Ensuring Quality Education

Since its establishment in 2012, MVLRI has published numerous reports, including case studies of statewide blended learning implementation, teacher infrastructure practices, and yearly effectiveness reports on the state of online learning in Michigan. MVLRI has strived to conduct high-quality research and report unbiased results with integrity.

To further the core strategy of providing high-quality and high-impact research, MVLRI has established an External Review Board. The purpose of the ERB is to provide a high-level review of MVLRI-produced reports to ensure adherence to norms and policies of the educational research community, as well as to confirm objectivity and accuracy of results. The Institute is honored to have the following K-12 online and blended learning experts serving on the ERB.

Our Review Board

Leanna Archambault

Leanna Archambault – board

Associate Professor of Educational Technology and Innovation

Dr. Archambault’s research areas include teacher preparation for online and blended classrooms, the use of innovative technologies to improve learning outcomes, and sustainability literacy among preservice and inservice teachers. In collaboration with her co-authors, Dr. Archambault was awarded the Online Learning Innovator Award for Important Research from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning in 2010, 2012 and 2015. She was part of an interdisciplinary team that won the ASU President’s Award for Sustainability for the development and implementation of an innovative course focused on sustainability science for teachers. Prior to taking her position at Arizona State University, Dr. Archambault graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a Ph.D. in instructional and curricular studies. As a former middle school teacher, Dr. Archambault is passionate about improving education, particularly through the use of relevant and emerging technologies.

Michael K Barbour

Michael K. Barbour – Board

Associate Professor, Instructional Design

Michael K. Barbour is Associate Professor of Instructional Design for the College of Education and Health Sciences at Touro University, California. He has been involved with K-12 online learning in a variety of countries for two decades as a researcher, teacher, course designer and administrator. Michael’s research focuses on the effective design, delivery and support of K-12 online learning, as well as policy issues. He has testified before House and Senate education committees in several states, as well as consulting for Ministries of Education across Canada and in New Zealand. Dr. Barbour is currently a fellow at the National Education Policy Center and is also a past MVLRI fellow.

Jered Borup

Jared Borup – Board

Assistant Professor

Borup is the professor-in-charge of the Blended and Online Learning in Schools Master’s and Certificate programs that are devoted to improving teacher practices in online and blended learning environments. Previous to earning his Ph.D. at Brigham Young University, Dr. Borup taught history at a junior high school for six years. He has also taught online and blended courses since 2008. His current research interests include developing online learning communities and identifying support systems that adolescent learners require to be successful in online environments. A full list of his publications can be found on his website.

Tom Clark

Tom Clark – Board


Clark seeks to help learning organizations improve, demonstrate their value and expand learning opportunities through its evaluation, planning and publication services. Dr. Clark has led evaluations of a variety of programs, including a $9.1 million federally funded digital learning project, four state virtual schools and eLearning in Chicago Public Schools; and he has acted as a collaborating evaluator for statewide school grant programs. Recognized as an author in digital learning, his latest book is Online, Blended, and Distance Education in Schools, co-edited with Michael K. Barbour. Dr. Clark has authored or co-authored white papers and reports for WestEd, Microsoft, and MVLRI, as well. Clark Consulting also provides confidential consultations in areas such as program planning and evaluation and grant writing assistance. Dr. Clark completed his Ph.D. in educational administration at Southern Illinois University. Learn more about Clark Consulting on their website.

Randy LaBonte

Randy LaBonte

Ajunct Professor/ Consultant

LaBonte has worked as a senior level executive and consultant for over 30 years in the K-12 and postsecondary education sectors. His doctoral studies, which focused on leadership and implementation of technologies for British Columbia’s 50 K-12 Distributed Learning (or online) schools, led to government consulting work in the development and authoring of policy, agreements and e-learning standards. Randy developed, piloted, led and implemented the Quality Review process for British Columbia online K-12 schools, and this led to other research work examining distance education programs in the province of Alberta. He also assisted eCampusAlberta with its online program of services to member institutions, including online professional development and has published papers on quality, leadership and e-learning standards.
Randy is an adjunct professor at Vancouver Island University where he teaches online courses for K-12 educators shifting their practices to online learning environments. Recently, Randy was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the newly formed Canadian eLearning Network where he is actively growing this start-up nonprofit organization.

Lin Chin Hsi


Assistant Professor

Chin-Hsi Lin earned his Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Technology from the University of California, Irvine, in 2012. His research interests revolve around learning processes in online learning. Specifically, his work has predominantly focused on self-regulation and teacher effect and how they predict achievement. His current project aims to determine optimal class size and instructors’ load for K-12 online courses in virtual schools.

Liu Feng

Feng Liu


Dr. Liu serves as a research analyst on experimental and quasi-experimental studies for statewide and nationwide research projects. He conducts data analysis using a variety of methods including multilevel level modeling, propensity score matching, comparative interrupted time series, and regression and mixed-design modeling; and provides support for instrument development using Rasch modeling and structure equation modeling. He manages client communication, writes reports and contributes to the dissemination of findings. Dr. Liu has more than nine years of experience in research design, advanced data analysis, and survey validation and design. He has worked on multiple federal and state level projects during his professional career at AIR and previously at the University of Florida. These projects include but are not limited to Multiple State 21st Century CCLC, including the states of New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington; New York City Common Core Curriculum Professional Development Evaluation; Mississippi School Leadership Program Evaluation; Ohio Race to the Top Pilot Projects Evaluation; FLVS Evaluation; Indiana’s System of Diagnostic Assessments; Cryptoclub Program Evaluation; and Florida’s Enhanced Education Through Technology (EETT). Dr. Liu has published research articles in several academic journals and presented his work at numerous conferences. He received his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with specialization in educational technology and a minor in research evaluation and methodology from the University of Florida.

Susan Lowes

Susan Lowes

Director of Research and Evaluation, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Lowes conducts research at both the university and K-12 levels, focusing on technology’s impact on teaching and learning, and directs evaluations of multi-year projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education, the National Science Foundation, state and local departments of education, and private foundations. Dr. Lowes is interested in online learning and evaluates online professional development initiatives for teachers and administrators, as well as online courses and programs for students. Her recent focus is on teaching students how to learn on online, using locus of control, and on using LMS data to discover patterns of student-teacher interaction. Dr. Lowes is also Adjunct Professor in the Computers, Communication, Technology and Education Program at Teachers College, teaching courses on online schooling and research methodologies. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.

Kerry Rice

Kerry Rice


Rice is the author of Making the Move to K-12 Online Teaching: Research-Based Strategies and Practices (Pearson, 2012), led the development of the Idaho K-12 Online Teaching Standards and served as Vice President of the Board of Directors for INSPIRE Connections Academy, a virtual charter school. She is the recipient of two Fulbright Awards: the first, a Fulbright Scholar Award to Poland in 2012-2013 and, most recently, a Fulbright Specialist award to Poland in the summer of 2015 where she co-directed an International Summer Institute on Emerging Technologies in Education. Her research focuses on best practices in K-12 online education with articles appearing in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education, the Journal of Educational Technology and Society, and the British Journal of Educational Technology. She has presented on best practices in K–12 online teaching at numerous national and international conferences including those of iNACOL, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Society for Information Technology and Education, and the American Educational Research Association.

Jayson Richardson

Jayson W. Richardson

Associate Professor/Director

Richardson currently teaches educational leadership, emerging technologies, technology leadership, action research and qualitative methods at the graduate level. His research and teaching focus on how digital technologies can be harnessed by school leaders to improve teaching and learning outcomes. Dr. Richardson earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration with a focus on comparative and international development education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

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