Annual Report 2018

Year Three: The Future of Digital Learning

The focus on our annual report for year 3 is the future of digital learning. Thinking about that future is core to our mission and a key part of our work. We’ve done a great deal of work in this area this year, and we highlight that work in two ways: (1) We provide three extended examples of efforts that are attempts to shape our digital learning future, and (2) just below we walk you through key areas of work that focus on MSU’s efforts in the area of online programs. 

Online Program Management

The Hub provides Online Program Management capacity to assist MSU’s colleges in creating successful online post-baccalaureate programs. We are building capacity to incubate nascent programs, provide learning design support, and assist with program proposals and market analysis. In the past year the Hub’s OPM team has maintained a pipeline of online and blended programs, including facilitating market research for several prospective programs.

Online and Blended Program Strategy

The Provost tasked the Hub with leading the development of a strategy for online programs. To do so, we convened a team of experienced campus online program leaders to create a first draft and are now in the process of revision through consultations with faculty, program leaders, and Deans and other administrators. The strategy aims to ensure that MSU has a clear path forward for stakeholders considering online program opportunities. We believe the strategy assists decision makers in academic affairs, Deans, Chairs, and the faculty who propose and develop online programs. The current draft and its associated materials are accessible to everyone at MSU.

Online Program Leads

The Hub’s OPM function is also facilitating meetings of the program leads for each of MSU’s online and blended programs and developed an advisory group to support programmatic planning for this group. Gathering this group for professional development and common-good decision support is important to support the campus. The strategy is intended to drive and spread best practices between programs and provide scaffolding to help new programs grow and mature as they tackle learning design challenges, develop courses, foster an admissions pipeline, build student support processes, and work to graduate their first class of successful students.

Marketing for Online Programs

Based on a inquiry into campus needs, we have chosen a starting point for assisting all online programs with marketing and lead identification. The Hub has collaborated with MSU IT and the Provost’s Office to develop a design for a new enterprise-wide marketing portal for Online and Blended Programs. To be launched in the coming year at, this portal will provide information to prospective students on all of MSU’s online offerings, and provide each program with the basic infrastructure to collect leads for follow-up.

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Hub by the Numbers

While it is difficult for us to quantify the countless conversations and brainstorming sessions we’ve had in the past year, we can provide a little context for just how far we’ve reached.

An infographic representing 20 action projects, 32 scholarly presentations, 280 events, 28 partners, 1,107 posted updates, 17 fellows, 263 students involved, 17 recent publications, and 23 completed projects.

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Catalyst Innovation Program

hand holding lightbulb for graphic interest

The recipients of the inaugural competition were selected by a panel of reviewers comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Our first batch of recipients represents a range of campus experiences, and we are thrilled to highlight them:

  • Dr. Chris Scales Residential College for Arts and Humanities The RCAH Project Studio: Integrated learning/inclusive technologies
  • Dr. Eva Kassens-Noor Urban and Regional Planning Experiencing Autonomous Futures: Engaged learning that challenges technology implementation for smart cities
  • Dr. Julie Libarkin Center for Integrative Studies in General Science Adapting Qualtrics for Adaptive Learning
  • Representatives from the MA in Educational Technology Program College of Education MAET Graduate Online Affinity Learning Space (GOALS)
  • Dr. Keith Promislow, Mathematics Machine Learning and Student Collaboration Networks
  • Dr. Kurt Milberger, Michigan State University Press: The Permutations Imprint of MSU Press
  • Dr. Monaca Eaton and Dr. Erika Shifflet-Chila, School of Social Work Innovation and Access: Expanding Educational Reach with Technology Enhancement and Learning Lab

On the Horizon

We will be highlighting the work of our Catalyst Innovation Program recipients, as well as what they learned from their projects and what MSU can learn from their projects going forward.

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iOS Design Lab

iOS Design Lab logoThe iOS Design Lab introduces students to coding in Apple’s language Swift through a challenge-based curriculum focused on creativity, design, and teamwork.

The Lab is the first year-long, cohort-based iOS Design Lab in the United States. The Hub and the College of Arts & Letters have been working with Apple to offer students a space to create, share, and impact their communities by solving challenges through Swift, the coding language of Apple. This past year focused on building the first iteration of the curriculum with a pilot group of twenty students from Professional Writing, Computer Science, Experience Architecture, Graphic Design, and Advertising Management. Key developments included:

  • Designing content, materials, and processes
  • Collaborating with partners (Apple, MSU, BIG10)
  • Launching the program in Fall 2018
  • Collecting data on student progress and experiences
  • Registering the experience in MSU’s co-curricular record My Spartan Story

On the Horizon

Next steps for this project are centered around the second iteration of the program based on student feedback and lessons learned from the first year. This includes a refined curriculum, a seamless integration of experiential participation, and a flexible credentialing system.

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My Spartan Story: The Co-Curricular Record

My Spartan Story logoAt MSU, the interactive My Spartan Story platform captures MSU student experiences outside of the classroom. These co-curricular activities can include, but are not limited to: leadership programs, student employment, research positions, internships, and service-learning and civic engagement opportunities.

In our third year, we focused on creating technical workflows for key co-curricular providers on campus. We’ve shifted the campus conversations so more groups are talking about and practicing co-curricular student learning in similar ways (e.g., Learning outcomes/goals, learning activity, learning assessment, student validation) We’ve added our first expansion partner in the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement. Summer 2018 saw the first live use of the software in the Mid-SURE summer research event! Through discussions with our Steering Committee, our Validation Committee, and in building a Student Advisory Committee, we’ve identified sustainable energy for the project.

Additional accomplishments this year included:

  • Chose our name: My Spartan Story and the Spartan Experience Record
  • Implementation of software for 3 of 4 work areas
  • Developed training materials and business process for adding new activities to the record.

On the Horizon

MSU should expect to see activity data in the platform and students reflecting upon and sharing their co-curricular experiences on the Spartan Experience Record. Long-term goals of the project include:

  • Hiring a full-time Director of My Spartan Story and the Spartan Experience Record
  • Transition of the project to a permanent home in the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • Data feeds and reporting of activity within and across units to help tell Our Spartan Story
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Scholarship: Our Publications

One of the principles that drives our work is that it be grounded in evidence-based practice. We design learning experiences and focus on teaching practices in this way. What may not be completely clear is that our projects produce evidence as well. The design of our projects always looks for ways to engage in scholarly or analytical work, and we are happy that many faculty are eager to participate in scholarship as well. We are proud of the scholarly productivity of the Hub.


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