The Digital Backpack. Your Resource for Online Learning
Adult and kid hands holding colorful heart on blue background. World autism awareness day concept.
Social Emotional Learning
Lauren Kazee

Supporting your child’s social and emotional needs during school closures

Right now, parents and children across the globe are under a lot of stress. On top of this, parents are being asked to do even more to support the academic needs of their children than ever before. While it’s easy to focus on the logistical concerns of living through a global pandemic, we also need to tend to the emotional impact such events can have both on ourselves and our children.

Illustration of two minds connected
Mentoring
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

What Does Research Say About Mentoring Online Students?

There exists an ever growing body of research on mentoring online students. In this article we seek to answer the question: What does this research tell us about mentoring K-12 online students?

computers connecting people through digital communication
Online Learning
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Communication & Engagement in the Online Classroom

Most teachers would agree that communication and engagement are key factors for student success in any classroom. In the online classroom, however, these variables play out a little differently than they might in a face-to-face setting. In this article, we break down what communication looks like in an online course, who is responsible for student engagement, and, finally, how communication and engagement interact in practice.

Illustration of the learning process
Research
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

January & February Research Round Up

What’s new in the world of K-12 research on online, blended, and innovative learning? This month, we take a look at learning to teach mathematics online, coaching instructional coaches, the value of project-based learning and high-level knowledge activities, and a framework for affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement in online courses.

Laptop and coffee on winter window
Online Learning
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

What if Michigan Had eLearning Days?

With eLearning, students can learn from home when extenuating circumstances (such as snow storms) prevent them from being able to attend their brick-and-mortar schools. Many states in the U.S. have eLearning policies, but Michigan’s not one of them. Why is that and what would it look like if we did have eLearning days?

three pieces of a puzzle together forming a triangle
Online Learning
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Online Student Success Triangle — Students, Mentors, & Parents

A healthy support system for online students involves interrelationships between students, mentors, and parents. In this article, we take a look at how students, mentors, and parents can all work together to help students thrive in the online environment.

speech bubble and magnifying glass against yellow background
Tips and Tools
Stacey Schuh

Using Google Forms to innovate your assessment practices

Google Forms is not a new tool. It’s been around for quite some time; however, a number of recent updates have made this tool one you will want to use in your classroom. In this article, we will walk you through some innovative ways to use Google Form for student surveys, quizzes, and assessments.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Florida
Tips and Tools
Stacey Schuh

Using image annotation tools to bring assignments to life

Looking for ways to make your classroom resources more interactive? In this article, we share two free image annotation tools that teachers can use to bring assignments to life in their classroom.

teacher giving a student a high five
Tips and Tools
Stacey Schuh

Using Autocrat to showcase student work

As a teacher, it’s great to showcase student work, but it can be time-consuming to compile and share these accolades with parents. In this article, we walk through how teachers can use the Google add-on Autocrat to showcase student work in an efficient way.

Illustration of the learning process
Research
Michigan Virtual

December Research Round Up

Each month our team of researchers highlights K-12 online, blended, and innovative learning research, reports, standards, and other noteworthy resources published nationally and internationally in the preceding weeks. Our hope with this series is to inform the educational community of the latest digital learning research in order to better serve students.

illustration of arrows pointing to the right
Mentoring
Michigan Virtual

Why Mentors Matter: A Conversation with Jered Borup

Why are on-site mentors so important for online students? In this article, Jered Borup, a digital learning researcher and professor at George Mason University dives into research that supports the critical role that mentors play in highly successful online learning programs.

Research
Michigan Virtual

The Hidden Heroes of Successful Online Courses

Last month, our team discussed key systemic program supports for K-12 online learning based on the National Standards for Quality Online Programs released by Quality Matters

Illustration of George Washington and troops crossing the Delaware
Homeschool
Michigan Virtual

Many Notable People Among Homeschool Success Stories

With the flexibility and discipline required by homeschooling, it’s no wonder that so many homeschoolers have gone on to amazing careers. Homeschool success stories run the range from top Harvard grads and elite athletes to actors, musicians, and more. In this article, we showcase both historical and recent famous figures who got their start through homeschooling.

young woman studying on laptop
Homeschool
Michigan Virtual

How to Get Free Online Courses for Your Homeschool Student

Did you say free online classes? Yes, we did, which should come as welcome news for parents wanting to supplement their child’s homeschool curriculum. In this article, we walk through ways that homeschool parents can partner with Michigan school districts to supplement their child’s education with non-core electives at no charge.

desks in classroom
Homeschool
Michigan Virtual

Michigan’s Seat-Time Waivers & How They Can Help Homeschoolers

Does the idea of no-cost online homeschool classes sound good to you? The State of Michigan’s Seat Time Waivers (STWs) provide opportunities for homeschool students to take elective courses for free on a part-time basis through their local public school district. Depending on your reason for homeschooling your child, this may be an option worth investigating further with your local school district.

photo of a checklist
Homeschool
Michigan Virtual

Important Questions to Ask Your Online Homeschool Program Provider

Are you considering supplementing your homeschooler’s education with an online program? Unsure of what to look for in a quality program? Look no further. We’ve compiled a list of questions for you to ask an online provider before choosing what’s best for your child.

parent high-fiving child
Homeschool
Michigan Virtual

4 Tips for Supporting Your Homeschool Student with Online Classes

Homeschool parents, especially those who have never taken an online class themselves, may feel a little unsure about how to support their child who has chosen to take an online course. As a parent, you’ll naturally have questions about how to best help your child succeed in their online homeschool program. Here are 4 tips to help you get started.

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

Keep up with the latest Michigan Virtual has to offer

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.