Maha Bali

maha bali headshot

Maha Bali is associate professor of practice at the Center for Learning & Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She is a full-time faculty developer and she teaches creative educational game design to undergrads. Bali also is co-founder and co-facilitator of Edcontexts, co-founder of virtuallyconnecting.org, editor of the journal, Hybrid Pedagogy and blogger at Prof Hacker.


Blogs (5)


9 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Educational Games

Thursday, November 03, 2016

board game I’ve been teaching educational game design for a few semesters now as part of a module of a Creative Thinking and Problem Solving liberal arts course at my institution. I started out as a novice to the whole idea of game design, but I knew a lot about education. From teaching the course several times, I’ve learned a lot about how to teach it (and how not to), but I’ve also learned a lot from observing my students make mistakes when designing educational games. And, I make these mistakes sometimes when attempting to design a game.


Generic v. Specialized Tools in Assignments

Thursday, September 01, 2016

popcorn I would like to share my thinking process for designing an assignment for my class this semester and hopefully this will be beneficial to others as well. I have an idea to ask my students to create a simple empathy game that is a choose-your-own-adventure type of thing, which is also sometimes called interactive story/narrative. Two great examples are SPENT (take on the role of a poor person in America) and the BBC’s Syrian refugees game where you pretend to be part of a Syrian family fleeing to Europe. There are a variety of tools students


Engaging Introductions for First Day of Class

Thursday, August 04, 2016

gold-colored water drops One of the things I always try to do at the beginning of class or even a short workshop is give participants opportunities to start building community — and this means that introductions should be engaging for everyone! Here are a few I have tried myself. Collaborative/Connected Introductions I recently tried this approach in a workshop on scholarly collaboration, that I called “collaborative introductions” but can better be called “connected introductions.” I think it would work well for any classroom context, even very young kids. It goes like this: As I introduce myself, I highlight elements of myself


Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Magnified image of dew on a dandelion stem I wrote Critical Citizenship for Critical Times in 2013, responding to the political upheaval in Egypt. I argued that teaching critical thinking traditionally promotes skepticism (a good thing, particularly when authorities like the government are corrupt or untrustworthy like the media) but what ended up happening in Egypt is that those who questioned media and political power turned their advocacy into oppositional advocacy that topples regimes but does little to co-construct a better future. I suggested we reconsider what we mean by “critical,” and proposed that universities aim to promote criticality that centers around social justice


Creating Cyber Connections

Thursday, December 10, 2015

cluster of clipped multi colored wires We have been reflecting lately on the significance of our network in helping us learn and grow as scholars, as teachers, and as co-learners. Often, people associate the term network with the infrastructure of computer systems. But, what has this important term come to mean for learning in the context of digital pedagogy and the social web? Who do we connect with and how do we share on the web? How do networks facilitate and expand the scope of our own learning? We have met and worked with many new colleagues from around the globe, thanks