Unit 4 | Impact of Digital Learning Environments, Networks, Communities


In Unit 4, you will explore the impact that digital learning environments, networks, and communities have had on society. We will examine several case studies to analyze whether and how digital learning may and may not be changing society and its institutions. Specifically, we will discuss in what ways technology and the organizational structures that it engenders/supports (e.g., communities, networks) impacts learning, teaching, and education. We will initially examine whether digital learning addresses societal problems such as poverty, racism, distribution of wealth, access to opportunity, and equal rights; and if so, in what ways and to what end. We will review some trends in digital learning environments and explore what some educational opportunities may look like in 2040 and implications for how we create digital learning environments, networks and communities.

Learning Activities and Assignments

  • Review and analyze case studies as presented through the various readings for Unit 4.
  • Participate in the debate debrief Moodle discussion.
  • Complete Unit 4 Activity 1 – Discussing impacts of Digital Learning
  • Participate in interactive discussions on our course blog and your blogs.
  • Submit Assignment 3 – Briefing Note.
  • Compile briefing notes into a LRNT 521 Briefing Note wikibook describing the impact of digital learning on topics of interest. If a wikibook already exists from a prior offering of this course, you will add your own briefing note chapter to it.

Sounds exciting – let’s go!

Unit 4 – Activity 1 | Discussing Impacts of Digital Learning

Using this Google doc, pair up (triads are fine if needed). Each pair/triad should focus on a contemporary societal problem, such as poverty, racism, lack of learning opportunities in rural areas, and other topic of your choice.

In your pair/triad, discuss (either in real-time using a software of your choice or asynchronously via a tool of your choice) how digital learning impacted the topic you have chosen. Note that your discussions should centre on impacts that have already happened (positive or negative or in-between), NOT on the potential of digital learning to impact your topic in the future. Therefore, you will need to conduct some background research on the topic.

Once you have agreed on these impacts, share a bulleted list that describes and summarizes the impacts of digital learning on your topic of interest. Your pair/triad can choose the way in which you would like to share this with the MALAT community and/or beyond. Be sure to cite evidence (e.g., papers, reports) to support your statements and provide a list of references.

Unit 4 – Activity 2

Complete Assignment 3  Briefing Note

Be sure to review the FAQ of responses to common questions on this briefing note assignment and reach out if you have a question that is not covered.Your briefing note will become part of a wikibook examining the impact of digital learning environments, networks, and communities. You can see the briefing notes from previous course participants here. Please note they represent a range of styles and approaches to the assignment and were assessed accordingly. Please ensure you take time to review the assignment descriptions and requirements as well as the rubric it will be assessed against prior to beginning your work.

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