In the digital age, with the full power of the internet at our fingertips, anybody can make an online course. But how do you know if your students are getting a quality education?
This is the challenge that Quality Matters (QM) has set out to solve. Since 2003, this organization has been answering the question: How do we measure and guarantee the quality of a course?
Today, QM provides professional development, a set of rubrics, and a course peer review process that function together to improve the quality of K-12 online and blended courses across the country. QM has received national recognition for its approach to continuous improvement in online education and student learning.
Michigan Virtual partners with QM to evaluate the quality of our courses and provide professional development to staff to ensure we’re offering the best online learning experience possible to our students.
Every new course we create is designed by an expert instructional designer and aligned to national quality standards for online learning. Despite this, we still find it important to have an unbiased third-party — in this case, Quality Matters — provide feedback and certification through a rigorous peer-review process to ensure quality.
Our students deserve the best online learning experience possible. As such, many of our courses have been awarded QM-certification, a number that grows every year as we continue to update our course catalog and design new online courses to engage Michigan students.
In 2017, we received the Quality Matters Make a Difference for Students Award for Outstanding Impact by a K-12 Organization. In receiving this award, Michigan Virtual was recognized for “identifying a statewide need for a stronger online course quality assurance process. Implementation of the QM process through extensive staff development and official course reviews has fostered a common focus on quality assurance throughout the organization.”
Can we come to a national consensus about what constitutes quality online learning?
In 2019, Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance (VLLA) sought to accomplish this by coming together to release a revised version of the National Standards for Quality Online Learning, which previously had been last updated in 2011 by iNACOL (now the Aurora Institute).
Here at Michigan Virtual, we’re honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to the latest edition of these standards. These standards — including those for online teaching, online courses, and online programs — were revised based on extensive literature reviews, community feedback via surveys, and the expertise of online learning experts around the globe.
You can learn more about the National Quality Standards for Online Learning by taking our professional development course series that overviews these standards and offers practical strategies for implementing them in the online classroom.
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.