Communication and New Media in Education (effects)

This course, QEED513 Communication and New Media in Education was previously titled “Communication and New Media Effects.” I am designing this course to be a combination of two courses I have taught before- The Design of Online Environments and Design Thinking and Theory.

FAQ | Faculty and Course Information | Assignments | Schedule | Policy on Written Work | Readings | Slides

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is this course about?

This course examines the dynamics of digital technologies and their impacts on education with a wide range of cases from both developed and developing countries. Learners explore a diversified, technology-enhanced educational landscape. Readings address online and open education, considerations when adopting technologies for education, issues of access and appropriateness for certain populations, and digital gaps in education.

Should I take this class?

If you are interested in how to make intelligent decisions surrounding technology for learning, then yes, you should take this class. While this class does explore digital tools, it is not about digital tools. It is about learning. I was once asked, “I like the tech and all, but are you going to talk about how this technology might be used for teaching every single class?!” Yes. we will talk about how these technologies can be, and are, being used for learning in every single class.

What will I do in this class?

You read a little bit. Most of all you will explore technologies for the affordances for learning.

Faculty and Course Information

  • Meeting Time: Thursdays 3:10-5:40pm
  • Location: Course meets virtually in Zoom
  • Course Credit Hours: 3
  • Assignment submissions go through the learning management system (LMS) called Canvas
  • This course uses current research studies. All texts are available via the password-protected Readings folder.
  • This syllabus was last updated on July 2, 2022

Faculty Contact Information

  • Craig D. Howard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education
  • Department of Educational and Language Education
  • Email: craig.howard[at mark]icu.ac.jp
  • Do not contact me via LMS internal messaging because I will not get your message.
  • Virtual office: Zoom (ID: 648 060 7829)
  • Office: Education & Research Bldg #314
  • Der Eintrittswort für die geheimes Mappe ist BBQ.

Office hours: Tuesdays 12:00-3:00, but please notify me ahead of time to see if there is already another student scheduled in that time slot. I am on campus every Tuesday this Spring. I check email once a day, but not on weekends. I respond as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours. Note that I do not require documents be printed, ever. Please do not ask for handouts, slides, or printed texts. All papers, presentations, class handouts and other materials will always be digital, and available on this website. All submissions will process through the LMS only. I expect your submissions to come through the LMS and not to me via email. When submitting revisions online, remember tracked changes and use the same dropbox as the original. See the policy on written work for more details on submissions and re-submissions of written work.

Course Description/Information:

This course facilitates learners acquiring skills to explore digital tools and make informed decisions about whether or not those tools might be good for learning.

Unique requirements:

Learners will be required to collect a corpus of communications and pass the human subjects protection online test by week two (log in with your UTK ID here, learn more here). Learners will be required to be familiar with the basics of Microsoft Excel or another comparable spreadsheet application, and Microsoft Word or another comparable word processing application by week three. Learners must share their data and results from inquiry in four research presentations throughout the course.

Value Proposition:

This is a research inquiry course; such courses are also known as methodology courses. This course will give you practical training and hands-on experience in applying discourse analysis methods, and no previous knowledge is required. You will design actual research studies and apply specific analytical methods. You will interpret the results you come up with. The discourse analyses in this course generally apply quantitative methods to qualitative samples of real language in use.

Learning Objectives:

Learners will:

  1. Read contemporary studies in and about discourse analysis, and as examples of discourse analysis
  2. Collect a corpus of discourse relevant to their academic trajectory
  3. Describe discourse according to the conventions of studies in discourse analysis (CMDA)
  4. Develop research questions that can be answered with the corpus they collected
  5. Apply methods that elucidate how interlocutors in the sample create meaning through their discourse
  6. Relate those insights to their larger course of study in which they are involved
  7. Present their work to their peers in an academic context

Students are responsible for coming to class prepared and staying on task during the meeting sessions. Please turn cell phone ringers and vibrating controls off, and do not web surf or check email during class. I expect learners will check email and course communications daily during the week but not on weekends.

Major Assignments

  1. Completion of the Anti-plagiarism online certificate (10%) *This is required in every course I teach and must be completed before any written work is submitted.
  2. Attendance and Participation (10%)
  3. Write a critique of an online course (20%)
  4. Complete a revision from the online course critique (10%)
  5. Present the mock-up of your original mediated learning space (20%)
  6. Contribute written peer feedback (critique) on your classmate’s designs (10%)
  7. Reflection on the use of peer feedback in the revision of your design (20%)

The Autumn term runs from September 1-November 22 – February 2022.

Schedule of topics and readings

WeekDateTopicReadingsIn class

Course intro

No reading for the first class. That’s mean.
Review syllabus & schedule
Negotiate goals for the course
29/15Community of InquiryGarrison et al (2000) Critical inquiry
Website about COI

Case 1: Snyder
Case 2: Ruggiero

COI strategies
39/22MinimalismCarroll (2014/2021) Creating Minimalist Instruction

1. Nutshell Diaries: 99% Invisible Podcast by Roman Mars
2. Branon (2016) Maslo Lab
Minimalism discussion
49/29Games for LearningSquire (2007) Games Learning and Society

1. Squire (2021) At play in the Cosmos
2. Play the diffusion of innovations game here
Games, games, games
510/6In class presentationsIn-class Presentations
Online course critique
presentation and submission
610/13Problem-based Learning
Marra et all (2014) Why PBL works
Optional: Savery (2013) Overview of PBL

1. Tawfick et al (2014) Designing a PBL environment
2. Lunga & Howard (2022 Pre-print) Eureka!
Revisions on the online course critique one week after you get them
710/20 How physical spaces impact mediated communication: Human-centered DesignNorman (3013) The design of things

1. Webber (2014) Steelcase Furniture for 21st Cent Learning
2. Let’s pick another case from IJDL special issue on physical learning spaces.
Looking at everyday things for the genius of design
810/27 Open topic (aesthetics of mediated learning?)In class activity: Empathy card sort
Design thinking Part I: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/design-thinking
911/3Sharing our designsIn class activity: IdeationDesign thinking Part II: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-design-thinking-and-why-is-it-so-popular
1011/17No class: final day to hand in revisionsDesign Showcase
2022 QEED513 Schedule of classes 2022 update

Policy on Written Work

Overview of why I grade the way I do, via comments and tracked changes

I have been teaching academic writing since 1996. I have a firm belief that there is no way to learn to write other than through writing, and more importantly, revising. I am all students wot revise their work because that is the only way to learn how to write. This is shocking for some students; others give up thinking that their first submission is then meaningless. Both reactions can be detrimental to your learning. The more effort you put into your writing the first time around, the more you will learn through revision. Receiving required revisions does not mean you did poorly; rather, it means I read your work and it inspired me to think about what you said.

I am addressing this because I have found it useful in the past to add some rationale to why I grade written work the way I do. Students work with multiple professors for a reason; each has their own approach to writing and scholarship, and those multiple perspectives help learners see different aspects of the process from different angles. The more perspective you can take, the more nuanced your understanding of the task and the content can become. I encourage you to read this rationale statement prior to handing in written work in one of my courses. I also encourage you to check out my blog, craigdennishoward.com, where I dive into more reasons why I teach the way I do. I require revision on written work.

Craig’s pedagogical perspective

I view written work in longer formats (over 5 pages or so) as a formative task, not a summative one. This does not mean I don’t use rubrics; I do. I see them as a means for the learner and instructor to view the work and negotiate meanings. However, rubrics do not provide learners with customized instruction, which is what I believe learners usually need. Rubrics must generalize, but we must teach and learn with specific cases to make sense of what rubrics actually mean. I endeavor to grade without making summative claims about performance while still respecting learners’ autonomy as students. A simple number seems very unsatisfying and frankly, I don’t think you’ll learn much from just a typical grade. So grading via a rubric doesn’t accomplish my goals as an instructor. Here’s how I go about the act of grading long-form written work. This policy does not apply to CMC (emails, discussion forums, etc…).

I give lots of comments. Some applaud your work and they contain plus symbols (+), and some are meant to guide you toward better practices or notice something but are merely discursive and are not tagged. For each comment where I ask you to make a revision; however, it is usually tagged with a minus symbol and I usually deduct a point at the end. That’s a point you can always get back via revision. By addressing each comment in a re-submitted paper, you evidence that you learned the point I had hoped to teach you; or alternatively, you evidence another strategy whereby my point is made irrelevant. As long as you resubmit all your revisions as saved via tracked changes, I will check them and give full credit as the performance will display that mastery has been achieved. To make these required revisions clear, make sure your tracked changes are turned on BEFORE you revise your document. Remember, comments that contain a minus sign with a number, eg: -2 can be more egregious and cost you more points. they are, however, equally as fixable as any other revision. Low grades on the initial submission are common. It just means you are not done learning.

Comments preceded by a plus sign indicate that I was impressed with your insight or craft, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them. They do not require revision, but I want you to keep doing the things that you’re good at. Comments with no marker are simply comments. It’s me talking to you. If I didn’t like talking to you, I would do a different kind of work.

At the end of the paper, I add up all the negative comments, subtract that number from the point value for the written work, and give the paper back to you. If you choose not to revise, the point value remains as it is. There is no partial credit on revisions. Either all of them are addressed or you get no points for any revisions. This prevents all of us from picking the easy ones and avoiding learning the important content, or squabbling over difficult revisions and easy revisions. I can’t see from my vantage point which comments are harder for whom, so I give them all the same value. We all have different skill sets, but the end goal is for every learner to reach competency. I feel that no number could ever carry with it the detail I need to express the complexities of the learning that needs to be accomplished via writing.

In some cases, an assignment’s instructions require a decision to be made. If the instructions ask for a decision, I require it. This is to reflect the harsh reality that in some cases one is forced to make judgments. Either a positive or negative conclusion on the subject of your investigation gains you credit, but no selection does not get you the credit for completing the task. Some learners can go deep into critiquing the entirety of the instructional design without concluding one way or the other if what they critiqued is passable or not. That’s fine for non-professional discussion, but not for this context. Here, if you are asked to decide, you must decide and your decision must be clear.

Procedural tips for completing revisions

  • Read all comments on the entire paper before revising it. Often, a single revision hits multiple comments.
  • Always submit your final with tracked changes. I can’t grade without them. If you don’t know how to work with tracked changes, follow one of these links about how to use tracked changes: MS Office, or com. I believe LinkedInLearning also has an extensive editing tutorial than contains instructions on using tracked changes. There are many free online tutorials.
  • If my arithmetic is wrong, it only matters if you plan not to make revisions. Keep that in mind before you email me about a 1 or 2-point difference. If you plan to make the revision, the error in adding up your revision count is meaningless because you’re going to get all the points back anyway. I do not take kindly squabbling regarding points. However, I love to talk about why I said one thing or another! Ask that anytime!
  • I will never share your required revisions with another student, but I encourage you to share them with each other. You can learn a lot from the comments I give others, but you’re not required to share if you do not want to.

Specific tips regarding written work in Instructional and Educational Technology

  1. Do not describe multimedia via proprietary terms. Do not write “I googled it” (searched with a search engine) or “He facebooked me” (messaged via a social network site). This is problematic for many reasons, and some writers tend to employ company names to their own peril. The names of corporations should never enter your written work. For example, a medium cannot be  “Facebook-like;” because Facebook is bound by time, or dynamic, and is the name of a company, it is not a medium. Facebook is an example of a social network site, where user messages may be multi-model and are presented in reverse chronological order. Because corporations’ platforms are dynamic, they cannot be descriptive. They change every day. Instead, describe media with more persistent words, for example, the media platform is many to many, socially-oriented, file sharing, graphically interactive, etc….  Simply saying what one might do with a tool also is unclear. For example, native Americans sent “messages” to their friends too, but smoke signals are very different from SMS texts. Telling me that one can use the device to send messages tells me nothing.
  2. Learners should use the term affordance to explain what a tool is good for. Terms like “allows, supports, etc…” are verbs that concord with design affordances and the verb form is affords, but that still does not describe it. I offer a faceted classification scheme to describe media; I can work with you on how to best describe what it is you have. Please note that affordance alone does not define a tool.
  3. Design failures need to be called out as such. A design failure is when a design does not meet the needs of a user, either foreseen or unforeseen. There can be design failures in assessments and measures as well. Those are usually called out via reliability issues or validity issues. Generally, design failures are followed either by a plausible solution or a statement about the design tension they create. Typical paragraph structure in papers that analyze instructional designs is to start with the design failure and go from there. Ending a paragraph with a design failure often confuses a reader, or presents the author as having given up midway through the analysis. There are essentially two categories of failures: unforeseen obstacles and foreseen consequences.
  4. The caption is a necessary component of all images/artwork/audio/video. The caption does not simply label the item; rather, it explains how the item relates to the topic being discussed. In other words, the reader needs to be told what to look at in the image and why they are being shown it. There was once a publisher’s practice of putting artwork/images/graphics/multimedia in appendices. That practice is obsolete and forbidden in this, or any, course I teach. It is fine if your other professors ask this of you; but you shouldn’t practice this in my courses. It may be helpful to remember that other professors were trained at a different time than you are being trained.
  5. Utilized is over-utilized and misused.  Utilize means an item or procedure was used for a purpose other than that for which it was designed. Do not use this word as if it meant use. One cannot utilize an application to send a message because the message system was built precisely to send messages. One can however utilize a computer for a paperweight. Computers are generally designed for much greater purposes, so the act of re-purposing the machine is a utilization. Another example, one can utilize a hammer to pick their teeth, but one cannot utilize a hammer to pound a nail. More often than not, the learner should have simply used the term used rather than utilized. While this term is more often used incorrectly than correctly in lay print, I expect my students to aspire to be scholars and designers who write with far more accuracy. This is a pet peeve of mine.
  6. How to is simply slang for “procedural knowledge” or “procedural instruction.” When you use this term, “how to,” to refer to either or both, it presents you as someone who does not make a distinction between instruction and learning. This is dangerous for an instructional designer. An academically trained ID uses more precision, and I expect this kind of precision from my students. You don’t need academic training to design well; there are lots of great designers who have not been academically trained. Having learned ID terms gives you the precision of expression you need to interrogate, explain and communicate about designs well, which is why a trained designer is oftentimes more valuable than a self-taught one.
  7. Headers are a rhetorical device, and I often require that they be used to break up the flow of longer pieces of text. “Headers” is also a term editors use to refer to the MS word function located on the horizontal ribbon. When I say “use headers” I mean both the text separated as a sub-title and the formatting in MS Word. I often ask my learners to use the header function in MS Word because it makes a larger written work easier to navigate. Getting used to using headers earlier rather than later in your study saves you time. It only takes one long project, such as a dissertation, where you will reap the rewards for learning header use now.
  8. Citations are rhetorical devices.  Citations’ purpose in research is often misunderstood. They can ground a statement in support, evidence a widely held misconception, or even make a joke. So citations can go many ways, both positive and negative. Therefore, I require each citation to be somewhat introduced, unless it is blatantly obvious why it is there. Please read about common mistakes to watch out for with citations in my expanded blog post.
  9. All paragraphs have topic sentences, and all papers have a thesis. While it may seem trite to rehash this lesson from English 101, you’ve got my position on it. Paragraphs with topic sentences read more easily, and a thesis evidences coherent thought on what you are writing. These are both conventional rhetorical devices because they are effective.
  10. FOR ADVANCED PhD STUDENTS: The thesis of a research paper, such as a dissertation, is the answer to the primary research question. The primary research question of all design cases is the same: What was created and how was it created? So the thesis of a design case is always, this is what was created and this is how that thing came to be as it is.
  11. FOR ADVANCED PhD STUDENTS: I encourage you to publish the research you develop in this course. This course, and all the courses I teach, follow an ethical publication policy published the year I completed my doctoral training (2012) by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology- AECT. It states: At the conclusion of the course, should the student publish the paper without any additional interactions with the instructor, then the name of the course, the University, and the original instructor(s) name(s) go in an acknowledgment at the end of the published paper. Should the student indicate that they intend to publish the paper after the completion of the course, and receive any additional contributions from the instructor(s), then the instructor(s) become a subsequent author. [Subsequent author means those not first one the byline.] Should the student receive additional contributions, then not pursue publication, then all contributing researchers, including other students or the instructor, have the right to peruse publication after the agreed-upon period of time had elapsed. Typically this time frame is between six months and one year. For further elaboration about these policies and the issues that can arise without them, see Publishing as a graduate student, and New digs, old issues.