Planning Guide forOnline andBlended LearningC r e at i n g N e w M o d e l sf o r S t u d e n t S u c c e ss
1Planning Guide for Online and Blended LearningMVU Board of DirectorsMr. Prentiss Brown, J.D., ChairAttorneyPrentiss M. Brown, P.C.Mr. Rick InatomeCEO, InfiLaw, Inc., and Chairman & PrincipalShareholder Motorquest Automotive GroupMr. Brian Broderick, Vice ChairExecutive DirectorMichigan Association of Non-public SchoolsMr. Daniel F. KiblawiPresident & CEOEgelhof Controls CorporationMr. Darrell Burks, . John L. KingProfessor, School of InformationUniversity of MichiganDr. Jeremy M. Hughes, Audit Committe ChairPresidentHughes Associates, LLCMr. Lu BattaglieriExecutive DirectorMichigan Education AssociationMr. John ButlerSenior Vice President, Human Resources and Shared ServicesConsumers EnergyMs. Carol A. ChurchillPresidentMid Michigan Community CollegeMr. Robert L. FilkaCEOMichigan Association of Home BuildersMr. Michael P. FlanaganSuperintendent of Public InstructionMichigan Department of EducationDr. Stan LibertyPast PresidentKettering UniversityMr. Neil MarchukExecutive Vice President, Human ResourcesTRW AutomotiveDr. Barbara MarkleAssistant Dean K-12 OutreachCollege of EducationMichigan State UniversityDr. Rossi Ray-TaylorPresident & CEORay Taylor and Associates, LLCMr. Chris WigentSuperintendentWayne Regional Educational Services AgencyMr. Jamey FitzpatrickPresident & CEOMVUMVU is a nonprofit Michigan corporation that was established in 1998 to deliver online education and training opportunities to the citizens of Michigan.It is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual School and Michigan LearnPort .
Planning Guide for Online and Blended LearningBackground and PurposeOnline learning is growing at a rapid pace and holds great promise as an instructionalstrategy to expand and customize learning opportunities for many students. Somenational experts predict that 50 percent of all high school classes in the U.S. will betaught online before the end of this decade. This planning document was prepared to help meetrequests from school leaders and others that seek support to expand their use of online andblended learning models.Jamey FitzpatrickPresident & CEO, MVUMVU urges school and community leaders to develop strategic plans that leverage new andinnovative delivery models. The need for change has become more pronounced as studentsexpand their use of mobile technology and school budgets face new constraints. School districtsthat are not prepared to offer online and blended learning options for students may experienceincreased competition for enrollments from a variety of public and private online providers,including other Michigan districts.The Michigan Virtual University developed this planning document as a practical resource to assistschool board members, administrators, teachers, parents and others in meeting student needs.This document presents an overview of online and blended learning, offers guiding questionsto support local planning efforts, identifies standards for teaching in online and blendedenvironments and provides student and district planning rubrics.Many schools continue to face challenges as they take steps to transform their delivery models toextend and deepen student learning, while integrating use of the technology. MVU believes that aschool district’s plan for online learning should be closely aligned with its technology infrastructureinvestments and its school improvement planning process. As such, this planning documentwas developed to align to the strands and standards found in the Michigan School ImprovementFramework.I would like to thank John Watson and Chris Rapp from Evergreen Education Group for their supportand assistance in developing this planning document. I hope this document helps facilitate astrategic planning process to expand the use of online and blended learning. MVU stands ready tooffer support and assistance and I encourage you to contact our offices to explore how we can helpyou develop an implementation plan for online learning that addresses local needs.Section 1:Section 6:Introduction to Online and Blended Learning.3-6Key Program Operational Issues.22-25Section 2:Glossary. 26Section 3:Planning for Online Learning: A Companion Resource to theMichigan School Improvement Framework. .27-28Developing an Online Learning Strategic Plan Aligned to theMichigan School Improvement Framework.7-9Content – Acquisition & Development Considerations.10-12Section 4:Teaching and Professional Development. .13-16Section 5:Technology Supporting an Online and BlendedLearning Environment .17-21Appendix A:Appendix B:School District Planning Rubric for Online Learning. .29-32Appendix C:MVS Student Readiness Rubric for Online Learning. .33-34End Notes.35-362
3Section 1:Introduction to Online and Blended LearningThe successful introduction of online learning begins withan organized strategic planning process that includes keystakeholders, targeted student groups and a defined set ofeducational goals. School leaders need to consider four focusareas that serve to support the district’s online learning goals:content acquisition and development, teaching and professionaldevelopment, technology, and program operational issues suchas student services, budgeting and evaluation.1.1 Online learning definitionsHow to use this resourceThis document is designed to serve educational leadersin Michigan who are tasked with integrating onlineand blended learning planning into the larger schoolimprovement planning effort. Written as a practical guide,this document is organized into narrative sections thatpresent key focus areas for district and building leaders.In addition, all sections are linked to the Michigan SchoolImprovement Framework and supporting planningdocuments are offered in the appendices.Direct linkages to the Michigan School ImprovementFramework and its associated strands and standards willbe offered in a simple boxed format at the end of sections 3through 6.The end of each section will contain a reference to planningdocuments included in the Appendices.The rapid growth of online learning in the last decadepresents educators with an opportunity to transformeducation and meet the needs of a much broader,diverse group of learners than has been served in the past. InMichigan and across the country, online learning programs aresupporting education reform and driving differentiation andindividualization of instruction for students. School districtsare improving the academic experience for the student bybeginning to integrate online learning into their schoolimprovement planning process to help support the uniqueneeds of each student.Online learning has grown dramatically in K-12 education,creating countless new opportunities for students andeducators, and, in many cases, demonstrating improved studentoutcomes. The national K-12 online education landscapeincludes state virtual schools, online schools that attractstudents across entire states and programs run by individualschool districts for their own students. Students may take onecourse from an online provider in order to supplement theirbrick and mortar school catalogs (a supplemental program),1may take all of their courses online (a full-time program) or mayblend online resources with traditional classroom teaching.Many terms and definitions in the field — such as onlinelearning, blended learning, hybrid learning, virtual schoolsand cyberschools — do not have commonly understooddefinitions. Online learning is teacher-led instruction deliveredprimarily via the Internet that includes software to provide astructured learning environment, and where the student andteacher are separated geographically. It may be synchronous(communication in which participants interact in real time suchas video conferencing) or asynchronous (communication that isseparated by time such as email or online discussion forums). Itmay be accessed from multiple settings (in school and/or out ofschool buildings).Blended learning combines online learning with face-to-faceinstruction. It is becoming increasingly important as manyschool districts are adopting online learning for reasons otherthan the distance component — mostly because of the abilityto use online instruction and resources to enhance learningopportunities and outcomes, and to personalize learning. Ina single district, students may access online resources mostoften while sitting in a classroom, often with a teacher orparaprofessional either leading or assisting with instruction.In other instances, students may shift a portion of the timenormally spent in classrooms to engage in online activitiescompleted at home. The recent report The Rise of K-12 BlendedLearning2 from the Innosight Institute provides great detail andspecific examples of the many types of blended learning models.
Section 1: Introduction to Online and Blended Learning1.2 History of online learningOver a century, we have witnessed the gradual evolution ofdistance learning — from “snail mail” correspondence coursesto television, videoconferencing, satellite, Internet applications(online learning), and now mobile learning. Early distancelearning programs created educational opportunities for ruralstudents in places like Alaska, where brick-and-mortar schoolswere geographically unreachable for some students. Manyschools took baby steps into distance learning with creditrecovery programs, first on CD-ROMS and now often online usinga computer-based instructional approach. As technology andbroadband access improved, online programs expanded to meetthe needs of home school students, adult learners, advancedstudents seeking academic challenges beyond their brick-andmortar school catalog and student athletes seeking flexibility.3While K-12 online learning continues to grow rapidly, the shapeand pace of growth is uneven. Constrained education budgets,new policy developments and changing technologies areaccelerating growth in some areas while slowing growth inother segments, but the overall trend persists. As of summer of2011, online learning opportunities are available to at least somestudents in all of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. No state,however, provides the full range of potential online learningopportunities — supplemental and full-time options for allstudents at all grade levels.41.3 The national landscapeMapping the digital schooling frontier is difficult because theterritory changes rapidly, and the myriad definitions and programdesigns can blur the map. Although somewhat limited by what istracked, the data below provide a national view:··Forty states have state virtual schools or state-led onlineinitiatives. While their sizes vary dramatically, FloridaVirtual School reported more than 250,000 courseenrollments (one course enrollment equals one studentenrolled in one semester-long course).··Thirty states plus Washington, D.C., have at least onefull-time online school serving students from multipledistricts or statewide. Nationally an estimated 250,000students are attending full-time online schools, anannual increase of 25%.··Individual school districts operating online programs fortheir own students make up the fastest growing segmentof K-12 online learning. It is estimated that 50% of alldistricts are operating or planning fully online (includingvirtual charters) and blended learning programs.··The National Center for Education Statistics estimates1.8 million course enrollments in K-12 online coursesin its report Distance Education Courses for PublicElementary and Secondary School Students: 2009-10.5··According to the National Alliance for PublicCharter Schools, there are 219 virtual charter schoolsnationwide, and another 142 that identify as blended orhybrid models.··Much of the recent growth in online and especiallyblended learning is largely happening in districtsponsored online and blended learning programs,largely in the form of supplemental enrollments.Measuring this growth is difficult, as districts typically donot have to report online or blended enrollments.A recent development in the K-12 online learning world is thegrowing number of schools, districts and states with onlinelearning requirements. Michigan, Alabama, West Virginia andIdaho require an online course or approved online learningexperience prior to graduation, and Memphis Public Schoolsrequires a full online course for graduation.This trend is also indicative of the overall state of online learning.The Sloan Consortium reported in Class Differences: OnlineEducation in the United States that approximately 5.6 millionhigher education students enrolled in at least one online coursein fall 2009, almost one million more than in the year before.In addition, online learning is quickly becoming the mostefficient way to deliver continuing education and professionaldevelopment for teachers and other professionals. Whenimplemented well, online learning gives teachers an opportunityto transform the educational experience — to meet the needsof a broader group of learners, individualize instruction, andtransform education for everyone — and should not be seen as areplacement for either the traditional high school experience norfor individual teachers.Key Definitions in online learningOnline learning is teacher-led instruction delivered primarily viathe Internet that includes software to provide a structured learningenvironment, and where the student and teacher are separatedgeographically.Blended learning is a hybrid instructional delivery model wherestudents are provided face-to-face instruction, in part at a supervisedschool facility away from home and partially through computer-basedand Internet-connected learning environments with some degree ofstudent control over time, location and pace.4
5Section 1: Introduction to Online and Blended Learning1.4 Types of online education programsOnline programs vary in many of their key elements. A set of the defining dimensions of online programs, represented in Figure1,6 describes whether the program is supplemental or full-time; the breadth of its geographic reach; the organizational type andoperational control; and location and type of instruction. Some of these attributes may be combined or operate along a continuum(e.g., location and type of instruction).Of the 10 dimensions listed in Figure 1, four are especially significant:Comprehensiveness(supplemental vs. full-time):One important distinctionis whether the onlinelearning program provides acomplete set of courses forstudents enrolled full-timeor provides a small numberof supplemental courses tostudents enrolled in a physicalschool. Full-time onlineschools typically must addressthe same accountabilitymeasures as physical schoolsin their states.Reach:Online learning programs mayoperate within a school district,across multiple school districts,across a state or, in a few cases,nationally or internationally.The geographic reach of onlinelearning programs is a majorcontributing factor to the waysin which education policies canbe outdated when applied toInternet-based delivery models.Delivery (synchronous vs.asynchronous):Most online learning programsare primarily asynchronous,meaning students andteachers work at differenttimes, communicating viaemail and discussion boards.Type of instruction (fromfully online to fully faceto-face): Many programsare now combining the bestaspects of online and classroominstruction to create a variety ofblended learning experiences.Figure 1The Defining Dimensions of Online ProgramsFigure adapted from Gregg Vanourek, A Primer on Virtual Charter Schools: Mapping the Electronic Frontier, Issue Brief for NationalAssocation of Charter School Authorizers, August 2006.As online learning evolvesinto new models that includeblended learning, personalizedinstruction, portable andmobile learning, andcomputer-based instruction,other defining dimensionscome into play as well (Figure2). The level of instruction thatincludes online componentsmay be a learning object,lesson/unit, a single course oran entire curriculum. A coursethat includes online instructionmay expand learning beyondthe school day or school year,or it may still be defined byclassroom hours. The roles ofteachers and students may bequite similar to their roles in abrick-and-mortar classroom, orthey may change dramaticallyas learning becomes morestudent-centered. Educationalleaders need to understandthe possible dimensions oftheir online programs to helpinform planning and decisionmaking that leads to highquality offerings for students.Figure 1: Defining dimensions of online programs. Figure from Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, 2011, www.kpk12.com, and adapted from Gregg Vanourek, A Primer onVirtual Charter Schools: Mapping the Electronic Frontier, Issue Brief for National Association of Charter School Authorizers, August 2006.
Section 1: Introduction to Online and Blended LearningFigure 26The Defining Dimensions of Blended Learning Models International Association for K-12 Online LearningFigure 2: Defining Dimensions of Blended Learning Models. From National Standards for Quality Online Courses Version 2, October 2011. Adapted fromDefining Dimensions of Blended Learning Models, Michigan Virtual University.Section 1 — Online Learning Planning DocumentsAppendix A – Planning for Online Learning: A Companion Resource to the Michigan School Improvement Framework
7Section 2:Developing an Online Learning Strategic Plan Alignedto the Michigan School Improvement Framework2.1 Standards for qualityFor Michigan school administrators seeking resources to assistin planning an online program, Michigan Virtual University hasdeveloped a School District Planning Rubric for Online Learning(Appendix B) that offers district and schools leaders a pathtoward transformative online learning in several categories.Examples of district practices are offered in four progressivestages — Foundation, Emergent, Innovative and Transformative— in the categories below.The importance of strategic planning is not exclusive to theprocess of acquiring technology for use in schools, but itmay present certain challenges and opportunities given thenew and unique nature of online learning. Educational leaders inMichigan are encouraged to utilize the online learning planningresources presented in this document as part of their broaderMichigan school improvement planning process.This and subsequent sections of the document are organizedto support the integration of online learning planning into acomprehensive district planning process. The Michigan SchoolImprovement Framework presents a five-strand structure fororganizing school improvement plans. The strands are:1.Teaching for Learning2.Leadership3.Personnel & Professional Learning4.School & Community Relations5.Data & Information ManagementOnline learning supports the process of transforminginstruction and serving students in a unique, oftenindividualized approach. Each strand contains several standardsthat can be significantly impacted by including online learningin the overall planning process. Although all standards areimpacted by a well-developed online program, several havecritical connections to any digital program; these includecurriculum, instruction, assessment, instructional leadership,professional learning and data management.··Leadership··Curriculum Planning··Curriculum Delivery··Student Expectations··Policy··Assessment and Reporting··Professional Development··Learning Places and Spaces··Communi
distance learning — from “snail mail” correspondence courses to television, videoconferencing, satellite, internet applications (online learning), and now mobile learning. early distance learning programs created educational opportunities for rural students in places like alaska, where brick-and-mortar schools