Frequently Asked Questions

The Michigan Learning Channel is a statewide project connecting all Michigan students with high-quality distance learning content via a 24-7 broadcast television channel, streaming service, and robust website with on-demand video and supplemental materials. The channel offers instructional programming for children in grades Pre-K–3rd Grade, adding grade levels and subjects over time. The channel is operated by Detroit Public TV and is a partnership of all six Michigan PBS stations. The channel’s content has been developed in conjunction with Michigan’s educational community, and each station is working closely with local schools to engage teachers, principals, and families in using PBS’ educational content.

The Michigan Learning Channel (MLC) was developed in response to the reality that fully one-third of Michigan students — nearly 500,000 students — do not have access to reliable home internet, and even those who do have internet often lack access to sufficient devices, bandwidth, or technical knowledge to participate in online learning. By presenting high-quality standards-aligned content over broadcast and on multiple platforms, MLC will offer unprecedented access while also offering educator-approved content that can benefit all students.

The Michigan Learning Channel is available on a variety of platforms with the goal of being accessible to as many Michigan families as possible. The channel launched for some of Michigan on January 4, 2021 and is now available online and on all six of Michigan’s PBS stations.

  • Broadcast Television: All of Michigan’s PBS stations are now live over the air. You will need to rescan your TV to receive the channel. To access the broadcast channel, viewers will need a television and a basic digital antenna, which is available at most retailers for less than $10. The channel is not yet available through cable or satellite providers.
    • WCMU
      Alpena Channel 6.4
      Cadillac Channel 27.4
      Manistee Channel 21.4
      Mt. Pleasant Channel 14.4

    • WDCQ
      Delta College Public Media Channel 19.5

    • WGVU
      Grand Rapids Channel 35.6
      Kalamazoo Channel 52.6

    • WKAR
      WKAR  Channel 23.5

    • WNMU
      WNMU-TV Channel 13.4

    • WTVS
      Detroit Public TV Channel 56.5

  • Digital Livestream: Families are able to stream the channel in real-time to any device on our Live TV page.
  • Online On-demand: Instructional video from the channel is available now. You can search for lessons on the Find a Lesson by grade or by subject. The website also includes additional lesson materials including worksheets and related lessons.

The Michigan Learning Channel is working closely with the state’s educational community to select and produce video content. The Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) will lead content selection and development alongside Detroit Public TV, guided by the MLC advisory board. This team will carefully vet content for quality and alignment to Michigan standards and will select educational materials and activities to align with channel content. In the first year, MLC content will come from a combination of sources: instructional television produced by PBS stations around the country, video lessons created by teachers, and MLC-produced content.

The content on the channel is designed to support, not replace, the student-teacher relationship by offering high-quality standards-aligned video content, which supports learning both in and out of the classroom. There are a number of ways this content may be used to support learning:

  • Video instruction may be used as a “flipped classroom,” where students watch the lesson and then follow up with a teacher to discuss content, complete assignments, and receive individualized support.
  • Teachers can use the on-demand video on the website to assign specific lessons.  
  • Shows on the weekend and outside school hours continue to reinforce skills being learned in school. MLC uses the breaks between programs to help parents understand their student’s learning goals and encourage parent-teacher communication.
  • Each local PBS station in Michigan will have engagement and support staff dedicated to helping teachers use MLC resources while also gathering teacher feedback to improve the channel. Please reach out to your local station or sign up for the MLC mailing list for more information.

The Michigan Learning Channel is broadcast by all six Michigan public television stations. Each Michigan station will lead engagement for its region, actively reaching out to school districts, teachers, and families to show people how to use the channel and share resources.

MLC is also partnering with PBS stations across the country that are producing instructional content and may air programming produced in other states that are of high quality and aligned to Michigan standards. 

Combined, Michigan’s six PBS stations reach 4 to 5 million Michiganders each week. Each station will promote the channel on-air and online with directed messaging encouraging parents and students to use the new channel. Each station will also have one or more staff members who are dedicated to reaching out to schools, teachers, and families, sharing resources and showing people how to use the channel.

No, the Michigan Learning Channel does not replace school enrollment. MLC strongly encourages all students to enroll in school and plans to run messaging on the channel promoting school enrollment. Michigan law requires a parent or legal guardian of a child from the age of six to sixteen to send his or her child to school during the entire school year, except under certain limited circumstances (MCL 380.1561).

Yes! The channel supports learning and student success with lessons and materials, but students need a dedicated teacher who can support their education, assess their progress, and personalize instruction to their needs. Some schools may choose to use lessons from the channel to replace some direct instruction and support them with follow-up from a teacher either online, by phone, or through printed materials. Homeschooling families may also find the channel’s instruction useful as a supplement to planned homeschool activities.

The Michigan Learning Channel does not offer testing, but may link to formative assessments that teachers and parents may use to evaluate whether their student understands the material. MLC strongly encourages all students to be enrolled in a school and to follow the testing procedures laid out by the school where they’re enrolled.

All video lessons that air on MLC will also be available on-demand. Website visitors can browse lessons by grade and subject, and can search for lessons. The website includes additional resources related to each lesson, such as worksheets, lesson plans, additional videos, or links to related content on PBS LearningMedia and other sites.