The Digital Backpack. Your Resource for Online Learning
Leadership
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

School Leader Insights: Professional Learning as a Catalyst for Change

The School Leader Insights blog series provides school leaders with practical guidance and advice on how to develop and support digital learning programs within their schools and districts. Based on research and on-the-ground experiences working with school leaders, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute aims to identify and share effective practices with these school leaders to support their work and encourage their success. In this blog post, we discuss how professional learning programs for teachers can provide job satisfaction, improve digital learning outcomes for students, and serve as a catalyst for change.

Leadership
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

School Leader Insights: Technology as a Foundation

The School Leader Insights blog series provides school leaders with practical guidance and advice on how to develop and support digital learning programs within their schools and districts. Based on research and on-the-ground experiences working with school leaders, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute aims to identify and share effective practices with these school leaders to support their work and encourage their success. In this blog post, we discuss the importance of thinking deliberately about technology. Some might think that a digital learning initiative should start with technology. However, to leverage technology effectively to reach certain digital learning goals, leaders need to execute a project vision based on a clear understanding of the interplay between curriculum, instruction, and assessment and the needs of all members of a school community.

Online Learning
Christa Green

A Competency-Based Approach to Student-Centered Learning

Creating competencies and designing flexible learning opportunities that allow students to demonstrate mastery of these competencies on their own pathway and at their own pace is one piece of designing a learning environment that is student-centered.

Research
Nikolas McGehee

Competency-based education in science

What is CBE? Competency-Based Education (CBE) is a student-centered methodology of instruction that incorporates elements of constructivist philosophy, 21st Century Skills education, and flexible learning

Leadership
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

School Leader Insights: The Interplay Between Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

The School Leader Insights blog series provides school leaders with practical guidance and advice on how to develop and support digital learning programs within their schools and districts. Based on research and on-the-ground experiences working with school leaders, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute aims to identify and share effective practices with these school leaders to support their work and encourage their success. In this blog post, we discuss the importance of understanding the relationship between curriculum, instruction, and assessment in designing digital learning experiences that align with the underlying purposes for why a digital learning initiative is pursued in the first place.

Meeting Discussion Talking Sharing Ideas Concept
Leadership
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

School Leader Insights: Institutionalizing a Vision for Digital Learning

The School Leader Insights blog series provides school leaders with practical guidance and advice on how to develop and support digital learning programs within their schools and districts. Based on research and on-the-ground experiences working with school leaders, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute aims to identify and share effective practices with these school leaders to support their work and encourage their success. In this blog post, we discuss the process of developing a shared vision among school and district stakeholders and the process by which school leaders may institutionalize the vision for continued growth and sustainability.

Smiling student leaning against bookshelves holding book at the university
Online Learning
Kristen DeBruler

Michigan Virtual Research on Online Learning in Higher Education

Research at the higher education level is well established and can provide valuable insights into online learning overall. It is important, however, to consider the unique needs of K-12 online learners as compared to adults when determining which research findings to apply.

The past, present, and future of online course design (feat. Kristi Peacock from Michigan Virtual)
Bright
Nikki Herta

The past, present, and future of online course design

Meet Kristi Peacock, a course development manager for Michigan Virtual, who shares what it means to be an instructional designer, what advice she has for educators designing their own online learning experiences for students, and what she hopes the future will hold for this ever-evolving sector of education.

The Art of Debugging & How to Think Like a Computer Scientist (feat. Dr. Aman Yadav from Michigan State University)
Bright
Nikki Herta

The art of debugging & how to think like a computer scientist

Meet Dr. Aman Yadav, a professor of educational psychology and educational technology at Michigan State University, who shares his insights on the rich applications of both “plugged” and “unplugged” computational thinking for the K-12 classroom and sheds light on the biased algorithms that govern our everyday lives.

Research
Nikolas McGehee

Competency-based education in mathematics

What is competency-based education? Competency-based education (CBE) is a student-centered methodology of instruction that incorporates elements of constructivist philosophy, 21st century skills education, and flexible

Leadership
Sarah Hill

Michigan Virtual’s Strategic Plan: Employee spotlight

There’s no clear-cut definition of the term “strategic plan.” Sure, there’s a Wikipedia page, but my years in high school debate scared me from using that as a source.

So what is a strategic plan? What’s Michigan Virtual’s and why should you care?

OK, that’s a lot of questions I just asked. Let’s start with the first one.

The conflicted history & achievable future of social emotional learning (feat. Lauren Kazee from Living S.L.O.W.)
Bright
Nikki Herta

The conflicted history & achievable future of social emotional learning

Meet Lauren Kazee, one of Michigan’s leading experts on social emotional learning or “SEL,” who shares her personal definition of SEL, dives into the history of this concept, and offers advice for educators looking to prioritize their own social and emotional wellness and model this behavior for their students.

Teacher meeting
Social Emotional Learning
Ed Timke

Teacher recruitment and retention: A snapshot of an ongoing crisis

There is a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in Michigan and across the country. Why is there a crisis? What can be done? This first post in a blog series on teacher recruitment and retention provides a snapshot of the crisis and some initial recommendations on how to fight it.

BRIGHT: The Beautifully Unclear Future of Educational Technology (feat. Sarah Wood from Kent ISD)
Bright
Nikki Herta

The beautifully unclear future of educational technology

Meet Sarah Wood, an educational technology consultant for Kent Intermediate School District, who shares her reflections on the recent history, current state, and beautifully unclear future of technology in the classroom.

Bright
Nikki Herta

Bringing big ideas to life with design thinking

Meet David Byron, director of innovation strategy at Sundberg-Ferar, a product innovation studio in Walled Lake, who explains how the tried & true process of design thinking can help students and adults alike in solving complicated problems, such as the many and multifaceted issues facing the field of education today.

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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.