Month: January 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

A Brief History of GOBLIN Faculty Development

This post is written by guest blogger Keegan Long-Wheeler. Keegan is the educational technologist at the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Oklahoma and my collaborator on GOBLIN.

A set of glasses sitting on top of a 19th-century book of maps

The idea for GOBLIN originates from over a year ago when I (Keegan) was thinking about faculty and staff trainings that I wanted to develop. At the time, I was looking to create professional development material around the idea: “What do games have to teach us about learning?” After finishing up development on similar projects, Mobile Blogging & Scholarship and Lynda.com Course Integration, I was ready to tackle what would eventually become GOBLIN.

At the start of development, I asked myself, “how do you teach gamification, game-based learning, difficulty curves, etc. to faculty?” Especially when such topics are not perceived in the same prestige as something like integrating instructional videos into a course? Being a firm believer of constructivist and experiential theories of learning, I knew I wanted to develop professional development that would give participants an experiences of these topics. What better way to demonstrate “what games can teach us about learning” than using a game?

Now I was on the path to create GOBLIN.

Once, I determined I was going to be developing a game, the project started to solidify. I narrowed down the topics I wanted to cover in the training. I established the branding of Games Offer Bold Learning Insights Nowadays (GOBLIN). And I started brainstorming what a game to teach about learning would look like.

As you can imagine, the scale of this project quickly grew beyond what I could complete in a timely manner on my own.

Enter John Stewart.

I had been working with John on Mobile Blogging & Scholarship for several months at this point. Since we shared a love for learning, educational technology, and for games, it quickly became apparent that we were perfect partners for this project!

A few meetings later and we were cooperatively building GOBLIN.

The development process was three-fold (or more) at this point. We were exploring and determining the content we wanted to use, we were developing the mechanics of the game, and we were writing the adventure that tied everything together.

Expansion, reduction, development, simplification, and many iterations later we had come to a definite plan for GOBLIN (version 1.0).

And so continued the primary task of creating GOBLIN’s content, game, and story, while simultaneously initiating the axillary tasks of developing a website, creating game pieces, and marketing (to name a few). Eventually, GOBLIN was in a state to start prototyping and play-testing. So, John and I followed a rapid-prototyping development model for the remainder of time we had to develop.

If you are interested in learning more about the current state of GOBLIN, visit the website and let us know if you have any feedback or questions!

Embedding WordPress in D2L

One of the main limitations for learning management systems is that many are constructed as silos, hiding the course contents from anyone not enrolled in the class. This limitation encouraged me and many other instructors to turn to the web to publish syllabi and course contents in an attempt to open the academy to viewing and interaction with a broader audience.

A little known feature of Desire to Learn (D2L) allows you to reintegrate your open web course page with the LMS. One reason to consider this tactic is that students have come to rely on the LMS as a one stop portal to find course material and check due dates. Replacing the default page for your course with your site allows them to access the full site without having to remember the URL. Creative design could also be used within the site to prompt the students to use D2L features like quizzes or discussion boards, if that’s something you want to do.

I first heard this tip from Adam Croom, and he mentioned it in a blog that he wrote about his PR Pubs course last January. Below is a screen capture demonstrating how to embed WordPress in D2L using Adam’s course:

One thing to note is that some D2L systems, including the one at OU, require that the embedded site have an SSL certificate (the site’s URL will start https:// instead of http://). If you are using wordpress.com, your site will automatically have a security certificate. If you are hosting your own WordPress installation, you can get more information about getting a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.  If you are using OU Create or any other site hosted on Reclaim, here is a description for the button on the CPanel that you can click to activate your SSL license.  If you have any problems with it, reach out to us through our contact form or email us.

Announcing GOBLIN: goblin.education

Cartoon drawing of a short figure, completely obscured except for glowing yellow eyes

Games Offer Bold Learning Insights Nowadays (GOBLIN) is an interactive adventure game that is, first and foremost, a vehicle to experientially teach pedagogical concepts. In other words, GOBLIN aims to synergistically combine professional development, storytelling, and a role-playing game into a memorable, engaging learning experience for instructors. Over the course of GOBLIN, topics ranging from scaffolding and overcoming failure to team learning, game-based learning, and gamification will be discussed and experienced firsthand.

GOBLIN is meant for anyone looking to improve their educational practices and everyone who shares a love for learning and games! At the end of the day this professional development means to provide insight as to what games have to teach us about learning. The first instance of GOBLIN will be conducted at the University of Oklahoma as a Faculty Learning Community—a type of professional development aimed at providing a cohort of instructors with the opportunity to connect and grow as they engage in training together. Five sessions will be spent introducing and exploring these concepts to determine applications in the classroom and beyond. Although GOBLIN will tackle many conceptual questions, participants will also engage with content that will be immediately applicable in their course.

We promise GOBLIN will be unlike any professional development you have ever experienced!

Creative Commons License
goblin.keeganslw.net content by Keegan Long-Wheeler & John Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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