Online learning opinions and facts

MVU began as an agent for change in education, promoting the expansion and improvement of online learning in Michigan. That role focuses on the K-12 community, providing online learning products, services and solutions for students, teachers and administrators.

This collection of reports and articles is intended to provide some of the latest research and thought regarding MVU and online learning.

Mentor Fundamentals: A Guide for Mentoring Online Learners
Mentors are critical partners in ensuring student success in navigating the virtual learning journey. The mentor, student, parent and online instructor form a team to help students become proficient online learners and successfully complete their courses.

"Mentor Fundamentals: A Guide for Mentoring Online Learners" is intended to provide an understanding of the fundamental elements of mentoring or coaching students for success with online courses and has been prepared with the assistance and insight of experienced mentors, instructors, administrators, and customer service representatives from Michigan Virtual School.

Download mentor guide »

This guide describes the roles and responsibilities of the mentor and contains tools to prepare mentors for working with online learners. Please send questions and concerns or provide feedback to

Leading in an Era of Change
Making the Most of State Course Access Programs
"Leading in an Era of Change," a white paper released by Digital Learning Now, an initiative of ExcelinEd, and EducationCounsel in July 2014, examines "course access" as a solution in closing opportunity gaps. As explained in the report, course access "refers to the state-level programs that provide students with expanded course offerings across learning environments from a diverse group of providers."

The report's authors relied upon national experts, organizations and state leaders for providing guidance, feedback and support, including iNACOL, the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, and state and district leaders. MVU's Jamey Fitzpatrick and Michelle Ribant (Eastern UP ISD) have been appointed to represent Michigan on a task force to examine best practices and policy considerations for the seven states, including Michigan, that have existing course access programs. Read the report »

Michigan's K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report
Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by school entities to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) or the Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI), this report highlights enrollment totals, completion rates and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils.

Findings include an apparent growth in the number of students and schools participating in virtual courses, with the majority of virtual enrollments coming in the core subject areas. Students taking virtual courses in a supplemental capacity appear to be more successful when they take only a few virtual enrollments a year. Developing practices to better support students who take higher amounts of virtual enrollments should be a priority. Read the report »

Implementation Guidelines: Section 21f of the State School Aid Act
Student access to any time and any place learning options has expanded under a new law in Michigan. Section 21f of Public Act 60 of 2014 allows students in grades 6 through 12 to take up to two courses online per academic term (with parental consent). Michigan is the seventh state in the U.S. to enable statewide choice at the course level through online learning options.

The new legislation generated requests for support from the education community. So with input from MDE, MASSP, MEMSPA, MASA, MAISA, MASB, MACUL, Michigan ASCD and the REMC Association of Michigan, we identified, developed and collected an initial set of practical resources – a Tool Kit – to support schools as they implement expanded online learning options for students under Section 21f. All the Tool Kit items are available online or from a link on Michigan's Online Course Catalog home page.

MACUL Journal articles
MVU is a regular contributor to the MACUL Journal, a quarterly publication of the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning. Recent editions include articles about online professional development, project-based learning and online assessment.