This series of eight MOOCs was created by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis for the Learning Design and Leadership program at the University of Illinois.
For three decades and longer we have heard educators and technologists making a case for the transformative power of technology in learning. However, despite the rhetoric, in many ways and at most institutional sites, education is still relatively untouched by technology. Even when technologies are introduced, the changes sometimes seem insignificant and the results seem disappointing. If the print textbook is replaced by an e-book, do the social relations of knowledge and learning necessarily change at all or for the better? If the pen-and-paper test is mechanized, does this change the nature of our assessment systems? Technology, in other words, need not necessarily bring significant change. Technology might not even represent a step forward in education. But what might be new? How can we use technologies to innovate in education?
Education is in a state of flux – transitioning from traditional architectures and practices to new ecologies of teaching and learning influenced by the tremendous social and technological changes of our times. What changes are afoot today in workplaces, civic life and everyday community life? What are their implications for education? What are the possible impacts of contemporary social transformations on teaching and learning - including in the areas of technology, media, globalization, diversity, changing forms of work in the “knowledge society”, and, in these contexts, changing learner needs and sensibilities? This course explores three pedagogical paradigms: “didactic”, “authentic” and “transformative” learning. It takes an historical perspective in order to define the contemporary dimensions of what we term “new learning”. It prepares participants to make purposeful choices and link particular theories/instructional approaches to individual and group learning goals
For several decades now, assessment has become an increasingly pressing educational priority. Teacher and school accountability systems have come to be based on analysis of large-scale, standardized summative assessments. As a consequence, assessment now dominates most conversations about reform, particularly as a measure of teacher and school accountability for learner performance. Behind the often heated and at times ideologically gridlocked debate is a genuine challenge to address gaps in achievement between different demographically identifiable groups of students. There is an urgent need to lift whole communities and cohorts of students out of cycles of underachievement. For better or for worse, testing and public reporting of achievement is seen to be one of the few tools capable of clearly informing public policy makers and communities alike about how their resources are being used to expand the life opportunities for their children. This course is an overview of current debates about testing, and analyses the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of approaches to assessment. The course also focuses on the use of assessment technologies in learning. It will explore recent advances in computer adaptive and diagnostic testing, the use of natural language processing technologies in assessments, and embedded formative assessments in digital and online curricula. Other topics include the use of data mining and learning analytics systems in learning management systems and educational technology platforms. Participants will be required to consider issues of data access, privacy and the challenges raised by ‘big data’ including data persistency and student profiling.
This course sets out to provide an understanding of theories of learning and development and how these theories relate to educational technology. It has two components. The first is theoretical, in which we attempt to develop an overall frame of reference, locating approaches to the psychology of learning in terms of large paradigm shifts, from ‘behaviorism’ to ‘brain developmentalism’ to ‘social cognitivism’. The second component is practical, in which we will use these theoretical concepts to ‘parse’ a technology-mediated learning environment for its underlying presuppositions.
This course will analyze currently available technologies for learning. Areas addressed include: learning management systems, intelligent tutors, computer adaptive testing, gamification, simulations, learning in and through social media and peer interaction, universal design for learning, differentiated instruction systems, big data and learning analytics, attention monitoring, and affect-aware systems. Participants will explore the processes for selection and implementation of suitable technologies, the design of electronic learning resources, design and application of digital media in teaching and learning, familiarization with web usability and accessibility, and critical analysis of the benefits of technologies in education.
An investigation of the dimensions of learner diversity: material (class, locale), corporeal (age, race, sex and sexuality, and physical and mental characteristics) and symbolic (culture, language, gender, family, affinity and persona). Examines social-cultural theories of difference, as well as considering alternative responses to these differences in educational settings - ranging from broad, institutional responses to specific pedagogical responses within classes of students. The course also focuses on the application of learning technologies and new media to meet the needs of diverse populations of learners. Its main practical question is, how do we use educational technologies to create learning environments in which learning experiences can be customized and calibrated to meet the precise needs of particular learners? Topics include: universal design for learning, differentiated instruction systems, and adaptive and personalized learning environments.
This course opens with an exploration of the social context and aims of literacy teaching and learning. It goes on to describe a range of historical and contemporary approaches to literacy pedagogy, including didactic, authentic, functional, and critical approaches. The course takes has a 'Multiliteracies' perspective, which aims to expand the definition of literacy to encompass today's multimodal communications, and the diversity of literacies across different social and culltural contexts. A Multiliteracies approach also suggests a broad range of activity types—experiential, conceptual, analytical and critical.
Whereas the focus of traditional literacy pedagogy has been the written word in its standard and literary forms, this courser expands the scope of literacy learning to encompass contemporary multimodal texts and the wide range of ways of making meaning that occur in different social and cultural contexts. Another course, "Literacy Teaching and Learning: Aims, Approaches and Pedagogies" addresses pedagogical aspects of literacies. This "Multimodal Literacies" learning module does not require or expect that participants will have already completed the "Literacy Teaching and Learning" module.