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.

Educating Students Across Locales: Understanding Enrollment and Performance Across Virtual Schools
Teaching in rural schools and educating rural students presents challenges unique to that locale. It is well known that population demographics are shifting and have been for some time, resulting in a migration out of rural areas. Families are drawn to suburbs, towns, and cities and take with them the necessary tax base to operate schools and provide educational services.

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute, in Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report released in 2014, found that students in rural locales tended to perform on par with students from other locales in their online courses. Sixty-three percent of rural enrollments reached “completed/passed” status compared to 59% in towns, 63% in suburbs, and 64% in cities.

With this in mind, researchers at MVLRI, in conjunction with our partners at the Virtual School Leadership Alliance wanted to investigate both the enrollment and pass rates of not only rural students, but students in all locales, and see how well students performed across locales. While MVLRI reports annually on enrollment and completion/pass-rate trends both within the Michigan Virtual School and statewide, we wanted to explore this nationally with help from our colleagues at the VSLA. Seven case studies from seven virtual schools across the United States are presented, exploring enrollment and completion/pass-rate trends. The report concludes with a discussion of the trends apparent across the virtual schools presented in this study. Download the report »

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 »

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.