Our team learned a ton at this year’s MACUL in Grand Rapids, MI, as well as at our team pre-MACUL event we call Spring Synergy.   Though the days are typically high-speed and intense, teachers across the state are exposed to so many inspirational ideas to take back to their classes right away.  Our online instructors found many sessions valuable, and they each left with strategies, tools, and ideas to implement immediately.  Check out these posts to learn more!

The Wonderful World of MACUL by Caitlin Broton

Oh, the Things I Learned . . . at MACUL! by Lauren Graham

Post-MACUL by Lauren Nalepa

Thanks, MACUL and Michigan Virtual, for the awesome growth experience!

The Power of Feedback

If you’ve ever felt bewildered by feedback you were given as a professional, you are not alone.  Feedback has the power to motivate us and push us forward, but vague feedback can leave us frustrated and confused.   English and Social Studies iEducator, Caitlin Broton, has experienced the power of feedback, and her experience receiving both helpful and not so helpful feedback has influenced how she approaches feedback to her students. Check out Caitlin Broton’s post, “Feedback:  Bitter or Better?” to learn what she includes in her feedback to students. 

Modeling Quality Discussion Posts

Discussion boards are a common feature in online courses to get students “talking” about subject-area content.  There can be much value in a discussion forum where students and instructors are actively engaged.  Instructors get to hear from every student, even students who might not want to speak up in a traditional classroom.  It’s also a great space for instructors to connect with their students and dialogue about content.

One problem area instructors often run into with discussion boards is that students do not come to an online course knowing how to create engaging dialogue to push the thinking and conversation forward.  Many of our courses require students to post their original response and reply to at least two classmates as well.  The quality of those replies can range drastically, with some students replying, “Great post,” or “I agree” and deciding they have met the requirements on the rubric.

To get her students more involved in her online discussion board, iEducator Lauren Graham has created this helpful guide using Piktochart and a student response as a model.  Check it out in her blog post: Discussions, How To? 

Quality professional/educational written communication is certainly a valuable skill for students to master today.  What are other ways online instructors might model good communication skills for their online students?

Creating Community Online

Classroom community is an important element for learning, whether face-to-face or online.  How do online teachers create community when their students log into the course at different times of the day from anywhere in the state?  Check out Art Instructor Lauren Nelapa’s ideas for creating an online art gallery for her students in her blog post, Let’s Talk About Art.

Meet our new iEducators!

In May, the Student Learning Services team onboarded five new iEducators who began teaching summer courses.  The fall semester is now underway, and our weekly webinar series is back!  Each week, our iEducators and full-time instructors gather online to learn and share best practices and strategies for Quality Online Teaching. Are you interested in learning about what it’s like to teach full-time online? Would you like to know more about the strategies our instructors use to build relationships, improve learning experiences, and continue to grow as educators — all without the traditional “brick-and-mortar” environment? Join our learning community by reading, sharing, and commenting on the iEducator blogs as they highlight the skills and strategies they use to deliver Quality Online Teaching!

Blended Learning Observations

Our iEducators are matched with teachers around the state who are Masters in Blended Learning.  Through observation, data collection, and debriefing, the iEducators gain insight to Blended strategies, techniques, challenges and successes.

Read Science and Art iEducator Stephanie Pearsall’s blog to get a view of what she’s learning in her Blended experiences — from elementary students participating in coding clubs to using technology for live visits with animals at the zoo!

Tech to the Rescue

iEducator Hannah Bur vlogs on how she uses and shares an important tech tool with her online students:

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Thank you for the video walk-through, Hannah!

Learn more about Hannah’s first-year experience as a Michigan Virtual Science iEducator at her blog listed in the Class Blogs to the left.

Developing Unique Teaching Skills

If you are an online teacher, you become accustomed to the misconceptions surrounding what you do.  How do you connect with students from behind a computer screen?

“I love being able to provide the one on one help to students that makes them feel confident in their work and I regularly have parents thank me for reaching out to them and involving them in their child’s education.”

Read Rachel Bergy’s blog to learn more about the skills she has developed as an online teacher and how she effectively engages with her students.  Rachel has certainly embraced the adventure of teaching!