UMW M.O.L.I.E. Initiative Gains Support Via Canvas Grant

UMW M.O.L.I.E. Initiative Gains Support Via Canvas Grant

Canvas Grant also provides funding to support the creation of a collaboratively designed hybrid faculty development pilot project designed to transform faculty understandings of powerful learning and also supports the development of multimedia online learning immersive environment (M.O.L.I.E.) courses. What is unique about this innovative model is twofold: a) supports faculty teams in the development of multimedia rich immersive online courses or modules connected to compelling narrative, and b) multimedia production and digital literacy skill development for faculty.

UMW’s M.O.L.I.E. courses infuse a unique feature – an embedded layer of scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) ensuring faculty will have rich data (qualitative and quantitative) to talk about the ways in which their course supported or hindered student learning contributing important lessons learned to our broader disciplinary communities.

Current practices of ‘flipping the classroom’ haven’t produced transformative learning and most online learning courses follow a predictable pathway for course mastery. M.O.L.I.E. positions students as active participants by engagement with course content integrated into a compelling story, such as, solve the mystery, a Hero’s quest, changing the world, life as a scientist, or exposure to alternative perspectives to more deeply understand an issue. Interaction within a compelling story can be a catalyst for powerful learning.

Game theory, game elements are the pedagogical drivers of M.O.L.I.E. course design and the use of a quest-based course design curriculum matrix can break predictive online learning models our students often encounter. A quest based curriculum, moves learning beyond a linear progression of content coverage to one that allows for choice, collaboration, and curation.

UMW’s M.O.L.I.E. Initiative offers faculty multiple pathways to tap into a variety of pedagogical drivers, multimedia tools, to engage students in course content and social-emotional learning as they interact and collaborate within a compelling course narrative. CTE&I will provide a scaffold yearlong instructional course design process that integrates a faculty team approach and creation of online multimedia immersive environments tightly aligned with course content.

By July 31st faculty teams (2-3) interested in learning about and experiencing an immersive and responsive course are invited to submit their M.O.L.I.E. course proposal and share their dream of the EPIC story they wish to create with a course(s). Courses with low student participation, ‘gateway’ courses, and capstone courses are particularly encouraged.

Accepted faculty teams will participate in the Fall pilot project and receive a course release in Spring 2016 to begin building out their immersive multimedia immersive environment course with an anticipated courses ready to go in Fall 2016-Spring 2017.

M.O.L.I.E. Meets Canvas and the Open Web

It’s official!!!!  CTE&I received a $10,000 grant and has entered the ranks of an ‘elite company of Canvas 2015 Grant Winners‘!

Quest-based learning, game theory, and game elements are the pedagogical drivers that will be used to break predictive online learning and will be infused into a faculty development Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Environment (M.O.L.I.E.).   Can you say EPIC?

Here’s the scoop – Project Grant Summary

Canvas showed UMW the money – “a full commitment is what they’re thinking of.”  We are building our “Field of Dreams” so you can experience the power of learning in a M.O.L.I.E.!

1) A shout out to Tim Owens, our ‘Chief Hack’  He will be utilizing the page building plugin and developing custom modules that make use of Canvas APIs creating interfaces that allow for easy integration of Canvas material and tools within a self-hosted WordPress site.

2) Looking to transform faculty development? The creation of a faculty development Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Environment (M.O.L.I.E.) is designed to transform pedagogical practice; quest-based learning, game theory and game elements are seamlessly integrated into a compelling narrative to …….  (I can’t say as that would ruin the story).

We are well underway in our story development! A forthcoming trailer? Embedded clues? Meet characters you won’t soon forget. You’ll have to stay tuned!


Dig deeper into “M.O.L.I.E. Meets Canvas and the Open Web” grant submission website and meet the design team!


The Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation providing powerful faculty development and supporting online course development – one compelling story at at time!


Beyond ‘Banking’ to ‘Bartle’ Faculty Development Gets Game!

Beyond ‘Banking’ to ‘Bartle’ Faculty Development Gets Game!

On Monday, November 10, 2014 (2pm EST) I along with Lisa Ames will be sharing our collective work on ‘gaming’ faculty development. Still time to register!




Join us for a free webinar on November 10, 2014 at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EST.

Interested in finding ways to integrate games into faculty development? This webinar will share several models to support faculty adoption of game-based learning, curriculum development, and scholarship. You’ll learn how games and game pedagogy can be used to support and transform faculty development.

Game-based learning has gained traction as a way to engage students, promote content knowledge, support skill development, and increase deep conceptual understanding. Framing game-based learning as a pedagogical tool for student engagement is one way to pique faculty curiosity about using game-based learning, game theory, and game elements as immersive learning pedagogical strategies. When faculty try new ways to engage students in learning course content, and also take time to investigate the implications of their pedagogical work, the often hidden aspects of learning become visible.

Mary Kayler, Ph.D. is the director for the Center of Teaching Excellence and Innovation at the University of Mary Washington. She has worked in higher education for over 14 years. Her research interests include faculty development, game-based learning, and curriculum development. She has conducted a wide range of faculty development colloquiums and workshops, published pedagogical research, and currently serves as associate editor to the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. Her current quest is to leverage the “pedagogical power of gaming” in higher education. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @Saptiva.

Lisa Ames is an e-Learning specialist and LMS admin at the University of Mary Washington. She has been in education 22 years and supports faculty with the integration of technology into their pedagogy and other professional online activities. She’s a Canvas Authorized Trainer (CAT) for Instructure and conducts faculty development workshops with a focus on learning management systems, online and blended environments, and social media. Her newest exploration is gaming. With Mary Kayler, she created the “Mystery of the Devil-Goat” as a faculty development activity. Contact her and follow her on Twitter @umwctln.


11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EST

Here is the registration page for your webinar next week:

Caution  – Domain Construction

Caution – Domain Construction

It is hard to believe that we are into Week Five of the faculty Domain of One’s Own initiative!  I wanted to offer up  a few insights  as many of the themes/topics/technical areas have carried across these past few weeks.  Last week we hit the half-way point – not only are faculty reading, discussing, blogging, sharing, and tweeting – they are learning about each other as individuals and learning about each others disciplines, pedagogy, and scholarship. There have been some fantastic conversations that have resonated and crossed disciplinary boundaries. Reflection is a powerful tool – reflection on digital pedagogy, digital identity, digital presence and ‘owning’ our domains!

I would like to say how much I have enjoyed spending time with each of faculty groups this year. Attending the one-hour sessions has provided me a unique opportunity to listen, laugh, and participate in a variety of discussions with amazing faculty who are wrestling with identity construction, online voice and presence, and domain construction/revisions. Each group has developed and co-constructed their own community; individuals’ insights and experiences related to teaching and scholarship have helped shaped and informed our conversations. And contrary to Jim Groom – each cohort rocks! Just ask them! #teamryanrocks

Caution – Domain Construction and All Things Digital

There were a lot of conversations related to domain construction and all things WordPress. Time has been spent on themes, pages, posts, menus, categories, tags, how to install a plug in, and C panel. One of the features of our one-hour session is the opportunity to ‘trouble shoot’ individuals technical issues. Faculty receive immediate feedback and help.  What I find useful about these mini-tech help talks is that they are embedded in a real need – learning a new tool now matters and doesn’t remain some abstract thing.  Grounded help in a real problem that gets solved – BAM!  The DTLT folks are masters at providing faculty support. I often hear them sharing their own experiences and hurdles as they entered the digital world – we each have a professional journey and stories to share – I think it’s important to ‘remember where we came from’ (something my grandmother would say).   It somehow feels reassuring to know that others have felt and are feeling many of the things faculty are sharing as they begin and continue their digital journey. What I also appreciate is how more seasoned faculty are ready to offer up their experiences, advice and strategies – real world examples that mattered enough for faculty to share across a variety of disciplines. Again, amazing faculty who are putting themselves out there and taking risks while exploring what a domain can mean to them.

Another theme was related to the professional – personal – private.   Faculty have spent a fair amount of time reflecting on how personal is too personal, what is private, and what professional information is important.  There is a tension and finding comfort in that balance is an individual process. What ‘feels right’ to one faculty member doesn’t ‘feel right’ with another.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ and that is one of the strengths of this faculty initiative. Faculty get to ‘create’ a digital space that matters to them. And a lot of conceptual thinking is where many of our faculty are currently at as they figure out the right balance for themselves as they build a domain that represents them.

With ownership comes the realization and responsibility of faculty owning and shaping (active engagement) their online presence.  One faculty member shared, “really glad I have this [Domain of One’s Own] to allow me to take control of my identity.” And then acknowledged that “this is a huge learning curve – with carrying teaching loads, scholarship, and manage an online identity. I am figuring out how to manage expectations.”  Managing expectations was a central theme for faculty (all at very different places with digital work). Cohorts spend time talking about various ways to manage (recurring theme) and construct a digital identity that made sense in terms of workload. Talk often turns to ‘efficiency’ in terms of using digital tools within the initiative and beyond. How do faculty integrate digital identity work into the rhythm and flow of academic life?

Building a Plane while Flying

Often times we want our professional identity to be ‘professional’ – a finished well – polished version of ourselves. DoOO pushes us to be open about our development, more along the lines of formative and reflective – our thinking along the way. This can be new territory (and considered private) for many faculty as we have been socialized in  ‘traditional academic cultures’ where we put our best work/scholarship/thinking forward in a polished format.  Blogging has been an interesting experience for our faculty as many begin to experiment in this space. Our more seasoned academics in the initiaitve have already ‘traveled the blogging path’ and ‘through that process’ have developed/refined their online persona/identity and are very comfortable in this space. But for many of the DoOO faculty this is a new experience that moves many toward feelings of discomfort and thinking  ‘this will be public’ and taking care to blog along academic lines. The private development path is to remain private. A tension exists between “I want to make sure it is good (summative)” vs. “I’m not that comfortable sharing my development (formative).”  From a faculty development perspective I am interested in the development journey of the ways in which faculty can be supported to grow and develop an online identity, presence, create a space they own and actively shape to capture ‘who they are’ and ‘what they care about.’ Students often share how they like it when ‘their professors have a website’ because they can read about and see the work faculty are engaged in and how they teach. A domain can be a powerful tool for faculty to tap into – showcase teaching, share projects, research interests, blogs – things that matter.  Our students do take the time to seek out their professors online as a way to learn more about them (professional – personal).  Just think of the potential to share our domains so students learn more than ‘rate my professor.’  More to follow…..