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.

iEducator: Program Design and Reflection
MVU launched the iEducator (iEd) program in 2015, bringing together higher education, local school districts, and MVU, to propel forward not only digital education, but face-to-face education as well. At its core, the iEd program is a two-year digital teaching assignment with MVU. Beyond that, the iEd program involves ongoing professional learning, mentoring, and digital instruction experiences.

In many ways, this is a novel professional development program for new online teachers which at times presents challenges for those involved; the novelty, however, also presents opportunities to build an ideal professional learning program, one that meets the immediate needs of MVU as well as prepares the iEds to serve as digital learning leaders in traditional schools after they complete their two-year teaching assignment.

This report, part one in a series, introduces and details the iEd program and includes reflections from the administrative and instructional design teams involved in the development of the program, as well as reflections and feedback from the iEds themselves. Download iEducator: Program Design and Reflection »

Public Awareness and Views of K-12 Online Learning in Michigan 2015
In August 2015, Public Sector Consultants, Inc. conducted a telephone poll with 800 adult residents of Michigan to obtain their opinions about online learning opportunities for public school students in Michigan. This survey is a follow-up to a similar poll conducted by PSC in 2014. It was designed to include common questionsfor comparison purposes, as well as new questions to build on the 2014 survey results. The survey found that Michigan adults continue to view online learning as important: A strong majority of respondents in both 2014 (79%) and 2015 (71%) felt that it is somewhat or very important for middle school and high school students to have the option of enrolling in an online course at their local school district. Download Public Awareness and Views of K-12 Online Learning in Michigan 2015 »

Implementation Guidelines: Section 21f of the State School Aid Act – revised 2016
In 2013, the Michigan Legislature took action to expand student access to digital learning options through Section 21f. 2 As a result, students in grades 6-12 enrolled in a public school academy or public local district (including students enrolled through a district on a part-time basis, such as those participating in a shared time program) are eligible to enroll in up to two online courses during an academic term. MVU recently revised the Implementation Guidelines handbook after changes were made by the legislature. Download Implementation Guidelines »

Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology – Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today's Students
This year's Speak Up report, Digital Learning 24/7: Understanding Technology – Enhanced Learning in the Lives of Today's Students, provides landmark findings on the efficacy and value associated with popular digital learning initiatives: blended learning, online learning, school-assigned mobile devices and STEM learning. The views, values and experiences of students taking part in these digital learning initiatives are compared with students in more traditional classroom-based education. Download Digital Learning 24/7 »

Strategic Decisions: A Framework for the Future
Last fall, MVU published Strategic Decisions: A Framework for the Future. This document serves as a strategic compass for Michigan Virtual University. Working with a group of internal and external stakeholders, we prepared this planning tool to help guide important decisions as we strive to better serve Michigan’s K-12 community and policymakers as a trusted leader, partner, innovator and capacity builder. Download Strategic Decisions »

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 SchoolDownload Mentor Fundamentals »

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 »

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 reading, collaboration and personal learning networks.