Some of the “Why” in EDU 255

The “why” of the course I offer as an example today is because I work with so many who anxious about the possibilities of technology. They are worried about not knowing enough about, or not having enough technology to do their work. The demands of the environment they work in are leaning more and more toward a deeper technological literacy. They worry about that. They are “faculty” and local K12 educators. And they are the people I work with.

EDU 255 (Fundamentals of Educational Technology)

In 2008 we taught the EDU 255 class out of Blackboard and had a bit of the work on public blogs. In 2009 we moved most of the work onto blogs. It was pretty cool. Here is the site. We had a few semesters off, went in and out of Blackboard, and last year we left the LMS for good and did all the work on a blog aggregating the student sites using FeedWordpress. It is here. It was my experiences in The Program for Online Teaching and ds106 that helped me get to that vision of how it could be done.

The current version of EDU 255 is not perfect and we are still tweeking the class and preparing for an October 13th start date this year. It is a seven week course (not my decision) and is billed as “online.” Last year we offered at least four face to face sessions for students at local coffee shops.

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The “Why”

I have interest in this class is because I see the opportunities provided by the web and some of the digital tools I am able to use. The learning objectives for the college and K12 educators in this course is to interact with peers and see what others are thinking and doing, to learn more about how the web can work, and to help them see they can use the web in a way that enhances the experiences of students. Be that a simple recording of a video or creating a useful group of links they can easily contribute to, easily access, and share. It is billed as an introductory course and we have made the work accessible to most educators. Cathy Davidson noted in the #ccourse Hangout this week that too often, “our practices are invisible to each other.” I think that running the class the way we have has allowed folks to better see what others are doing.

The class is certainly not “open” though beyond having a public face on the web. We have never intentionally invited others to participate. I sort of like the small size of the participants and I think there is value in keeping it smallish. I never have been a big fan of the “M” in MOOC. I’d rather sit around a tree reading poems with a few folks…

Very nearly without exception all of the participants have really been happy with what they have experienced. It is easy to sell the technology stuff to educators. Usually.

The “online” delivery of the class has been interesting as I know well the value of sitting next to an anxious instructor trying to figure out how to use some tricky tool. We really pushed the face to face class last time and it worked. We had a few people in each meeting and they were very appreciative of having someone there next to them to assist.

Anyway, that is a story about a class I get to participate in.

On Another Note

Here in the middle of Arizona we are also about to launch our second annual 9x9x25 Challenge which is a class really, but it is 100 percent participant driven. Kinda like an EdCamp only different. You can read about it here.

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