Unit 1 | Introduction and Virtual Symposium


In the first unit, we focus on orienting ourselves to the digital place and space. This first week is devoted to your participation in the virtual symposium and it will be a busy and exciting week. The symposium takes place at the beginning of LRNT 521 and as one of the culminating activities in LRNT 690, 691 and 692. It is where “new-to-program” students like you begin their orientation to the field and “near-to-completion” students are able to share their knowledge with the larger professional community.

There are three tracks to the symposium and for the purposes of this course, the following outlines what is required for you to watch or participate in from each track. Of course you are always invited to join in live for more or watch the recording of others at your convenience. The Virtual Symposium schedule is a living schedule so the recordings will be here to come back to at any time.

  1. Lay of the Land Track: this track featured sessions by professionals, experts and academics in the field(s). These sessions explore topics related to digital learning environments, networks, communities.
    • You must join in live or watch three (3) recorded presentations in this track.
    • In addition, you will need to watch the Dave Cormier and Catherine Cronin tracks from the 2017 symposium as well as one from the 2018 or 2019 symposium – your choice.
  2. Work in Digital Learning – Stories from the Field Track: this track featured sessions by working professionals in the field(s) of digital learning as they discuss “a day in the life of”; the importance of the role and skill set etc.
    • You will need to join in live or watch two (2) recorded presentations (from 2017 onward) in this track depending on your area of interest.
    • In addition, you will need to watch the Critical Reading and Writing Session by Dr. Elizabeth Childs and Dr. Loni Davis.
  3. End in Mind Track: this track featured presentations by “near-to-completion” students. These presentations focused on both content (e.g., a short summary of their research) and process (e.g., summary presentations on the process of completing a thesis; applied research project; or digital learning research consulting project).
    • You will need to join in live or watch two(2) recorded presentations in this track.
    • In addition, you will need to watch the recording of Keith Webster WP and Feedly presentation from the 2018 presentation and, then join into the live Q&A session with Ken Jeffery to help you get your blog up and running and your Feedly account connected.
    • You will need to review one (1) presentation on the Applied Research Project padlet  and one (1) of the Digital Learning Research Consulting padlet and ask one good question. The links to both padlets are also found on the MALAT VS schedule in the top row.

Learning Activities and Assignments

  • Complete Unit 1 Activity 1 – Virtual Symposium requirements
  • Complete Unit 1 Activity 2 – Begin to create your WordPress site.
  • Complete Unit 1 Activity 3 – Virtual Symposium Reflective Blog Post
  • Read the Unit 2 readings in preparation for Unit 2.

Unit 1 – Activity 1 Participate in the MALAT Virtual Symposium

Participate in the MALAT 2020 virtual symposium as outlined above and the related conversation using the Comments feature on this page.

Unit 1  – Activity 2 – Create your WordPress Blog Site

You have now been provided with access to your own instance of WebSpace powered by WordPress for you to customize and make your own throughout the program. In order to stay connected to each other via the course blog and your own WordPress blogs – be sure to set up your Feedly. See here for instructions. You will need to add the OPML files to your Feedly for each course.

Unit 1 – Activity 3 Virtual Symposium Critical Academic Reflective Blog Post

As you develop your first blog post, it is important to remember that your academic voice and your critical academic blogging will be different than perhaps the blogging you are used to or have experienced. Here is an overview of critical academic writing and a resource on academic blogging to get you started – no doubt you will find more resources as you go. Think of your blog posts as critical academic reflection where you are analyzing and synthesizing as you make connections between theory and practice. Don’t forget to explore the resources on the RRU Writing Centre as well and to format your post as per APA.

Now that you have had an opportunity to review a variety of the Virtual Symposium sessions, write a 300 – 500 word reflection on the content of the presentations you attended. Consider the following questions:

  • What were some surprising ideas that you encountered as you reviewed the recordings and artefacts? Why were they surprising?
  • Which one idea was especially intriguing to you? Why?
  • Did you encounter any ideas that you especially agreed or disagreed with? Describe that idea in your own words On what bases did you agree or disagree with the idea? Was the disagreement conceptual, philosophical, or ethical? What evidence would you use in supporting your agreement or disagreement with the idea?

Post your reflection on your blog. You are expected to incorporate APA standards for citations, formatting, and references and to back up your writing with evidence and appropriate academic literature as necessary. You are required to pay attention to grammar and clarity and to avoid colloquialisms. References are not included in the assignment word count. I will provide you with feedback on your blog post in our 1:1 meetings in upcoming weeks.


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