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MARS Project Earns Gold at Learning Impact Awards

Alex Kasten
By Alex Kasten
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Adelphi, Md. (June 15, 2023) –The use of MARS—the Multi-Dimensional Applied Relevant System—as a virtual learning environment has earned University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) a gold award at the 2023 1EdTech Learning Impact Conference.

UMGC was recognized at the June 5-8 conference in Anaheim, California, for its implementation of an immersive learning platform in an educational setting. UMGC launched MARS in multiple graduate courses in early 2022, with a continued strategic rollout in remaining graduate labs and select undergraduate labs through 2023.

Chad Whistle

“The response thus far to the MARS virtual learning environment has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Whistle, PhD, senior director of academic projects in UMGC’s School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology. “MARS helps students build essential career-relevant skills by giving them access to a simulated, AI-driven world in which they learn by doing.”

MARS provides a seamless environment for students to access a remote Windows or Linux environment. By allowing them to cut, paste, and copy files between the MARS environment and their own desktops, an efficient user experience is created. As students, faculty, and staff interact with MARS, their engagement activity on the platform is analyzed and continuously enhanced with AI and machine-learning systems. Faculty members can "shadow” students simultaneously and assist with troublesome areas that might arise. 

The MARS virtual learning environment (VLE) includes cyber-range capabilities, capture-the-flag and war-gaming scenarios. It supports UMGC’s K12 and industry outreach to grow the cyber workforce pipeline through the Center for Security Studies. To date, UMGC has enrolled more than 4,500 students in MARS.  

About University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus was founded more than 75 years ago specifically to serve the higher education needs of working adults and military servicemembers. Today, UMGC is the largest provider of postsecondary education in Maryland and continues its global tradition with online and hybrid courses, more than 175 classroom and service locations worldwide, and more than 125 degrees and certificates backed by the reputation of a state university and the University System of Maryland. For more information, visit

About 1EdTech

1EdTech is a member-based nonprofit community partnership of leading educational providers at all levels, government organizations, and edtech suppliers working together to enable better digital teaching and learning. It powers learner potential by accelerating an open, trusted, and innovative education ecosystem in which products work together to enable better learning.

1EdTech hosts the annual Learning Impact conference and other engagement opportunities to advance the leadership and ideas that shape the future of learning. 1EdTech is supported by an affiliated public charity, the 1EdTech Foundation. For more information, visit