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.
MVLRI’s research provides a foundation to examine, engage and explore educational practices in the industry.
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Learning Continuity in Michigan: Plans and Perceptions From Spring 2020 Emergency Remote Instruction
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.
Across the country, social and emotional learning has been rising in importance as schools continually seek to assist students with navigating both their home and academic lives. In Michigan, the emphasis of educating the “whole child” has risen to be among the highest of priorities. As part of Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 Years initiative, school districts are moving beyond focusing solely on students’ academic needs, and they are addressing students’ cognitive, physical, behavioral, social, and emotional needs as well.
Exploring ways in which online learning can meet the unique needs of all students in Michigan schools, a team of Michigan Virtual staff investigated how online learning programs are structured to accommodate flexible start and end dates for students taking online courses. Interviews with several virtual programs in Michigan and a look at virtual schools in other states provided a sense of how some schools enabled flexible enrollment options.
This report arose from discussions by Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) researchers with mentors of virtual learners across the state of Michigan who routinely expressed uncertainty and, quite frankly, a bit of anxiety, around how to report their virtual learners on Count Day. In a system that relies on funding based on the number of students in attendance on Count Day and the fact that not all virtual learners attend school regularly, one can understand their concerns. What follows is a summary of what practitioners shared about their Count Day reporting experiences, an outline of Count Day requirements, of which virtual learners are a small portion, and a potential path toward creating a resource that gives practitioners steps to prepare for reporting virtual learners.
As more and more schools are adopting the use of digital content to support their online and blended programs, schools and districts are raising the selection and implementation of an appropriate learning management system/platform (LMS) as a top priority. During the 2019-20 school year, Michigan Virtual evaluated, selected, and implemented a new learning management system through which the majority of its online student courses are delivered. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) documented this process and is sharing the experience with schools and districts within and beyond Michigan that are considering the adoption of a new LMS.
Student-centered learning is a philosophy or an approach to education that is designed to meet the needs of each student individually. In the following report, MVLRI researchers provide a rationale for student-centered learning and provide multiple examples of student-centered learning models being implemented in schools throughout the country.
Three different Michigan school leaders discuss their districts’ innovative approaches towards student-centered learning, offering advice for anyone who is considering moving towards a more student-centered learning model.
During the 2019-20 school year, Michigan schools faced extended closures due to inclement weather. Increasingly, school leaders are recognizing the need to prepare their districts for remote learning in the event of extended closures due to natural disasters, public health emergencies, or any other extraordinary circumstances that might arise. The following planning considerations offer school leaders actionable advice on how they can leverage digital instructional content and remote teaching practices to provide learning opportunities for all students in the event of unanticipated and extended school closures.
Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2018-19 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.