The Digital Backpack. Your Resource for Online Learning

Competency-based education and parents

What is CBE, and what makes it different from how things used to be? Competency-based education (CBE) is an approach to teaching and learning that

Bright
Nikki Herta

What’s the Secret to Keeping Students Motivated in Online Learning?

Meet Dr. Chris Harrington, the director of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, who shares his reflections on “pandemic teaching,” common misconceptions about online learning, and the findings of his team’s landmark research study on keeping students engaged in virtual learning environments.

Bright
Nikki Herta

Becoming a Voice for the Voiceless

Meet Kyron Harvell, the director of the school culture and climate grant for Lansing School District, who shares his mission of serving as a voice for the voiceless in his school community. In this episode of BRIGHT, we explore how Kyron and his team are cultivating a culture of inclusivity in Lansing centered around equitable access to learning opportunities, culturally responsive practices, social emotional learning, and restorative justice.

Bright
Nikki Herta

The Delightful Power of Music to Make Learning More Engaging

Meet Ben Ashby, a Spanish teacher at Zeeland Public Schools and an online Spanish instructor for Michigan Virtual. In this episode of BRIGHT, we talk about the role music plays in learning, how online teaching has influenced the way he runs his face-to-face classroom and vice versa, and his hopes for education as we look to the future.

Bright
Nikki Herta

How to Reignite Love for Learning with a Project-Based Curriculum

For all students — but especially for those who struggle in the traditional classroom — project-based learning can offer an opportunity to rediscover the joy of learning. In this episode of BRIGHT, we talk to Dr. Sarah Pazur, the director of school leadership at FlexTech High School, who shares the why and how behind this vision for learning along with examples of some really cool projects that allowed students to explore their interests, meet core competencies, and have real-world impacts.

Online Learning
Shannon Smith

On the other side of online learning

What are students supposed to count on during times of uncertainty and change? Forced to suddenly move from a traditional face-to-face routine to a foreign

How Can We Make School A Place Students WANT to Be? (feat. Kyle Saari from Negaunee Public Schools)
Bright
Nikki Herta

How Can We Make School A Place Students WANT to Be?

Meet Kyle Saari, a fifth-grade teacher for Negaunee Public Schools, who reminds us that “comfort leads to confidence” and that when students are excited to be at school and take ownership over their learning, the results can be absolutely incredible.

Research
Nikolas McGehee

The Case for Coaching and Tutoring

In the almost 40 years since Ronald Reagan’s A Nation at Risk report and subsequent education reforms, many programs have been developed to help students

BRIGHT: Why Growth Mindsets Are So Important For Student Success in Math (feat. Christy Trombetta from Michigan Virtual)
Bright
Nikki Herta

Why Growth Mindsets Are So Important For Student Success in Math

Meet Christy Trombetta, an online math teacher at Michigan Virtual who has a particular knack for helping students develop growth mindsets in her online math classroom. When a student tells her they’re “bad at math,” she takes this self-labeling as a signal that the student may need extra support to shift their inner dialogue from “I’m bad at math” to “I can actually do this.”

Bright
Nikki Herta

Are Grade Levels Getting In The Way of Learning?

Meet Mike Burde, assistant superintendent at Kenowa Hills Public Schools, who shares his vision for a system of schooling that goes beyond “time-based advancement” and instead revolves around personal mastery.

Bright
Nikki Herta

A Forest Most Beautiful

Meet Kelly Tillman, an art educator at Walled Lake Consolidated Schools who teaches a choice-based art classroom and reminds us that — rather than stepping back to see the forest for the trees — it’s often the variation between the trees themselves that makes the forest most beautiful.

Woman with a torch leading a group of people
Online Learning
Shannon Smith

We need to give our teachers the professional trust they deserve

While structure and accountability are critical components in the education of children, teachers also need to feel respected as the highly educated, specially trained experts they are, most of whom would not remain in the field if not for their passion.

Bright
Nikki Herta

It Takes a Village to Educate a Child

Meet Kerry Downs, the executive director of the Flint Community Education Initiative who provides insight into the rich history of community education in Flint, shares her belief that every school should be a community school, and reminds us that teachers alone shouldn’t bear the burden of educating the “whole child.”

Research
Kristen DeBruler

Eight Years of Research on K-12 Special Populations and Motivation

Over the past eight years, Michigan Virtual has paid particular attention to online special populations and subsequently online student motivation. Our research team has focused on topics such as online credit recovery, supporting online students with disabilities, and the role of motivation in online courses.

Bright
Nikki Herta

The Life-Affirming Role Of Authenticity in Learning

Meet Amos Briscoe, an art educator for the Washtenaw Alliance for Virtual Education (WAVE) who shares his journey going from feeling like an actor on a stage to bringing authenticity front and center in his classroom.

Subscribe to our blog!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Digital Backpack

Get our latest articles sent straight to your inbox every Thursday!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.