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. Through the readings and activities you will examine several cases and discuss 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

Sounds exciting – let’s go!

Unit 4 – Readings

Read the Unit 4 readings relevant to your topic of exploration and reflect on how they contribute to your understanding and areas requiring further investigation in your area of focus for Unit 4 Activity 1.

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 has 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. You can draw on the readings you have read to date in this course to provide support and backing for your writing however, it is anticipated you will need to conduct some additional background research on the topic you have chosen.

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 on your blog. Your pair/triad can choose the format in which you would like to share this with the MALAT community and/or beyond (i.e. infographic, written post, visual etc.). 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.

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. Be sure to review the Assignment 3: Briefing Note FAQ’s of responses to common questions on this briefing note assignment and reach out if you have a question that is not covered.

As the assignment description states, your briefing note will become part of a wikiboook collection examining the impact of digital learning environments, networks, and communities. You can see the briefing notes from previous course participants in the wikibook here. Please note they represent a range of styles and approaches to the assignment and were assessed accordingly.


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