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Research and Best Practices

Michigan Virtual works to develop materials for both students and educators based on diligent research and industry leading practices to ensure student success.

Researched and Ready

Our instructional design team understands that learning online is a different experience than learning in traditional environments. We focus our efforts on developing lessons and experiences that will engage students, generate interest and help them reach their learning goals. We apply four areas of instructional design and research when developing our strategies.

  • Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction provides an optimal instructional framework to build online lessons that promote student learning across many kinds of courses.
  • Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design reinforces the difference between learning for the sake of passing a course and learning for understanding, and how to design lessons that support students in making sense of what they are learning and why it is significant in the “big picture.”
  • How People Learn (Bransford et. al. ) and Why Don’t Students Like School? (Willingham) provide the research on cognitive and learning science which helps us understand how learning actually happens and the conditions that promote it.
  • Anderson and Krathwohl’s A Taxonomy of Learning, Teaching, and Assessing (also known as the revised Bloom’s taxonomy) help us accurately identify the kind of skill or knowledge students will be learning so we can ensure that objectives, instruction and assessments are aligned with one another.

Best Practice Makes Perfect

Quality Matters is an internationally-recognized quality assurance organization dedicated to promoting and improving the quality of online courses. Based on feedback received through the Quality Matters course evaluation processMichigan Virtual instructional designers have developed a set of practices, tools, templates, procedures and guidelines that support general standards described by the Quality Matters K-12 Secondary Standards for Online and Blended Courses.

The standards focus on the following areas:

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  3. Assessment and Measurement
  4. Instructional Materials
  5. Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  6. Course Technology
  7. Learner Support
  8. Accessibility and Usability*
  9. Compliance Standards

Having and applying our set of best practices based on these standards helps ensure that the learning experiences we create are focused on promoting student success and having a good online learning experience.

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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.