Support and Leadership to Accelerate Innovation
MVLRI is hard at work crafting the future of learning.
March 2019 Update to the Legislature
Section 98 of the State School Aid Act directs Michigan Virtual through its research institute, Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI), to address a variety of tasks to strengthen teaching and learning for K-12 education. Michigan Virtual’s mission is to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships. This document provides an update on the plans and benchmarks sent to the legislature in November 2018. For simplicity, updates are included after each legislative directive.
(1) The Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the legislature not later than November 1 of each year that includes its mission, its plans, and proposed benchmarks it must meet, which shall include a plan to achieve the organizational priorities identified in this section, in order to receive full funding for 2019-2020. Not later than March 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide an update to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid to show the progress being made to meet the benchmarks identified.
The original plans and benchmarks document was provided to the legislature in November. This document serves as the March 1 update and completes this legislative directive.
(A) Support and accelerate innovation in education through the following activities:
Test, Evaluate Tools
2(a)(i) – Test, evaluate, and recommend as appropriate new technology-based instructional tools and resources.
This fall, Michigan Virtual created an easy-to-use template for educators to work through as they share their stories about using technology in the classroom to serve the needs of students. Throughout the year, we plan to use this process to produce a dozen blog posts that showcase how actual teachers are using various tools in their classrooms and their recommendations on what they are finding useful. Three blog posts have been completed and published to the Michigan Virtual website under the Tips and Tools keyword. The three blogs focus on teacher perspectives around developing a choice-based classroom to promote student agency, using video-making software to teach challenging course material to asynchronous students, and using online calendars to schedule face-to-face time to practice a new language.
In November, Michigan Virtual published a new podcast episode on student engagement, and a second podcast, Student Agency and Google Classroom, was published in February. The Michigan Virtual professional learning podcast has since been rebranded as the Digital Backpack podcast and moved to a different hosting site; guests and topics are being solidified for the remaining upcoming podcast episodes to be produced this year. Once the podcasts are published, a new SCECH-bearing course will be developed for the Professional Learning Portal.
Research, Design, Recommend Virtual Delivery Models
2(a)(ii) – Research, design, and recommend virtual education delivery models for use by pupils and teachers that include age-appropriate multimedia instructional content.
Michigan Virtual continues to explore a wide array of tracking variables gathered in LMS repositories. High school-level mathematics courses in 2016-17 academic year were selected for the study focus and gradebook data were processed to create student trajectory data within a semester window. To identify meaningful subgroups of learners based on their learning behaviors, a growth mixture modeling is being used. The analysis will be completed by May and a report will be published this summer.
As an extension of work done in the 2017-18 year, Michigan Virtual is collaborating with Dr. Kerry Rice and Dr. Andy Hung of Boise State University to refine models to identify early warning indicators of student success or failure in their online courses, an expanded data set was shared with the researchers in November 2018. For 2018-19, this research was expanded to include course enrollments from prior school years. The expanded model will then be tested on data from another school year. Following completion of this multi-year project, Michigan Virtual will post a webinar to the MVLRI website this fall.
In exploring methods to monitor progress on professional learning, Michigan Virtual staff collected network and text data from discussion forums housed in two virtual professional communities and analyzed data using Social Network Analysis, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, and word-cloud. A research paper will be presented at conferences in March and April. A publication focused on practical implications is expected to be published this spring.
Michigan Virtual launched two pilots of the NuTeacher app: one with the Lansing School District’s New Teacher Network Initiative, and another with Michigan Virtual’s student learning instructional staff. Through the pilots, content was developed to facilitate two different leadership book studies. Feedback from pilot users has been incorporated into numerous continuous updates to the application, and more formal feedback is being collected from the groups to help refine and improve user experience. A pilot is being developed with the Brighton School District shared services program for teacher professional development of their 300 shared services teachers throughout the state.
Schools that elect to purchase Evolution Labs products from Michigan Virtual are asked to complete a short adoption survey approximately 8 weeks after they begin using the product or products that they purchase. The brief survey asks them which products they use, their satisfaction level with each product that they use, and what could be done to improve their satisfaction. They are also asked to describe their strategies for implementing the products and to provide a Net Promoter Score (NPS). Thus far we have provided the survey to four schools. Results have been mixed and our sales team is following up with schools to find out more about each implementation.
Staff completed preliminary research on effective communication practices among students and instructors. Data from student end of course surveys (Fall semester 2017-18) were examined using a variety of statistical tests, including factor analysis, multivariate analysis of variance, its post-hoc test, and effect size estimation. Dependent variables included final grades, course engagement indicators (course access count and duration), student perceived course quality, and student course satisfaction. As independent variables, the study used grouping variables by which students were categorized based on their report on communication practices (e.g., Yes vs. No to welcome messages by the instructor) and preference of communication tools (e.g., least vs. most preferred “Messaging Tools”). With some significant findings from the preliminary study, data collection for the final research with “Messaging Tools” embedded into Blackboard has started. A report detailing the findings from both studies will be published this summer.
Recommend Evaluation Criteria for Cyber and Online Providers
2(a)(iii) – Research, develop, and recommend annually to the department criteria by which cyber schools and virtual course providers should be monitored and evaluated to ensure a quality education for their pupils.
Michigan Virtual staff, along with staff from MDE, have actively participated in the revision of the National Standards for Online Programs, Online Teaching, and Online Course Standards led by the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance and Quality Matters. The standards for programs and for teaching are scheduled to be published in February. The course standards work has begun and is tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2019. Upon their release, Michigan Virtual will promote the updated standards on its website, in presentations and newsletters, and in meetings with the many partnerships it maintains within and beyond Michigan.
Michigan Virtual has also worked closely with MDE to coordinate and clarify communications to the field about online learning. An example of this has been collaboration about the messaging and raising awareness of the Early Literacy Essential Practices online modules. Michigan Virtual and MDE will also be meeting soon to discuss the findings of the latest Effectiveness Report and strategize about mechanisms to improve student performance.
Another spring meeting with MDE will be to share information with the department about Michigan Virtual’s program reviews. Michigan Virtual offers supplemental online program reviews to Michigan school districts for the purpose of reviewing their programs in the areas of: content procurement and monitoring practices, instructor training and communication, mentor training and student support techniques, student selection processes, parent communication and support, and overall program evaluation. Reviews collect survey and interview data from online programs and culminate in reports that include written feedback on the strengths and opportunities for further development in each of the focus areas as well as more than 60 resources schools may utilize to increase program effectiveness. A rubric is included as a resource for school leaders to reflect on the structure and implementation of online courses in their schools. Michigan Virtual invites schools to participate through Michigan’s education organizations’ newsletters, at presentations, on its website and through individual invitations to participate.
2(a)(iv) – Based on pupil completion and performance data reported to the department or the center for educational performance and information from cyber schools and other virtual course providers operating in this state, analyze the effectiveness of virtual learning delivery models in preparing pupils to be college- and career-ready and publish a report that highlights enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact on pupils. The report shall be submitted to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, the department, districts, and intermediate districts not later than March 31 of each year.
Work is currently underway for the 2017-18 Effectiveness Report. A presentation will be given to MDE and CEPI in March to gather feedback and receive their permission to release the report. The report will be made publically available through the MVLRI website in March. We have recently updated the 2016-17 Effectiveness Report webpage to contain all of the information for the report directly inside the webpage rather than in a .pdf format. This change will help users find the content more easily by improving search engines’ abilities to review the findings. Putting the content directly into the website also helps meet web accessibility standards as well as providing a mobile-friendly version. We expect to use this new format for the upcoming report. Information about the report and how to view it online will be provided to the required subcommittee personnel and other government staff identified under this section.
A summary infographic and cover letter will be mailed to superintendents and high school and middle school principals in April providing easy-to-consume key findings and communicating how to access the full report. A free webinar in April will be recorded and posted on the website for on-demand viewing.
Deliver PD and Submit PD Report
2(a)(v) – Provide an extensive professional development program to at least 30,000 educational personnel, including teachers, school administrators, and school board members, that focuses the effective integration of virtual learning into curricula and instruction. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute is encouraged to work with the MiSTEM advisory council created under section 99s to coordinate professional development of teachers in applicable fields. In addition, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute and external stakeholders are encouraged to coordinate with the department for professional development in this state. Not later than December 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall submit a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department on the number of teachers, school administrators, and school board members who have received professional development services from the Michigan Virtual University. The report shall also identify barriers and other opportunities to encourage the adoption of virtual learning in the public education system.
In the first five months of the fiscal year, Michigan Virtual has had over 19,000 online professional learning enrollments in its Professional Learning Portal. We are on pace to surpass the 30,000 enrollment target.
Michigan Virtual continues to host and support the website to support the dissemination of the Essential Instructional Practices in Early Literacy. Each of the Literacy Essentials courses, spanning pre-K, K-3, and schoolwide, are currently live on the Professional Learning Portal. As of mid-February, there have been 9,354 enrollments in the Early Literacy courses since October 1, 2018.
Michigan Virtual has also been active training teachers in our Collaborative model. Currently, Michigan Virtual has developed a Collaborative Partnership model with four different unique school districts / Intermediate School Districts throughout the state. Thirty-three teachers have been trained and coached over the duration of the agreements. We have provided a total of 11 face-to-face professional development opportunities between all partnerships; developed, provided, and facilitated online onboarding courses for all teachers; and provided individual coaches for each teacher to act as a means of direct support and mentorship. We’ve also offered bi-monthly professional development webinars directly aligned with national standards for quality online teaching, with topics including, but not limited to: academic integrity, online accessibility and student accommodations, differentiation, automated communication, effective feedback, quality announcements, formative assessment, student engagement, and learning management system efficiencies as well.
Michigan Virtual’s annual Collaboration of the Minds professional learning conference is scheduled for July 31-August 1, 2019, and its theme will be personalization. This event brings together all Michigan Virtual instructors for two full days of training, team building, learning and collaboration. This year, the Professional Learning Services team will join us in opening the second day of the event up to all teachers across the state. In addition, we will host mentors for their own version of Collaboration of the Minds. This effort is designed to help foster the spirit of collaboration, learning together and developing a greater understanding of personalization to support students across the State.
The 2017-18 professional development report was published as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report, and the 2018-19 report is on track to be submitted no later than December 1, 2019.
Identify/Share Best Practices
2(a)(vi) – Identify and share best practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating virtual and blended education delivery models with intermediate districts, districts, and public school academies to accelerate the adoption of innovative education delivery models statewide.
Michigan Virtual’s Guides to Online Learning provide key definitions, research findings and practical strategies for what kind of preparations and support systems are necessary to ensure students succeed in their online courses. They are free and downloadable on our website. Most recent is the Administrator Guide to Online Learning which was supported and promoted by MASA, MASSP, MEMSPA, and MAISA. The guides are used by other states and countries and can be customized. Michigan’s education organizations promote the guides to their memberships and provide presentation opportunities for Michigan Virtual staff at their member functions. The guides are reviewed annually and updates are published as research is expanded and new tools and resources are produced in the field. Alternative formats are being explored, such as a mobile application, for the purpose of expanding use of the best practices published in the guides.
The National Standards for Quality Online Learning programs and teaching were released on March 1, 2019. The National Standards for Quality Online Learning Course Standards review began in February 2019 and are expected to be released in the fall of 2019. Michigan Virtual has been heavily involved in the creation of each of these standards, including having members on the leadership and working groups. Michigan Virtual promotes the standards on its website, in presentations and newsletters and in meetings with the many partnerships it maintains within and beyond Michigan.
Offers to conduct Supplemental Online Program Reviews for Michigan schools free-of-charge are published on our website, in our newsletters and via publication announcements distributed monthly. Several of Michigan’s education organizations communicate to their memberships about the opportunity. The Michigan Department of Education also recommends the reviews to schools. Invitations to 194 individual schools in Michigan were sent in January 2019. All Michigan schools were sent a letter in fall 2018 enclosing Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report 2016-17 and included information about the Supplemental Online Program Reviews.
Michigan Virtual will be delivering seven presentations at the annual MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) conference in March. The MACUL conference has approximately 5,000 attendees and is the state’s premier educational technology professional learning conference. Session titles include: 10 Innovative Tech Tools You Can Bring into Your Classroom Tomorrow, Expectations vs. Reality of Online Teaching, High School Online Learners Share Their Stories, You Get Three Wishes from the PD Genie: What Are They?, Unlocking Personalized Learning for Students, Social-Emotional Learning Enters the Digital World, and How the G Suite for Education Can Help You Personalize Your Classroom. A lab session entitled It’s Time to Get Smart: Bringing PD to Your Smartphone will also be presented.
Michigan Virtual delivered presentations to 6 different groups in Michigan covering a range of topics. For example, Erin Luckhardt presented “Tech Tools: Find the Right Fit for your Classroom” at the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools (MANS) Education Conference. Ken Dirkin presented “The MASA Micro-Credential: Crafting Your District’s Communications Plan” at the MASA Midwinter Conference. Presentations were also provided at MASB and MEMSPA annual conferences. Online and blended learning presentations were given at Alpena Schools and Cabrini High School.
Our Blended Learning Live! two-day program supports school-based or district-wide teams as they develop an implementation plan for virtual and personalized learning models at the systems-level. An event is scheduled for April 9-10 at Kent ISD. A face-to-face training on personalized learning is being planned for the summer at an ISD.
(b) Provide leadership for this state’s system of virtual learning education by doing the following activities:
Policy Recommendations to Gov. / Legislature
2(b)(i) – Develop and report policy recommendations to the governor and the legislature that accelerate the expansion of effective virtual learning in this state’s schools.
Our virtual learning recommendations were enclosed with this report. They included three areas of opportunity. The first was to coordinate with the Department to create a one-hour or less training for mentor teachers and look for ways to encourage and promote the training. The second was to assist MDE in creating examples on how to collect parental consent in line with requirements of Section 21f of the State School Aid Act. The final recommendation was to explore with the Department and CEPI the possibility of modifying an existing virtual learning field that schools are required to report to the State. The focus would be on making the item easier to report accurate data on, reduce the number of potential responses from four to three, and increase the usefulness of the data received.
2(b)(ii) – Provide a clearinghouse for research reports, academic studies, evaluations, and other information related to virtual learning.
Because the Clearinghouse is always archiving new research-based resources, MVLRI creates and sends out a quarterly newsletter that highlights five new resources and documents progress toward the 100 newly-added resources. The Institute sent out its quarterly newsletter December 2018 which highlights select resources. Each newsletter is sent out with links to sign up for information on how to stay up to date with our latest publications, guides, blogs and research for online and blended learning. As of February 22nd, the Clearinghouse contains information on 968 items.
Promote/Distribute Instructional Design Guidelines and Standards
2(b)(iii) – Promote and distribute the most current instructional design standards and guidelines for virtual teaching.
Research on instructional design guidelines and standards is key to the meaningful design of online and blended learning environments for K-12 students. Because of this, Michigan Virtual adds relevant articles and reports in the Clearinghouse and continues to tag with keywords including “instructional design” and “standards” to highlight continued work being done in the field regarding these two topics. To date, there are 60 resources tagged with these keywords.
Michigan Virtual has also been active in the National Standards for Quality Online Learning updates. One aspect of our participation has been to help conduct the literature review of existing research pertaining to the design of quality online courses. This literature review has helped to inform the standards with research-based principles.
Another effort, to create an online course on instructional design, is in the planning and early design stages. Two instructional designers have been assigned to the project, and they are working on the initial design of the course including writing the course objectives and outline. It is anticipated that the design phase of the project will be completed by March 30, with development taking place in April and May and deployment of the course in the PLP by June 30, 2019.
Work with Teacher Preparation Institutions on Digital Learning
2(b)(iv) – In collaboration with the department and interested colleges and universities in this state, support implementation and improvements related to effective virtual learning instruction.
In spring 2019, Michigan Virtual is planning to send a communication to the deans at each of the teacher preparation programs at Michigan public universities on how they can use Michigan Virtual professional learning content and courses in their college courses to help teachers learn how to teach in online and blended environments. Opportunities to collaborate on Literacy Essentials, online and blended learning, leadership micro-credential courses and classroom practices, and courses focusing on the use of open educational resources developed in partnership with Michigan Department of Education and the #GoOpen initiative will be available. Michigan Virtual will also offer to coordinate access to the content as well as provide technical support materials for self-hosting by the college or university.
Michigan Virtual is also working on teacher effectiveness challenges that impact online instructors, particularly those working with Michigan Virtual related to the current reporting system for teacher effectiveness. Currently, local schools are required to identify the Michigan Virtual teacher as the teacher of record for their local ‘count day’ reporting. Due to this requirement, Michigan Virtual teachers appear to have taught at dozens upon dozens of schools across the State in a single year. In addition, each of those local schools is required to provide an effectiveness rating for the teacher. While Michigan Virtual currently conducts annual evaluations of its teachers and reports them to the local school, there is nothing currently preventing a school from assigning its own rating.
An additional challenge is in the multiple ratings that a teacher can receive in one year when they work for a local school and Michigan Virtual (or other similar service provider). A local school may rate a teacher lower than Michigan Virtual leading to potential issues when removing the teacher due to effectiveness. Likewise, Michigan Virtual may rate a teacher lower than the local school leading to a group of alternative problems. Neither of these scenarios is ideal for the State or the teacher. The possible identification of a ‘virtual’ rating and a ‘traditional’ rating may be a resolution.
2(b)(v) – Pursue public/private partnerships that include districts to study and implement competency-based technology-rich virtual learning models.
Michigan Virtual partnered with the development firm Wondercert to create and invest in a micro-credential platform that will meet the needs of Michigan stakeholders through management of learners, issuers, and reviewers. A design sprint to identify user personae and desired feature sets took place during the week of January 21, 2019. Development of the platform is currently in early stages; once the platform has been launched, Michigan Virtual will initiate a promotional effort to encourage issuers and earners to explore and use the platform. Platform requirements will be delivered to Michigan Virtual late 2nd quarter, and prototype developed by September 30, 2019.
In the fall of 2018, Michigan Virtual met with key stakeholders including representatives from Michigan Data Hubs to discover and learn what connections currently exist and validate the concept and approach to developing a connection between our systems and theirs using the Ed-Fi standards. We are currently reviewing agreements with Ed-Fi to begin development work this spring.
2(b)(vi) – Create a statewide network of school-based mentors serving as liaisons between pupils, virtual instructors, parents, and school staff, as provided by the department or the center, and provide mentors with research-based training and technical assistance designed to help more pupils be successful virtual learners.
In February, Michigan Virtual mailed postcards to over 2,000 Michigan mentors that shared five ways mentors could take their mentoring skills to the next level. One of the five ways is to join our online community of mentors which has over 250 members.
Michigan Virtual staff are currently scheduling face-to-face trainings for mentors for spring and fall of 2019, including introductory-level trainings to be hosted at ISDs, as well as “Site Institute” trainings to be hosted at schools to showcase their online learning programs and share and gain insights with attendees. Attendees at previous trainings overwhelmingly requested trainings be available at the beginning of the academic year.
Updates to online training materials included review and updates to the Online Mentor Community ensuring reports and other assets reflect the most recent information available. The Online Mentor Training course and resources have also been reviewed and modified to include up-to-date information.
Michigan Virtual, through its Outreach Coordinator – Mentors and Outreach Coordinator – Special Populations, provides training, resources, and consultations to mentors throughout the school year specifically focused on increasing student achievement in online learning.
Focus Groups / Annual Surveys
2(b)(vii) – Convene focus groups and conduct annual surveys of teachers, administrators, pupils, parents, and others to identify barriers and opportunities related to virtual learning.
Michigan Virtual is currently working with Public Sector Consultants to collect data from 600 adults and 400 college students to publish its annual findings on the attitudes and awareness of online learning. The survey instruments were finalized, and data collection occurred in mid-February. Data are currently being analyzed, and it is expected that the publication will be posted on the MVLRI website in early March.
Efforts are also underway to collect end of course data for students. A survey tool was updated by a committee this year to ensure the feedback collected could be applied to course development, instructor practices and overall customer care. As of the end of semester one, we have over 360 student responses. Over 50% of respondents have only taken one online course. When asked about their experience, 86% shared they were highly satisfied. The majority of students prefer communication in the form of email and 99% of students reported their instructor was respectful and caring. We anticipate more responses at the end of the year and will be further promoting the survey to encourage greater participation.
Michigan Virtual staff have completed two student focus groups, one at Northville High School and the other at Chelsea High School. Two more focus group sessions are planned in the spring.
Michigan Virtual also distributes an end-of-course survey to its adult learners each time they successfully complete a course enrollment through the Professional Learning Portal. Survey question topics include learner satisfaction with the course, likelihood of recommending the PLP to a colleague, and general qualitative feedback collected through open text entry. For the current fiscal year, we have received over 1,700 responses to the survey; 92.49% of responses indicate a satisfying experience. Each response is associated with a specific course within the portal, and course feedback is reviewed by the Professional Learning Services and Instructional Product Development teams on a weekly basis to inform improvements and enhancements to the course catalog.
Michigan Virtual has also updated an instrument last used in 2012 to collect information from the Michigan Association for Secondary School Principals. The survey, which we plan to disseminate in coordination with one or more educational organizations, collects feedback from schools on their satisfaction with online course vendors, their criteria for selecting among online providers, and their anticipated needs and use of online learning in the near future. It is expected that the survey will go out to respondents in the next couple of months and be published in the summer or early fall.
Consumer Awareness Report
2(b)(viii) – Produce an annual consumer awareness report for schools and parents about effective virtual education providers and education delivery models, performance data, cost structures, and research trends.
Michigan Virtual continues to host and update the Consumer Awareness Report twice annually. The fall update is complete, and the spring update is forthcoming. In addition to updating the report with the spring data, the spring report will also include data from the upcoming Effectiveness Report for the 2017-18 school year. The purpose of this resource is to make consumers aware of the status of online learning in Michigan. It is specifically designed to inform parents, school personnel, and school board members of the nature of online learning options, their effectiveness for Michigan students, the cost of these programs, and current trends.
2(b)(ix) – Provide an internet-based platform that educators can use to create student-centric learning tools and resources for sharing in the state’s open educational resource repository and facilitate a user network that assists educators in using the content creation platform and state repository for open educational resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Virtual University shall work collaboratively with districts and intermediate districts to establish a plan to make available virtual resources that align to Michigan’s K-12 curriculum standards for use by students, educators, and parents.
Michigan Virtual has been supporting the #GoOpen Michigan initiative through work in the areas of vetting content and professional development. Utilizing resources provided by the #GoOpen Michigan professional development group, Michigan Virtual has built an online course that provides educators with State Continuing Education Clock Hours. This course is accessible through a resource toolkit created by the REMC Association of Michigan for use by educators around the state.
In addition to staff members serving on the strategy and subcommittee teams, Michigan Virtual has been uploading content to the platform. Since October 1, 2019, Michigan Virtual has added 254 learning objects in the math, science, computer science, English, and world language subject areas to the #GoOpen Michigan platform. The learning objects target both elementary and secondary learners. At present, Michigan Virtual has over 600 learning objects on the platform. Another set of 250 learning objects are planned for transferring to the #GoOpen Michigan platform by March 31, 2019.
Along with sharing the open educational learning objects on #GoOpen Michigan, Michigan Virtual recently launched a free course focused specifically on open educational resources and the #GoOpen Michigan initiative. To date, over 200 people have enrolled in the course.
Maintain Statewide Catalog of Online Courses
2(b)(x) – Create and maintain a public statewide catalog of virtual learning courses being offered by all public schools and community colleges in this state. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall identify and develop a list of nationally recognized best practices for virtual learning and use this list to support reviews of virtual course vendors, courses, and instructional practices. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall also provide a mechanism for intermediate districts to use the identified best practices to review content offered by constituent districts. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall review the virtual course offerings of the Michigan Virtual University, and make the results from these reviews available to the public as part of the statewide catalog. The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute shall ensure that the statewide catalog is made available to the public on the Michigan Virtual University website and shall allow the ability to link it to each district’s website as provided for in section 21f. The statewide catalog shall also contain all of the following:
(a) The number of enrollments in each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
(b) The number of enrollments that earned 60% or more of the total course points for each virtual course in the immediately preceding school year.
(c) The pass rate for each virtual course.
The statewide catalog website allows the district catalog manager to manually create or update the course review results or to create performance data for a school year in individual courses through the interface. Michigan Virtual collects performance data in bulk from participating districts and uploads that data into the statewide catalog database each summer.
A transition plan to incorporate the National Standards for Online Courses into the statewide catalog has been created. After the standards are published in 2019, the new standards will be added to the catalog so that schools can choose to use them. Dependencies exist between the currently published standards and the updated standards which will result in both versions existing in the statewide catalog for an undetermined period of time.
As of March 1, 2019, three Michigan Virtual courses have been reviewed and approved by Quality Matters. One additional course is currently in the QM review process. The remaining six courses are on schedule for review and approval by September 30, 2019.
Support Registration, Payment Services, and Transcript Functionality to Statewide Catalog
2(b)(xi) – Support registration, payment services, and transcript functionality for the statewide catalog and train key stakeholders on how to use new features.
Michigan Virtual provides personalized support to users of the statewide course catalog. User support includes creating new district catalog administrators and new vendors, uploading completion data, providing database support for reporting and for managing course offerings. Training is provided as requested and a webinar recording is accessible as a training resource. More than 50 knowledge base articles are maintained which include step-by-step instructions for districts on how to allow and accept enrollments through the statewide catalog, how to manage payment options, and how to communicate student performance through the system.
Examine District-Level Accountability and Teacher Effectiveness Related to Virtual Learning
2(b)(xii) – Collaborate with key stakeholders to examine district level accountability and teacher effectiveness issues related to virtual learning under section 21f and make findings and recommendations publicly available.
Administrators at Michigan Virtual developed and piloted a modified Danielson evaluation rubric in the 2017-18 school year evaluation cycle with a small group of full-time instructors. Based on the results of the pilot and feedback from instructors and administrators, the evaluation rubric was further honed to better represent best practices in online teaching. The 2018-19 evaluation cycle will see the rollout of the Danielson rubric to all Michigan Virtual instructors, both full-time and part-time, with the goal of continuous improvement in online teaching practices.
The part-time instructors have been uploaded into the Frontline System which we will be using to deliver the evaluation. We have shared with them a copy of the modified Danielson Rubric on at least two occasions so they are aware of the criteria. Instructors have created their accounts and we will begin conducting the formal evaluation process in late March/early April.
The evaluation effort has not solely focused on Michigan Virtual teachers. Through the Collaborative partnerships that Michigan Virtual has established, we have provided support services and resources to Gull Lake Schools, St. Clair County and Lakeshore Schools. These resources are provided in an effort to help support the local evaluation of teachers working in an online format for the local school or system of schools. Our goal is to establish additional Collaborative partners in this format and provide similar resources by the fall of 2019. Michigan Virtual staff have also presented on its teacher evaluation system during a webinar and conference session.
Michigan Virtual staff continue to work closely with MDE and CEPI around online learning quality assurance measures. A meeting next month will occur to share findings of the latest Effectiveness Report and discuss what steps can be taken to improve student learning outcomes.
Institute Annual Report
2(b)(xiii) – Provide a report on the activities of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.
The 2017-18 report on the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute was sent to the legislature in December 2018 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report. The 2018-19 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2019.
Operate the Michigan Virtual School
(3) To further enhance its expertise and leadership in virtual learning, the Michigan Virtual University shall continue to operate the Michigan Virtual School as a statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction by implementing virtual and blended learning solutions for Michigan schools in accordance with the following parameters:
(a) The Michigan Virtual School must maintain its accreditation status from recognized national and international accrediting entities.
Michigan Virtual has maintained its accreditation from AdvancED. Language is prominent on the student page of Michigan Virtual website that informs visitors about the statewide laboratory and quality model of instruction and the AdvancED accreditation. In addition, we also share about using an independent third-party, Quality Matters, to conduct quality reviews of many of our courses. These quality control measures are part of what makes Michigan Virtual courses different than many other providers.
Restricted Use of Appropriation for MVS
(b) The Michigan Virtual University shall use no more than $1,000,000.00 of the amount allocated under this section to subsidize the cost paid by districts for virtual courses.
On October 5, 2018, the Michigan Virtual Board of Directors approved a budget for FY19 that allocated no more than $1M to subsidize the virtual school. Similarly, based on audited figures from the prior fiscal year, an independent third-party auditing firm concluded that Michigan Virtual adhered to this requirement for the 2017-18 school year.
Background Checks for MVS
(c) In providing educators responsible for the teaching of virtual courses as provided for in this section, the Michigan Virtual School shall follow the requirements to request and assess, and the department of state police shall provide, a criminal history check and criminal records check under sections 1230 and 1230a of the revised school code, MCL 380.1230 and 380.1230a, in the same manner as if the Michigan Virtual School were a school district under those sections.
Michigan Virtual is approved by the Michigan State Police (MSP) as a qualified entity to use the MSP Criminal History Record Internet Subscription Service (CHRISS) for fingerprinting for employment, assignment, or volunteer placement as authorized by the National Child Protection Act. Michigan Virtual is working with its teachers and staff to complete background checks and MSP fingerprint checks through this process.
Appropriation for Expanding Online and Blended Professional Development Programs
(4) From the funds allocated under subsection (1), the Michigan Virtual University shall allocate up to $500,000.00 to support the expansion of new online and blended educator professional development programs.
Michigan Virtual partnered with the development firm Wondercert to create and invest in a Micro-credential platform that manages learners, issuers, and reviewers. A design sprint to identify user personae and desired feature sets took place during the week of January 21, 2019. Development of the platform is currently in early stages; once the platform has been launched, Michigan Virtual will initiate a promotional effort to encourage issuers and earners to explore and use the platform. Platform requirements will be delivered to Michigan Virtual late 2nd quarter, and prototype developed by late 3rd quarter 2019. Promotion of the platform will coincide with its official launch.
Even though the new Micro-credential platform is not developed, Michigan Virtual has been active in developing Micro-credentialed courses. Michigan Virtual has engaged with partners including the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, and the Michigan Assessment Consortium to build and host micro-credentialed learning experiences, including courses on leadership and literacy, school mission and vision, district communication plans, and conducting comprehensive needs assessments. To date, seven micro-credentialed courses have been launched in the PLP, with nearly 35 more courses at various stages of development.
Michigan Virtual also launched two pilots of the NuTeacher app: one with the Lansing School District’s New Teacher Network Initiative, and another with Michigan Virtual’s student learning instructional staff. Through the pilots, content was developed to facilitate two different leadership book studies. Feedback from pilot users has been incorporated into numerous continuous updates to the application, and more formal feedback is being collected from the groups to help refine and improve user experience. A pilot is being developed with the Brighton School District shared services program for teacher professional development of their 300 shared services teachers throughout the state.
In the fall of 2018, Michigan Virtual met with key stakeholders including representatives from Michigan Data Hubs to discover and learn what connections currently exist and validate the concept and approach to developing a connection between our systems and theirs using the Ed-Fi standards. We are currently reviewing agreements with Ed-Fi to begin development work this spring.
(5) If the course offerings are included in the statewide catalog of virtual courses under subsection (2)(b)(x), the Michigan Virtual School operated by the Michigan Virtual University may offer virtual course offerings, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(a) Information technology courses.
(b) College level equivalent courses, as defined in section 1471 of the revised school code, MCL 380.1471.
(c) Courses and dual enrollment opportunities.
(d) Programs and services for at‑risk pupils.
(e) High school equivalency test preparation courses for adjudicated youth.
(f) Special interest courses.
(g) Professional development programs for teachers, school administrators, other school employees, and school board members.
Work to develop six new world language courses this year is on pace. Three world language courses are complete, including German 2A, French 2A, and Japanese 2A. The remaining three (German 2B, French 2B, and Japanese 2B) will be completed by July 2019.
In December 2018, Michigan Virtual completed development of a credit recovery version of its Algebra 1A course and acquired a second model for credit recovery in Algebra 1A from Florida Virtual (Global School). Michigan Virtual has participation agreements with ten schools or school districts in Michigan providing each school with scholarships to enroll students in these courses and authorizing Michigan Virtual to determine the random placement of students within the two courses for the purpose of testing both course models. The pilot runs from January 21, 2019 to June 7, 2019.
Michigan Virtual evaluated seven middle school elective courses from two course providers during October-December 2018. Two courses, Character Education and Computer Basics, are scheduled for review by subject matter experts who will recommend content revisions to complement the instructional model within the course as well as address potential web accessibility concerns. One or both courses will be available for the 2019-20 school year.
In addition to adding new courses, Michigan Virtual has been active in revising and updating some of its existing courses. Fourteen courses have been identified and are in various stages of the review and update process. All are on schedule for completion and will replace the existing versions for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
A review of legislative and policy implications has been conducted for the potential introduction of statewide dual enrollment course offerings in the Michigan Virtual catalog. Exploration with Michigan State University and St. Clair Community College led to proposals being sent to the interim president at Michigan State and the current president at St. Clair Community College. A meeting was held on February 21, 2019 with Dr. Deborah Snyder, President, and her team at St. Clair Community College to discuss possibilities for dual enrollment courses for the 2019-20 school year.
Home-Schooled and Non-Public Students
(6) If a home-schooled or nonpublic school student is a resident of a district that subscribes to services provided by the Michigan Virtual School, the student may use the services provided by the Michigan Virtual School to the district without charge to the student beyond what is charged to a district pupil using the same services.
Michigan Virtual’s prices for 2018-19 school year are the same for home-schooled and nonpublic school students as they are for district students using the same services. Pricing Information is available on the Michigan Virtual website.
MVS Annual Report
(7) Not later than December 1 of each fiscal year, the Michigan Virtual University shall provide a report to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, the house and senate fiscal agencies, and the department that includes at least all of the following information related to the Michigan Virtual School for the preceding state fiscal year:
(a) A list of the districts served by the Michigan Virtual School.
(b) A list of virtual course titles available to districts.
(c) The total number of virtual course enrollments and information on registrations and completions by course.
(d) The overall course completion rate percentage.
The 2017-18 report on the Michigan Virtual School was sent to the legislature in December 2018 and is also posted on the Michigan Virtual website as part of Michigan Virtual’s Annual Report. The 2018-19 report will be provided to the legislature in December 2019.
MVS Schools Served
(8) In addition to the information listed in subsection (7), the report under subsection (7) shall also include a plan to serve at least 600 schools with courses from the Michigan Virtual School or with content available through the internet-based platform identified in subsection (2)(b)(ix).
To date for the 2018-19 school year, Michigan Virtual has served 603 Michigan schools with online courses for students. The Michigan Virtual’s Online Orientation Tool (OLOT) continues to be accessed by about a hundred schools as efforts are underway to provide more accessible content through the #GoOpen Michigan platform.
#GoOpen Michigan hosts over 600 resources and learning objects from Michigan Virtual and has over 1000 active users.
As of March 1, 2019, 254 learning objects in the math, science, computer science, English, and world language subject areas have been moved to the #GoOpen Michigan platform. The learning objects target both elementary and secondary learners. The next set of 250 learning objects will be transferred to the #GoOpen Michigan platform by March 31, 2019.
(9) The governor may appoint an advisory group for the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute established under subsection (2). The members of the advisory group shall serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall serve without compensation. The purpose of the advisory group is to make recommendations to the governor, the legislature, and the president and board of the Michigan Virtual University that will accelerate innovation in this state’s education system in a manner that will prepare elementary and secondary students to be career and college ready and that will promote the goal of increasing the percentage of citizens of this state with high-quality degrees and credentials to at least 60% by 2025.
An advisory group has not been appointed by the governor.
Michigan Virtual Budget Costs
(10) Not later than November 1 of each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a detailed budget for that fiscal year that includes a breakdown on its projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services. Not later than March 1 each year, the Michigan Virtual University shall submit to the house and senate appropriations subcommittees on state school aid, the state budget director, and the house and senate fiscal agencies a breakdown on its actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year.
A detailed budget breaking down 2018-19 projected costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the anticipated fees to be paid by districts for those services was submitted by November 1, 2018. The FY19 projected costs are also available online. The breakdown of Michigan Virtual’s actual costs to deliver virtual educational services to districts and a summary of the actual fees paid by districts for those services based on audited financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year was included in the same mailing as this update.
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