MVLRI’s research provides a foundation to examine, engage and explore educational practices in the industry.
MVLRI is dedicated to taking education techniques to the next level. We believe that with proper research, the ways we learn can continue to evolve to strengthen our futures.
The purpose of this document is to help you create and/or maintain a quality online learning program that fits the needs of your students, no matter where you are on this journey. Much of what is covered in this toolkit reflects best practices found in the National Online Standards (NSQ), which were developed by experts from across the country.
We have designed this toolkit with the intention of being brief, and to provide questions and actionable steps to help you support your students in online learning.
The strategies for supporting virtual teachers discussed in this report are based on the current practices shared by 1,809 virtual educators (1,721 teachers and 88 supervising administrators) representing 17 statewide virtual schools or programs with a combined 150 years of online and blended learning experience and more than a quarter of a million virtual course enrollments annually. The expertise of these individuals is provided as a way to help school leaders of both traditional and nontraditional schools and districts that have teachers and school leaders who are developing their skills and abilities as virtual educators.
This study assesses the SEL resources and supports that have been used to help Michigan teachers and administrators. Through an online survey of teachers and educators across Michigan, we examined what district and schoolwide resources have been leveraged, and what strategies teachers and administrators have used to help themselves, which ultimately benefits students, families, and communities. Additionally, attention was paid to the perceived effectiveness of these resources and strategies and challenges associated with their implementation. By understanding Michigan K-12 educators’ well-being and their SEL needs, we hope that teachers and administrators can find ways to meet their SEL needs and maintain a positive well-being, which will ultimately make their jobs more satisfying and fulfilling.
While the more traditional teacher-centered model of education does work for some students, it does not work for all. By connecting with district administrators, school administrators, and teachers through both a survey and interviews, this study aimed to capture the ways in which some Michigan K-12 schools are implementing student-centered learning practices along with the factors that impact the successful implementation of such practices. It is our hope that the effective practices, guidance, and advice gleaned from the many innovative educators who so generously gave their time to participate in this study will help other school and district personnel overcome their own barriers to successful implementation of a more student-centered approach to learning.
The student engagement and relationship-building strategies discussed in this report are based on the current practices provided by the 1,721 virtual teachers participating in this study. These individuals currently work within the school structures of 17 statewide virtual schools or programs, in which providing virtual education to students is their primary focus. The expertise of these individuals is provided as a way to aid teachers and administrators of both traditional and nontraditional schools and districts that have teachers and school leaders who are developing their skills and abilities as virtual educators.
Student access to any time and any place learning options has expanded under a new law in Michigan. Section 21f of Public Act 60 of 2013 allows students in grades 5 through 12 to take up to two courses online per academic term (with parental consent). Michigan is the seventh state in the U.S. to enable statewide choice at the course level through online learning options.
Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2019-20 enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils. Detailed findings are presented in sections on schools, courses, and students, as well as over 50 data tables at the end of the report.
For each online course a providing district makes available either through its own district catalog of online courses or the statewide catalog of online courses, the results from a review using the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (iNACOL) National Standards for Quality Online Course Standards, Version 23 must be included in the online course syllabus.
With the COVID-19 related school closures in spring 2020 and the need to modify learning models for the start of the 2020-21 school year, Michigan schools were pushed to adopt remote instruction and student support. This research study seeks to understand the learning continuity plans formulated by districts, as well as teacher, parent, and student perceptions of how these plans were executed.
As an increasing number of schools and districts throughout the state of Michigan are including an online learning format in their academic programs, there is a related and growing need to ensure students are receiving the highest quality education in this format. Having a set of nationally-recognized “standards of quality” for schools and districts will help school leaders plan for the development of high-quality online courses, instructional practices, and school- or district-wide programs.
While there is widespread agreement about the value of online courses, quality remains a significant concern. Educational stakeholders largely agree that there should be clear expectations and accountability for online programs and course providers however practice of this remains fragmented and inconsistent.
Motivation profiles in Michigan Virtual courses for the most part matched established motivation profiles found in face-to-face courses and as is often the case with face-to-face courses, highly motivated students tend to be more successful and less motivated students are more likely to struggle.
The role of an on-site mentor changes and evolves throughout the semester but it remains critical to students, particularly in terms of relationship building and motivating online learners. On-site mentors can have a profoundly positive impact on students, however the quality and level of support provided is inconsistent across the state.
Despite growing enrollments at the K-12 level, by and large teacher preparation programs are not preparing teachers to practice online. Few programs offer content on online teaching and it remains highly variable for those that do.
Research on online learning in higher education still has the potential to inform online learning at the K-12 level, despite several key differences. This is important as the field of K-12 research while growing still remains smaller overall than online learning in higher education.
K-12 teachers have overall positive perceptions of blended learning, often times more positive than students who report struggling with aspects of self-regulation. Research in this area, and particularly among students with disabilities in blended learning contexts is lacking.
Despite growth in online and blended learning there remains limited opportunities for formal teacher professional development in these areas. While there are resources they are largely patchwork and teachers often seek out informal resources.
Online learning enrollments in Michigan have grown significantly in the last decade, with a majority of enrollments at the high-school level and matching national online enrollment demographics. Pass rates from online courses have fallen as enrollments have grown, and students tend to be most successful when they take only a couple virtual courses.
Research suggests that online learners with disabilities, those at risk of dropping out, and those taking courses for credit recovery benefit from additional assistance and instructional support. These learners can benefit from online courses however those courses and the accompanying instruction need to be responsive to the unique needs of these learners.
While context remains unique and unquestionably important for online learning, research suggests best practices such as consistent learner progression, teacher-learner communication, and the value of project-based learning may positively impact student learning outcomes. Similarly research also suggests elements such as registration timing and time spent in the online course do not contribute significantly to learner success.
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.