This course is primarily a professional development class for in-service teachers working on their M.Ed. in Learning Technologies. As a course for practicing teachers, it was important to ensure the content and projects were practical and easily used in their own teaching. To that end, I opted for a highly open-ended process that allowed and even encouraged students to focus their projects around their content and/or grade level.
Another interesting aspect to this course was a decision to try something new with respect to discussions which I called “base groups”. The idea here was to have small groups of students engage in discussions rather than as a whole class. As anyone who as run or participated in online discussions knows, there is a tendency for them to become difficult to navigate and the various conversations going on can get confusing. I thought it would be interesting to have much smaller groups for each discussion. In all honesty, I found that it only added a different form of clutter and interesting discussions and comments from one group were not available to other groups. I have since tabled this idea until I can explore it more and determine if it has merit.
A more successful experiment was the use of “learning teams”. The idea here was that students would work in small teams to develop and share a mix of educational resources including blogs and articles they found useful or inspiring, educational technology tools, or content based resources they might use in their classrooms. I encouraged students to form their own teams so that they would be able to work with people with similar teaching assignments (such as elementary or high school math teachers, etc.). For example, here is one group’s project on Khan Academy.