Unit 1 | Beginning a Critical Inquiry – Setting the Stage (4 weeks)

Overview

In this unit, we will use the method of critical inquiry to examine a learning event (e.g. lesson, course) delivered though an online or digital learning technology you are interested in exploring or experiencing. Examples of these could include MOOCs, open online courses, curated video libraries or reading lists, open textbooks or other substantive open educational resources, digital educational programs, educational games or apps, and digital simulations, for example; or other to be discussed with the instructor). The members of your group will make a selection to engage with throughout the course. Also, each group member will choose their own specific issue related to the team selection.

Building on the work done in your program to date, we will discuss various technologies and related critical issues that need to be examined through the perspectives of learning theories; use of and assumptions about technology; design approach; historical linkages and future implications; along with other perspectives raised as we progress through the course. You will develop a team approach conducting a critical inquiry on the selection you chose to experience and create an individual learning plan to support a critical examination into a specific issue related to it. Two foundational research articles are provided to frame a common base for discussions in this course (as below).

Learning Activities and Assignments

  • Read Justice et al. (2009), pages 841 to the first heading on page 846 for a basic overview and discussion of critical inquiry; and Selwyn (2010).
  • Review and discuss the critical inquiry approach – participate in the synchronous Collaborate session or view the recording.
  • Complete Activity 1 – For teams, select a team choice and proposed presentation date and add them to the Google sheet. Please note that dates are tentative until confirmed by the Instructor.
  • Choose (from the Unit 1 readings) and begin to participate in the learning event and delivery technology based on your teams’ selection (the timing of this will vary depending upon the nature of the choice).
  • Complete Activity 2 – Team Initial Summary of Learning Event and Delivery Technology & Approach to Critical Inquiry course blog post.
  • Plan a time for a 1-1 discussion with the instructor to discuss your individual learning plan and selected issue for the rest of the course.
  • Complete Assignment 1 Part 1 – Individual Learning Plan.
  • * Submit an outline for Assignment 1 Part 4 – Individual Critical Issue Paper. The outline should give an indication of the structure of your paper and what will go in each part, as well as extend the thinking from your individual learning plan. * NOTE this is optional as of instructor change made April 27, and may be submitted at any time if anyone wants the optional formative feedback.
  • Complete Activity 3 – Post a critical academic reflection on the learning event and delivery technology chosen and the related learning experience on your blog.
  • Participate in class bi-weekly meet-ups (synchronous) or view the recordings – see Schedule for dates/times.

Suggested Examples of Technologies for Consideration

A list of suggested starting places for locating a learning event and delivery technology for use in your team study and presentation is provided in the readings (accessible from the Readings link above). Your individual learning plan will also focus on a related issue. The following list may assist with ideas for the types of issues that could be explored in individual learning plans.

Issues

Many types of issues can be identified as focal areas for individual research perspectives on selected learning events and delivery technologies. Following are a few examples to start your thinking and research:

  • Privacy and safety
  • Access to technology/digital divide
  • Growth of cloud computing and software as a service
  • Use of devices in the classroom
  • Privatization of technology and teaching
  • Indigenization and learning technologies
  • Harassment and abuse online
  • AI/robots in education
  • Virtual-augmented-mixed reality
  • Behaviorism and educational technology
  • Open vs proprietary content, software
  • Effectiveness of technologies
  • Universal/inclusive design

Activity 1 | Choose your Team & Your Learning Event and Delivery Technology to Experience

In this Google spreadsheet add your team information and fields up to and including “Team-selected technology and learning event or course.” The Unit 1 Readings provide a sample list of potential sites (organized by modality) where your team can source the experience you want to take.

How to proceed:

  • agree upon a technology and learning event that you will experience as a team;
  • explore the various options for exploring or participating in that technology (see Unit 1 readings as a starting point);
  • identify the learning event you will participate in as a team (e.g. the specific course, video series, educational game, etc.);
  • sign up for your Assignment 1 Part 2 team presentation day/time;
  • develop an approach as a team for conducting a critical inquiry and presentation on the learning event and delivery technology you chose to experience;
  • begin to participate in the learning event you have chosen as a team (Note: the timing of this will vary depending on what you have chosen – ensure you can complete your intended event within the scheduled time for your presentation);
  • begin to undertake the task outlined in Assignment 1 Part 2.

Activity 2 | Initial Summary of Learning Event and Delivery Technology and Approach to Critical Inquiry – Team Blog Post

As a team you will need to create a blog post for the course blog that provides an initial summary of your chosen modality. Each team will receive a team blog as well as individual blogs. Please indicate team blog name in the title of the blog. Use this post to start to conceptualize your presentation.

Answer these general questions

  1. What type of learning event and delivery technology did you choose?
  2. What background reading did you do to learn more about it? (Blogs, websites, library journal articles). Write a summary of what you learned.
  3. Based on the above, what question(s) would you like to pursue as you explore or participate in it?

Invite other teams to comment on one another’s questions regarding your learning event and delivery technology. The responses received can be used to further assist your team as you conduct your critical inquiry into the technology chosen. You will also need to outline, in general terms, your approach to conducting a critical inquiry into this technology and identify the learning experience that you has a team have selected to participate in.


Assignment 1 Part 1 – Individual Learning Plan

Submit your individual learning plan in Moodle. See Assignment 1 Part 1 for full assignment description.


Assignment 1 Part 4 – Outline for Paper

Submit your outline to Moodle for your Assignment 1 Part 4 – Critical Issue Paper. This is for the purpose of formative feedback to assist you as you begin to delve deeper into your individual inquiry on the specific issue or resource you have identified in your individual learning plan.


Activity 3 | Individual Blog Post – Specific Issue Exploration

In this individual blog post you will provide a critical academic reflection of the technology chosen based on your experience with it to date; the specific issue you are interested in examining and why; and, invite input from others on aspects to consider with respect to your specific issue including the learning event and delivery technology. This will be taken this into consideration as you develop your individual learning plan to conduct a critical inquiry into this issue and your critical reflection on the feedback provided to your post should appear in your subsequent blog posting.

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