microcredential stack will start to be released in spring 2020. Each micro-credential is paired with a separate course component. Additional micro-credentialing work has been executed with MEMSPA. The following micro-credentials related to this particular work have been developed and released in the following areas: Social Emotional Learning, Leadership & Literacy Part 1 (rework), Leadership & Literacy Part 2 (rework), Leadership & Literacy Part 3 (rework), SEL and Whole Child, SEL and MTSS, SEL and Family Engagement, Staff Well-Being, Title IV, and Leading Student Engagement.
  • Michigan Virtual’s leadership and promotion of this micro-credentialing initiative is growing as the organization is now a “contributing member” of IMS Global, which allows the organization to participate in the design groups working on IMS Global supported standards and programs. Michigan Virtual personnel attended the IMS Global Quarterly Meeting and Digital Credentials Summit on February 10-13, 2020 and presented “Credentialing Online: Compelling Stories of Three Online K-12 Programs.” 
  • Michigan Virtual is also partnering with schools and districts on a research study to investigate the degree of implementation and best practices related to the use of the Suite360 digital character development and behavior intervention program. Michigan Virtual researchers have already collected questionnaire data from participating schools, and interviews of personnel from these schools and districts is on schedule to occur during March 2020.

Mentor Network

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual has scheduled face-to-face trainings to allow mentors of online learners to connect with one another to share details about their online learning programs and build expertise in the area of mentoring. To date, two trainings were executed in February 2020 – one in Coopersville and one in Plymouth- and another is scheduled for mid-March 2020 in Houghton Lake. The planning for a fourth training to be held in Livingston County is currently underway.
  • An additional support to mentors of online learners provided by Michigan Virtual is the continued operation of the Online Mentor Community. This community, hosted within the Brightspace LMS, has been updated with new discussion board threads and is moderated on a periodic basis to facilitate conversation between mentors. The platform has also been updated to include a new organizational framework for resources for mentors and includes links to the latest research-based mentor resources produced by Michigan Virtual and other leaders in this space. Work will begin in spring 2020 to build collaboration spaces and resources for mentors, building upon the updates of the Online Mentor Community, in a mobile environment.
  • Another way that Michigan Virtual is supporting mentors of online learners is through the delivery of presentations at Michigan education conferences. On Monday, November 11, 2019, Michigan Virtual personnel presented at the Michigan School Counselors Association annual fall conference in Lansing. The focus of this session was a discussion on the challenges that school counselors face when mentoring students in an online environment. As part of this discussion, best practices were shared for supporting online learners with tips for pupil accounting, creating policies, proctoring exams, and holding students accountable in the online learning space.
  • Michigan Virtual will also be submitting sessions for the upcoming MASSP Annual Conference, MAEO (Michigan Alternative Education Organization) Annual Conference, MEMSPA summer leadership conference, and the MPAAA conference.
  • Mentors of online learners are also supported through content posted monthly to the Michigan Virtual blog under the category Mentor Forum. Four blog posts related to the sharing of best practices for mentors have been published to date. These posts highlighted real-world success strategies for mentors, looked at mentoring through the lens of personalized learning, heard from mentors themselves, and talked with leading experts on mentoring. The final two blogs are on schedule to be published by September 30, 2020.

Focus Groups /Annual Surveys

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual personnel aim to provide solutions and supports for virtual learners in all schools across the state. In order to develop these solutions, Michigan Virtual will be conducting focus groups in May 2020 as part of the process of collecting data to identify student-related factors and school- or program-related factors that impact student success. The specific questions for the focus groups have been drafted with the finalization of the questions to be completed in March 2020. The identification of focus group participants is scheduled to occur in April 2020.
  • The planned statewide study of student-centered learning will include a data collection process that utilizes an online questionnaire. This questionnaire is comprised of various questions designed to determine the degree to which schools and districts are implementing student-centered learning as well as the ways that online and blended learning are facilitating this type of learning model. This questionnaire is scheduled to be distributed to schools and districts in April 2020.
  • Additional focus groups comprised of online students were conducted by Michigan Virtual. Specifically, two student focus groups were completed during the Fall 2019 semester with a combined total of 13 students. The focus groups were held at Novi High School (eight students) and Brighton High School (five students). Each focus group interview lasted approximately 50 minutes. The focus group discussions centered on: (a) student perceptions of Michigan Virtual online classes, (b) how the students felt when they found out they would be taking an online class and what they did during this “discovery” phase, and (c) their experience in the online class. At least one additional student focus group is planned for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Additional data are collected from students and adults through the dissemination of voluntary end-of-course questionnaires. All learners enrolled in Michigan Virtual professional and student courses are presented with a questionnaire at the end of each course. Since October 1, 2019, our professional learning questionnaire has received 2,841 responses. Our student end-ofcourse questionnaire has received 1,231 responses in that same period (through January 15, 2020).
  • Michigan Virtual also values feedback and input from mentors of online learners. Michigan Virtual personnel plan to disseminate an online questionnaire to mentors at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. A mid-year mentor questionnaire has already been disseminated. This questionnaire, sent to all mentors with students enrolled in Michigan Virtual courses, received 132 responses from mid-December 2019 through mid-January 2020. The questionnaire included questions on overall satisfaction, suggestions for improving satisfaction, professional development needs, preferences within the Michigan Virtual Student Learning Portal, and the number of students supported.
  • The final means by which data will be collected from stakeholders will be through the execution of focus group interviews with educational organization partners. In mid-January 2020, Michigan Virtual prepared and distributed questionnaires focused on better understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by today’s educators and students as well as to learn about views on the future of education and the role technology will play in schools. This questionnaire was shared with MASSP, MEMPSA, MASA, MAISA, MASPA, and MANS with the intent that it be distributed to their memberships. Michigan Virtual personnel are also coordinating focus groups with two or more educational organizations to gain deeper insights into the topics covered in the questionnaire. Data collection through questionnaires and focus groups is expected to be completed by May 2020.

Consumer Awareness Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual continues to host and update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually. The fall update is complete, and the spring update is forthcoming. In addition to updating the report with the spring data, the spring report will also include data from the upcoming Effectiveness Report for the 2018-19 school year. The purpose of this resource is to make consumers aware of the status of online learning in Michigan. It is specifically designed to inform parents, school personnel, and school board members of the nature of online learning options, their effectiveness for Michigan students, the cost of these programs, and current trends.

Internet-based Platform

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Updates

  • To provide leadership to the state’s GoOpen initiative, Michigan Virtual participates in the GoOpen task force in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education and other Michigan stakeholders. A representative from Michigan Virtual serves on a work group tasked with providing and creating professional development around the Michigan GoOpen initiative. Recently, Michigan Virtual has been assisting the REMC Association in creating training to further deepen educators’ understanding of the GoOpen initiative. Time has been dedicated to building a micro-credential for educators interested in advocating for open educational resources. Michigan Virtual continues to host an online GoOpen course for teachers. This course, titled “GoOpen: Open Educational Resources in Michigan,” is available and open for enrollment in Michigan Virtual’s Professional Learning Portal. This course provides instruction on how and why to use open educational resources, where to find them, and how to incorporate them into the design of course work.
  • Additional resources are being added to the GoOpenMichigan website. By March 2020, 250 free learning objects are expected to be added to the website, and an additional 250 free learning objects are scheduled to be added by July 2020.

Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses

Organizational Priority

2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual

Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:

  • The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
  • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (C) The pass rate for each virtual course.

Updates

  • In an effort to provide the best experience to users of the statewide catalog, Michigan Virtual has engaged with a web developer, Web Ascender, to completely redesign publicly accessible pages of micourses.org. This change is in response to growing accessibility concerns of the original design as well as the desire to provide a more up-to-date experience to users. The frontend search functionality has been divorced from the backend system and, as part of an extensive overhaul, was developed in the WordPress content management system. The new user experience is set to launch in the first quarter of 2020 as work is being completed on development and a communication plan to current users.
  • Michigan Virtual is committed to incorporating the ability for schools to use National Standards for Quality Online Courses when reporting their online course reviews. The organization has done an analysis and defined the scope of the work that needs to take place to include the standards as part of the course review and upload on micourses.org. It was determined that the statewide catalog core systems require extensive development and updates in order to implement the new standards. A course of action related to the best way to approach this development work and whether to engage the original developers of the micourses.org systems or to approach a new developer to completely overhaul and future-proof the system should be finalized no later than April 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual continues to add online courses that have been successfully reviewed for quality to the statewide catalog. To date, four semester-length courses (Health Education Abstinence Only, Japanese 2B, German 2B, and French 2B) were submitted for Quality Matter review in 2019; however, the review was completed in 2020. Michigan Virtual personnel are developing nine new semester-length courses (Medical Terminology, Trig/Pre-Calc A, Trig/PreCalc B, Bioethics, Advanced Programming: Mobile Apps and Game Design, AP World History: Modern A, AP World History: Modern B, Calculus A, and Calculus B) during 2020 and have planned to have the courses reviewed by Quality Matters by August 2020.

Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.

Updates

  • As a way to provide technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog, Michigan Virtual maintains knowledge base articles specific to micourses.org. These articles include information specific to guardians; students or counselors who want to search the catalog for online courses; instructions for enrolling via the catalog; and to companies, districts, or other qualified parties that want to list their online courses in the catalog. The articles are accessible from the “important links” menu on micourses.org and maintained on the Michigan Virtual Knowledge Base website. Michigan Virtual’s Customer Care Center is also available on business days from 7:30am – 5:00pm ET to answer calls and to respond to online support tickets that are submitted for the statewide catalog.

Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual has implemented an updated Modified Danielson Rubric for the evaluation process of its teachers. Throughout the year, course “walk-through” reviews have been conducted by Michigan Virtual department leads/instructional coaches. In addition, a large portion of the Michigan Virtual instructional staff received mid-year evaluation reviews as an opportunity to check on progress and provide some just-in-time feedback to support their growth in the second half of the year. The scheduling of formal annual evaluations will begin in April 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual representatives met with representatives from the Center for Educational Performance and Information and the Michigan Department of Education to discuss the challenge that currently exists with teacher effectiveness reporting and the implication of the current process within the state. A formal recommendation has been submitted to the house and senate subcommittees, the state fiscal agents, the Michigan Department of Education, and the state budget office.

Institute Annual Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

Updates

  • The 2018-2019 report on the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute was sent to the legislature in December 2019 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtuals Annual Report. The 2019-2020 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2020.

Operate the Michigan Virtual School

Organizational Priority

(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters:

(a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.

Updates

  • As part of the process of maintaining accreditation, Michigan Virtual’s staff connected with

Michael Nauss at the MASA Mid-Winter Conference in January 2020 to discuss Cognia’s (formerly known as AdvancEd) plan to publicize the online learning standards expected for the upcoming Spring 2021 accreditation visit. Mr. Nauss indicated that he would notify Michigan Virtual personnel when the standards will be made available.


Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS

Organizational Priority

(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.

Updates

  • On October 4, 2019, Michigan Virtual’s board of directors approved its fiscal year 2020 budget fulfilling this benchmark. Similarly, based on audited figures from the prior fiscal year, an independent third-party auditing firm concluded that Michigan Virtual adhered to this requirement for the 2018-19 school year.

Background Checks for MVS

Organizational Priority

(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual is approved by the Michigan State Police (MSP) as a qualified entity to use the MSP Criminal History Record Internet Subscription Service (CHRISS) for fingerprinting for employment, assignment, or volunteer placement as authorized by the National Child Protection Act. Michigan Virtual works with its teachers and staff to complete background checks and MSP fingerprint checks through this process.

Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs

Organizational Priority

(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual is in the process of developing three new professional development courses to support Michigan teachers and schools. The first course being developed is in partnership with the Michigan Association of College Admissions Counselors (MACAC). Michigan Virtual is working with subject matter experts from the US Army (Education Service Specialists) to develop an introductory level (5 SCECH) course that meets the updated professional development requirements for school counselors in the state of Michigan. This is one of Michigan Virtual’s first courses for which the intended audience is counselors, and it broadens Michigan Virtual’s impact in the professional space. This course is nearing the end of development and will be available in the Michigan Virtual catalog in March 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual has also partnered with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) to create a series of five small courses that introduce educators to services available through the College Board, including their AP program and ACT testing. These courses are currently in the development stage which is expected to continue through the spring of 2020.
  • The third course is being developed in partnership with the Michigan Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (MASCD) with contributions from the Michigan Assessment Consortium (MAC), Learning Forward Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Education. Through this collaboration, Michigan Virtual is developing a course to introduce educators to the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community (WSCC) Model for Continuous Improvement in their schools and districts. With the state of Michigan expecting the launch of a new method for data collection for a Continuous Improvement Plan (MiCIP) in the spring of 2020, this course, which is nearing the end of the development stage, is meant to help educators better meet student, school, and community needs and help them apply those practices to their continuous improvement plans.
  • In another effort to support educator professional development, Michigan Virtual will be releasing the first in a series of MASA micro-credentials focusing on district superintendent human resources in spring of 2020. To date, the following MEMSPA micro-credentials have been developed and released in the following areas: Social Emotional Learning, Leadership & Literacy Part 1 (rework), Leadership & Literacy Part 2 (rework), Leadership & Literacy Part 3 (rework), SEL and Whole Child, SEL and MTSS, SEL and Family Engagement, Staff Well-Being, Title IV, and Leading Student Engagement.

MVS Catalog

Organizational Priority

(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

  • Information technology courses.
  • College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471.
  • Courses and dual enrollment opportunities.
  • Programs and services for atrisk pupils.
  • High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth.
  • Special interest courses.
  • Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.

Updates

  • As part of its process of ensuring virtual courses are compatible with modern web browsers, Michigan Virtual is systematically removing course components that were previously designed with the Adobe Flash multimedia software platform. Flash components were removed from a total of 63 courses to date, and the following courses are scheduled for Flash removal in the upcoming months: Earth Science A and B, Oceanography A and B, AP Calculus AB (Sem 1 and 2), and AP Calculus BC (Sem 1 and 2). Michigan Virtual is also in the process of acquiring a new earth science course from a Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance member to address Flash instances in the currently offered course, and it has reached out to Advantage Press about acquiring the rights to the Flash-based eText for the current Oceanography course. All remaining courses that are being migrated from Michigan Virtual’s Blackboard instance will have Flash components removed as part of the migration process. This course migration is expected to be completed by July 2020. Michigan Virtual is also in the process of redeveloping the Calculus A/B, Pre-Calc/Trig, and Medical Terminology courses, during which all Flash components will be removed. This work is expected to be completed by the end of March 2020.
  • Michigan Virtual personnel are also currently developing a new AP World History Modern A course. The subject matter expert assigned to this project completed the scripting for the course at the end of January 2020, and the anticipated completion date of the course is March 2020. The team will then move on to the development of the second semester of AP World History Modern B.
  • Michigan Virtual, in partnership with St. Clair County Community College (SC4), introduced statewide access to twelve online dual enrollment courses in the Fall 2019 term: ART 120: Art Appreciation; BUS 150: Principles of Business; ENG 101: English Composition I; HIS 101: History of Western Civilization to 1715; HIS 102: History of Western Civilization since 1715; HIS 150: History of the United States, 1877 to Present; MTH 104: Foundations of Math; MTH 113: PreCalculus; MTH: 120 Introduction to Statistics; PS 101: Introduction to Political Science; PSY 180: Introduction to Psychology; and SOC 101: Principles of Sociology.
  • The primary benefits to Michigan schools and their high school students include: (a) the ability to locate postsecondary dual enrollment options within an online catalog that schools often reference in order to explore options for student scheduling, Michigan Virtual’s Student Learning Portal; (b) statewide access to SC4’s lower, in-district tuition rate; and (c) support services provided by Michigan Virtual in collecting and transmitting student registration data and files to the college, assistance in communicating questions to the college’s representatives from school enrollers and registered students, facilitation of invoicing and transmission of tuition and fees from all parties to the college, as well as communication of students’ final grades to the enrolling party at each participating school.
  • As a means of increasing the benefits offered to high school students through Michigan Virtual’s partnership with SC4, both parties committed to a goal of increasing the number and variety of online course offerings in alignment with the aim of permitting returning students the ability to fully complete the requirements of the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) over the course of two to four years of online dual enrollment coursework while in high school. In order to accomplish this, SC4 needed to provide a minimum of three additional online offerings through Michigan Virtual in at least two subject areas (e.g., a second English composition or communications course as well as two science courses, at least one of which containing a lab requirement).
  • As of the SC4’s Winter 2020 academic term, the stated goal was met with both the continued offering of the original twelve courses as well as the introduction of thirteen new dual enrollment course offerings: BIO 101: Essentials of Biology (w/ Lab)*; BIO 110: Cell Biology Basics*; BUS 153: Business Law; CIS 110: CIS Concepts and Careers; CJ 101: Introduction to Criminal Justice; ENG 102: English Composition II*; GEO 101: Earth Science (w/ Lab)*; GEO 233: World Regional Geography; HE 101: Math Related to Drug Administration; HE 102: Medical Terminology; PSY 220: Life Span Developmental Psychology; PSY 230: Psychology of Effective Leadership and Supervision; and PSY 260: Abnormal Psychology. Note: Asterisks (*) above indicate each of the four new dual enrollment courses that fulfill the stated benchmark.
  • Michigan high school students now have the ability to fully complete the requirements of the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) through the following online course work.
MTA RequirementCourse OfferingsPossible Credits

English Composition, plus a second semester of English Composition or

Communications

ENG 101 + ENG 1026
Two Social Science courses in two disciplines

Two of the following: GEO 233,

HIS 150, PS 101, (PSY 180 or

PSY 220 or PSY 230 or PSY

260), SOC 101

6- 8
Two Humanities and Fine Arts courses in two disciplines

ART 120 and either HIS 101 or

HIS 102

7
Two Natural Science courses, one with Lab

Two of the following: BIO 101,

BIO 110, GEO 101

7-8
One Mathematics course

MTH 104 or MTH 113 or MTH

120

4
Minimum of 30 Total CreditsNine Total Courses30-32
  • In order to provide the most effective and user-friendly online learning experience, Michigan Virtual is deep into the process of implementing a new learning management system (LMS) and migrating courses from its current Blackboard instance to this new platform. In October 2019, Michigan Virtual released a Request for Proposals for a new K-12 Learning Management System (LMS). Three vendors submitted their letters of intent to demonstrate their wish to participate and their ability to meet our requirements and timeline. The Michigan Virtual review committee selected two of the vendors as finalists, and the team completed a rigorous testing process of both vendors’ platforms. A contract with the chosen vendor was signed and work began to install, configure, and test the new LMS. Michigan Virtual is now working to develop effective methods of adding its many courses to the new system and planning for a small pilot to occur by the end of March 2020. A subsequent pilot will occur in the summer of 2020, training of staff and instructors will be delivered by the vendor, and multiple items will be validated by the internal team. Public launch for the new LMS is slated for early August 2020.

Home-Schooled and Non-public Students

Organizational Priority

(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual’s prices for 2019-2020 school year are the same for home-schooled and nonpublic school students as they are for district students using the same services. Pricing Information is available on the Michigan Virtual website.

MVS Annual Report

Organizational Priority

(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year:

  • A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School.
  • A list of virtual course titles available to districts.
  • The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course.
  • The overall course completion rate percentage.

Updates

  • The 2018-2019 report on the MVS was sent to the legislature in December 2019 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual Annual Report. The 2019-2020 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2020.

MVS Schools Served

Organizational Priority

(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).

Updates

  • Michigan Virtual is on schedule to serve a minimum of 600 schools throughout the 2019-20 school year. As part of this process, additional free learning objects are being developed on an ongoing basis and are being added to the GoOpenMichigan website. By March 2020, 250 free learning objects are expected to be added to the website, and an additional 250 free learning objects are scheduled to be added by July 2020.

Advisory Board

Organizational Priority

(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.

Updates

  • Since this section pertains to the actions of the Governor’s office rather than Michigan Virtual, no plan were created by Michigan Virtual.

MVS Budget Costs

Organizational Priority

(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Updates

  • A detailed budget breaking down 2019-2020 projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services was submitted in November. The breakdown of Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year was included in the same mailing as this update.

Download the 2019-20 Plans & Benchmarks March Update

For the 2019-20 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs MVLRI to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning. MVLRI supports and accelerates innovation by:

Supporting and Accelerating Innovation in Education

  • Testing, evaluating, and recommending as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design, and recommending virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Researching, developing, and recommending annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyzing the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.
  • Providing an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.
  • Identifying and sharing best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Providing Leadership for This State’s System of Digital Learning Education

  • Developing and reporting policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.
  • Promoting and distributing the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, supporting implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.
  • Pursuing public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.
  • Creating a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.
  • Convening focus groups and conducting annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.
  • Producing an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.
  • Providing an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Creating and maintaining a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The pass rate for each virtual course.
  • Supporting registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.
  • Providing a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.
View the full set of plans and benchmarks

Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs Michigan Virtual through its research institute, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI), to address a variety of tasks to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education. Michigan Virtual’s mission is to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships. This document provides an update on the plans and benchmarks sent to the legislature in November 2018. For simplicity, updates are included after each legislative directive.

(1) The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, which shall include a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2019-2020. Not later than March 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide an update to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid to show the progress being made to meet the benchmarks identified.

The original plans and benchmarks document was provided to the legislature in November. This document serves as the March 1 update and completes this legislative directive.

(A) Support and accelerate innovation in education through the following activities:

Test, Evaluate Tools

Organizational Priority

2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.

Update

This fall, Michigan Virtual created an easy-to-use template for educators to work through as they share their stories about using technology in the classroom to serve the needs of students. Throughout the year, we plan to use this process to produce a dozen blog posts that showcase how actual teachers are using various tools in their classrooms and their recommendations on what they are finding useful. Three blog posts have been completed and published to the Michigan Virtual website. The three blogs focus on teacher perspectives around developing a choice-based classroom to promote student agency, using video-making software to teach challenging course material to asynchronous students, and using online calendars to schedule face-to-face time to practice a new language.

In November, Michigan Virtual published a new podcast episode on student engagement, and a second podcast, Student Agency and Google Classroom, was published in February.  The Michigan Virtual professional learning podcast has since been rebranded as the Digital Backpack podcast and moved to a different hosting site; guests and topics are being solidified for the remaining upcoming podcast episodes to be produced this year. Once the podcasts are published, a new SCECH-bearing course will be developed for the Professional Learning Portal.

Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models

Organizational Priority

2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.

Update

Michigan Virtual continues to explore a wide array of tracking variables gathered in LMS repositories. High school-level mathematics courses in 2016-17 academic year were selected for the study focus and gradebook data were processed to create student trajectory data within a semester window. To identify meaningful subgroups of learners based on their learning behaviors, a growth mixture modeling is being used. The analysis will be completed by May and a report will be published this summer.

As an extension of work done in the 2017-18 year, Michigan Virtual is collaborating with Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung of Boise State University to refine models to identify early warning indicators of student success or failure in their online courses, an expanded data set was shared with the researchers in November 2018. For 2018-19, this research was expanded to include course enrollments from prior school years. The expanded model will then be tested on data from another school year. Following completion of this multi-year project, Michigan Virtual will post a webinar to the MVLRI website this fall.

In exploring methods to monitor progress on professional learning, Michigan Virtual staff collected network and text data from discussion forums housed in two virtual professional communities and analyzed data using Social Network Analysis, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, and word-cloud. A research paper will be presented at conferences in March and April. A publication focused on practical implications is expected to be published this spring.

Michigan Virtual launched two pilots of the NuTeacher app: one with the Lansing School District’s New Teacher Network Initiative, and another with Michigan Virtual’s student learning instructional staff. Through the pilots, content was developed to facilitate two different leadership book studies. Feedback from pilot users has been incorporated into numerous continuous updates to the application, and more formal feedback is being collected from the groups to help refine and improve user experience. A pilot is being developed with the Brighton School District shared services program for teacher professional development of their 300 shared services teachers throughout the state.

Schools that elect to purchase Evolution Labs products from Michigan Virtual are asked to complete a short adoption survey approximately 8 weeks after they begin using the product or products that they purchase. The brief survey asks them which products they use, their satisfaction level with each product that they use, and what could be done to improve their satisfaction. They are also asked to describe their strategies for implementing the products and to provide a Net Promoter Score (NPS). Thus far we have provided the survey to four schools. Results have been mixed and our sales team is following up with schools to find out more about each implementation.

Staff completed preliminary research on effective communication practices among students and instructors. Data from student end of course surveys (Fall semester 2017-18) were examined using a variety of statistical tests, including factor analysis, multivariate analysis of variance, its post-hoc test, and effect size estimation. Dependent variables included final grades, course engagement indicators (course access count and duration), student perceived course quality, and student course satisfaction. As independent variables, the study used grouping variables by which students were categorized based on their report on communication practices (e.g., Yes vs. No to welcome messages by the instructor) and preference of communication tools (e.g., least vs. most preferred “Messaging Tools”). With some significant findings from the preliminary study, data collection for the final research with “Messaging Tools” embedded into Blackboard has started. A report detailing the findings from both studies will be published this summer.

Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.

Update

Michigan Virtual staff, along with staff from MDE, have actively participated in the revision of the National Standards for Online Programs, Online Teaching, and Online Course Standards led by the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and Quality Matters. The standards for programs and for teaching are scheduled to be published in February. The course standards work has begun and is tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2019. Upon their release, Michigan Virtual will promote the updated standards on its website, in presentations and newsletters, and in meetings with the many partnerships it maintains within and beyond Michigan.

Michigan Virtual has also worked closely with MDE to coordinate and clarify communications to the field about online learning. An example of this has been collaboration about the messaging and raising awareness of the Early Literacy Essential Practices online modules. Michigan Virtual and MDE will also be meeting soon to discuss the findings of the latest Effectiveness Report and strategize about mechanisms to improve student performance.

Another spring meeting with MDE will be to share information with the department about Michigan Virtual’s program reviews. Michigan Virtual offers supplemental online program reviews to Michigan school districts for the purpose of reviewing their programs in the areas of: content procurement and monitoring practices, instructor training and communication, mentor training and student support techniques, student selection processes, parent communication and support, and overall program evaluation. Reviews collect survey and interview data from online programs and culminate in reports that include written feedback on the strengths and opportunities for further development in each of the focus areas as well as more than 60 resources schools may utilize to increase program effectiveness. A rubric is included as a resource for school leaders to reflect on the structure and implementation of online courses in their schools. Michigan Virtual invites schools to participate through Michigan’s education organizations’ newsletters, at presentations, on its website and through individual invitations to participate.

Effectiveness Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.

Update

Work is currently underway for the 2017-18 Effectiveness Report. A presentation will be given to MDE and CEPI in March to gather feedback and receive their permission to release the report. The report will be made publically available through the MVLRI website in March. We have recently updated the 2016-17 Effectiveness Report webpage to contain all of the information for the report directly inside the webpage rather than in a .pdf format. This change will help users find the content more easily by improving search engines’ abilities to review the findings. Putting the content directly into the website also helps meet web accessibility standards as well as providing a mobile-friendly version. We expect to use this new format for the upcoming report. Information about the report and how to view it online will be provided to the required subcommittee personnel and other government staff identified under this section.

A summary infographic and cover letter will be mailed to superintendents and high school and middle school principals in April providing easy-to-consume key findings and communicating how to access the full report. A free webinar in April will be recorded and posted on the website for on-demand viewing.

Deliver PD and Submit PD Report

Organizational Priority

2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.

Update

In the first five months of the fiscal year, Michigan Virtual has had over 19,000 online professional learning enrollments in its Professional Learning Portal. We are on pace to surpass the 30,000 enrollment target.

Michigan Virtual continues to host and support the website to support the dissemination of the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy. Each of the Literacy Essentials courses, spanning pre-K, K-3, and schoolwide, are currently live on the Professional Learning Portal. As of mid-February, there have been 9,354 enrollments in the Early Literacy courses since October 1, 2018.

Michigan Virtual has also been active training teachers in our Collaborative model. Currently, Michigan Virtual has developed a Collaborative Partnership model with four different unique school districts / Intermediate School Districts throughout the state. Thirty-three teachers have been trained and coached over the duration of the agreements. We have provided a total of 11 face-to-face professional development opportunities between all partnerships; developed, provided, and facilitated online onboarding courses for all teachers; and provided individual coaches for each teacher to act as a means of direct support and mentorship. We’ve also offered bi-monthly professional development webinars directly aligned with national standards for quality online teaching, with topics including, but not limited to: academic integrity, online accessibility and student accommodations, differentiation, automated communication, effective feedback, quality announcements, formative assessment, student engagement, and learning management system efficiencies as well.

Michigan Virtual’s annual Collaboration of the Minds professional learning conference is scheduled for July 31-August 1, 2019, and its theme will be personalization. This event brings together all Michigan Virtual instructors for two full days of training, team building, learning and collaboration. This year, the Professional Learning Services team will join us in opening the second day of the event up to all teachers across the state. In addition, we will host mentors for their own version of Collaboration of the Minds. This effort is designed to help foster the spirit of collaboration, learning together and developing a greater understanding of personalization to support students across the State.

The 2017-18 professional development report was published as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report, and the 2018-19 report is on track to be submitted no later than December 1, 2019.

Identify/Share Best Practices

Organizational Priority

2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Update

Michigan Virtual’s Guides to Online Learning provide key definitions, research findings and practical strategies for what kind of preparations and support systems are necessary to ensure students succeed in their online courses. They are free and downloadable on our website. Most recent is the Administrator Guide to Online Learning which was supported and promoted by MASA, MASSP, MEMSPA, and MAISA. The guides are used by other states and countries and can be customized. Michigan’s education organizations promote the guides to their memberships and provide presentation opportunities for Michigan Virtual staff at their member functions. The guides are reviewed annually and updates are published as research is expanded and new tools and resources are produced in the field. Alternative formats are being explored, such as a mobile application, for the purpose of expanding use of the best practices published in the guides.

The National Standards for Quality Online Learning programs and teaching were released on March 1, 2019. The National Standards for Quality Online Learning Course Standards review began in February 2019 and are expected to be released in the fall of 2019. Michigan Virtual has been heavily involved in the creation of each of these standards, including having members on the leadership and working groups. Michigan Virtual promotes the standards on its website, in presentations and newsletters and in meetings with the many partnerships it maintains within and beyond Michigan.

Offers to conduct Supplemental Online Program Reviews for Michigan schools free-of-charge are published on our website, in our newsletters and via publication announcements distributed monthly. Several of Michigan’s education organizations communicate to their memberships about the opportunity. The Michigan Department of Education also recommends the reviews to schools. Invitations to 194 individual schools in Michigan were sent in January 2019. All Michigan schools were sent a letter in fall 2018 enclosing Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report 2016-17 and included information about the Supplemental Online Program Reviews.

Michigan Virtual will be delivering seven presentations at the annual MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) conference in March. The MACUL conference has approximately 5,000 attendees and is the state’s premier educational technology professional learning conference. Session titles include: 10 Innovative Tech Tools You Can Bring into Your Classroom Tomorrow, Expectations vs. Reality of Online Teaching, High School Online Learners Share Their Stories, You Get Three Wishes from the PD Genie: What Are They?, Unlocking Personalized Learning for Students, Social-Emotional Learning Enters the Digital World, and How the G Suite for Education Can Help You Personalize Your Classroom. A lab session entitled It’s Time to Get Smart: Bringing PD to Your Smartphone will also be presented.

Michigan Virtual delivered presentations to 6 different groups in Michigan covering a range of topics. For example, Erin Luckhardt presented “Tech Tools: Find the Right Fit for your Classroom” at the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools (MANS) Education Conference. Ken Dirkin presented “The MASA Micro-Credential: Crafting Your District’s Communications Plan” at the MASA Midwinter Conference. Presentations were also provided at MASB and MEMSPA annual conferences. Online and blended learning presentations were given at Alpena Schools and Cabrini High School.

Our Blended Learning Live! two-day program supports school-based or district-wide teams as they develop an implementation plan for virtual and personalized learning models at the systems-level. An event is scheduled for April 9-10 at Kent ISD. A face-to-face training on personalized learning is being planned for the summer at an ISD.

(b) Provide leadership for this state’s system of virtual learning education by doing the following activities:

Policy Recommendations to Gov. / Legislature

Organizational Priority

2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.

Update

Our virtual learning recommendations were enclosed with this report. They included three areas of opportunity. The first was to coordinate with the Department to create a one-hour or less training for mentor teachers and look for ways to encourage and promote the training. The second was to assist MDE in creating examples on how to collect parental consent in line with requirements of Section 21f of the State School Aid Act. The final recommendation was to explore with the Department and CEPI the possibility of modifying an existing virtual learning field that schools are required to report to the State. The focus would be on making the item easier to report accurate data on, reduce the number of potential responses from four to three, and increase the usefulness of the data received.

Research Clearinghouse

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.

Update

Because the Clearinghouse is always archiving new research-based resources, MVLRI creates and sends out a quarterly newsletter that highlights five new resources and documents progress toward the 100 newly-added resources. The Institute sent out its quarterly newsletter December 2018 which highlights select resources. Each newsletter is sent out with links to sign up for information on how to stay up to date with our latest publications, guides, blogs and research for online and blended learning. As of February 22nd, the Clearinghouse contains information on 968 items.

Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.

Update

Research on instructional design guidelines and standards is key to the meaningful design of online and blended learning environments for K-12 students. Because of this, Michigan Virtual adds relevant articles and reports in the Clearinghouse and continues to tag with keywords including “instructional design” and “standards” to highlight continued work being done in the field regarding these two topics. To date, there are 60 resources tagged with these keywords.

Michigan Virtual has also been active in the National Standards for Quality Online Learning updates. One aspect of our participation has been to help conduct the literature review of existing research pertaining to the design of quality online courses. This literature review has helped to inform the standards with research-based principles.

Another effort, to create an online course on instructional design, is in the planning and early design stages. Two instructional designers have been assigned to the project, and they are working on the initial design of the course including writing the course objectives and outline. It is anticipated that the design phase of the project will be completed by March 30, with development taking place in April and May and deployment of the course in the PLP by June 30, 2019.

Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.

Update

In spring 2019, Michigan Virtual is planning to send a communication to the deans at each of the teacher preparation programs at Michigan public universities on how they can use Michigan Virtual professional learning content and courses in their college courses to help teachers learn how to teach in online and blended environments. Opportunities to collaborate on Literacy Essentials, online and blended learning, leadership micro-credential courses and classroom practices, and courses focusing on the use of open educational resources developed in partnership with Michigan Department of Education and the #GoOpen initiative will be available. Michigan Virtual will also offer to coordinate access to the content as well as provide technical support materials for self-hosting by the college or university.

Michigan Virtual is also working on teacher effectiveness challenges that impact online instructors, particularly those working with Michigan Virtual related to the current reporting system for teacher effectiveness. Currently, local schools are required to identify the Michigan Virtual teacher as the teacher of record for their local ‘count day’ reporting. Due to this requirement, Michigan Virtual teachers appear to have taught at dozens upon dozens of schools across the State in a single year. In addition, each of those local schools is required to provide an effectiveness rating for the teacher. While Michigan Virtual currently conducts annual evaluations of its teachers and reports them to the local school, there is nothing currently preventing a school from assigning its own rating.

An additional challenge is in the multiple ratings that a teacher can receive in one year when they work for a local school and Michigan Virtual (or other similar service provider). A local school may rate a teacher lower than Michigan Virtual leading to potential issues when removing the teacher due to effectiveness. Likewise, Michigan Virtual may rate a teacher lower than the local school leading to a group of alternative problems. Neither of these scenarios is ideal for the State or the teacher. The possible identification of a ‘virtual’ rating and a ‘traditional’ rating may be a resolution.

Public/Private Partnerships

Organizational Priority

2(b)(v) – Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.

Update

Michigan Virtual partnered with the development firm Wondercert to create and invest in a micro-credential platform that will meet the needs of Michigan stakeholders through management of learners, issuers, and reviewers. A design sprint to identify user personae and desired feature sets took place during the week of January 21, 2019. Development of the platform is currently in early stages; once the platform has been launched, Michigan Virtual will initiate a promotional effort to encourage issuers and earners to explore and use the platform. Platform requirements will be delivered to Michigan Virtual late 2nd quarter, and prototype developed by September 30, 2019.

In the fall of 2018, Michigan Virtual met with key stakeholders including representatives from Michigan Data Hubs to discover and learn what connections currently exist and validate the concept and approach to developing a connection between our systems and theirs using the Ed-Fi standards. We are currently reviewing agreements with Ed-Fi to begin development work this spring.

Mentor Network

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.

Update

In February, Michigan Virtual mailed postcards to over 2,000 Michigan mentors that shared five ways mentors could take their mentoring skills to the next level. One of the five ways is to join our online community of mentors which has over 250 members.

Michigan Virtual staff are currently scheduling face-to-face trainings for mentors for spring and fall of 2019, including introductory-level trainings to be hosted at ISDs, as well as “Site Institute” trainings to be hosted at schools to showcase their online learning programs and share and gain insights with attendees. Attendees at previous trainings overwhelmingly requested trainings be available at the beginning of the academic year.

Updates to online training materials included review and updates to the Online Mentor Community ensuring reports and other assets reflect the most recent information available. The Online Mentor Training course and resources have also been reviewed and modified to include up-to-date information.

Michigan Virtual, through its Outreach Coordinator – Mentors and Outreach Coordinator – Special Populations, provides training, resources, and consultations to mentors throughout the school year specifically focused on increasing student achievement in online learning.

Focus Groups / Annual Surveys

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.

Update

Michigan Virtual is currently working with Public Sector Consultants to collect data from 600 adults and 400 college students to publish its annual findings on the attitudes and awareness of online learning. The survey instruments were finalized, and data collection occurred in mid-February. Data are currently being analyzed, and it is expected that the publication will be posted on the MVLRI website in early March.

Efforts are also underway to collect end of course data for students. A survey tool was updated by a committee this year to ensure the feedback collected could be applied to course development, instructor practices and overall customer care. As of the end of semester one, we have over 360 student responses. Over 50% of respondents have only taken one online course. When asked about their experience, 86% shared they were highly satisfied. The majority of students prefer communication in the form of email and 99% of students reported their instructor was respectful and caring. We anticipate more responses at the end of the year and will be further promoting the survey to encourage greater participation.

Michigan Virtual staff have completed two student focus groups, one at Northville High School and the other at Chelsea High School. Two more focus group sessions are planned in the spring.

Michigan Virtual also distributes an end-of-course survey to its adult learners each time they successfully complete a course enrollment through the Professional Learning Portal. Survey question topics include learner satisfaction with the course, likelihood of recommending the PLP to a colleague, and general qualitative feedback collected through open text entry. For the current fiscal year, we have received over 1,700 responses to the survey; 92.49% of responses indicate a satisfying experience. Each response is associated with a specific course within the portal, and course feedback is reviewed by the Professional Learning Services and Instructional Product Development teams on a weekly basis to inform improvements and enhancements to the course catalog.

Michigan Virtual has also updated an instrument last used in 2012 to collect information from the Michigan Association for Secondary School Principals. The survey, which we plan to disseminate in coordination with one or more educational organizations, collects feedback from schools on their satisfaction with online course vendors, their criteria for selecting among online providers, and their anticipated needs and use of online learning in the near future. It is expected that the survey will go out to respondents in the next couple of months and be published in the summer or early fall.

Consumer Awareness Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.

Update

Michigan Virtual continues to host and update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually. The fall update is complete, and the spring update is forthcoming. In addition to updating the report with the spring data, the spring report will also include data from the upcoming Effectiveness Report for the 2017-18 school year. The purpose of this resource is to make consumers aware of the status of online learning in Michigan. It is specifically designed to inform parents, school personnel, and school board members of the nature of online learning options, their effectiveness for Michigan students, the cost of these programs, and current trends.

Internet-Based Platform

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Update

Michigan Virtual has been supporting the #GoOpen Michigan initiative through work in the areas of vetting content and professional development. Utilizing resources provided by the #GoOpen Michigan professional development group, Michigan Virtual has built an online course that provides educators with State Continuing Education Clock Hours. This course is accessible through a resource toolkit created by the REMC Association of Michigan for use by educators around the state.

In addition to staff members serving on the strategy and subcommittee teams, Michigan Virtual has been uploading content to the platform. Since October 1, 2019, Michigan Virtual has added 254 learning objects in the math, science, computer science, English, and world language subject areas to the #GoOpen Michigan platform. The learning objects target both elementary and secondary learners. At present, Michigan Virtual has over 600 learning objects on the platform. Another set of 250 learning objects are planned for transferring to the #GoOpen Michigan platform by March 31, 2019.

Along with sharing the open educational learning objects on #GoOpen Michigan, Michigan Virtual recently launched a free course focused specifically on open educational resources and the #GoOpen Michigan initiative. To date, over 200 people have enrolled in the course.

Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses

Organizational Priority

2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
(a) The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
(b) The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
(c) The pass rate for each virtual course.

Update

The statewide catalog website allows the district catalog manager to manually create or update the course review results or to create performance data for a school year in individual courses through the interface. Michigan Virtual collects performance data in bulk from participating districts and uploads that data into the statewide catalog database each summer.

A transition plan to incorporate the National Standards for Online Courses into the statewide catalog has been created. After the standards are published in 2019, the new standards will be added to the catalog so that schools can choose to use them. Dependencies exist between the currently published standards and the updated standards which will result in both versions existing in the statewide catalog for an undetermined period of time.

As of March 1, 2019, three Michigan Virtual courses have been reviewed and approved by Quality Matters. One additional course is currently in the QM review process. The remaining six courses are on schedule for review and approval by September 30, 2019.

Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.

Update

Michigan Virtual provides personalized support to users of the statewide course catalog. User support includes creating new district catalog administrators and new vendors, uploading completion data, providing database support for reporting and for managing course offerings. Training is provided as requested and a webinar recording is accessible as a training resource. More than 50 knowledge base articles are maintained which include step-by-step instructions for districts on how to allow and accept enrollments through the statewide catalog, how to manage payment options, and how to communicate student performance through the system.

Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

Update

Administrators at Michigan Virtual developed and piloted a modified Danielson evaluation rubric in the 2017-18 school year evaluation cycle with a small group of full-time instructors. Based on the results of the pilot and feedback from instructors and administrators, the evaluation rubric was further honed to better represent best practices in online teaching. The 2018-19 evaluation cycle will see the rollout of the Danielson rubric to all Michigan Virtual instructors, both full-time and part-time, with the goal of continuous improvement in online teaching practices.

The part-time instructors have been uploaded into the Frontline System which we will be using to deliver the evaluation. We have shared with them a copy of the modified Danielson Rubric on at least two occasions so they are aware of the criteria. Instructors have created their accounts and we will begin conducting the formal evaluation process in late March/early April.

The evaluation effort has not solely focused on Michigan Virtual teachers. Through the Collaborative partnerships that Michigan Virtual has established, we have provided support services and resources to Gull Lake Schools, St. Clair County and Lakeshore Schools. These resources are provided in an effort to help support the local evaluation of teachers working in an online format for the local school or system of schools. Our goal is to establish additional Collaborative partners in this format and provide similar resources by the fall of 2019. Michigan Virtual staff have also presented on its teacher evaluation system during a webinar and conference session.

Michigan Virtual staff continue to work closely with MDE and CEPI around online learning quality assurance measures. A meeting next month will occur to share findings of the latest Effectiveness Report and discuss what steps can be taken to improve student learning outcomes.

Institute Annual Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

Update

The 2017-18 report on the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute was sent to the legislature in December 2018 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report. The 2018-19 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2019.

Operate the Michigan Virtual School

Organizational Priority

(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters:
(a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.

Update

Michigan Virtual has maintained its accreditation from AdvancED. Language is prominent on the student page of Michigan Virtual website that informs visitors about the statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction and the AdvancED accreditation. In addition, we also share about using an independent third-party, Quality Matters, to conduct quality reviews of many of our courses. These quality control measures are part of what makes Michigan Virtual courses different than many other providers.

Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS

Organizational Priority

(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.

Update

On October 5, 2018, the Michigan Virtual Board of Directors approved a budget for FY19 that allocated no more than $1M to subsidize the virtual school. Similarly, based on audited figures from the prior fiscal year, an independent third-party auditing firm concluded that Michigan Virtual adhered to this requirement for the 2017-18 school year.

Background Checks for MVS

Organizational Priority

(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.

Update

Michigan Virtual is approved by the Michigan State Police (MSP) as a qualified entity to use the MSP Criminal History Record Internet Subscription Service (CHRISS) for fingerprinting for employment, assignment, or volunteer placement as authorized by the National Child Protection Act. Michigan Virtual is working with its teachers and staff to complete background checks and MSP fingerprint checks through this process.

Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs

Organizational Priority

(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.

Update

Michigan Virtual partnered with the development firm Wondercert to create and invest in a Micro-credential platform that manages learners, issuers, and reviewers. A design sprint to identify user personae and desired feature sets took place during the week of January 21, 2019. Development of the platform is currently in early stages; once the platform has been launched, Michigan Virtual will initiate a promotional effort to encourage issuers and earners to explore and use the platform. Platform requirements will be delivered to Michigan Virtual late 2nd quarter, and prototype developed by late 3rd quarter 2019. Promotion of the platform will coincide with its official launch.

Even though the new Micro-credential platform is not developed, Michigan Virtual has been active in developing Micro-credentialed courses. Michigan Virtual has engaged with partners including the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, and the Michigan Assessment Consortium to build and host micro-credentialed learning experiences, including courses on leadership and literacy, school mission and vision, district communication plans, and conducting comprehensive needs assessments. To date, seven micro-credentialed courses have been launched in the PLP, with nearly 35 more courses at various stages of development.

Michigan Virtual also launched two pilots of the NuTeacher app: one with the Lansing School District’s New Teacher Network Initiative, and another with Michigan Virtual’s student learning instructional staff. Through the pilots, content was developed to facilitate two different leadership book studies. Feedback from pilot users has been incorporated into numerous continuous updates to the application, and more formal feedback is being collected from the groups to help refine and improve user experience. A pilot is being developed with the Brighton School District shared services program for teacher professional development of their 300 shared services teachers throughout the state.

In the fall of 2018, Michigan Virtual met with key stakeholders including representatives from Michigan Data Hubs to discover and learn what connections currently exist and validate the concept and approach to developing a connection between our systems and theirs using the Ed-Fi standards. We are currently reviewing agreements with Ed-Fi to begin development work this spring.

MVS Catalog

Organizational Priority

(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Information technology courses.
(b) College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471.
(c) Courses and dual enrollment opportunities.
(d) Programs and services for at‑risk pupils.
(e) High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth.
(f) Special interest courses.
(g) Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.

Update

Michigan Virtual is interested in adding multiple computer programming course to our catalog. Five computer programming courses from three different course providers have been evaluated. Three courses were recommended for acquisition: Intro to Java Programming, JavaScript Game Design and Procedural Programming. Michigan Virtual also engaged in discussions with the Pinckney Cybersecurity Training Institute (PCTI), a provider of CISCO coursework related to computer networking, cybersecurity, and the Linux operating system. The proposed partnership would provide for PCTI to offer statewide enrollment in a fully-virtual version of their program with enrollment and course management administered by Michigan Virtual. These courses support the development of three coherent information technology (IT)-related pathways of study to prepare students for one or more industry-recognized certification exams. Proposed Pathways for students to design their 4-year plan are in development.

Work to develop six new world language courses this year is on pace. Three world language courses are complete, including German 2A, French 2A, and Japanese 2A. The remaining three (German 2B, French 2B, and Japanese 2B) will be completed by July 2019.

In December 2018, Michigan Virtual completed development of a credit recovery version of its Algebra 1A course and acquired a second model for credit recovery in Algebra 1A from Florida Virtual (Global School). Michigan Virtual has participation agreements with ten schools or school districts in Michigan providing each school with scholarships to enroll students in these courses and authorizing Michigan Virtual to determine the random placement of students within the two courses for the purpose of testing both course models. The pilot runs from January 21, 2019 to June 7, 2019.

Michigan Virtual evaluated seven middle school elective courses from two course providers during October-December 2018. Two courses, Character Education and Computer Basics, are scheduled for review by subject matter experts who will recommend content revisions to complement the instructional model within the course as well as address potential web accessibility concerns. One or both courses will be available for the 2019-20 school year.

In addition to adding new courses, Michigan Virtual has been active in revising and updating some of its existing courses. Fourteen courses have been identified and are in various stages of the review and update process. All are on schedule for completion and will replace the existing versions for the start of the 2019-20 school year.

A review of legislative and policy implications has been conducted for the potential introduction of statewide dual enrollment course offerings in the Michigan Virtual catalog. Exploration with Michigan State University and St. Clair Community College led to proposals being sent to the interim president at Michigan State and the current president at St. Clair Community College. A meeting was held on February 21, 2019 with Dr. Deborah Snyder, President, and her team at St. Clair Community College to discuss possibilities for dual enrollment courses for the 2019-20 school year.

Home-Schooled and Non-Public Students

Organizational Priority

(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.

Update

Michigan Virtual’s prices for 2018-19 school year are the same for home-schooled and nonpublic school students as they are for district students using the same services. Pricing Information is available on the Michigan Virtual website.

MVS Annual Report

Organizational Priority

(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year:
(a) A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School.
(b) A list of virtual course titles available to districts.
(c) The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course.
(d) The overall course completion rate percentage.

Update

The 2017-18 report on the Michigan Virtual School was sent to the legislature in December 2018 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report. The 2018-19 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2019.

MVS Schools Served

Organizational Priority

(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).

Update

To date for the 2018-19 school year, Michigan Virtual has served 603 Michigan schools with online courses for students. The Michigan Virtual’s Online Orientation Tool (OLOT) continues to be accessed by about a hundred schools as efforts are underway to provide more accessible content through the #GoOpen Michigan platform.

#GoOpen Michigan hosts over 600 resources and learning objects from Michigan Virtual and has over 1000 active users.

As of March 1, 2019, 254 learning objects in the math, science, computer science, English, and world language subject areas have been moved to the #GoOpen Michigan platform. The learning objects target both elementary and secondary learners. The next set of 250 learning objects will be transferred to the #GoOpen Michigan platform by March 31, 2019.

Advisory Board

Organizational Priority

(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.

Update

An advisory group has not been appointed by the governor.

Michigan Virtual Budget Costs

Organizational Priority

(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Update

A detailed budget breaking down 2018-19 projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services was submitted by November 1, 2018. The FY19 projected costs are also available online. The breakdown of Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year was included in the same mailing as this update.

This report is being submitted in fulfillment of the following legislative directive: The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, which shall include a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2019-2020. Not later than March 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide an update to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid to show the progress being made to meet the benchmarks identified. Mission: Advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

Test, Evaluate Tools:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.

Plans

To better serve educators looking for quality educational tools to meet all their needs, Michigan Virtual will publish a blog series focused on educators who are utilizing technology in the classroom to serve the needs of their students. This series, consisting of multiple posts throughout the year, will showcase how teachers are using various tools in their classrooms and their recommendations on what they are finding useful. Michigan Virtual will also host a podcast series designed to better understand how educators are implementing technology in their classrooms. The podcasts will focus on specific discussions around educational tools and how they are integrated. These podcasts and the information shared by educators will then be packaged together to create a new SCECH-bearing professional development course offered through the Professional Learning Portal.

Benchmarks

  1. Host a series of at least 12 blog posts, approximately three per quarter, from educators highlighting their use of technology tools in the classroom.
  2. Produce two new professional learning podcasts by April 30, 2019 and two additional podcasts by September 30, 2019.
  3. Leverage the assets created through the podcast series to construct a SCECH-bearing professional development course for the Professional Learning Portal no later than September 30, 2019.

Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to conduct learning analytics research by exploring a wide array of tracking variables gathered in learning management system repositories. Focusing on a mathematics course for two academic years (2016-17 and 2017-18), Growth Mixture Modeling will explore students’ sub-groups based on their learning trajectories in the course. Also the characteristics of students’ mathematical communication will be examined by text-mining and social-network analysis techniques. As a continuation of work done in the 2017-18 year, Michigan Virtual will again work with Kerry Rice and Andy Hung of Boise State University to refine models to identify early warning indicators of student success or failure in their online courses. For 2018-19, this research will be expanded to include course enrollments from prior school years. The expanded model will then be tested on data from another school year. Michigan Virtual has been maintaining online Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) as a guided model to connect educational communities across geographic boundaries and to enhance educators’ professional learning. This year, the community engagement will be researched in depth. Social network analysis and text-mining will examine in what ways characteristics of knowledge sharing and development are evident in discussion forums of online PLCs. The result of this research will provide an adequate guide to model improvement. Last fiscal year, Michigan Virtual designed a mobile application called “NuTeacher.” NuTeacher was developed to help all teachers, but particularly new teachers, connect, share, and learn from their colleagues. It is based on the theory of action that beginning teachers have a need to connect with master teachers, establish professional relationships, and maintain continuous discussions around classroom-related topics. The app is now available on the iOS App and Google Play stores. This year, pilot studies will be conducted with an urban and rural school district. The pilot studies will include usability and feasibility testing so that improvements can be made in the design of the app itself as well as in creating training resources necessary for optimal rollout. In speaking with stakeholders throughout the state, many leaders are sharing their challenges dealing with social and emotional issues in their districts. To help address this concern, Michigan Virtual has partnered with Evolution Labs to make available their Suite 360 online and mobile application. Suite360 is a digital character development and behavior intervention program that offers programs for students and parents as well as professional development for teachers, administrators, and support staff. It also includes a restorative justice program for students who need extra support with conduct and behavior. In this initial year of the partnership, Michigan Virtual will collect information from users of this product to better understand how the product is being used, the areas where the product is meeting school’s needs and expectations, and areas for improvement. The dynamic nature of communication that takes place between the instructor and students poses challenges for both. Further, communications between instructors and schools and parents/guardians are pivotal roles in successful online teaching. To gain an understanding of that dynamic, Michigan Virtual will explore the communication experiences and perspectives of instructors. Multiple data sources will include messaging system, phone call, email, announcement, and discussion forums in the course. The communication scope will include academic, collaborative, interpersonal, and managerial. A report detailing the findings from the study will be published on the MVLRI website. For the past couple of years, Michigan Virtual has worked with Dr. Charles Graham to develop and validate a blended teaching readiness instrument. As part of his work in blended learning, Dr. Graham and his colleagues will be releasing an open educational textbook, entitled K-12 Blended Teaching: A Practical Guide for Teachers, in early 2019. Michigan Virtual is helping to review and provide feedback on this free resource as well as explore opportunities to collaborate, disseminate, and deepen the learning opportunities and research around this resource.

Benchmarks

  1. Publish a report about learning analytics in summer 2019.
  2. Post a recorded webinar on early warning indicators and the model developed from Michigan Virtual School course data in summer 2019.
  3. Publish a report presenting educators’ network and discourse in professional learning communities in spring 2019.
  4. Conduct two pilots for the NuTeacher professional learning mobile application by September 2019.
  5. Collect data on Suite360 users to identify examples of successful uses of the new product as well as unmet challenges that remain for districts around social and emotional issues.
  6. Publish a report on effective communication monitoring and support systems by September 2019.
  7. Provide feedback to Dr. Charles Graham and colleagues on their forthcoming free book on K-12 Blended Teaching by Jan. 1, 2019 as well as identify one area for future collaboration to be identified by March 1, 2019.

Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.

Plans

In K-12 online learning, a set of standards, specifically iNACOL’s standards for teaching, programs, and courses, are widely-recognized for evaluating online providers. Unfortunately, these standards have not been revised for some time. Michigan Virtual staff are part of a nationwide effort to update all three sets of standards. The program and teaching standards are set to be released in early 2019 and the course standards later that year. Michigan Virtual staff will spend time throughout this fiscal year serving on leadership and development teams and will share information about the standards and ancillary resources created as part of this update process. In addition to the standards development and dissemination effort, a Michigan Virtual staff member has been meeting with MDE and CEPI to coordinate the state’s communication around pupil accounting and other reporting requirements. This staff member will continue to act as a liaison to the department. Michigan Virtual has also created a protocol for conducting supplemental online program reviews to assess programs in the areas of content procurement and monitoring practices, instructor training and communication, mentor training and student support techniques, student selection processes, parent communication, and overall program evaluation. Each review culminates in a summary of findings detailing program strengths, opportunities to further develop program effectiveness and includes targeted resources regarding the growth opportunities identified during the review. Michigan Virtual will provide MDE with a primer on the evaluation process so that it can offer its own reviews, if desired, or recommend the process to schools that may benefit from Michigan Virtual conducting a review.

Benchmarks

  1. Participate in the revision of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning Programs, Teaching, and Course Standards to be released in 2019.
  2. Attend meetings with MDE and CEPI staff to coordinate and clarify communications to the field around online learning.
  3. Share information with MDE on how Michigan Virtual evaluates supplemental online programs, including the tools developed for the program reviews by spring 2019.

Effectiveness Report:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.

Plans

By March 31, 2019, Michigan Virtual will produce the Effectiveness Report in a form and method consistent with the past version as it has been generally well received and represents the most in-depth, state-level analysis of virtual course enrollments in the country. Like last year’s report, Michigan Virtual will also create an infographic summarizing key findings from the report. The report will be mailed to required recipients and also published on the MVLRI website. The report’s author will host a webinar, which will be recorded and made available on-demand through the MVLRI website.

Benchmarks

  1. Report published on MVLRI website by March 31st deadline with physical copies sent to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department postmarked March 31st.
  2. At-a-Glance Report Infographic and cover letter detailing the online report and resources mailed to superintendents and high school and middle school principals (approximately 2,000 people) no later than April 30, 2019.
  3. Conduct and record a webinar in April to present key findings from the report.
  4. Post webinar recording on MVLRI website for on-demand viewing.

Deliver PD and Submit PD Report:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.

Plans

Michigan Virtual currently offers an extensive and wide variety of virtual learning experiences for educational personnel. With key stakeholders, this suite of services has grown to meet a growing number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members through virtual, blended, and face-to-face professional learning experiences. From compliance courses to SCECH credits, Michigan Virtual offers a robust catalog of professional learning options to schools. An example of this robustness, Michigan Virtual will continue to host and maintain the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy K-3, Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy Pre-K, Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy School and Center-wide professional learning modules, and the Early Literacy District Coaches Online Network. In the 2019 year, Michigan Virtual will continue to grow its Collaborative Partnership model in which Michigan Virtual provides the course content and hosts the course in its Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) while the district provides the certified Michigan teacher. An integral part of this partnership has been Michigan Virtual’s training of district teachers, which consists of a face-to-face day-long event as well as enrollment in an online Instructor Onboarding course. Michigan Virtual also puts on an annual event called Collaboration of the Minds (COM). COM is an annual two-day professional development conference that serves as an opportunity to bring the large remote teaching staff of Michigan Virtual, many of whom have full-time teaching positions in local school districts, together to learn, explore and collaborate with each other. It is the only opportunity throughout the year for all instructors to meet face-to-face and provides time for like-content instructors to explore best practices and strategies for supporting students. The event introduces new learning in the virtual environment, trainings in best practices and collaboration time to explore with fellow instructors. The event has also been expanded to include a mentor workshop to support the needs of this unique group. The PD report for detailing Michigan Virtual’s efforts for the 2017-18 school year, as well as the identification of barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system, will be submitted as part of its annual report. The work for this fiscal year will be reported on in Michigan Virtual’s annual report the following year.

Benchmarks

  1. Provide a minimum of 30,000 professional learning enrollments.
  2. Host and maintain the Early Literacy modules.
  3. Train teachers from multiple districts in Michigan Virtual’s Collaborative model.
  4. Host the 2019 Collaboration of the Minds professional learning conference.
  5. Submit the 2018 PD report as part of a combined annual report that also includes Michigan Virtual’s annual Institute report specified under 2(b)(xiii) and the annual report required under subsection 7 for the Michigan Virtual School no later than December 1, 2018. This is a requirement from the previous fiscal year that crosses over fiscal years.
  6. Submit the 2019 Professional Development report detailing Michigan Virtual’s professional learning services and the identification of barriers and opportunities report by December 1, 2019.

Identify/Share Best Practices:

Organizational Priority

2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to maintain and update, where necessary, its series of role-specific guides to online learning. Consisting of guides for students, parents, teachers, mentors, school administrators, and school board members, the resources are in use around the globe assisting schools with implementing their virtual programs. The guides are currently available as pdf downloads from the Michigan Virtual websites. Michigan Virtual will explore alternative formats, such as mobile applications, that might broaden the dissemination of these best practice guides. Additional best practices are shared through the Michigan Virtual websites including through blog posts, webinars, and podcasts. As mentioned under 2(a)(iii) above, Michigan Virtual is also participating in a refresh of the national standards for online programs, online teachers, and online courses. Upon the standards release in 2019, Michigan Virtual will help to raise awareness and promote these new tools for evaluating virtual and blended programs. Michigan Virtual also spreads best practice by conducting supplemental online program reviews free of charge to Michigan schools. These reviews assess programs in the areas of content procurement and monitoring practices, instructor training and communication, mentor training and student support techniques, student selection processes, parent communication, and overall program evaluation. Each review culminates in a summary of findings detailing program strengths, opportunities to further develop program effectiveness, and includes targeted resources regarding the growth opportunities identified during the review. Michigan Virtual staff will also spread best practices through presentations at a number of conferences. National, state, and local presentations on a variety of relevant topics on online and blended learning are given throughout the year at the conferences for leading educational organizations, such as MACUL, MANS, MASA, MASB, MASSP, MEMSPA. Michigan Virtual staff also offers blended training events. These training events, known as Blended Learning Live!, consist of an immersive, two-day program implemented to support school-based or district-wide teams of five, including at least one district or building leader and one teacher. Participants are introduced to various blended learning models and develop an implementation plan for virtual and personalized learning models at the systems-level. Michigan Virtual staff are also looking at creating and facilitating a new face-to-face training around personalized learning with technology.

Benchmarks

  1. Maintain, and update where needed, best practice guides in online learning for students, parents, teachers, mentors, school administrators, and school board members.
  2. Explore alternative formats to extend the usefulness and adoption of the best practice guides.
  3. Participate in the creation of and promote the release of the national standards for online programs, online teaching, and online courses expected in 2019.
  4. Offer to conduct Supplemental Online Program Reviews for Michigan schools free-of-charge.
  5. Present at a minimum of five Michigan conferences on topics relevant to online and blended learning.
  6. Offer at least one Blended Learning Live! event by fall 2019.
  7. Facilitate at least one face-to-face training on personalized learning by fall 2019.

Policy Recommendations to Gov./Legislature:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will provide feedback on current virtual learning policies and make recommendations that will accelerate the use of effective virtual learning in the state.

Benchmarks

  1. Before December 31, 2018, submit virtual learning policy recommendations to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the Department.

Research Clearinghouse:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.

Plans

Maintain the existing clearinghouse website (http://k12onlineresearch.org/) and add 100 additional resources to the website throughout the fiscal year. Currently, the nationally-recognized clearinghouse acts as an aggregator of K-12 online and blended research and key publications. To date, there are over 900 resources cataloged in the clearinghouse. On a quarterly basis, Michigan Virtual will email a clearinghouse newsletter to the MVLRI mailing list and share it via social media outlets to highlight five new resources added during that time period. Michigan Virtual also maintains a website for MVLRI that publishes research reports and other information related to virtual learning.

Benchmarks

  1. Create and send out quarterly newsletters that highlight five new resources and document progress toward the 100 newly added resources to the clearinghouse by the end of the fiscal year.
  2. Continue to promote and add resources to the MVLRI.org website in the form of blogs, publications, webinars, podcasts, and the clearinghouse.

Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will maintain and update the instructional design guidelines and standards tagged in the clearinghouse. Michigan Virtual will provide leadership and guidance during the revamp of the National Quality Standards for Online Teaching, Quality Standards for Online Programs, and Quality Standards for Online Courses, which will all help to inform Michigan-based work in the area of online and blended learning. Part of these leadership activities is to conduct the literature review for the Course Standards refresh. Michigan Virtual will also create an online course on instructional design and make this course available through its Professional Learning Portal.

Benchmarks

  1. Include links to instructional design guidelines and standards in the clearinghouse tagged under the keywords “instructional design” and “standards.”
  2. Participate in the National Standards work, including assisting with the literature review for the course standards work.
  3. Create and make available through the Professional Learning Portal a course on instructional design by September 30, 2019.

Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.

Plans

Michigan Virtual has developed a suite of online resources and courses that may be of value to teacher preparation institutions. These resources include digital content around areas such as early literacy, blended and online instruction, and use of open educational resources. The resources are available to colleges and universities to use through the Michigan Virtual-hosted environments, and in some cases, are portable for use in a university-hosted environment. As detailed in greater depth below in the section on teacher effectiveness, Michigan Virtual will work with the department to identify issues and challenges specific to online teachers and Michigan’s current system for evaluating teacher effectiveness.

Benchmarks

  1. Communicate with Michigan teacher preparation institutions about Michigan Virtual’s suite of online resources and courses on topics such as early literacy, blended and online learning, and open educational resources by spring 2019.
  2. Work with interested Michigan teacher preparation institutions to coordinate access to the Michigan Virtual-hosted content, or where applicable, provide technical support for materials made available for self-hosting by the college or university.
  3. Surface potential obstacles specific to virtual instructors that may arise from the current system of teacher effectiveness ratings and reporting.

Public/Private Partnerships:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(v)- Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.

Plans

Michigan Virtual is also actively involved in statewide efforts to create an environment for competency-based professional learning. Various stakeholders are teaming together to identify needs and resources for micro-credentials, a certification, or badge for which an individual must prove mastery or competency to earn. This represents a sizable shift from much of the professional learning today which tends to be clock-hour or seat-time based. A primary focus for Michigan Virtual in this effort is to surface features and functionalities necessary for managing these micro-credentials statewide. Michigan Virtual also provides technical assistance to educational group wanting to create their own micro-credentials. This includes reduced rates for design and development work as well as for consultations around areas such as creating reviewer pools, training reviews, and ensuring fidelity of reviews. Michigan Virtual is also partnering with the Michigan Data Hubs project to construct a plan for how Michigan Virtual’s professional learning portal can connect to the data hubs using the Ed-Fi standards. Such integration work between private companies and Michigan schools would reflect a significant advancement on how data sharing occurs, resulting in the streamlining and improvement of data accuracy.

Benchmarks

  1. Determine scope and feature set of the micro-credential platform by spring 2019.
  2. Promote, once launched, the new micro-credential platform by September 30, 2019.
  3. Provide technical assistance to educational organizations around the creation of micro-credentials and their related review teams.
  4. Develop a multi-year plan for Michigan Virtual’s systems integration with the Ed-Fi standards and the Michigan Data Hubs.

Mentor Network:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.

Plans

Using mentor data from MDE or CEPI, Michigan Virtual will reach out to Michigan mentors to invite them to participate in the Online Mentor Community that Michigan Virtual facilitates through its Professional Learning Portal. This community provides mentors access to the latest resources, a way to register for upcoming mentor trainings offered by Michigan Virtual, and a place to connect with other Michigan educators serving as mentors for online students. Michigan Virtual also works with mentor leaders throughout the state to conduct onsite trainings at Michigan schools or ISDs. These face-to-face trainings allow mentors to see how mentoring works in other programs, share challenges of practice, and develop and deepen their professional networks. In the last year, Michigan Virtual has conducted in-depth research studies of mentors. Using this new, research-based information, Michigan Virtual will review and update, where necessary, its existing online trainings to reflect up-to-date best practices.

Benchmarks

  1. Invite Michigan mentors, identified through MDE/CEPI data, to participate in the Online Mentor Community (free-of-charge) by February 1, 2019.
  2. Conduct four face-to-face mentor trainings by fall 2019.
  3. Maintain and update online training materials using latest research findings by fall 2019.

Focus Groups /Annual Surveys:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.

Plans

In line with the past several years, Michigan Virtual will conduct a survey of Michigan adults as well as of college students to better understand the public’s attitudes and awareness of online learning opportunities in Michigan. The adult data published establishes important benchmarks for school districts to recalibrate their perspectives on the general public’s views of online learning. In contrast, the college student data presents information about this populations’ opinions and experiences with online learning in high school and college. The results of the survey will be published on the MVLRI website. Michigan Virtual will undertake surveying and focus groups to gather important feedback from our core user groups, including students, teachers, administrators, and school personnel. End of course surveys will be offered to all of our student and professional learners. These will be available online at the end of courses to gather information on the user experience. Michigan Virtual will also conduct at least three focus groups with students who are taking, or have taken, one or more online courses. These will be done at different schools in Michigan. Michigan Virtual is also interested in conducting a survey in partnership with one or more educational organizations. Similar survey work was conducted with MASSP in 2013. The instrument will need to be updated due to changes in the field over the past five years.

Benchmarks

  1. Publish results of Michigan adult and college student survey in spring 2019.
  2. Collect data on instructors’ communication with students, schools (including onsite mentors), and parents and guardians as part of focus groups and annual surveys and incorporate these findings in the research publication about instructor communication practices by fall 2019.
  3. Conduct an online learning survey with one or more educational organizations and publish findings on the MVLRI website by fall 2019.

Consumer Awareness Report:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.

Plans

The consumer awareness report is available as an important link on the Micourses.org homepage, with sections devoted to background, providers, delivery models, performance data, cost structures, research trends, conclusions, and resources. Including this resource as part of the Micourses website provides high visibility for parents, students, and schools exploring 21f options. Data on areas such as the school districts that are putting courses in the catalog, the distribution of courses by ISD, PSA, LEA, and the Michigan Virtual School, and disaggregation by key variables such as who is providing the content or the instructor, are updated once in the fall and once in the spring to reflect the changes in those two enrollment windows. Other data throughout the report are also updated on an ongoing basis with a particular emphasis on the fall and spring updates.

Benchmarks

  1. Update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually (fall and spring).

Internet-based Platform:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.

Plans

Michigan Virtual acts as a close partner with the Michigan Department of Education and the #GoOpen Michigan Strategy Team to make available a common Open Educational Resources system (https://goopenmichigan.org/) throughout the state. At the GoOpenMichigan website, educators can access open educational resources for modification and use in the classroom. In addition to providing leadership on the platform, Michigan Virtual also creates free learning objects for the platform. Michigan Virtual is currently working on making available 1,000 Michigan Virtual-created learning objects in the GoOpenMichigan website by the end of the fiscal year. Michigan Virtual will also be releasing modules on its Professional Learning Portal that help educators learn about open educational resources, including how GoOpenMichigan can be leveraged for their classrooms.

Benchmarks

  1. Provide leadership to the state’s GoOpen initiative by contributing staff members who serve on the GoOpen strategy teams and subteams.
  2. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Dec. 31, 2018.
  3. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Mar. 31, 2019.
  4. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by June 30, 2019.
  5. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Sept. 30, 2019.
  6. Make available modules on the Professional Learning Portal that address open educational resources, including the state’s GoOpen initiative.

Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following: (A) The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (B) The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year. (C) The pass rate for each virtual course.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to maintain the statewide course catalog (https://micourses.org/) including a mechanism for schools to include the results of their course reviews in the catalog as well as their course completion data. Michigan Virtual is part of a national effort to update the national standards for online learning. The catalog currently uses the existing national course standards for the course reviews. Upon the release of the new course standards in 2019, Michigan Virtual will create a plan for transitioning the catalog to include the new standards. Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute will cover the expense associated with having Quality Matters, a nationally-recognized third-party for quality assurance, conduct reviews of a minimum of 10 MVS semester-length courses.

Benchmarks

  1. Maintain statewide catalog, including the ability for schools to record their course review and course completion data.
  2. Create a transition plan to incorporate the soon-to-be released 2019 national standards for online courses into the statewide catalog by fall 2019.
  3. Submit a minimum of 10 MVS courses to Quality Matters for independent course quality reviews.

Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog:

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to support the registration, payment services, and transcript functionality of the catalog. This includes providing technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog. Michigan Virtual will also continue to maintain a public facing knowledge base allowing catalog users to browse for instant help.

Benchmarks

  1. Provide technical and customer support for users of the statewide catalog.
  2. Based on customer feedback and help-desk tickets, update help documentation to assist users to promptly resolve common issues.

Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

Plans

Following a successful pilot of a modified evaluation rubric based on the Charlotte Danielson Model to suit the online teaching context, Michigan Virtual will implement the modified Danielson evaluation rubric with all instructors both full- and part-time (a minimum of 150 instructors). This effort allows Michigan Virtual to continue its effort to support district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues. To extend the value of the teacher evaluation work that has to date been focused on Michigan Virtual, Michigan Virtual would like to explore the utility of these materials in evaluating a district’s online teachers. Gathering feedback from a district on how applicable the Michigan Virtual teacher evaluation resources will help Michigan Virtual adapt them for use in a wider range of virtual settings. A Michigan Virtual staff member has also been meeting regularly with MDE and CEPI to coordinate the state’s communications and create resources around issues such as teacher effectiveness. This staff member will continue to act as a liaison to the department.

Benchmarks

  1. Implement the modified Danielson’s evaluation rubric for all instructors (a minimum of 150 instructors) to comply with state guidelines related to teacher effectiveness. These effectiveness ratings will be reported for all instructors to Michigan Department of Education (MDE) by September 30, 2019.
  2. Work with one or more districts to make available Michigan Virtual’s teacher evaluation resources for evaluating their virtual teachers.
  3. Attend meetings with MDE and CEPI staff to coordinate and clarify communications to the field around online learning.

Institute Annual Report

Organizational Priority

2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

Plans

Submit required reports detailing Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute activities.

Benchmarks

  1. By December 1, 2018 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2017-18 year.
  2. By December 1, 2019 submit the combined Annual Report for the 2018-19 year.

Operate the Michigan Virtual School

Organizational Priority

(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters: (a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.

Plans

Michigan Virtual is accredited through AdvancED. Michigan Virtual will complete any necessary requirements from AdvancED to maintain that accreditation.

Benchmarks

  1. Maintain AdvancED accreditation for the 2018-19 school year.

Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS

Organizational Priority

(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.

Plans

Pass board-approved budget that caps appropriation spending for MVS to no more than $1M.

Benchmarks

  1. Adopt fiscal year budget which allocates no more than $1M to subsidize the virtual school.
    1. On October 5, 2018, Michigan Virtual’s board approved the FY19 budget fulfilling benchmark.
  2. Based on audited figures from the prior year, demonstrate that no more than $1M of the state allocation was used to subsidize the virtual school.

Background Checks for MVS

Organizational Priority

(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.

Plans

Michigan Virtual conducts background checks through a private security firm that uses the FBI’s LiveScan fingerprinting process to comply with these requirements.

Benchmarks

  1. Conduct criminal background checks on Michigan Virtual staff and maintain appropriate documentation.

Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs

Organizational Priority

(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.

Plans

The following initiatives represent funding priorities for the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development. First, Michigan Virtual will identify, through work with state leaders and educational organizations, the feature sets needed in a microcredentialing platform. Second, Michigan Virtual will provide some in-kind support to multiple educational organizations requesting Michigan Virtual’s assistance with developing online, micro-credentialed professional development courses. Third, Michigan Virtual will continue to conduct research into the NuTeacher mobile application outlined above. Fourth, Michigan Virtual is partnering with the Michigan Data Hubs project, in coordination with Genesee ISD, to construct a plan for how Michigan Virtual’s professional learning platform can connect to the data hubs using the Ed-Fi standards.

Benchmarks

  1. Determine scope and feature set of the Micro-credential platform by spring 2019.
  2. Promote, once launched, the new Micro-credential platform.
  3. Assist multiple educational organizations with the development of Micro-credentialed courses.
  4. Conduct two pilots for the NuTeacher professional learning mobile application by September 2019.
  5. Develop a multi-year plan for Michigan Virtual’s systems integration with the Ed-Fi standards and the Michigan Data Hubs.

MVS Catalog

Organizational Priority

(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following: (a) Information technology courses. (b) College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471. (c) Courses and dual enrollment opportunities. (d) Programs and services for at‑risk pupils. (e) High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth. (f) Special interest courses. (g) Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.

Plans

Evaluate additional course development, licensing, and partnership opportunities to both improve and expand the Michigan Virtual School catalog of online course offerings in targeted areas, including for the provision of new information technology, world languages, and credit recovery courses, updated courses in mathematics, science, and social studies, and the exploration of viable partnerships with higher education institutions as a precursor to possible future dual enrollment offerings.

Benchmarks

  1. Acquire at least one new course related to computer programming to support the creation of at least two coherent, multi-course, online study programs in the information technology career pathway and provide guidance to local schools on course selections aligned to a 4-year educational development plan related to this career pathway.
  2. Develop six new world language course offerings in three target languages.
  3. Develop and pilot two new online credit recovery offerings in high school Algebra 1.
  4. Expand the middle school course catalog by acquiring at least one additional special interest elective course for students in grades 6-8.
  5. Identify at least 14 existing courses titles in the Michigan Virtual School catalog requiring updates due to aging content, and replace or revise these select courses through a combination of new course developments and licensed vendor course acquisitions.
  6. Conduct a review of legislative and policy implications for the potential introduction of statewide dual enrollment course offerings through the Michigan Virtual School catalog, explore possible partnership opportunities with higher educational institutions in Michigan, and, should viable options be identified, produce a proposed, multi-year plan in partnership with one or more postsecondary institutions to adopt, develop, or co-develop select dual enrollment course offerings and to establish instructor assignment and student registration procedures in compliance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements under the State School Aid Act 94 of 1979 and the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act 160 of 1996.

Home-Schooled and Non-public Students

Organizational Priority

(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.

Plans

Michigan Virtual will continue to adhere to this requirement. Michigan Virtual makes available its courses to Michigan home-schooled or nonpublic students at the advertised base rate. Michigan Virtual pricing is available at https://michiganvirtual.org/students/pricing/.

Benchmarks

  1. Produce 2018-19 pricing with no additional charges for a home-school or nonpublic school student.

MVS Annual Report

Organizational Priority

(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year: (a) A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School. (b) A list of virtual course titles available to districts. (c) The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course. (d) The overall course completion rate percentage.

Plans

Submit the report detailing Michigan Virtual School activities for 2017-18 school year as part of an annual report that also includes the Michigan Virtual’s professional development report specified under 2(a)(v) and the Institute annual report required under 2(b)(xiii) no later than December 1, 2018.

Benchmarks

  1. Publish report no later than December 1, 2018.

MVS Schools Served

Organizational Priority

(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).

Plans

Michigan Virtual plans to serve over 500 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School, with the remaining balance of schools using the free learning objects created by Michigan Virtual and made available through the state’s GoOpenMichigan website (https://goopenmichigan.org/). Michigan Virtual is currently working on making available 1,000 Michigan Virtual-created learning objects into the website by the end of the fiscal year. Currently, there are over 800 registered users of the platform. The content is also available to website visitors without a registered account.

Benchmarks

  1. Serve at least 500 Michigan schools with online courses through the Michigan Virtual School.
  2. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Dec. 31, 2018.
  3. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Mar. 31, 2019.
  4. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by June 30, 2019.
  5. Add at least 250 free learning objects to the GoOpenMichigan website by Sept. 30, 2019.

Advisory Board

Organizational Priority

(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.

Plans

Since this section pertains to the actions of the Governor’s office rather than Michigan Virtual, no plan has been created by Michigan Virtual.

MVS Budget Costs

Organizational Priority

(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

Plans

Continue to submit required materials.

Benchmarks

  1. No later than November 1, 2018, submit a detailed budget for 2018-19 fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services.
  2. No later than March 1, 2019, submit a breakdown on Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.

For the 2018-19 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs MVLRI to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning.

MVLRI supports and accelerates innovation by:

Supporting and Accelerating Innovation in Education

  • Testing, evaluating, and recommending as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design, and recommending virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Researching, developing, and recommending annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyzing the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.
  • Providing an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.
  • Identifying and sharing best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Providing Leadership for This State’s System of Digital Learning Education

  • Developing and reporting policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.
  • Promoting and distributing the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, supporting implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.
  • Pursuing public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.
  • Creating a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.
  • Convening focus groups and conducting annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.
  • Producing an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.
  • Providing an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Creating and maintaining a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The pass rate for each virtual course.
  • Supporting registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.
  • Providing a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.

View the full set of plans and benchmarking

For the 2017-18 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs MVLRI to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning.

MVLRI supports and accelerates innovation by:

Supporting and Accelerating Innovation in Education

  • Testing, evaluating and recommending appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Researching, designing and recommending digital education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Researching, developing and recommending annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of online learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact on pupils.
  • Providing an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members that focus on the effective integration of digital learning into curricula and instruction.
  • Providing a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number and percentage of teachers, school administrators and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual, and identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of digital learning in the public education system.
  • Identifying and sharing best practices for planning, implementing and evaluating online and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Providing Leadership for This State’s System of Digital Learning Education

  • Developing and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations and other information related to online learning.
  • Promoting and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for online teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, supporting implementation and improvements related to effective digital learning instruction.
  • Pursuing public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich online learning models.
  • Creating a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, online instructors, parents, and school staff and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful online learners.
  • Convening focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to online learning.
  • Producing an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective online education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures and research trends.
  • Researching and establishing an Internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the platform.
  • As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available online resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Creating and maintaining a public statewide catalog of online learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state; identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for online learning and use this list to support reviews of online course vendors, courses, and instructional practices; provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts; reviewing the online course offerings of the Michigan Virtual, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog; and ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f.
  • The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The completion rate for each online course.
  • Developing prototype and pilot registration, payment services and transcript functionality to the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to examine district-level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to online learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

For the 2016-17 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directed MVLRI to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education by supporting and accelerating innovation and providing leadership in online and blended learning.

Supporting and Accelerating Innovation in Education

  • Testing, evaluating and recommending appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Researching, designing and recommending digital education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Researching, developing and recommending annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of online learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact on pupils.
  • Providing an extensive professional development program to at least 500 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members that focus on the effective integration of digital learning into curricula and instruction.
  • Providing a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number and percentage of teachers, school administrators and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual, and identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of digital learning in the public education system.
  • Identifying and share best practices for planning, implementing and evaluating online and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Providing Leadership For This State’s System Of Digital Learning Education

  • Developing and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Providing a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations and other information related to online learning.
  • Promoting and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for online teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, supporting implementation and improvements related to effective digital learning instruction.
  • Pursuing public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich online learning models.
  • Creating a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, online instructors, parents, and school staff and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful online learners.
  • Convening focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to online learning.
  • Producing an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective online education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures and research trends.
  • Researching and establishing an Internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the platform.
  • As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available online resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Creating and maintaining a public statewide catalog of online learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state; identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for online learning and use this list to support reviews of online course vendors, courses, and instructional practices; provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts; reviewing the online course offerings of the Michigan Virtual, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog; and ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f.
  • The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The completion rate for each online course.
  • Developing prototype and pilot registration, payment services and transcript functionality to the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborating with key stakeholders to examine district-level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to online learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

For the 2015-16 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directed MVLRI to address 20 tasks to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education.

Support and accelerate innovation in education

  • Test, evaluate and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design and recommend digital education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Research, develop and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of online learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact on pupils.
  • Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 500 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members that focus on the effective integration of digital learning into curricula and instruction.
  • Provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number and percentage of teachers, school administrators and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual, and identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of digital learning in the public education system.
  • Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing and evaluating online and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Provide leadership for this state’s system of digital learning education

  • Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations and other information related to online learning.
  • Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for online teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective digital learning instruction.
  • Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich online learning models.
  • Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, online instructors, parents, and school staff and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful online learners.
  • Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to online learning.
  • Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective online education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures and research trends.
  • Research and establish an Internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the platform. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available online resources that align to
  • Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of online learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state; identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for online learning and use this list to support reviews of online course vendors, courses, and instructional practices; provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts; review the online course offerings of the Michigan Virtual, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog; and ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f.
  • The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The completion rate for each online course.
  • Develop prototype and pilot registration, payment services and transcript functionality to the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district-level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to online learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

For the 2014-15 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs MVLRI to address nearly 20 tasks to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education. Toward that end, staff has responsibilities as summarized in the items below. (For exact language, please see the legislation.)

Support and Accelerate Innovation in Education

  • Test, evaluate and recommend appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design and recommend digital education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
  • Research, develop and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of online learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils.
  • Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 500 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members that focus on the effective integration of digital learning into curricula and instruction.
  • Provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number and percentage of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual, and identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of digital learning in the public education system.
  • Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing and evaluating online and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Provide Leadership for This State’s System of Online and Blended Learning Education

  • Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations and other information related to online learning.
  • Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for online teaching.
  • In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective digital learning instruction.
  • Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich online learning models.
  • Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to online learning.
  • Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective online education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures and research trends.
  • Research and establish an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the platform. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available online resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of online learning courses being offered by all public schools in this state; identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for online learning and use this list to support reviews of online course vendors, courses, and instructional practices; provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts; review MVS course offerings and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog; ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f.
  • The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of enrollments in each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each online course in the immediately preceding school year.
    • The completion rate for each online course.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine the need and process for incorporating registration, payment services, and transcript functionality to the statewide catalog.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district-level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to online learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.

For the 2013-14 school year, Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directed MVLRI to address over a dozen tasks to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education.

Support and Accelerate Innovation in Education

  • Test, evaluate and recommend new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
  • Research, design and recommend digital education delivery models for use by students and teachers that include multimedia instructional content.
  • Research, design and recommend competency-based online assessments.
  • Research, develop and recommend annually to the Michigan Department of Education criteria by which cyber schools and online course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of online learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact on pupils, based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the Michigan Department of Education or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other online course providers operating in Michigan.
  • Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 500 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses on the effective integration of digital learning into curricula and instruction.
  • Prepare a report for the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number and percentage of teachers, school administrators and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual, and identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of digital learning in the public education system.
  • Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing and evaluating online and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.

Provide Leadership for the State’s System of Online and Blended Learning Education

  • Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective online learning in this state’s schools.
  • Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations and other information related to online learning.
  • Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for online teaching.
  • Recommend guidelines and standards to the state superintendent for a new teacher endorsement credential related to effective digital learning instruction in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Education and interested colleges and universities.
  • Pursue public/private partnerships to study and implement competency-based technology-rich online learning models.
  • Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to online learning.
  • Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective online education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures and research trends.
  • Research and establish an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the platform. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available online resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
  • Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of online learning courses being offered by all public schools in this state; identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for online learning and use this list to provide reviews of online course vendors, courses and instructional practices; provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts; review MVS online course offerings and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog; and ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual website and linked to each district’s website.
  • The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
    • The number of pupils enrolled in each online course in the 2012-13 school year.
    • The number of pupils who successfully completed each online course in the 2012-13 school year.
    • The completion rate for each online course.

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.