Online Learning Revolution 2011: Redux

Missed an event? Watch the rebroadcasts from Grand Traverse, Grand Rapids and Birmingham.

Online Learning

Compared to other sectors of American life, public schooling hasn't changed much over the last century. A revolution is taking place, however, with the advent of online learning. More students than ever are logging on to complete their school work, and this trend is expected to grow.

Why? Students are no longer limited to the course offerings of their local school; they can search the globe to find the right course. Online courses can be completely individualized, since not all students learn the same way. And, online instruction is proving to be effective and less expensive than traditional face-to-face instruction, and at a lower operating cost than conventional brick-and-mortar schools.

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The Online Learning Revolution - Grand Traverse


The luncheon panel was held Sept. 27 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Grand Traverse Village, Mich.

Panelists for the event:

  • Tom Watkins is an educational consultant and former Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Michael Murray is the Superintendent of Suttons Bay Public Schools.
  • Bryan Klochack is the Principal of Michigan Connections Academy.
  • Michael Van Beek is director of education policy at the Mackinac Center and author of “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools.” 

The Online Learning Revolution - Grand Rapids


The luncheon panel was held Oct. 25 at The Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Panelists for the event:

  • Susan Patrick is the President and CEO of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. iNACOL is the professional association for advocacy and research in K-12 online learning, publishing national quality standards and best practices. 
  • Stephanie Hargens in 2010 became the Head of School, Michigan Virtual Charter Academy — a statewide virtual charter school headquartered in Grand Rapids.
  • James Bermingham is the superintendent of the Berrien Springs Public Schools. Berrien Springs serves a highly diverse international student population with students from more than 40 countries enrolled in district schools. 
  • Michael Van Beek is director of education policy at the Mackinac Center and author of “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools.” 

The Online Learning Revolution: Southeastern Michigan


The luncheon panel was held Nov. 16 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Mich.

Panelists for the event were:

  • Glen Taylor, co-founder of WAY (Widening Advancements for Youth), a nonprofit program operating in more than 100 Michigan school districts that specializes in helping schools re-engage at-risk students.
  • Dr. William Skilling, superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, an Oakland County district that is adding programs, expanding curriculum and leveraging new technology, all in the face of funding reductions.
  • Heather Staker, a senior research fellow for the Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank devoted to applying the theory of “disruptive innovation” to problems in the public sector.
  • Michael Van Beek is director of education policy at the Mackinac Center and author of “Virtual Learning in Michigan’s Schools.” 

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