Rather than fear the future of higher education in the digital age, the University of Mary Washington is shaping it.
A leader in digital learning and teaching, UMW hosted OpenVA − the Open and Digital Learning Resources Conference − in October and brought together Virginia’s leaders in higher education with some of the country’s most innovative thinkers.
To open the two-day event, President Richard V. Hurley and UMW’s Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT) invited Virginia university presidents, administrators, faculty, and other decision makers. Members of the UMW Board of Visitors, administration, faculty, staff, and students listened as innovators presented ideas, then led discussion of what’s next for Virginia education. These opening sessions, titled Minding the Future, were sponsored by UMW and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
The following day, nearly 40 Virginia educators and technologists presented ways they use or envision using open-source, online resources to engage students and create a network of scholars and leaders those students can collaborate with. Nearly 200 people attended, representing 38 schools.
UMW teaching and learning technologists and professors spoke about UMW’s Domain of One’s Own initiative, a DTLT project in which all incoming UMW students are given their own Web space in which to create a digital academic presence and portfolio. On graduation, students keep their domain, so they retain control and ownership.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wired, The Web Host Industry Review, and the Center for Digital Education have written about Mary Washington’s groundbreaking initiative that helps students learn to manage their digital identities while studying traditional liberal arts and sciences.
UMW’s DTLT also received kudos in September for ds106, an open online digital storytelling community that grew out of a UMW computer science class. The online collaboration received one of five Reclaim Open Learning Innovation Contest awards, which honor projects that embody principles of open education and participatory learning.
Reclaim Open Learning is a collaboration of the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at UC Irvine and the MIT Media Lab.
To learn more and to watch video of OpenVA presentations, visit openva.org.