Everyone should go to UMW’s Faculty Academy. Feel the love, hippies.

After four years of somehow not being able to find a way to get back to UMW’s Faculty Academy, I made the trek this past week with a colleague from work, Ma’ayan.

Faculty Academy has had a huge warm spot in my heart…Prior to attending in 2008 I had never been to a meet up where there was so much joy coupled with wildly creative and yet blissfully simple uses of technology for teaching and learning.   I worried that I had overly romanticized FacAcad to Ma’ayan  (What if things had changed? What if I had remembered it differently than what the reality would be?  What if what was then  had been  replaced by a horrible new now?)

My worries were unfounded.  Delightfully so…. Faculty Academy continues to be one of the most inspiring, unpretentious, open, fun, creative academic technology events celebrations I have ever attended. And it is free. Yes, FREE…as in free lunch (and you get a couple of those too!!!)

In fact, last week, and thanks to Faculty Academy, I got my sanity back.  Not to mention my wayward language tech mojo: I now haz a renewed desire to create, discover, explore what’s possible in edtech and languages.

What sets FacAcad apart is the fact that people are eager to share, eager to collaborate, eager to show you how it is done and even help you do it..  They are genuinely joyful about the things they create and the work their students and colleagues have done.  These are folks who work hard, wicked hard, but they all also plaaaaay equally hard.  I also love the fact that the DTLT folks (Martha , Jim, Tim, Andy and Alan…an awesomely talented lineup of people) seem to live with the motto that anything and everything  is possible… and as soon as they have figured it out then everyone (and I mean everyone) is invited to come in and join the fun.  What can we share with you? How can we help you make that happen?

Ma’ayan summarized Faculty Academy perfectly:

Faculty Academy is much like improv: it’s all about “Yes, and?” rather than “Yes, but…”

Being there also solidified my commitment to seeing how I  can learn from UMW’s ds106 online open experience and apply it to the teaching of languages.  Yerp.  As I gear up to teach the second semester of the intermediate Spanish language sequence next fall, and as I attempt to make useful and current yet another dry, tedious, horridly expensive textbook (and its online mega “interactive” course blah dee blah), things like the amazing ds106 assignment bank  are a welcome, thrilling change of course.  Anyone else wanna play along?

foto by Ma'ayan Plaut on <a href="http://instagr.am">Instagram</a>

MOOC love

 Foto by Ma’ayan Plaut on Instagram

I’m feeling the Faculty Academy Love, indeed, and  am looking forward to a wonderful summer of what if’s? and why not’s!

Thank you Martha, Jim, Tim, Andy and Alan…for yet another amazing event!



Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!


  1. scottlo · May 22, 2012 Reply

    I heard you were interested in exploring ds106 type stuff with language learning.

    Will you be participating in Camp Magic MacGuffin this summer? If so, maybe we could talk about it around the campfire after Alan finishes playing his guitar.

    • Barbara · May 22, 2012 Reply

      That would be awesome! Let me know a time. Would hate to interrupt a singing cogdog 🙂

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