MALET Course Descriptions

Core Courses - 18 credits:

Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory and Practice (3 cr)

As innovative technologies continue to emerge, new ways of improving the teaching and learning process are possible. George Veletsianos claims in his book, Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, that emerging technologies may or may not be new, are evolving entities, experience “hype cycles” and can be disruptive. He describes a need for more research and understanding to reveal the untapped potential of these emerging technologies in ways that transform instruction and deepen understanding. In this course, we explore a variety of learning theories, best practices and instructional design frameworks that can help guide educators’ through a process of researching and vetting emerging technologies. We examine how it is essential that educators design instruction and evaluation using a lens that includes learning theory, best practices and instructional design frameworks to discover and exploit affordances of emerging technologies in ways that promote the acquisition and refinement of 21st century skills in both formal and informal learning environments.

New Media & New Literacies (3 cr)

This course is designed to explore the implications of new media and new literacies in social, political, economic, and personal spheres. Students will investigate theories and research related to meaning-making in and around the contexts of contemporary social media. In addition, students will work collaboratively and collectively to build their knowledge in how these media are created, used, interpreted, and re-used by themselves and others. They will explore how affinities for these media enable us to think differently about what it means to read, write, listen, speak, view, and participate in often over lapping, and at times juxtaposed, communities of practice. Rather than focus on producing new media, this course will explore the impact new media and the resulting new literacies have on membership in existing and emerging communities of practice.

Social & Ethical Issues in the Digital Era (3 cr)

In this course, students will explore major issues related to knowledge production and learning in our digital age. Students will be introduced to pressing issues in the use of technology in various learning environments, and reflect on the assumptions we make about knowledge, creativity, and social dynamics based on our choices. Any one of the topics raised is suitable for more in-depth study as an elective. Topics will include: privacy and security, intellectual property rights, the nature of creative commons, access and equity, ethics and legal challenges, digital democracy. Students will consider these concerns as they move into discussions on future trends by reading a variety of current reports, such as: MIT’s Technology Review, Ray Kurzweill’s AI.net site, Jamais Casco’s Open the Future, and the New Media Consortium/Educause’s annual Horizon Report, and their Top Teaching and Learning Challenges Project. Some consideration will be given to assistive technologies that address the needs of students with disabilities, and the scope of both the American Disabilities Act and recommendations of professional organizations including the National Council of Online Learning.

Designing Online Learning Environments (3 cr)

The collaborative potential of online tools requires instructors to consider shifts in their pedagogy - to more mindfully plan, facilitate and guide. This represents a change in the roles and relationships between teachers and learners, and requires more attention to the instructional design and interactive communicative strategies of virtual learning experiences. In this study, students are introduced to instructional and digital design principles in order to apply them in a project that can be used as a component for their advanced design portfolios, or final capstone projects. Consideration is given to effective visual communication in digital environments. The course explores stages of the instructional systems design (ISD) process, and strategies for designing and developing multimedia instructional materials. An important aspect of online instructional design is understanding and responding to the context in which instructional materials will be delivered, and the needs, expectations and capacities of the participants. Students will explain their thinking during the creation of a project, and demonstrate their understanding of these expectations.

Evaluating Learning in Participatory Digital Environments (3 cr)

Designing, developing, and learning within digital environments presents new challenges to our understanding of knowledge and skills; to the assessment of learning; and to understanding what constitutes effective participation in such environments. Using both collaborative and independent work, within this course, students will study the nascent literature on digital environment evaluation and will seek to explore and define models of interactions and their assessment that can provide direction, support, and insight to designers and instructors of digital environments. Upon studying the rich, diverse, and novel ways in which humans can work in these environment and the many emerging and readily-available feedback tools (such as, polling, analytics, monitoring, interaction-capturing device, video and audio tape archives), students will consider ways to value, document, capture, analyze, and evaluate the complex formal and informal ways that learners are making meaning within technology-mediated learning-and-communications environments. Students will examine the ways that present systems (schools, game companies, internet-based organizations, and the like) are monitoring and tracking learning, training, and progress within their organizations, gathering insight into their own instructional development and assessment needs from these studies. Emphasis will be placed on students studying, designing, and evaluating the emerging landscape of digital assessment and applying these understandings to their own instructional needs.

Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project (3 cr)

In this final core course students will continue to deepen their knowledge of theories and practices pertaining to instructional design and emerging technologies. Students will create a body of work that reflects the ability to integrate theory and skills of design and development, learning principles, and assessment methods. This knowledge and skill will be demonstrated in the creation of a comprehensive multimedia project for their ePortfolio or their professional work environment. This project should demonstrate the student’s growth as a specialist in emerging technologies as well as incorporate their own past skills, knowledge, and/or interests on their chosen topic. Personal reflection will be used to self-evaluate one’s own evidence of learning and to make deeper connections between the concepts learned in the other courses.