Traditional versus Agile Methods

Congratulations to Dr. John Burrow in the College of Business for his innovative BUAD 471 course! He was awarded one of the CTE&I’s Box of Awesome which created an “on the spot” celebration and recognition for his pedagogical model that took an innovative approach to teaching project management.  He certainly moved his teaching outside of traditional methods by integrating an agile learning model to support authentic project management.

At the beginning of the semester, his students were awarded “UMW Bucks” to use and support the development of a course-level project. Over the course of the semester, students must “pay” to outsource writing assistance in the Writing Center and for time to create in the UMW Think Lab.  Students’ quickly learned about contracts and the power of negotiation when establishing prices for services rendered AND then a curve ball is thrown into the mix! Students have to adapt to deadline and budget changes – much like real-life scenarios.

I have often found that innovation doesn’t happen in isolation. This  project that would not have been possible without Dr. Gwen Hale, Director of the Writing Center, and Shannon Hauser, Technical Services Specialist, UMW Think Lab, along with Kennith Machande, Associate Provost and Interim Dean, Dr. Christopher Garcia, Associate Professor, and Ms. Lucy Quann, Office Manager for their support and involvement. I look forward to the end-of-semester sharing of student projects and planning next steps for a post-project assessment to make visible the contributions and benefits of this pedagogical approach.

Dr. Burrow shared, “we have great students (pictured below) that are fun to teach and to challenge.”

Building Community in the Classroom and on Campus

Dr. Caitie Finlayson, Assistant Professor

Geography Department

Caitie hit a home run with her “Building Community in the Classroom” workshop, co-sponsored with CTE&I. Caitie’s commitment for community building was clearly visible as she shared her pedagogical work and provided evidence-based research practices that can be used over the course of the semester.

This workshop created an opportunity for 12 faculty (across our three colleges and from all career stages) to engage in  a meaningful exchange of challenges. We shared our successes too!  Lots of good ideas that sparked our ‘rethinking’ about the importance of building community within our classrooms.

Faculty reported that they appreciated having time to talk about and share out pedagogical practices. In case you missed this engaging workshop, Caitie prepared Building Community in the Classroom There are lots of creative and collective advice on ideas and strategies that can easily be implemented.

I was excited to hear that Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire  that I shared when I first came to UMW was being implemented. I find this to be a great tool, that can be adapted to support community building and pedagogical research.


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!