1) Building a Bridge. Traditionally an LMS is viewed as a default space for running courses and managing course content, often at tension with alternative platforms and tools like WordPress that offer additional flexibility but come at the expense of an integrated institutionally recognized environment. LTIs offer hope for using external tools within Canvas; however, in reality it's still difficult for instructors to use WordPress and Canvas together. The WordPress LTI requires a consumer key and secret, a multisite instance, and still only accomplishes single sign-on and site provisioning.

Utilizing the Page Builder plugin and developing custom modules that make use of Canvas APIs, we can start to create interfaces that allow for easy integration of Canvas functionality within a self-hosted WordPress site. We envision modules as a suite of drag and drop utilities integrating a course syllabus, roster, announcements, discussion forums, assignments, and more directly into WordPress, in posts, pages, and even sections of existing pages. Front-end editors and page builders are changing the way educators can build on top of WordPress to create fully-custom course modules and course experiences removing the requirement that these spaces be silos partitioned away from the LMS.

By raising up WordPress, which powers 25% of the web, to be a first-class citizen alongside Canvas for building functional course sites, raising the bar for learning and removing barriers, creating immersive experiences and engaging learners whether a M.O.L.I.E. or MOOC, or face-to-face in a classroom.

2) Creation of a faculty development M.O.L.I.E. designed to transform pedagogical practice; quest-based learning, game theory and elements are the pedagogical drivers to break predictive online learning. It’s time to tap into faculty expertise, creativity, and collaborate to ignite students’ curiosity, active engagement, and create a sense of wonder!

The Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation will launch “The M.O.L.I.E. Initiative” (February 2015) kicked off with a campus visit by the Michigan State team who created SW290: Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse – Disasters, Catastrophes, and Human Behavior winning AT&T’s “Best Fully Online Course Award of Excellence.” In April faculty teams (2-3) will submit M.O.L.I.E. (Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Environment) course proposals – EPIC stories that will integrate Canvas APIs with the open Web.

Fall semester faculty will be immersed in a faculty development M.O.L.I.E to experience immersive learning first-hand and participate in curriculum development workshops, working alongside students, to frame out a course narrative and learning quests. Newly created APIs integrations with Canvas will provide faculty with rich data to inform student learning. Course production (multimedia, WordPress, and Canvas Integration) will begin Spring 2016 for M.O.L.I.E. courses that will be offered to students during the 2016-2017 academic year.