Free support programs to help Michigan’s K-12 school districts

August 13, 2020

Michigan State University has created a number of support programs and materials to help Michigan’s K-12 school districts prepare for online instruction this fall. 

Among these programs is the Foundations of Successful Online Teaching & Learning series that was collaboratively developed by MSU’s Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative and Okemos Public Schools. This series is designed to help teachers understand and adopt the mindsets of successful online instructors, the core principles of meaningful online learning experiences and the best practices of online pedagogy.

Woman teaching math on whiteboard while on camera.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all made physical modifications to the ways we teach, conduct research and interact, but MSU’s land-grant mission and purpose are strong and persistent. Through these programs, our commitment to student success and academic excellence reaches far beyond our MSU classrooms,” said Teresa Woodruff, MSU’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are excited to have the opportunity to provide Michigan school districts with a foundation for successful online teaching and learning.”

The program offers free access to a district-specific, five-module Google Classroom site. Teachers can navigate through the site at their own pace and communicate with peers in their local districts as they work through modules covering: 

  • Class Design and Planning
  • Online Assessment and Feedback
  • Groups and Collaboration
  • Universal Design for Learning and Accessible Community Building
  • Meaningful Engagement and Interactions 

The program can be modified, supplemented with added content or customized upon request. For information, visit

Additional MSU resources include a free mini massive open online course developed by the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program in the College of Education to help schools with the rapid transition to remote instruction. While the course was designed for supporting last spring’s sudden shift to remote teaching, many of the tenets can be applied to the longer-term online learning environments districts are now looking to create for fall. The College of Education also offers a three-course, nine-credit, Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning, focusing on in-depth, skilled online teaching. 

“Educators at all levels are challenged right now to meet the needs of their students while struggling with new modes of instruction and a technological learning curve,” said Jeff Grabill, associate provost for teaching, learning and technology at MSU. “We are fortunate to have experts who can help and the responsibility as a public university to do so.”

This MSU initiative has been led by Scott Schopieray, assistant dean for academic and research technology at the College of Arts and Letters; Jeremy Van Hof, director of learning technology and development at the Eli Broad College of Business; and Candace Robertson, assistant director of student experience and outreach for the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program in the MSU College of Education, whose expertise has led MSU’s online and hybrid learning efforts. 

The Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative is a collaborative effort of digital pedagogy experts from the College of Arts & Letters, the Eli Broad College of Business and the College of Natural Sciences. It is funded by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Information Technology.

Resources are open to all K-12 educators and schools. For more information, fill out this contact form.

This post, written by Kelly Mazurkiewicz, originally appeared on MSU Today.