Community as curriculum a syllabus (starts tomorrow)

Here’s the syllabus for the course i start tomorrow morning. It’s my first shot at what a community curriculum course might look like. It takes into account some of the realities (moodle and angel are the prevaling course management systems on the island) tries to bridge traditional learning and then hand the learning over to the student by the second week.

The syllabus is pretty much out of date as soon as I post it, as I’ll be tinkering with it, and adjusting it to the feedback of the students and my own experiences in the course. I would, therefore, LOVE some feedback from you folks to help refine where i can. 2 week course, 10 3 1/2 hour sessions, 27 students, educators (and, I guess, educators to be) across many different professions.

Welcome to Educational Technology and the Adult Learner.

This is a course comprised of adult learners looking to acquire and refine skills directed toward teaching future adult learners. Key to this course is the concept of networking, in the community sense rather than the technological. Each of you in this class will be a primary part of your classmates’ curriculum and learning experience. In a world where technologies change very quickly and what is new or current is always fluid, a focus on ideas about technologies and strategies for drawing on and collating resources is more sustainable than an emphasis on teaching mastery of any specific technologies.

Therefore, while a sufficient quantity of tools, training and tricks will be presented to satisfy the technophile, this course is an exploration of what the technology can facilitate, educationally and professionally. It is only through the use of new technologies that certain kinds of knowledge building and community-based learning can occur, and these are the specific literacies that are emphasized in this course. The goals of learning to approach and assess new technologies on the fly, and to utilize Web 2.0 skills to filter the mass of ‘newness’ and focus in on the applications that will most satisfy a learner/educator’s curricular goals will also be primary.

The course is broken down into two major sections; week 1 and week 2. The first week is focused on group work and research. Learners will be expected to explore three different learning platforms/environments and both evaluate the systems and produce learning materials that will work in each one. Week 2 will focus almost entirely on ‘community curriculum’, wherein learners will research and present one learning object that is relevant to their own environment, and classsmates will be required to respond and interact with those pieces.

Community Grading Rubric

Personal Learning Plan – Students must submit an eportfolio (My Work – top of website page) and will be assessed on their ability to complete a personal learning plan developed during the course. This portfolio will include reflective blog posts as well as upkeep of the (My Planning Page – top of website page) with relevant acquired literacies.

Course participation and Group Work – Students are responsible for responding to the work of other students (Reflections for review – top of website page), specifically commenting on reflective posts and commenting on their learning object plan. They are also responsible for the learning objects created by the group during the first week of the course.

Community as Curriculum project plan – Students are responsible for choosing one educational technology tool, technological method, or community plan and developing a project plan for including it in their own practice that includes a learning object as well as the reasoning for its inclusion in their own context. This will be then be presented in a ten minute presentation to the class. All materials will be released creative commons so that all students can use this material in their classes.

Community Curriculum

When dealing with a discipline where knowledge is a moving target, or where differing ideas of what is good or best practice can co-exist quite comfortably, it can be very helpful to use the community of learners itself as the curriculum.

This is especially true of the field of educational technology. What may be ‘true’ or ‘current’ in one year might be entirely outdated and left behind in the next. Every day new best practices are developed and new efforts are made to push the envelope a little further. The traditional reaction to this is to try and ‘keep current’ with all the work that is going on. This is, however, a mistake. They key is to find a community of trusted people from whom to learn, and to whom you can contribute.

This course is designed to simulate and, hopefully, emulate this form of curriculum building and model these life long learning skills. Each student will be responsible for contributing to the curriculum, and for participating in the development of other student’s work.

Day 1 – Self Assessment, goal setting and ‘helper tools’

The purpose of the first day of classes will be to take a good look at our existing practice. We need to identify ‘transparent technologies’ in the classroom and make a distinction between these and the helper technologies that we will be employing to keep track of information and work throughout our course. Goal is to get students to set objectives for themselves.


1. Introduction to the general concepts of ‘educational technology and the adult learner.’
2. Personal Learning Plan and the community rubric.
3. Personal reflective responses.

Activity – Tagging ourselves – paper edition

DIscussion – Groups – What literacies do we need?

Activity – Tagging ourselves – digital edition

Outputs – First draft of personal learning plan, groups selected, tagging explored, first reflection written.

Didactic pieces by dave. (time dependent)

tagging – connecting the pieces.

Structure – All collaborative work comes down to whether the ‘structure’ is working. Fantastic work by students and instructors can easily be lost by not taking 30 seconds to consider where your work fits into the whole.

Goal Setting

As this community of learners that makes up this course will necessarily be at different levels of experience in teaching generally and the facilitation and use of technologies in particular, it is necessary for each student to chart out their own learning path through the course. It is also the responsibility of their colleagues to help them with advice and to learn from different people’s goals.

We will each fill out a “Learning Plan” which will include a variety of goals that the individual student will be attempting to achieve during the course of this course, and, at the end, what goals they might set for themselves as they leave the course.
Helper Tools – This tool will allow us to share a variety of tools and websites while we are working our way through internet research. It will also keep a record for you of the websites that you visited during the course.

Skype – is an instant messaging and VOIP (voice over IP) tool that allows for a variety of community style interactions. It can be essential for getting information quickly.

Google – Seems silly maybe, but effective use of google can find the answer to most any question

Technorati – And when google doesn’t seem to get you the answer, try the blogs. There is a huge educational technology blogosphere… use them.

flickr – Photos are great, and a tool like flickr can bring alot to a classroom. Having students take digital snapshots of busted engines might seem strange, but its a great record keeping tool.

youtube etc… – video sites can be a great resource for training materials.

Screencasts – I think this might be the most useful teaching tool available to the educator when dealing with technology.

This Website – See some things missing, like blogging and wikis… they are included in the course website, I decided to go that way because I’m comfortable with this technology. Comfort is important.

pageflakes – Just to illustrate the possibilities outside this website, I’ve included a pageflakes page that will aggregate the course content as well.

Self Assessement

Self Assessment is a critical part of any fruitful learning experience. It is necessary to understand what tools we bring to the table before we take the time and effort necessary to develop a new set of literacies. It’s important to remember that this should not only include ‘technical literacies’ which, while important, are often not as critical as teaching skills, organizational skills, the ability to focus on a task or any other of the myriad of skills that professionals acquire and perfect over the course of their careers.

Day 2 – Community Learning

Learning to use educational technologies in a vacuum, that is, without the value of a filtering community is very difficult. What most successful educational technologists are doing is finding communities of educators with like interests, and learning from them. Choose groups for formal educational project.

Didactic pieces by dave.

Blogging – An introduction to blogging, both as a useful source of knowledge and as a way of creating effective community.

Rhizomatic Knowledge and Connectivism – How curriculum can be formed when things are changing quickly.

Day 3 – Moodle

Moodle is a content management system and more specifically a Virtual Learning Environment, a Learning Content Management System and a Course Management System. There are other names for it, but, suffice it to say, it stores your courses online. It is open source and free to download and install on any given server that you can find. Our moodle course Moodle planning.

Didactic pieces by dave.

Discussion Forums – Discussion forums (aka bulletin board system, threaded discussions) can be a very effective participation tool. Students can be given a variety of different power situations and it can be used for a variety of ‘process’ tasks.

Wikis – Wikis can be used for many different things, from schedule building to creating online resource repositories.

Setting of objectives.

1. Create an audience for the exercise

2. create exercise in moodle

Day 4 – Angel

Our Angel Sandbox

ANGEL’s web-based teaching and learning tools allow educators to Get Perspective on student performance, Take Action to interact and intervene, and See Results of student achievement.

We will be approaching Angel with much the same plan as the one we had for Moodle. The intent will be to assess the ways in which the learning management systems are similar and to discover ways in which general strategies can be applied to any learning scenario.

Didactic pieces by dave.

Reading the page – Learning to use software can often be as simple as reading the text that is on the page. Most professional software systems have that information present… too often left unread.

Doing it Live – There are a variety of reasons to have syncronous or asynchronous sections to a course. Live chat, streaming and twitter can be helpful, but sometimes giving people the time to think is essential.

Day 5 – Evaluating tools and projects (day 2 – day 4)

Throughout this week we will have evaluated and created learning resources using two content management systems as well as explored the idea of online community learning. The groups will spend this day creating learning reflections and solidifying the work that was done in the three platforms into a definitive format for the learning portfolios. 2 modules

Day 6 – Community learning and Community Curriculum 1

The first part of this day will be to reflect on the work from the week before. We will then spend considerable time preparing for incorporating the community curriculum project. The instructor will present his two last contextualized pieces, and the students will model and discuss various productive ways of engaging with the prsentation in preparation for the student presentations for the rest of the week. The first few students who are prepared to present this day should present in the second half of the class.

Day 7 Cool Tools and Community Curriculum 2

This day will start with a whirwind tour of some of the more cutting edge tools available for teaching. The Openhabitat project and the living archives project will be featured prominently as well as some potential use cases from a variety of educational contexts.

Day 8 Teacher Stories and Community Curriculum 3

Several educational professionals from different contexts will be invited to present (via skype) to the class. Jennifer Maddrell has just completed teaching a 24 hour course with transit tranining authorities for the State of New York. There are many literacies that can only be acquired through experience, the purpose of this class will be to explore and catalogue those experiences wherever possible.

Day 9 Special Issues and Community Curriculum 4

There are a variety of ‘special issues’ that will no doubt be referenced a various point throughout the course but will be covered in more detail during this class. They include internet security, creative commons licensing and adapating for learners with a disability.

Day 10 Bridging to the future and Community Curriculum 5

The first part of this class will be taken up by the remainder of the community curriculum presentation. The remainder will involve reflecting on the work that was done, a review of the planning page to examine what literacies were acquired and to develop strategies to maintain as many of those literacies as possible.

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

6 thoughts on “Community as curriculum a syllabus (starts tomorrow)”

  1. Dave,

    This looks great. Where did you get the idea? My question is this, is the big picture here that if they can learn to think like this (having a personal learning plan and creating a personal learning network) that they will see the value in it and then, without a doubt, move towards using it to teach others?

    It seems to me to be a very worthwhile use of their time, and yours!

  2. Option: mapping their personal learning network on day one and day 10. Paper, post it notes, pens.

    Step 1: Think for a minute of who you learn from and with. What does that mean? People you go to with questions? People whose recommendations you trust? People who are “experts” on something? People you like to have conversations with? Jot down these types of learning interactions on a piece of paper.

    Step 2. On small post its of color #1, write down the name of people you learn with from. Write your own name on another color and put it on the flip chart paper, then arrange the other post its with the people you learn with/from the most closer to you and those less – positioned further away from your name.

    If you learn only from them, draw an arrow from their post it to yours. If they learn from you, put an arrow from you to them. If it is reciprocal, put a double ended arrow. On the arrow, describe the type of interaction.

    3. Show your map to someone else and ask they to tell you want they notice about it. If their questions cause you to alter the map, do so.

    Repeat at the end of course. Compare.

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