Learning / Design / Technology

Guiding Questions

  1. How do we form outcomes for online courses?
  2. Whose voices contribute to the design of our courses?

Course design must be intentional, but the best path to good design isn’t always clear. As a student in Janine DeBaise’s class once said, “If you care about ecology, universal design solutions suck.” We must be mindful when building courses, always remembering the people our classes are for.

Educational technology often makes that mindfulness challenging. Standardization, scalability, and duplicability are the LMS’s siren song, promising simplicity for a workforce seriously overburdened and under-compensated.

Today’s Activities

The readings and activities for today fall along two lines. The first is an effort to reconsider the fundamental principles behind intentional course design. For these components, consider Janine DeBaise arguing against best practices, Cate Denial arguing for pedagogy built around kindness, Jesse Stommel arguing that DH classes should actively try to break things, my article arguing against teacher involvement in class discussions, or Luca Morini asserting the uselessness of education. In other words, many of our readings challenge you to flip your usual expectations. That leads to our first activity today, sharing thoughts (with the #CritPrax hashtag) on how educators can establish pedagogical principles from the disruptive assertions in today’s readings.

The second line of inquiry and activity today looks at solutions. Here I think of Maha Bali’s examples of the realities of applying critical digital pedagogy in practice, Karen Cangialosi’s application of CDP in STEM courses, and Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel’s argument against the use of Turnitin. Our activity here is one I took (with permission!) from Jesse Stommel called Critically Evaluating Digital Tools. In that activity, you’ll look at the people and politics behind any number of ed-tech tools and start to assert whether tools actually do what they claim to do. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll consider whether these tools support or stifle students—whether students are the intended audience of a product or the product itself.

Jam Sessions are Back

I’ve recovered from my misery yesterday, so today will feature both Jam Sessions. You’re welcome to attend as many as prove helpful to you.