Educators’ Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning Courses

Published on August 17, 2022
Written By: 

Ed Timke, Ph.D.Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

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Kristen DeBruler, Ph.D.Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

This study assesses educators' perceptions of the effectiveness of the social-emotional learning (SEL) professional development courses they've completed online. Through a survey of 702 educators who completed at least one SEL professional learning course with Michigan Virtual in 2021, this report provides insights into what works well for educators in learning about SEL through online formats, what educators think about their own SEL competencies after completing online SEL training, and educators' recommendations on how to adapt online SEL professional learning courses to make them more relevant and applicable to their work.

Suggested Citation

Timke, E. & DeBruler, K. (2022). Educators’ Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning Courses. Michigan Virtual University. https://michiganvirtual.org/research/publications/sel-pd-effectiveness-perceptions

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank several Michigan Virtual colleagues for their help in conducting this research project: Kristen Crain, Stacey Schuh, Emily Sicilia, and Scott Watkins. We are grateful to all the educators who took time to participate in this study to share their experiences and advice. We hope the following report helps provide strategies to provide educators with effective and meaningful social and emotional learning professional development opportunities.

Introduction and Need for Study

As the world continues to face the trauma and loss experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the social and emotional needs of educators, students, and communities is a top priority. Reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the importance of meeting adult educators’ social and emotional needs, too. Research has found that SEL curricula help students and communities grow; however, more research is needed on educators’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the SEL training they pursue on their own or through their schools or districts.

As noted in Michigan Virtual’s 2021 research study on meeting the social and emotional needs of Michigan educators, social and emotional learning (SEL) is defined as “the ability to manage emotions, feel and show empathy for others, and establish caring, supportive relationships” (Timke & DeBruler, 2021). In addition to supporting students’ growth, SEL is a skill and important concern for adults who work with students. In order to achieve a welcoming and supportive learning community for students and staff, schools need to strive to build “a work environment in which staff feel supported, empowered, able to collaborate effectively and build relational trust, and also able to develop their social and emotional skills” (Social Emotional Learning Activities,  n.d.). One way to achieve such an environment is to offer educators professional learning opportunities to understand SEL and how it can be applied to their everyday work and life.

Questions remain, though, about the impact SEL professional learning has on educators, especially if such training is offered online. Do educators feel that they have grown professionally? Do they feel like their social and emotional needs are addressed when they help their students advance their SEL skills? Do they find SEL training and supports helpful in becoming more effective educators? Do educators find pursuing SEL professional learning through an online platform to be effective?

This study starts to answer these questions by shedding light on the perceived effectiveness of online SEL training for educators. It also examines educators’ impressions of how online SEL training impacts their job satisfaction, performance, and service to their students. If online SEL training is not seen as effective, it is hoped that adaptations can be made to such training to help educators feel more fulfilled in meeting their social and emotional needs while helping students meet theirs. Therefore, several research questions grounded this study:

  1. What do educators think about the effectiveness of the SEL training they have completed?
  2. What do educators think about their own SEL competencies after completing SEL training?
  3. What do educators see as effective SEL training? What do they see as ineffective SEL training? What adaptations should be made to SEL training to make it more effective?

Methodology 

To answer this study’s research questions, the Qualtrics’ online survey software was used to collect data from educators who completed at least one online social and emotional professional learning course with Michigan Virtual in 2021. Michigan Virtual was chosen as the organization for this study because it offers a variety of online social and emotional learning courses for educators within and beyond the state of Michigan. Table 7 in the Appendix provides an overview of the 10 SEL professional learning courses that participants in this study could have taken in 2021.

In addition to asking for general details about participants’ roles within a school, this study’s survey included a variety of open-ended and closed questions asking educators to reflect on the following topics:

  • Why they took their course(s)
  • What they found effective in their course(s)
  • What they learned about social-emotional learning
  • How much and what they applied to their work
  • How much they feel they can help students, their colleagues, and themselves achieve social-emotional learning skills

Out of the 6,544 total educators who took at least one social and emotional professional learning course in 2021 through Michigan Virtual, 702 completed this study’s survey. Although this report does not intend to generalize to all educators having taken online social-emotional learning courses, it does provide a close look at a significant number of educators’ perspectives on their SEL professional learning online.

To provide insights into what makes online social-emotional professional learning most effective for educators, the report is structured into five main parts. The first section provides general details about the educators who took this study’s survey. The second section provides educators’ general impressions of their SEL professional learning courses. The third section discusses the three large themes that emerged across open-ended survey responses. The fourth section provides practical implications. The fifth section concludes with thoughts about future support for teachers’ social-emotional learning.

Educators Participating in Study

Among the 702 educators who completed the survey for this study, a majority were teachers (67.24%). A majority of educators serving elementary school students also took the survey (33.76%). Close to 55% signed up for their courses on their own because social-emotional learning topics interested them. About 40% enrolled in their courses because their school or district required them to do so. 

Tables 1 and 2 provide an overview of the roles of educators who participated in the study.

Table 1. Participants by Role.

RoleNumberPercent
Total Count702100%
Teacher47267.24%
Support Staff669.40%
Principal294.13%
School Counselor294.13%
Superintendent20.03%
Other10414.81%

Table 2. Participants by School Level.

School LevelNumberPercent
Total Count702100%
Elementary23733.76%
Middle School12417.66%
High School21931.20%
Other12217.38%

Teachers also represented the highest number of educators to take more than one online SEL professional learning course in 2021. Table 3 provides a breakdown of the number of educators who took more than one SEL course with Michigan Virtual in 2021.

Table 3. Participants Who Took More than One SEL Course in 2021 with Michigan Virtual.

RoleTaking 2+ CoursesPercent
Total Count172100%
Teacher12371.51%
Support Staff1911.05%
Principal95.23%
School Counselor63.49%
Superintendent00.00%
Other158.72%

The top courses taken by this study’s participants included Michigan Virtual’s introductory course Social-Emotional Learning: Introduction to SEL (41.78%), followed by Take Care of Yourself: A Course in Well-Being and Self-Care (16.45%), Social-Emotional Learning: Trauma-Informed Support (10.10%), and Social-Emotional Learning: Integrating SEL into Culturally Responsive Classrooms (8.58%). Table 7 in the Appendix provides a summary of what these courses cover.

Educators’ Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning Effectiveness

The survey included a series of questions asking educators to reflect on the perceived effectiveness of the online SEL professional learning courses they took with Michigan Virtual. The top six elements that educators reported that they liked about their SEL course(s) included learning how to help students advance their social and emotional learning competencies (68.23%), self-paced format (62.25%), the course(s) being online (55.13%), learning ways to make my classroom more equitable and inclusive (46.58%), and learning SEL terminology and theories (36.04%). 

About three-quarters of educators found that they applied much or a great deal of what they learned through their SEL courses to their work. About 24% felt that they applied little. Only about 1.5% felt that they didn’t apply any of their professional learning to their work. About two-thirds of the participants reported not seeking additional SEL resources after they completed their SEL professional learning course(s).

Among respondents indicating that they applied a great deal or much of what they learned from their courses, about 60% said they did so because they felt motivated to do so because SEL is very important to them and they wanted to help others in their school and community. About half of these respondents also indicated that the training content was very applicable to their work and that their school values and cares about SEL, so they wanted to contribute new learning to those initiatives.nted to contribute to new learning to those initiatives.

As for those respondents who said that they applied little or none from their SEL courses, about 40% said that they were already doing what the training recommended, so they didn’t learn anything new. One-third said that they have too many things to do, so it is difficult to do anything new in their job

When asked to self-report on a variety of statements, around 80% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that their SEL course(s) contributed to more confidence, engagement, fulfillment, and effectiveness in their jobs. Around 90% of educators reported that they agreed or strongly agreed with statements that their courses contributed to their ability to help students minimize stress and anxiety, identify a full range of emotions, be more cooperative, build empathy, be more self-aware, be comfortable asking for help, and pursue their own self-care. On a variety of statements related to their own SEL skills, about 85% of educators, on average, agreed or strongly agreed with statements that their SEL courses helped them with their own SEL needs and skills. 

One of the most notable findings is that educators reported agreeing slightly more with being able to support and serve students compared to being able to help themselves after their course(s). Such a finding is not surprising given educators’ primary objective to want to help their students before themselves. However, if educators do not feel that they can take care of their own social and emotional needs, there are major concerns, especially in the long term, for educators to feel satisfied, fulfilled, and supported in their jobs. As noted in a Michigan Virtual 2021 report showing significant teacher burnout when teachers shared their self-assessments of their social-emotional needs. Moreover, there are worries about the impact of educators’ challenges in meeting their social-emotional needs on teacher recruitment and retention, as explored with depth in a recent Michigan Virtual blog series on this topic.

Tables 4–6 provide a summary of educators’ self-assessments of their SEL skills and abilities after taking their online SEL professional learning courses with Michigan Virtual in 2021.

Table 4. Educators’ Perceptions of SEL Courses Contributing to Higher Job Satisfaction and Effectiveness.

StatementAgree or Strongly Agree
Feel more confident in doing my job.85.53%
Feel more engaged in my work.80.32%
Feel a career in education is fulfilling.80.92%
Feel more satisfied with my work.78.13%
Feel I serve students better.89.22%
Feel I contribute more to my school community.83.05%
Average across all statements83.05%

Table 5. Educators’ Perceptions of SEL Courses Contributing to Their Ability to Help Students

StatementAgree or Strongly Agree
I can better help students minimize stress and anxiety.90.13%
I can better help students identify a full range of emotions.88.56%
I can better help students be more cooperative.87.54%
I can better help students build empathy.89.27%
I can better help students be more self-aware91.97%
I can better help students be comfortable asking for help.88.97%
I can better help students pursue their own self-care.87.11%
Average across all statements87.12%

Table 6. Educators’ Perceptions of SEL Courses Contributing to Their Own SEL Needs and Skills.

StatementAgree or Strongly Agree
I can better identify others’ social and emotional needs.89.84%
I can better empathize more with other people.89.11%
I can better make my teaching more equitable and inclusive.88.27%
I can better identify my own social and emotional needs.85.67%
I can better pursue my own self-care.83.33%
I can better show more compassion toward myself.82.30%
I can better ask for help when I need it.79.89%
I can better find ways to achieve work-life balance.79.71%
I can better minimize my stress and anxiety.76.72%
I can better express my emotions as appropriate with students.85.92%
I can better express my emotions with trusted adults/colleagues.83.45%
Average across all statements84.54%

Educators Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning 

In evaluating educators’ responses to open-ended responses, three major themes emerged about educators’ perceptions of their online SEL professional learning. First, educators revealed that they appreciated the flexibility of completing their professional learning course(s) on their own schedule through an online platform. However, given the social and reflective nature of the topic of SEL, some educators felt that asynchronous SEL training should be supplemented by a synchronous component (either in-person or live online). Second, many educators appreciated learning the basics about SEL, but many wanted more specific content that would be useful for their specific role and function within a school. Third, educators enjoyed learning about the theories behind SEL, but many indicated the need to translate theory into practice and actionable steps they could take in their specific roles. Each of these themes will be discussed in turn before the report’s implications and conclusion sections provide recommendations for professional learning coordinators and educators based on advice received from this study’s participants through their open-ended responses.

Theme 1: Educators Like Flexibility of Asynchronous Online Options But Want Live, Interactive Components, Too

Two of the top three elements that educators liked about their SEL professional learning were that their courses were in a self-paced format and online, which two educators summarized succinctly: “I’m glad to have access to quality courses like this. It feels like I am attending grad school all over again, but in the safety and convenience of my home. Plus, I can learn at my own pace!” and “They are very easy to take, I can do them at school, when I have time, or at home.” It is not surprising then that a significant number of participants wrote that they appreciated the flexibility that came with being able to complete their professional development coursework online and on their own time. 

However, there were mixed feelings about the effectiveness of having SEL professional learning facilitated exclusively in an asynchronous manner online. A strong view was made by one educator: “Online training in SEL is an oxymoron. There are no good uses of SEL training through an online program.” Although this participant did not elaborate on what would make an online SEL professional learning experience better, it is noteworthy because some educators may not find an asynchronous format amenable to building core SEL skills, such as the ability to communicate and express oneself clearly and with empathy. Another respondent provides some additional insights into this concern by indicating that interactive discussion would be helpful to taking their online SEL training to the next level (emphasis original): “I WANT INTERACTIVITY: Learning the history and the importance of social emotional learning was very valuable. While we were given some examples/scenarios to read through, I think it would be nice to have an open forum for teacher/admin to discuss concerns we are seeing now (due to Covid) to help our students.” 

Although the self-paced format was appreciated, some educators felt that the courses were too long and could be shortened to make them more manageable to avoid fatigue that comes with online learning. In particular, two participants noted the limits of basing asynchronous courses solely on reading: “I felt it needed more than just reading. It was difficult to stay on task with just reading slides and articles.” and “With the course I recently completed, I would prefer videos and a reader of the material to go along with my self-paced reading abilities; this would help keep me engaged with the learning content better…”

Others indicated that they wanted resources or tools that would allow them to take their online SEL learning offline, such as having handouts or other checklists that are easy to refer to later: “I wish any of the classes offered printable lists with all of the websites they suggest. There are too many to write down and I often can’t find them later.” and “I think the SEL training was good, I would like a paper copy of a lot of this material to review over time.”

Theme 2: Educators Want Lessons Tailored to Educators’ Specific Roles

Educators wanted to learn more about how SEL implementation could somehow be integrated into lessons that were already going to be done in their classroom, as two respondents noted: “[I want to learn] ways to incorporate [SEL] into middle school core class WITHOUT giving up time from instruction” and “[I want to learn] things that can be tied into content. It is hard to find the time for students to rate their feelings and emotions when we are asked to teach bell-to-bell. Maybe if there was an add-on curriculum to what we have to teach (i.e. In history, how can we relate to these people and events?).”

Some teachers wanted to learn how to apply and implement SEL lessons in very specific subjects, such as physical education, music, or mathematics, or at particular grade levels or with specific student populations, such as cognitively impaired students. Other teachers were interested in how to teach SEL and apply SEL principles in their teaching online: “[It would help to learn] techniques on how to apply SEL in an online environment wherein students have all different start and end dates, rather than face-to-face synchronous learning.” Other teachers wanted very specific skills that could help them work with students with specific needs and approaches, which could help broader school programs: “[I want to see] continued connection to Trauma Informed or Belonging, Inclusion concepts. Marrying these concepts together brings opportunities across a wider array of school initiatives and school staff.”

One teacher’s lengthy response brought up what many other educators voiced about their hope and desire to learn how to support and empower students in ways that is possible based on teachers like them (emphasis added): “Most of the information in the course was information I already knew. The course reinforced much of the previously learned/understood knowledge and activities, but didn’t really offer much new.  I would really value SEL training that went a bit deeper to help students with resilience, and confidence. Training that helped teachers, like me, to help students let go of overwhelming, helpless, and negative thoughts. Training that helped teachers, like me, help students not be less occupied with the idea of perfection vs failure and allow themselves to be human- that mistakes and ‘failures’ often learn to deeper understanding and knowledge. Help teachers, like me, to identify our own biases regarding kids that we just don’t like, for whatever our reasons are, and see these children as people who need us to see their value.” In short, educators, especially teachers, are looking for online SEL professional learning opportunities that meet them and their students where they are.

Theme 3: Educators Want Lessons They Can Act Upon and Apply Immediately

A significant number of educators felt appreciative of the opportunities to learn about theories about SEL, but they wanted lessons they can act upon and apply immediately in their roles. For example, one educator noted that they wanted specific ways to apply their learning to the classroom: “I was very disappointed that there were no ideas or plans to help me bring this into my classroom.” Another teacher felt the most useful actionable knowledge is what they could learn from their colleagues: “I always prefer concrete examples that other schools are doing.  I don’t want to have to re-invent the wheel.” 

In addition to wanting tangible actions they could take, many respondents worried about adding more responsibilities related to SEL to an already full plate. In particular, one participant wanted to know more about how they could enact their lessons in practical ways without being additionally burdensome: “[I want to learn] more ways to apply in everyday classroom without taking more time away from curriculum.” When asked what other knowledge they wished they learned through their courses, two teachers took this concern about work overload further by noting the need for administrators to recognize that implementing SEL requires added responsibilities requiring more time, energy, and resources: “[I want to learn] how to get administrators to provide the necessary time and resources to address SEL needs.” and “[I want to learn about] bringing this knowledge to administrators who can implement strategies from the top down.” Therefore, teachers feel a need for everyone to take SEL professional learning courses to better assess how effective SEL practices can be pursued in their schools.

Implications

Based on the results of this study’s survey of educators’ perceptions of the effectiveness of their online professional SEL courses, several practical implications emerge to help educators take advantage of and maximize the flexibility of online formats to pursue and apply SEL professional learning opportunities.

Provide Educators Tailored Pathways to Learning SEL Topics 

One of the significant findings of this study is that educators want to take their professional learning beyond the basics of social-emotional learning. They want to learn more about what applies to their specific roles within a school. They also want to learn more about how they can put this relevant SEL professional learning into action. One key implication for SEL professional learning is to give educators tailored pathways to learning SEL topics. This may require the creation of pre-enrollment self-assessment tools that will allow educators to examine their SEL interests and target learning opportunities that are most relevant and useful to them in their work.

Combine Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning Opportunities

Although asynchronous online professional learning opportunities bring the benefits of self-pacing and on-demand availability, this format may not work well for everyone. It would be helpful to combine asynchronous with synchronous learning opportunities. Live sessions do not necessarily need to be held in person. However, efforts should be made to make any live sessions interactive and participatory.

Find Ways to Help Educators Build Communities of Support

One frequent remark among participants was that learning about SEL was another necessity for educators in an already overloaded schedule. In designing and implementing SEL professional learning classes and programs, it is necessary to make learning opportunities shorter and more targeted. It is also important to provide educators with opportunities to work together to address common challenges that they face. Focusing on the “self” as being responsible in social-emotional learning can create undue hardships on educators who may already struggle to do everything they need to get done to do their jobs. As noted in a recent Michigan Virtual blog post about helping teachers with the challenges of finding time to do their work, careful attention is needed to distinguish wider systemic problems that cannot be solved or addressed by an individual alone (Timke, 2022, Jan. 31). As one teacher wrote, “The need for SEL these days is due to pandemic teaching and the increased expectations of our jobs. It shouldn’t be my job to learn how to deal with unrealistic expectations of systemic issues that are causing teacher burnout.” By giving educators tailored, flexible, and interactive opportunities to learn about SEL, they will likely feel more supported and a part of a community of practice that is compassionate, understanding, and supportive.

Conclusion

Social-emotional learning continues to be one of the most important professional learning topics for educators. Online formats are essential to making it effective, convenient, and flexible. In order to help educators maximize their learning online, SEL professional learning opportunities need to be relevant to what educators want and need to learn, tailored to educators’ roles within schools and communities, and actionable. Courses should also consider educators’ desire to learn from their colleagues through interactive tools and learning opportunities. By replicating the power of essential SEL skills—clear and empathetic communication and collaboration—through online professional learning tools, it is hoped that educators can find meaningful and enjoyable ways to share effective SEL practices, help their students, and, most importantly, meet their own social-emotional needs as they contribute to their communities. 

References & Resources

Our students need more than academics. (n.d.). Michigan Virtual University. https://michiganvirtual.org/sel/#pd 

Social Emotional Learning Activities for Adults | CASEL – Casel Schoolguide. (n.d.). Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. https://schoolguide.casel.org/focus-area-2/overview/

Tag: Teacher Recruitment & Retention. (n.d.) Michigan Virtual University. https://michiganvirtual.org/blog/tag/teacher-recruitment-and-retention/ 

Timke, E. (2022, Jan. 31). Time for Teachers: Importance of Distinguishing Systemic from Individual Barriers and Solutions. https://michiganvirtual.org/blog/time-for-teachers-systemic-vs-individual/ 

Timke, E. & DeBruler, K. (2021). “It’s just too much”: Meeting the social and emotional needs of Michigan educators. Michigan Virtual University. https://michiganvirtual.org/research/publications/meeting-educators-sel-needs

Appendix

Table 7. SEL Professional Learning Courses Offered by Michigan Virtual in 2021. 

Important note to readers: The courses listed in this table may not be reflective of the professional learning courses provided by Michigan Virtual at the time you are reading this report. This table is provided to document the courses that were provided in 2021 to better contextualize the findings of this report in the future.

SEL Course TitleDescription
Student Mental Health 101According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost half of all adolescents experience mental illness. This fundamental course will focus on offering educators options and strategies for working with students with mental health issues. Through articles, videos, and interactive content, you will review current statistical trends, identify individuals in the school setting who are equipped to support these students, and explain how outside agencies can be part of the solution as well. You will also consider additional training to assist in responding to a student mental health crisis.
Trauma-Informed Schools: A Whole School ApproachThe impacts of trauma on children can be numerous, affecting their bodies, brains, and abilities to learn and, unfortunately, remains a part of many students’ lives throughout our school systems. In this course, you will identify key trauma statistics and terminology, and navigate strategies to support these students in the classroom and on a building-level. Through articles, videos, and interactive content, you will build your understanding of trauma-informed practices in order to handle behavior or situations that may arise through training and resources.
Social-Emotional Learning: Adult SEL and Self-CareThe challenges of current events on top of the typical stress surrounding learning environments can impact not only students but adults and educators as well. In this self-awareness course, you will learn about how prioritizing your own wellness and mental health can increase morale and improve school climate as well as your work/life balance. You will be asked to reflect on how you personally experience burnout at school and gain resources and strategies that will help you support your overall well-being.
Social-Emotional Learning: Creating a Professional Culture Based on SEL*Self-evaluation and growth of an educators’ own social and emotional competencies can aid in fostering these skills in their students. This course focuses on creating a social-emotional learning (SEL) culture within a school. Specifically, you will engage in activities that grow educator social and emotional competencies, exploring ways in which adults can engage in self-care to avoid professional burnout. You will also practice self-awareness to address implicit biases that may influence interactions with students.
Social-Emotional Learning: Embedding SEL Schoolwide*For social and emotional learning to have the greatest impact on students and staff, it must be woven into the fabric of everyday school life. This course will equip you with strategies for bringing SEL into daily classroom instruction and the school improvement planning process. You’ll also learn how SEL connects with other important efforts that occur within a school (e.g., educator effectiveness, trauma-responsive practices, and cultural responsiveness). 
Social-Emotional Learning: Integrating SEL Into Culturally Responsive Classrooms*Being culturally aware enhances the effectiveness of teaching through social-emotional learning (SEL). This immersive course offers ways to integrate SEL into the daily work of classrooms, and engagement strategies for students that promote SEL. You will consider the cultural needs in your classroom while implementing social and emotional programming and practices, as well as how to face potential barriers to implementing SEL. In addition, you will gain multiple resources to further your skills in this area and use in your lessons. 
Social-Emotional Learning: Integrating SEL within Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)It can be overwhelming for administrators and educators to know which initiatives to focus on and how to implement them in schools and classrooms. In this course, you will learn about the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) in Michigan and why it is important to integrate SEL into that framework. Through examples and resources, you will focus on reviewing what embedding SEL can look like in your school, learning what the essential components of MTSS are, and how to integrate various initiatives within an organized framework that supports effective learner outcomes.
Social-Emotional Learning: Introduction to SEL*Many educators find it challenging to meet the social and emotional needs of their students to help them succeed academically. This introductory course provides an insight into social-emotional learning (SEL) and a pathway to the initial steps of integrating SEL into your school or district. You will hone key components as defined by MDE: the five core social and emotional competencies; the research underpinning SEL; and comprehensive benefits and positive outcomes of SEL for staff, students, families, and other stakeholders.
Social-Emotional Learning: Trauma-Informed Support*In recent years, there has been an increase in understanding the influence that childhood traumatic experiences can have on students in their learning environments. This proactive course will show how social and emotional learning can offer students skills to help tackle those experiences. You will also gain more knowledge regarding trauma, how it impacts the developing brain, and thus, potentially, academic achievement. 
Take Care of Yourself: A Course in Wellbeing and Self-CareAs an educator in our current climate, you may have been told to “take care of yourself” and to “focus on your wellness” but what are tangible steps to take to fulfill this well-meaning advice? This hands-on course will focus on your overall physical, emotional, and mental health in a way that feels relevant and measurable for educators, paying specific attention to areas of your life that directly impact your work-life balance. This self-paced course is designed as five days of self-care, with the suggestion that you might consider completing one unit per workday, with room for flexibility.

*This course is part of a recommended social and emotional learning series.

Table of Contents

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.