W&M’s Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation launches new professional learning platform

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by Brianna Williams ’22 and Amber Donnelly, STLI

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March 10, 2022

William & Mary’s Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation (STLI) recently launched the STLI Academy, a professional learning platform offering on-demand courses with the ability to purchase micro-credentials for faculty, staff and university partners.

The STLI Academy offers relevant and engaging learning opportunities developed by the studio and university partners. Courses are non-creditable skill and competency opportunities leading to completion badges issued through the Credly digital credential network. The courses developed by STLI focus on teaching and learning for university teachers, while partner courses are offered for professionals in various fields, including business, law and government.

STLI Instructional Design Specialist Amanda Morris manages the STLI Academy platform and works with internal and external partners to develop, design and deliver courses. From conception to launch of the platform, Morris has led the initiative and also provides instructional design services and consulting for partners.

“On-demand learning opportunities are extremely popular and are being recognized by a growing number of industries as an acceptable education or experience,” Morris said.

In today’s workforce, professionals are expected to maintain their knowledge and continuously improve or expand relevant skills, leading to a demand for online graduate and professional education. STLI Academy offers an innovative and flexible learning experience unique to William & Mary that focuses on unleashing, creating and developing both insight and practical skills. STLI Academy courses are designed to motivate professionals and help them develop new skills that they can apply in their current roles.

At the launch of the platform, STLI released five courses open to all W&M educators: Course Design: Creating Assessments, Course Design: Developing or Revising a Curriculum, Course Design: Engaging Students, Course Design: Mapping Course Objectives, and Course Design: Planning Lessons Sessions.

The STLI Academy hosts both free and paid affiliate courses like the Washington Center’s successful ones Modern Leadership: Reflections and Tools for the Values-Based Leadership Course. and the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center’s Opportunity Discovery course. The studio’s current partners also include the Arts & Sciences Graduate Center, the School of Law and the Social Science Research Methods Center.

“The STLI Academy is important because it means professionals have opportunities to continue their education. W&M no longer serves only traditional-age students,” said Roxane Adler-Hickey, director of the W&M Washington Center. “This new platform gives W&M the opportunity to continue learning and developing in every phase.”

STLI Associate Director of Academic Innovation and Digital Learning Adam Barger, Ph.D. outlined the studio’s plans to expand the course catalog to offer learning opportunities for all levels of engagement and interest.

“From quick 1-hour micro-courses to in-depth 10-20 hour courses, we aim to meet the need for professionals here and in the wider community to learn new and relevant skills,” said Barger.

Barger’s responsibilities include guiding the studio’s professional learning interests as both an academic innovation and a service, not just to the university but to the entire teaching and learning community. The STLI Academy will continue to grow as a way for other campus entities to offer web-based learning opportunities. The studio will assess evolving professional learning needs against the pilot program’s success rate to determine potential revenue generation that will help sustain the longevity and expansion of the platform in the future, Barger added.

“STLI offers faculty members a unique opportunity to develop their teaching skills in a flexible, supportive learning environment and earn recognized credentials for their endeavors,” said Morris. “It’s also a chance for them to find support from STLI team members and find a community of educators to collaborate with.”

At the intersection of innovation, learning and discovery, STLI Academy directly contributes to the studio’s mission to inspire and advance teaching and learning at William & Mary and beyond.

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