Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Walter Burt

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Leneway


K-12 education, K-12 virtual education, K-12 technology education, educational technology mandate


This study explores how public schools in Michigan are meeting the mandate to provide online learning opportunities as a condition of graduation. Michigan became the first state in the nation to mandate online learning opportunities as a condition for graduation with the passage of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. Although the mandate for compliance has been in effect since the 2010-2011 school year, there has been no systemic exploration as to how the mandate is affecting students, teachers, schools and systems.

This quantitative study surveyed administrators from all public traditional and charter high school programs across the state of Michigan. Using documents provided by the State of Michigan, questions were formulated to provide the basis for a researcher developed survey.

Utilizing descriptive and inferential statistics, I concluded that a greater percentage of students enrolled in Online Experiences Incorporated within Classes than in Fully Online Semester Long Courses, with both options being incorporated more into content academic areas than non-core academic areas. Smaller enrollment schools utilized on line opportunities at a higher rate than do their peers in larger schools. Online Educational Opportunities are most often used as a vehicle for student skillset improvement: to help students with credit recovery needs, to help students considered at-risk for school failure, and to assist students in gaining 21st Century skills. Student and administrator technological training, as well as providing online experiences within existing classes both significantly predicted improvement in student access to curriculum. Providing Fully Online Courses to students significantly predicted improvement in the school programs’ financial and perceived achievement measures. Commercial vendors were the largest provider of content for Fully Online Semester Long Course content. Districts tend to stay within their own organizations for support for their Online Educational Opportunities. Decision makers tended to be influence mostly by their building administrators, followed by their district administrators on the types of opportunities being offered. It was also found that significant differences based upon district enrollment size existed throughout the state.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access