Publications

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.

Auto-grading versus Instructor Grading in Online English Courses

Automatic grading is commonly used as a pedagogical tool, and has become even more prevalent due to the growing popularity of Massive Open Online Courses. However, its effects on students’ learning outcomes in online high-school courses are not yet clear. This study therefore examined 738 enrollment records in high-school English Language Arts courses using hierarchical linear modeling, and found no effect of the quantity or proportion of auto-graded work on final grades. In addition, the results of decision-tree analyses suggested that, in the case of instructor-graded work, the ratio of points attempted to points earned emerged as a useful means of dividing student pass rates into three clusters.

Communicative Interactions with Teachers in K-12 Online Courses: From the Student Perspective

This study examined student-teacher communication practice in online courses from the student perspective. The present study provides the field with empirical evidence on the importance of student-teacher interactions through examining more varied outcome variables and relevant factors than what was often included in existing studies, and also exploring multiple sources of data.

Exploring Professional Discourse Using Data from Online Discussion Forums: Showcase of Three Methods

This report offers an overview of methods investigating educators’ professional discourse. The selected three methods are text-mining focused on content words, text-mining with function words, and social network analysis. Detailed illustration of procedures of and results from individual methods will help readers strengthen their resources of research methods with these current cutting-edge approaches as they relate to doing social research in general or action research for program improvement.

Public Awareness and Views of K-12 Online Learning in Michigan 2019

From February 12 to 17, 2019, Public Sector Consultants Inc. (PSC) conducted surveys with 600 Michigan adults and 400 Michigan college students on behalf of Michigan Virtual. These surveys were part of ongoing public opinion research conducted by Michigan Virtual to better understand the opinions, preferences, and beliefs of Michigan residents about online learning opportunities for high school students in the state. The adult survey is a follow-up to similar polls conducted by PSC in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and was designed to include common questions for comparison. The college student survey, new in 2017, includes questions about their specific experiences with online learning in high school and college. Taken together, these surveys allow for continued monitoring of opinion trends about online learning while providing important context about the experiences of current college students.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2017-18

Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2017-18 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 through over 50 data tables at the end of the report.

Supporting Students with Disabilities in K-12 Online and Blended Learning

Appropriately supporting students in online and blended learning environments requires a great deal of instructional planning and preparation. The intent of this document is to supply educational teams content that will provide support for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs and services for students with disabilities enrolled in online and blended learning environments.

Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Report

This report details Michigan Virtual’s efforts to adopt the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching evaluation rubric for online teachers. Michigan Virtual Student Learning Services administration modified Danielson’s evaluation rubric to suit the online teaching context, and developed an observation resource for use with the rubric. Phase 1 implementation of the evaluations was successful overall; it succeeded in both bringing Michigan Virtual in compliance with Public Act 173 by adopting an evaluation system and providing valuable professional development and growth opportunities for teachers.

Engagement and Discourse of Educators through Online Professional Learning Communities

The current study details three online PLCs: the Early Literacy District Coaches Online Community, the Statewide Online Mentor Network, and the STEM Teacher Network. The study also attempts to unpack participants’ engagement, in particular their discourse in those social constructive spaces. Using text-mining technique as the primary analytic approach, the findings highlight the strong potential of online PLCs and, in particular, discussion forums as hubs for meeting isolated educators’ professional needs. Practical considerations for improved design and implementation and future research needs are also discussed.

Helping Online Students Be Successful: Student Perceptions of Online Teacher and On-site Mentor Instructional Support

In this report, we share and discuss student perceptions related to online teachers and on-site mentors’ instructional responsibilities that required knowledge of the online program and course content: (1) advising students regarding course enrollments, (2) orienting students to online learning procedures and expectations, and (3) instructing students regarding the course content.

2017-18 Michigan Virtual Initiatives: Collaborative Partnerships, Credit Recovery, and Middle School Bundles

During the 2017-18 school year, Michigan Virtual implemented various new initiatives, including collaborative partnerships with Michigan districts, credit recovery courses, and middle school elective course bundles. Throughout the implementation of these three new initiatives, emphasis was placed on understanding the design and impact of the new models. What follows is a report on the three initiatives.

Blended Teaching Readiness: Phase 2 – Instrument Development

This research completes a two-year research process to create and empirically validate an instrument to measure K-12 Blended Teaching Readiness. This report details the process as well as the successful efforts to validate and make available an instrument for use by individuals, schools, districts, and universities. Additionally, the report documents the process of creating a second, shorter instrument focusing on four of the most essential pedagogical competencies for blended teaching.

The Role of Online Teaching in Michigan Teacher Preparation Programs

This report details how online K-12 teaching is represented in college level teacher preparation programs in Michigan through a case study methodology grounded in the TPACK framework. Teacher preparation program websites and syllabi were the primary data sources; overall online teaching specifically was not prevalent among required course topics.

Research and Design of a Mobile Application for K-12 Professional Learning

This report provides a brief literature review on the use of mobile devices for formal learning, as well as an overview of the design and development of Michigan Virtual’s own mobile application. The report concludes with an overview of planned research efforts as the application is implemented in K-12 school pilot settings.

Engaging Teachers in Professional Development through Online Book Studies

Extended professional development (PD) is the gold standard for educators; however, given school budgetary and time constraints, it is also the most difficult form of PD. Together with the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Virtual sought an on-going PD solution that would engage teachers throughout a given time frame but also be low-cost and asynchronous so teachers could fully participate when it was most convenient for them. The solution was an online book study. The following report details the characteristics of the three online book studies, as well as the evolution from early pilot phases to full district roll-outs. It also details the successes and challenges from both Michigan Virtual and the district partner’s perspective.

Combining Data and Text Mining to Develop an Early Warning System Using a Deep Learning Approach

This project explores student behavioral, textual, and limited demographic data retrieved from Michigan Virtual School for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years. The primary method of analysis was deep learning (DL) however a variety of other data mining techniques were explored, including text analysis, to improve prediction accuracy. DL was also compared to machine learning (ML), and results indicate that DL was slightly better than other ML models; also the inclusion of textual content improved the overall predictive accuracy in identifying at-risk students. Factors affecting the predictive power of the analyses are discussed as well as recommendations and considerations for using this and similar predictive models in practice to identify at-risk students.

Racial and Economic Diversity Trends in Virtual Charter Schools: An Analysis of National Enrollment Data, 2015-16

This study analyzes national and state enrollment data to examine racial and economic diversity in virtual charter schools (VCS). This report examines 2015-16 national enrollment data to understand the differences in total virtual charter school enrollments and school demographics in each state. Instead of comparing enrollments to national averages, this report compares enrollments to the states with virtual charter schools only and also compares enrollments within each state to statewide populations of traditional public and charter school students.

Learning Trajectories in Online Mathematics Courses

Present research has devoted attention to a long-standing problem: how to better serve students who take K-12 online mathematics courses by investigating learner subgroups based on their semester-long learning trajectories. Mixture growth modeling was used to examine month-by-month scores students earned by completing assignments. The best-fitting model suggested four distinct subgroups representing (1) nearly linear growth, (2) exponential growth, (3) hardly any growth, (4) and early rapid growth. Follow-up analyses demonstrated that two different types of successful trajectories were more likely associated with advanced level courses, such as AP or Calculus courses, and foundation courses, such as Algebra and Geometry, were with the unpromising trajectory. Given those results, implications for practitioners and researchers were discussed from the perspective of self-regulated online learning and evidence-based mathematics instructional practices.

Exploring Preparation and Support for K-12 Online Teachers

A recent nationwide study revealed that very few teacher education programs are preparing K-12 online teachers for success in the online learning environment (Archambault et al., 2016), which leaves virtual schools with the need to provide their own preparation and support for new online instructors. To paint a picture of K-12 online teacher preparation and support, this case study examined ways in which eight virtual K-12 teachers were prepared and supported for their roles. Findings revealed commonalities in the expectations for and challenges facing K-12 online teachers and the types of professional learning opportunities and support available to K-12 online teachers. This report offers recommendations to help virtual schools and K-12 districts strengthen professional learning and support for K-12 online teachers.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2016-17

Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2016-17 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 through over 50 data tables at the end of the report.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.