Michigan Virtual High School Classes
A wide variety of online classes are available to our students through Michigan Virtual. Because virtual instruction is very different from face-to-face education, students must carefully consider how well-suited they are to learning in this format. Students must be self-directed, self-motivated, organized, able to follow directions carefully and good at follow-through. A prerequisite to Michigan Virtual course registration is the successful completion of the prerequisite steps listed below, these are designed to help parents and students better understand how a virtual course works and the skills necessary to be successful in them.
Prerequisites for Taking a Virtual Class Part One
Part One of Three
(All THREE parts must be completed)
- Read "About Taking Class Online" Parts One and Two located at the end of the three-step process.
- Based on these two readings, write a short assessment that addresses four points that are the most relevant to your learning style, or are things you'll have to work on, or aspects of virtual learning that will be easy for you or that you are looking forward to.
- Your learning style assessment can be in list form. Make note of the issue you are addressing and then explain how it relates to your learning style and study habits.
"The emphasis on being able to work alone could be problematic for me. I usually need someone to help me monitor my progress and keep me on track."
- Copy your finished assessment into a Google Doc and make sure to include your name. You will be adding your work for steps two and three of the prerequisites to this document as well. Please share your document with Mrs. Cummings electronically when all three steps are completed. Returning Michigan Virtual Students need to only include a document with Step three of the prerequisites completed.
Prerequisites for Taking a Virtual Class Part Two
Part Two of Three
(All three parts must be completed)
- Please take the self-evaluation quiz titled Online Learning Readiness Questionnaire.
- Include your quiz results (the window that opens with your score when you click on the IS IT FOR ME button) in the Google Doc you created in part one. Once you've finished step three of the prerequisites you will share this document electronically with Mrs. Cummings.
Prerequisites for Taking a Virtual Class Part Three
Part Three of Three
(All three parts must be completed)
- Locate the course description of the Michigan Virtual High School Class(es) you wish to take.
- Copy and paste the course description provided into your Google Doc. A full course syllabus is available to you by clicking on the arrow next to the course name, you are strongly encouraged to view this information before making a final course enrollment decision.
- Have a parent sign and date your course choice electronically within your Google Doc. All Michigan Virtual students including returning students must complete this step of the required prerequisites!
- That's it, once you've finished everything for all three prerequisite steps then you are ready to share your final Google Doc with Mrs. Cummings. Don't forget to include your first and last name in your completed document!
What You Need to Know About Taking Courses Online Part One
You need to be aware ... taking a course online is NOT EASY.
It is a common misconception that virtual classes are easier than face-to-face classes. This is absolutely not the case, and it is very important that you understand this right away.
It is also a common misconception that virtual classes are self-paced. This is not so. Every course has a weekly pacing guide or calendar and final semester deadlines that need to be met. Pay attention. It is your responsibility to meet these deadlines. It is not the teacher's responsibility to make sure you are meeting deadlines. Teachers may send you an email remarking that you're behind schedule but do not count on this kind of attention. It is very easy to fall behind. Once this happens, it is very difficult to catch up again. Every Michigan Virtual instructor has different rules about late work. It is your responsibility to know what those rules are. Your virtual teachers care very much about your success. They are usually very willing to work with you to ensure you finish and pass your course. They will not, however, babysit you through the course. They will not remind you if you haven't turned in assignments. If you are having problems with anything, it is your responsibility to speak up and let the instructor (and/or Mrs. Cummings/Ms. Baldwin) know.
In many courses, you will be multitasking. There will be individual assignments, group assignments, discussions to take part in, and quizzes and tests to take. There is a lot to juggle, so you will need to stay focused and organized. In many courses, there are a lot of different areas in the classroom that you need to visit to get all the work done. Again, it is essential you stay focused, and you will need to be able to follow step-by-step instructions. There is also a lot of reading involved in taking an online course. Take your time, read carefully and don't rush through any reading.
Many courses use discussion boards as part of the course. If they do, participation is mandatory and counts toward your grade. Usually the frequency of your participation is a basis for your grade and often participation is expected on a DAILY basis. Your participation grade can be dependent on the quality of your contributions as well.
You need to consider how virtual classes are different and whether you are suited to be successful.
To be successful in an online course, you should ...
- Be self-motivated and self-disciplined.
- Be committed to the course. Online courses are at least as time-consuming as face-to-face courses.
- Expect to log on daily for updates, messages and communication among participants.
- Accept the fact that, if you are a procrastinator, this course might not be for you. Have a private space where you can work for at least 30 minutes at a time.
- Anticipate being at the computer for extended amounts of time.
- Speak up immediately if you are having technical difficulties or are having problems understanding.
- Be ready to participate in classroom discussions, and realize that this involves typing.
- Be able to CAREFULLY follow written directions and pay attention to detail. Reading is a critical skill in online learning.
If you are feeling unsure about any of this, you need to talk to Mrs. Cummings right away. For some students, this style of learning does not work well. It is very important to clearly consider whether remote learning will really work for you.
Attention to Details
Your teacher will have dozens of students online. In order for the teacher to stay organized, she or he is likely to have strict rules about what you do particularly in terms of how and where to hand in assignments, assignment names, file attachment types and subject headings in emails. It is crucial you understand the class organization system and comply with it. It is likely you will not get credit for work done if you don't follow the teacher's conventions.
Every course will have different rules about turning work in late. Be sure you know the course policy.
Pacing Guide or Calendar
The course pacing guide or calendar for Advanced Placement classes is the tool you will use to make sure you are keeping up with your work and meeting deadlines.
- print yourself a copy.
- Check the end of the semester date. If it is later than our semester ends, it is your responsibility to let your course instructor know this.
Begin slowly and really learn your way around
Take time to explore and do it very carefully. One of the reasons virtual classes are difficult is because it is hard to get oriented to the learning management system where your course content and structure is located. Your "virtual classroom" is a big place with many different areas where information is stored and activities are carried out. You will do yourself a favor if, initially, you take your time to learn your way around. Go to every place in the virtual environment and look carefully at what's there. If there is an orientation assignment or course, do it carefully. It wouldn't be a bad idea to take some notes about where things are kept, the calendar, the syllabus, lessons, assignments, reading materials, recommended web resources, grades, communication, etc. Often, you will recall you've seen something in your course, but you can't find your way back to it. It can be very frustrating.
Most teachers are very good about working with you if you are having particular problems or anticipate a problem or have scheduling conflicts. The key is good communication AND communication that is proactive rather than reactive. Anticipate your problems and conflicts and bring them up with your teacher BEFORE they happen, if at all possible. Teachers are much more willing to work with you if they feel you are paying attention and thinking ahead.
Protect yourself by sending yourself a copy of all communication with your teachers. If you ever run into a problem or a dispute, you will have documentation regarding what steps you took to resolve an issue. Additionally, if there is any communication of particular importance, send a copy to Mrs. Cummings as well. This will provide another layer to support you in terms of documentation and it will keep them apprised of any situations in case you need more help.
Teachers make mistakes and technology is not always reliable. Monitor your own work and progress carefully and double-check that you get credit for all your work. ALWAYS read your teacher's feedback on your graded work, if something needs to be resubmitted this is where you will find out what needs to be done to earn full credit on an assignment. Make sure you save a pdf or docx copy of your work on your computer just in case an assignment doesn't get submitted successfully the first time due to a technology glitch!
- ALWAYS double-check what is going on with your grades
- ALWAYS document all communications
- ALWAYS have multiple electronic copies of your work stored in different places
- ALWAYS hang on to any written work
- ALWAYS use PRINT to make a hard copy of your test and answers to avoid having to retake an exam, BEFORE you hit the test submit button since it is not uncommon for technical problems to happen during tests and/or quizzes!
In the Words of Former Students
- Do not hesitate or wait to email your instructor if you are confused or something goes wrong.
- Both teachers and technology make mistakes. Monitor your grades and email your instructor immediately if something doesn't look right.
- Do not wait until the last minute to hand in assignments; you must allow adequate time for technical difficulties.
- Language students need to know that there is a lot of important information covered in ungraded assignments. Just because you don't get a grade, don't skip the assignment. this information shows up in quizzes and tests.
What You Need to Know About Taking Courses Online Part Two
What Former Michigan Virtual High School Students Have to Say about Virtual Instruction
- Stay focused and don't fall behind.
- I would tell them to start their classes as early as possible.
- I would say to just stay focused and don't wait until the last minute to do your assignments.
- Stay on top of your work. You chose it so you should be involved and excited about it. I know some days you can be not as motivated, but with the right amount of work you can finish your course with a positive grade.
- Don't wait till the last minute to do your work. Stay focused while in class so you don't have to spend your days off working on it. Ask your instructor for help, they can actually help you if you ask them.
- Don't put off the work. It is better to be ahead than behind.
- I would tell them to start their work right away and work hard. I waited until about a month left to get all of my work done, and I struggled a lot. So work hard and don't fool around because it puts so much pressure on you.
- Stay on pace and get ahead if you can. This will allow you to have “wiggle room” if you need to work on something else one day without falling behind.
- Pace yourself properly. Do a little bit each day, don’t wait until the last minute! Also, do the MVHS Google Classroom check-ins for extra credit, that really helps at the end.
- Stay on pace and you will be fine. Work with your instructor if you are stuck on something.
- This is not a class to take for "easy work" and don't be the person who is still on unit four of 10-15, when it's almost the end of the semester, you need to distribute the work evenly and work throughout the whole semester weekly.
- Don't wait to start working set weekly goals and make sure to keep up on them! Once you fall behind it’s really hard to get back to where you wanna be.
- You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.
- The main thing I would say to someone who is taking a Michigan Virtual class next semester is to not put it off till the end of the semester. I did that and it was very stressful. I would try to get the class done as soon as possible.
- Stay on top of your work! These classes have a lot more work than expected and get ahead whenever you can.
- I would tell them it is really important to stick to a pacing guide. They need to make a daily to-do list to help them stick to the things they need to get done. It is also important to ask their teachers for help when they need it. Making sure they stay on top of their work is beneficial to them in the long run.
- Stay on top of your work and use your pacing guide!
- You have to be able to set goals and keep motivated and stay on task. It's not always easy but it's what you need to do good in an online class.
- I would suggest that you count on your pacing guide. It can be really difficult if you do not. If you can, get ahead at the beginning of the class so that you do not feel rushed toward the end.
- Don’t wait to do all your work on the last three days of the class.
- Don't procrastinate it will doom you.