Get ready for ISTELive 21! Launch the site now.
Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Maintaining Quality in Online Learning

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, November 30, 12:15–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Mike Agostinelli  
How is quality maintained in online learning? Join Mike Agostinelli, Montana Digital Academy's Instructional Program director, as he demonstrates MTDA's recruitment and onboarding process for online teachers, supervision and evaluation process, and surveying and feedback strategies with all online learning stakeholders to ensure quality for student learners.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Distance, online & blended learning
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.
For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Build on the shared vision by collaboratively creating a strategic plan that articulates how technology will be used to enhance learning.
Systems Designer
  • Establish partnerships that support the strategic vision, achieve learning priorities and improve operations.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

How do you build a statewide supplemental online learning program in a state where online learning is brand new? That was the challenge when the Montana Digital Academy was created by the state legislature in 2009. 10 years later, MTDA serves thousands of Montana students in one to two online courses with an average passage rate of 86% and student satisfaction rate of 90% over the past 5 years. These numbers are due, in part, to having a comprehensive onboarding process with ongoing supervision and evaluation. Additionally, we layer in opportunities for students to add their voice to assess their learning and the learning process. This presentation focuses on the research based process of identifying, training, supporting and evaluating online teachers while also giving students opportunities to inform the instructional program.


7 min: Setting the Stage: Introduction of myself and how MTDA exists and a few interactive polls ( to gauge who is in the room.
15 min: Onboarding online teachers: Presentation participants will be asked to sort between onboarding strategies that are necessary for face to face vs. online and what strategies are common between both ways of teaching. I will compare and contrast the difference in onboarding online vs. face to face teachers and discuss the critical conversations to front-load during the hiring process.
15 min: Supervision and evaluation: Presentation participants will be asked to rank teaching characteristics in importance in online vs face to face teaching. This will set the stage for discussing how supervision and evaluation differ in online learning and then I will demonstrate how MTDA utilizes our VGOT framework ( to guide how our administration supports teachers and how our teachers support student learning.
10 min: Importance of student voice: The final section of the presentation will focus on how MTDA adapted the work from the Colorado Education Initiative around Student Perception Survey's to inform course design, teacher PD, and further learning opportunities for students. I will share our adapted student perception survey for online course with participants as well as tangible examples of how student voice benefited our program overall.
3 min: Closing summary with enrollment and passage rate statistics from our program.

Supporting research

More [+]


Mike Agostinelli, Montana Digital Academy

Mike is currently the Instructional Program Director for the Montana Digital Academy, Montana's state virtual school. Teaching elementary and middle school, technology directing, grant writing, presenting, and now directing instruction at a virtual school has given Mike a wide range of experiences in the educational field. Being able to teach and lead technology integration has brought a great pedagogic balance to Mike’s facilitation/instruction. Mike has been honored as an Outstanding Teacher by the Helena Education Foundation, ISTE “Making IT Happen” recipient, and co-recipient of the BlackBoard Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning .

People also viewed

5 Questions for the Changing K-12 Cybersecurity Landscape - Session 1
Partnering Education and Engineering Students With 5th Graders to Enhance Computational Thinking
Using Design Thinking To Positively Impact Faculty Culture And Collaborative Practice