#OLCAccelerate – Press Start To Play: Faculty And Student Reflections On Gamification

Press Start To Play: Faculty And Student Reflections On Gamification
Lead Presenter: Thomas Penniston (University of Maryland – Baltimore County)
Co-presenter: Sherri N Braxton-Lieber (University of Maryland-Baltimore County)
Strand: Innovations, Tools and Technologies
Brief Abstract: This session will provide an overview of gamification and its relationship with learners’ motivations. The details of the implementation in a graduate-level course will be presented along with student performance and course satisfaction data. Faculty reflections, lessons learned, and plans for revision for the next course offering will be discussed.

Gam·i·fi·ca·tion – “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals”

  • In educational context:“On its surface, gamification is simply the use of game mechanics to make learning and instruction more fun. It seems “fake” artificial or like a shortcut. It’s not. Underneath the surface is the idea of engagement, story, autonomy, and meaning.”
  • Video overview of the elements of “Gamification”:



  • Use Achievements Tool in Blackboard to award badges that demonstrate:
    • Skill mastery
    • Learning milestones
    • Performance excellence
  • Quests
    • Find problem with multiple entry points, define learning goals, link goals to COR, build space for assessment, design quest
  • Leaderboards
    • Provides quick feedback, ranking, competition, motivation

Strategies to Gamify a Course

  • Add points to tasks/assignments
  • Define badges/achievements/rewards that can be earned after criteria are met
  • Create leaderboard that shows top performers/scores
  • Define levels ranging from easier to harder tasks/assignments
  • Reward badges that can be tied to higher levels

Examples of course achievements in Blackboard and in course content delivered to students:



Case Study Survey Results from Students in Course


Level of engagement in Blackboard by Students in Gameful Learning Course


Demonstration of using Blackboard Achievements to gamify an Engineering Course


#OLCAccelerate – Preparing Faculty To Find, Remix, And Create Open Educational Resources

Preparing Faculty To Find, Remix, And Create Open Educational Resources
Lead Presenter: John Raible (University of Central Florida)
Co-presenters: Aimee deNoyelles (University of Central Florida), Ashley Salter (University of Central Florida)
Brief Abstract: This session describes how instructional designers partnered with other campus units at a large university in the United States to design and deliver the first incentivized faculty development program about open educational resources. Lessons learned, as well as resources, will be shared with attendees.

  • What is OER?

OERs are materials that are openly licensed, giving users the legal permission to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute the material Wiley, D (2017).

  • Textbook Costs Continue to Rise
  • Florida Textbook Affordability Law
    • Textbook orders are due 45 days before the semester
    • Faculty are encouraged to review editions for changes
    • Faculty are encouraged to adopt OER content
    • Textbook and “instructional materials”
    • Requires universities to submit TA reporting to the state
  • OER Faculty Workshop
    • 8 Faculty and Instructional Designers Facilitated
    • Faculty offered $500 to attend OER Meetings
    • Participate in Self-Paced Course [see below]
    • Attend 3 Workshops OER
    • Design an OER Deliverable in the Next Semester
    • Provide a Final Report
  • OER Self-Paced Course Innovation Project is Available 
    • “Making the Transition to OPEN: The Easy way to Create, License, and Share Free Materials” Adapted from Matthew Blooms’ OER MOOC.oercourse
  • Workshop OER Topics/Sessions
    • Finding Free Materials
    • What would it take to replace YOUR textbook?
    • Copyright considerations for OER
    • Reusing and Remixing OER
    • Creating and Sharing OER
  • Faculty Testimonials for OER

I realized that I did not know much about OER even though I thought I knew some.

I now understand how OER licenses work.

An OER doesn’t have to be a perfect work. It can be a handout or a lesson we have already prepared.

I now have more concrete and practical knowledge about copyright policies.

I am more familiar with the kinds of OER resources that are out there.

I have ideas for the development and contribution of my own projects to these databases.

#OLCAccelerate – Trends And Applications In VR And AR For Online Learning

Trends And Applications In VR And AR For Online Learning
Lead Presenter: Maya Georgieva (Digital Bodies – Immersive Learning)
Brief Abstract: This session explores the use of immersive technologies in online environments. We examine recent developments and creative tools in VR and AR, strategies for implementation and their potential impact on student engagement. 360 Photospheres, social VR, data visualization, and new forms of storytelling promise new opportunities for online pedagogy.
  • www.DigitalBodies.net
  • Intro and Overview
    • AR – Augmented Reality
    • VR – Virtual Reality
    • MR – Mixed Reality
    • Variety of headsets are available from: Microsoft, Google, Oculus, PlayStation, Vive, Intel, Meta
    • Movement to standalone/untethered VR – not having to worry or use a mobile phone or being connected to a computer…
  • VR and AR in Teaching

    • 360 immersive VR experience environments (photo and video)
    • Learning through reflection is KEY – not just viewing.
    • Learning through collaboration – stepping into a SPACE (not just looking at something on a screen) and interacting together in an environment.
    • Learners as creators – building knowledge not just passively consuming. See: https://vr.google.com/blocks/
    • Learning through data visualization – displaying large data sets and interacting with big data in new exploratory ways.
    • Learning through artificial intelligence and machine learning – the power of AI as a contributor to coaching, guiding, facilitating learning.
    • Learning through simulation – immersive simulated environments in health care, etc.
    • Learning language through VR – public speaking and reality apps for foreign language practice
    • Development tools: Unity, Unreal Engine, SketchUp, Adobe Creative Cloud, InstaVR, etc.
    • Campus areas: makerspaces, advanced research, digital humanities, medical/healthcare, engineering, art, etc.
  • Enhancing the Sense of Community in Online Learning
  • Storytelling in New Medium
    • From the cave walls to the holodeck in Star Trek. A new medium with it’s own language. Stories becoming lifelong experiences not really beginning > middle > end.
    • New York Times “Pluto” Video – Stories that enhance the immersive experience and social presence.
  • Implementation of Immersive Experiences
    • Begin with Google Cardboard
    • Connect with VR Photo/Video 360 (Museums, etc.)
    • Transport people for fieldtrips, back in time/archeaology, etc.

It’s time to move beyond the limits of replication of our learning environments:


#OLCAccelerate – From Blahs To Ahhs: Creating Awesome Visual Content Through The Universal Principles Of Design

From Blahs To Ahhs: Creating Awesome Visual Content Through The Universal Principles Of Design
Lead Presenter: Jing Wan (University of South Florida – Tampa)
Co-presenter: Menglu Shao (Digital Learning – USF Innovative Education)
Brief Abstract: Today’s learners have high expectations for visual content. When text-heavy PowerPoints just won’t cut it, instructional designers can utilize design principles to ensure high engagement and usability. Come and get a behind-the-scenes look at practical tips and production strategies that will help you take your content from blah to ahh!
  • Presentation Slides
  • Goal to create effective communication through design
  • Use caution with common Errors: errors, spelling, grammar, non-relevant information
  • Tips
    • Use pictures when appropriate to replace text
    • The fact that pictures are generally better remembered than words has been known for a long time (Kirkpatrick, 1894).
    • Combine many units of information into chunks
    • Goal to digest information to reduce cognitive load
    • Chunk to accommodate short-term memory limits
    • Create equal visual weight distribution in the design [BALANCE & ALIGNMENT]
    • Contrast – Make the important elements different with underlying consistency
    • Consistency – Design the similar content in consistent style and appearance (font/size/headers/body/color theme) aka “look and feel”
  • Presentation Slides



#OLCAccelerate – Study Results From An Online Student Orientation: Using A Community Of Inquiry Model To Help Students ‘Learn How To Learn’ Online

Study Results From An Online Student Orientation: Using A Community Of Inquiry Model To Help Students ‘Learn How To Learn’ Online
Lead Presenter: Julie Watts (University of Wisconsin-Stout)
Strand: Learner Services and Support
Brief Abstract: As director of an online graduate program, I admit students who have experience working and communicating online. However, some are more ready than others for online learning. To better prepare students, I created a community of inquiry-focused online student orientation (OSO). The results of my OSO research are presented here.
  • Presentation Slides
  • Student preparation – knowing your students is important. Students have years of experience, yet, challenged with graduate work.
  • Research scan:
    • Retention for online courses is lower than retention for f2f courses (Levy, 2006)
    • Retention for programs attracting nontraditional adult populations is lower than those attracting traditional student populations (Hadfield, 2003)
    • Working or playing online is not the same as learning in online environments (Kennedy, 2008; Moule, 2007)
  • Online student orientation (OSO) was created to prepare students for online graduate work.
  • OSO include:
    1. Address technological barriers and navigating the LMS (Taylor, 2015)
    2. Provide a sense of welcome and familiarize students with campus resources (Jones, 2013)
    3. Familiarize students with learning in an online environment (Cho, 2012, Levy, 2006)
    |4. Help to build peer networks (Smyth, 2012)
  • Best practices include:
    1. Pre-semester support as well as support during the initial semester is preferable (Wozniak, 2012)
    2. Course-embedded orientations increase completion rates (Taylor, 2015)
    3. Orientations should be self-paced (Cho, 2012), activity-based, and provide opportunities for reflection (Wozniak, 2009)
    4. To design orientation, analyze student and faculty needs, listen to stakeholder voices, provide quality content (Cho, 2012)



  • Orientation is provided for all students. Currently the orientation is not required.
  • Getting started as an Online Student
  • Use SmarterMeasure readiness Assessment
  • OSO is not required and not course embedded…
  • Focus for OSO for Master’s Students
    • One week long
    • Embedded in course first week
    • COI theory provided strucgture
    • Includes readings, discussion, and student interation
  • COI includes cognitive presence, social presence, instructor presence.


  • Research questions for pilot:
    1. How satisfied were students with the OSO? What modifications did they suggest?
    2. How did students use COI to analyze their experiences as online graduate students?
    3. What effect did the OSO have on students’ abilities to “learn how to learn” online?
    4. At what rate were students who completed the OSO retained in the program?
  • Benefits:
    • 50% of students ‘post-ers’ indicated an increase in social presence
    • 85% of students surveyed found the OSO readings and videos “useful”
    • Students noted the importance of building relationships
    • Students connected building social presence with improving cognitive presence
  • Retention:
    • 13/15 students were retained into either the subsequent spring or summer semesters – 2 students were enrolled in their last semester of the program: they graduated
    • This retention rate compares favorably to the 89% overall retention rate for graduate students across my institution during the same time period (UW-Stout Program Fact Sheet).

#OLCAccelerate – Using Light Boards To Enhance Learning Outcomes

Using Light Boards To Enhance Learning Outcomes
Lead Presenter: Michael Ricco (Grand Valley State University)
Strand: Innovations, Tools and Technologies
Brief Abstract: Leveraging light board videos is an effective strategy to enhance student understanding of concepts and to support hybrid and online course development.  This session will share experiences and strategies in using light boards in the curriculum and to support attendees’ effective application to their own courses.
  • Student survey:
    • Had light boards in prior courses: 0%
    • Course concepts were understood better 86%
    • Improved course learning, compared to courses without it: 85%
    • I would recommend the use of light boards in other courses: 100%
  • Student comments on the value of the lightboard:

“…really helped me to understand course ideas like no other way…”

“Made the online sessions more personnel and connected.”

“…graphic representation of complex models helped a lot.”

“These mini lectures were the highlight of the course for me.”

“Prof Ricco is really funny!”

#OLCAccelerate – Faculty Learning Communities: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Improve Online Teaching

Faculty Learning Communities: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Improve Online Teaching
Lead Presenter: Kimberly Kenward (Grand Valley State University)
Co-presenter: Eric Kunnen (Grand Valley State University)
Brief Abstract: As more faculty are being asked to teach online, building capacity to support an ever increasing number of faculty is a significant challenge.  Faculty require opportunities to dialogue, support, and time to reflect on teaching. Faculty learning communities have transformed how Grand Valley State University is providing timely, and high quality professional development. This presentation describes how interdisciplinary faculty learning communities have been successfully implemented to build collegiality across the institutional while supporting online/hybrid instructors.
After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze how FLCs can encourage interdisciplinary partnerships with faculty and other campus units (i.e. Instructional Designers, eLearning Instructional Technologists, Digital Media Developers,  University Libraries and Faculty Teaching & Learning Center)
  • Describe how using FLCs can strengthen and enhance the quality of online teaching and learning
  • Discover the benefits of building capacity through collegiality among faculty
  • Identify principles, methods, and takeaways that can be implemented at participant institutions

[Presentation Handout]

[Presentation Slides]



#OLCAccelerate – Reimagining Institutional Models For Online Program Development And Support

Reimagining Institutional Models For Online Program Development And Support
Lead Presenter: Jason Rhode (Northern Illinois University)
Brief Abstract:When is it time to reevaluate the models for distance learning administration and support at your institution and how do you successfully implement recommendations for change? Learn from the experience of Northern Illinois University reimagining its distance learning support model as a result of a recent institution-wide program prioritization process.
  • NIU
    • 19,000+ students with 7 under grad, 7 grad, and 7 certificates completely online. 17 graduate off campus programs.
  • When there is no systematic structure, it is difficult to scale or strategically compete with other institutions or respond to needs in the marketplace. Also a challenge is coherence for standardization, marketing, strategy across the university.
  • Enrollment patterns at NIU show indication of preference for online and hybrid learning by students. Online has grown 500% if you just look at non-traditional classes.
  • Goals: enrollment growth, serving the region, expanding reach.
  • Student trends: 26% of students at NIU are F2F and online.
  • Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center
  • Online Program Development and Support Website – Collaborative Web Site with Continuing Ed, eLearning Development and FDIDC.
  • NIU Program Prioritization – All programs will be reviewed, honor contracts with employees, guarantee students can finish their academic programs.
    • Enhance, sustain, reduce, transform, and review.
  • Task force recommendations included the integration of online support for students as a strategic initiative for the university and utilizing campus services (marketing, recruiting, admissions, student services, academic affairs, etc.) campus units.
  • NIU created “Complex Conversations” to work to bring together and create a institution wide strategy for online learning.
    • Efficiency and minimize duplication of services
    • Enrollment and tuition generation
    • Sustainable financial structure
  • Mapping out the student experience
  • Benchmarking support models… environmental scan of what others are doing. How things are structure, how are the titles of administrative leaders to support online, etc.
  • Recommendations
    • Grow programs to reach learners that aren’t coming to campus
    • Central support unit
    • Need administrative leader
    • Need expertise in marketing and strategy
    • Existing support services need to support online students also
    • Review financial support model to support growth online
  • Lessons Learned
    • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker
    • Patience is needed – timeline will change
    • No need to reinvent the wheel
    • Working toward the institutions best interests doesn’t go unnoticed
    • Senior leadership is needed – strategy is needed
    • May need to compile metrics and data not previously examined
    • Financial model needed to be reimagined as part restructure
    • Not everyone can maintain a trustee mentality
    • Resistance is guaranteed
    • External factors beyond your control will impact the process

#OLCAccelerate – The Power Of Storytelling To Inspire And Engage

The Power Of Storytelling To Inspire And Engage
Lead Presenter: Matthew Luhn (Pixar)
Brief Abstract:  Storytelling is one of the oldest and most powerful ways to to connect, motivate, and lead people. Stories compel us to engage, define our values and ourselves, and learn.
Matthew Luhn, a 20-year Pixar story veteran, brings his experience creating and developing 10 blockbuster films at Pixar, and provides practical strategies that teach and inspire people and teams to connect more effectively with audiences. Matthew uses the power of storytelling to bridge the gap between knowledge and heart, driving the story toward an unforgettable lesson.

“Great stories make you feel something which leads to a change.” – Matthew Luhn (Pixar)

  • Pixar started at a small company with 80 people. Matthew started by editing the army men.


  • What really captured Matthew was the story.
  • Matthew would volunteer his time to work with the storytelling team at Pixar… because story is KING.
  • Why is storytelling meaningful? Because you remember what happened, you are left with a feeling.

When a teacher does their job well you remember what they talked about. You make a personal connection with people.

  • Only 5% remember any statistics after they are shared.
  • Whereas 65% remember the stories that are told.
  • Story is 22 times more memorable than facts alone.
  • We make decisions based on personal connections > Later we rationalize


  • How to create a memorable and inspiring story?
    • Start with a Hook
      • Why? Because the attention space of an average human is 8 seconds.
      • Make it: unusual, unexpected, action, conflict
      • Ask “What if…”keynotewhatif
      • Change “What is this going to do for me?”
      • Great stories are about transformation.
      • Share stories about how people changed, and this provides transformation.
      • Stories can change people in a good or bad way. How 1 story can turn a company into a hero or a villain… the “news” paints. You need to be in control of your story.
      • Hero, Goal, Obstacles, Change
    • Connect
      • Share stories of what is it like and in context with the audience and relatable to them.
      • Universal themes are relatable:
        • Desire, love, safety, freedom
        • Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of not belonging
    • Authenticity – Truth
      • You got to trick people into learning…. to inspire them. To create empathy with the audience. Wrapping a story around the learning is KEY!
      • Don’t be clever. Be vulnerable and honest.
      • Never state the theme in a story. You want people to feel the theme. (Nemo “If you never let anything happen to Nemo, nothing will ever happen to him.”)
      • Being over protective won’t lead your loved ones to a better life, letting them go will.
    • Structure
      • Be sure to use beginning, middle, and end
      • Set up > Build > Pay off
  • Example of great job and wrapping a story… it wen’t viral.
  • always campaign is perfect for telling a story with setup > build > pay off:

In the end people aren’t going to remember what you said and did, but they will remember how they made you feel… – Matthew Luhn

#OLCAccelerate – Enhancing The Student Online Experience

Enhancing The Student Online Experience

Lead Presenter: Syleste Hoskins (University of South Florida)
Co-presenter: Melissa Tipton (University of South Florida)
Brief Abstract:  We’ve all been witnesses of inconsistent online courses so we’ve come up with a few strategies for enhancing the student online experience. In this discovery session, we’ll provide what’s worked well for us when it comes to using templates and style guides to create a more robust online experience.


Enhancing the Online User Experience (1)