PROGRAM HANDBOOK M.A. LEARNING & EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES Welcome to the MALET program – we’re glad you joined our community of practice. This is an introductory handbook that includes important program information.
INTRODUCTION As a MALET student, you are not just starting an academic program, you are joining a community of faculty, professionals, and other students interested in exploring and researching the learning process in digital environments. We share a desire to better understand how we can use different digital tools to enhance learning. We share an interest in finding new ways to help learners demonstrate not only what they know, but their capacity to create, interact and collaborate across multiple settings. The overall program goals are to: Explore the multiple, unfolding political and economic impacts of digital media as a transformative agent in the global civic and market arenas. Develop an understanding of how people learn in technology-mediated environments. Examine and evaluate learning that occurs in technology mediated environments, and the impact of digital tools, resources and pedagogical methods in these settings. Acquire the skills and capacity to identify, employ and evaluate technologically supported tools and methodologies. Conduct original research projects both individually and in collaborative faculty-student teams in order to expand knowledge in the field.
MALET is designed on the premise that learning is an active, participatory social process. The conceptual plan is based on established principles that learning is social (knowledge emerges from interpersonal interactions), situated (occurs in specific contexts), reflective (requires time and space for reflection and exchange before internalization), and multifaceted (involves varied means of engagement). It leaves open for inquiry the more recent idea that learning in new digital environments involves a process of making connections across various networks – representing a new process of knowledge creation in distributed environments.
CONTACTS Diane.Gal@esc.edu Program Coordinator Associate Professor Pat.Ryan@esc.edu Director, Graduate Student Services Eileen.OConnor@esc.edu Associate Professor Nicola.Allain@esc.edu Associate Professor Susan.Forbes@esc.edu Associate Professor Jase.Teoh@esc.edu Core Faculty / Instructional Techn. Nathan.WhitleyGrassi@esc.edu Core Faculty / Instructional Techn. Mark.Lewis@esc.edu Core Faculty / Instructional Techn./ Community Manager
Tai.Arnold@esc.edu Acting Dean, School for Graduate Studies 111 West Ave Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 518 587-2100 x 2207
ACADEMIC OVERVIEW This is a 36-credit graduate degree, comprised of 18 credits of required core studies, a set of electives, and 6 credits devoted to completing a final project (either a research thesis or capstone project).
Core (18 credits) Foundations Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory and Practice New Media & New Literacies Social & Ethical Issues in the Digital Era Design & Communication Designing Online Learning Environments Evaluating Learning in Participatory Digital Environments Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project Electives (12 credits) Final Project (6 credits) Proposal Seminar: Research Project Final Project: Research Thesis -orProposal Seminar: Capstone Project Final Project: Capstone The core studies make up a First Year Experience, where we establish and build our sense of community as we learn together. More details follow on the types of activities that are part of this experience. Descriptions of the core courses are included in the appendix of this handbook. Youâ€™ll have options for taking a set of electives after this first year. You can choose from a variety of pre-designed studies offered by MALET faculty, or you can bring in up to 9 graduate credits in related fields from another accredited institution, or you can create your own individualized study as a tutorial.
Examples of some of the pre-designed studies offered include Game Based Learning; Identities and Communities in Immersive Environments; Assistive Technologies for Learning. You can also consider taking a Practicum as an elective. Practicums are project based studies in which you actively participate in the work of a faculty member who is conducting research, designing a new study, or teaching an undergraduate online course. There are also options to take courses regularly offered through our other graduate programs. Potential courses of interest include Leadership in Teaching & Learning Environments; Science of Learning: Strategies for Effective Adult Learning: Media and Public Policy.
You might want to create your own individualized study, and take it as a tutorial. Designing your own studies can be a creative, enriching experience. Yet, keep in mind that it requires students to take the initiative, and be confident, self-directed learners. At the end of your program, you will be asked to demonstrate mastery in the field of learning and emerging technologies by completing a final project. You have a choice of either conducting a research study and writing a thesis, or designing a creative project and presenting a capstone. In both cases, you’ll start the process by taking a pro-seminar so you frame your proposed study, review the academic literature on the topic, and learn about appropriate research methodologies (for theses) or design principles (for capstones). Your proseminar experience should conclude with a final project proposal that will serve as a framework for the completion on your final project in the final semester. Your advisor can help you identify two faculty “readers” who guide you in the last semester, and offer constructive feedback on your final project. You will be asked to orally present your work to your readers, and address any questions or suggestions they might offer. By the first week of the term, you’ll be connected to an advisor who will serve as your guide for the entire program experience. Advisors can help clarify program sequences, expectations, and activities. They will check in with you throughout the program, and offer feedback on your work samples. They will also review and offer comments on your final portfolio of work at the conclusion of your program experience. During your first year, your advisor can also help you develop your personal degree plan. You’ll be asked to consider both the program goals, and your own professional goals in order to choose a coherent set of electives, and an appropriate topic for your final project. No later than the end of your first year, you should be ready to share your degree plan, and offer a brief rationale for its relevance and coherence.
COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS In addition to the specific academic studies that you’ll complete as part of the program, there are expectations for being an active participant in our MALET community. Taken together, these activities support our collective learning, and strengthen our connections. Although the majority of your time each week will be focused on your course activities, you should anticipate spending an hour or two each month participating in community activities. From the start, you will be invited to join our community space and to create a profile. Within our community space, you can access the online orientation, digital skills workshops, and special interest groups. As part of the orientation activities, you will be asked to create a personal workspace, using a tool of your choice, and add a link to it in your profile. This will serve as your digital suitcase throughout the first year, and beyond. You will be using your workspace to share samples of your work with accompanying reflective notes with peers and instructors. They, in turn, will leave comments and suggestions for you. As a community, we will also discuss how your evolving work efforts demonstrate growing competency in meeting some of the broad program goals.
Every few months, there are scheduled periods of time for “peer-ings.” In those scheduled weeks, you will be asked to place a work sample in your workspace, with brief reflective notes. Your peers will do the same, and collectively, we will review these samples, and offer constructive feedback. The group Tech Talk Back is a place to ask questions about specific tools, or share new finds with your colleagues. Our community manager, Mark Lewis will moderate this group, and respond to your questions and comments. Periodic afternoon and evening social events will also be scheduled and held in our virtual world location. This year, we will be meeting in Second Life for social events, presentations by guest speakers, and virtual field trips. These are optional, but you should try to attend at least a few of these events in order to become comfortable navigating in the environment. This is especially advisable, as you’ll be expected to use this virtual environment to do a brief presentation of your work at the end of your first year experience in the scheduled Design Showcase. A few final thoughts on time management as you begin your journey: You should plan to spend an average of 10-15 hours a week working on each graduate level course you are taking. In addition, you will likely spend at least one hour a week checking into our community space or attending scheduled online community activities. Busy adults often have busy schedules already and some find that juggling the time demands of returning to formal education daunting. There are a great many good time-management guides available. One useful resource is accessible through the ESC Center for Distance Learning resource page. Here you will find a time management self- assessment along with useful readings about effective time management techniques. You can also access a book, The Adult Student’s Guide to Survival and Success, 6th edition, by Al Siebert and Mary Kerr (Portland, OR: Practical Psychology Press, 2008) from our e-Library. Chapter 6 addresses the issue of time (and space) management.
NOTES ON PARTICIPATION Most of our activities in the MALET program will take place in the Moodle learning management system, and our “teammalet.org” community space. All parts of Moodle are private to the students and faculty of our program, and are ADA compliant. Some parts of the teammalet community space can be made private, but otherwise default to public view. An important note: due to the interactive, experiential, and exploratory nature of the MALET program, we will also be using a variety of online tools outside these spaces. Our provision of links to these additional tools does not warrant the accuracy of any information in those destinations, imply endorsement of the entities to whose sites the links are made, or endorse any of the opinions expressed on these outside sites. In addition, these external sites may or may not be ADA compliant. The sites operate under the auspices and at the direction of their respective owners. If you have questions or comments about any of these sites, please contact them directly.
When accessing external sites, you may be asked to register or join. Using the free version of these online tools will be sufficient for the learning activities proposed in the program. You may choose to use your name or a pseudonym, and in most instances, you may choose to set your account as private or public. You should read and feel comfortable with each site’s terms and conditions. Be aware that the college provides user support for the program’s Moodle space, but limited user support for the external sites. If your instructor is using an external site other than Moodle, you should direct any questions you might have to your instructor.
First Year Experience Core Course Sequence & Descriptions 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-andcommunications 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. First Year Summer Term 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 studentâ€™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 oneâ€™s own evidence of learning and to make deeper connections between the concepts learned in the other courses.
• Learning with Emerging Technologies: Theory & Practice • New Media & New Literacies
First Year Term 1
First Year Term 2 • Design of Online Learning Environments • Social & Ethical Issues in the Digital Era
• Evaluating Learning in Participatory Digital Environments • Advanced Design Seminar: Portfolio Project
First Year Summer Term