The Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI) at William & Mary recently launched STLI Academy, a professional learning platform, offering on-demand courses with opportunities to earn micro-credentials for faculty, staff and university partners.
STLI Academy provides relevant and engaging learning opportunities developed by the studio and university partners. The courses are non-credit opportunities related to skills and competencies that result in completion badges issued through the digital credential network Credly. STLI-developed courses are centered around teaching and learning for higher education instructors, while partner courses are offered to professionals in various fields including business, law and government.
STLI Instructional Design Specialist Amanda Morris manages the STLI Academy platform and collaborates with internal and external partners to develop, design and deliver courses. From conceptualization to the platform’s launch, Morris has led the initiative and also provides instructional design services and consultations for partners.
“On-demand professional learning opportunities are extremely popular and are becoming recognized by more industries as acceptable education or experiences,” said Morris.
In today’s workforce, professionals are expected to maintain knowledge and continuously improve or expand relevant skills, leading to a demand for online graduate and professional education. STLI Academy provides an innovative and flexible learning experience that is uniquely William & Mary and focuses on flourishing, creating, and developing both insight and practical skills. STLI Academy courses are designed to engage and support professionals in cultivating new skills that can be applied in their current roles.
Upon the platform’s launch, STLI released five courses that are open to all W&M instructors: Course Design: Creating Assessments, Course Design: Developing or Revising a Syllabus, Course Design: Engaging Students, Course Design: Mapping Course Goals and Course Design: Planning Class Sessions.
STLI Academy hosts both free and paid partnered courses such as the Washington Center’s successful Modern Leadership: Reflections and Tools for the Values-Based Leader course and the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center’s Opportunity Discovery course. The studio’s current partners also include the Arts & Sciences Graduate Center, School of Law and the Social Science Research Methods Center.
“STLI Academy is important because it means professionals have ways to keep learning. W&M is not just serving the traditional-aged undergraduate anymore,” said W&M Washington Center Director Roxane Adler-Hickey. “Through this new platform, W&M has opportunities for continued learning and development at any stage.”
STLI Associate Director for Academic Innovation & Digital Learning Adam Barger, Ph.D. detailed the studio’s plans to expand the course catalog to offer learning opportunities for all levels of commitment and interests.
“From quick one-hour micro-courses to more in-depth 10- to 20-hour courses, we aim to meet the need for professionals here and in the broader community to learn new and relevant skills,” said Barger.
Barger’s charge includes leading the studio’s professional learning interests as both an academic innovation and a service, not only for the university but the teaching and learning community at large. STLI Academy will continue to grow as an avenue for other campus units to offer web-based learning opportunities. The studio will assess the evolving need for professional learning with the pilot program’s success rate to help determine a potential revenue generation that will help sustain the platform’s longevity and expansion in the future, added Barger.
“STLI is offering a unique opportunity for faculty members to build their teaching skills in a flexible, supportive learning environment and earn recognized credentials for their efforts,” said Morris. “It is also a chance for them to find support from STLI team members and find a community of educators that they can 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 across William & Mary and beyond.