"Beware of geeks bearing gifts" – Anonymous

Welcome to the 2003, brand new proseminar in technology and education. This course explores the relationship between educational psychology and technology, with an eye towards developing knowledge about current topics in educational technology, and developing your own research interests in this discipline.

What this class is – A class about reading, writing, discussing, researching, developing research interests, collaboration, learning technology, and using technology. It's about a lot of hard work, for which you will be rewarded. It's also about having fun. Work hard, play hard.

What this class is not – This is not a course to learn HTML, or how to make web-pages (although much of this will go on), or how to use powerpoint. These skills will be needed, but will have to be pursued on your own by you.


What students will be doing

In a typical week in this course, you will have to do several things (all of which are important to your grade):


Both in class (assigned) and outside of class (on the topic of your research interests).


Posting your comments to the online discussion, writing summaries of your research readings, writing presentations for class, and writing in its many forms.


Students are expected to contribute to the discussions every week, both on-line and in-class.


your web presence. Everything you do in this class must be "turned-in" via a website that anyone can read.


You should be continually designing a study within your research interests that you will conduct (either during the semester of after it is over).


On a rotating basis, students are teamed to help the class understand the topic and readings for the week (more on this later). This means you will frequently have to work with others in the class to get stuff done. This means you have to play nice!


You have to show up inclass every week. Only pre-arranged absences are permitted.


Developing a web presence

"Part of becoming saavy in the field of educational technology is
developing one's abilities to use the technology for their own education"
– Punya Mishra, in his 2003 address to the 509 EH bay

Each student will be turning in their work, sharing their ideas, and communicating to the class via the web. Students are responsible for developing their own strategy for how to use the web to communicate to the class (develop their own site, post to a public site, use some new web-tool like blogger, etc.). We *will not* be spending time in class explicitly teaching the skills needed to do this. Instead, students must use part of their time outside of class to teach themselves these skills and use them to effectively communicate with the class. Faculty and students *will* be available to discuss possible strategies and resources for learning the necessary skills.


Developing research interests

"Give a student some research, and they will be interested for a day ...
 teach a student to develop their own research, and they will be interested
 for life ... or at least a semester"
– Matt Koehler, 2003, personal communication

Becoming a member of the educational research community means becoming familiar with the field as a whole, becoming a specialist in some areas, and developing your own research and research interests. To help you beome more knowledge about a sub-field, and to develop your own interests, each student will develop their research during the course of the semester in the following four activities:


Before you can do any of the below steps, you'll have to tell us what your research interests are in education and technology.


Every two weeks, you'll add one article to your bibliography of readings related to your research interests. Each entry will have the full reference, and a two-page summary of the reading. The format for this summary should be the prelim headings (theoretical perspectives, methodology, and implications). By the end of the semester, you'll have 15 readings that form a foundation for exploring a research interests, and contextualizing your own work (see next step).


Once your bibliography has started, you will begin to develop your own study that would contribute to the field. You will have to show how your study will fit into the existing research, whether it answers a previously unanswered question, or it explores a construct in a new context, or it replicates some prior work. In doing so, you'll introduce the study, the measures, the population, and the potential analyses you will perform. The goal is to have the study designed and ready to go, such that you could conduct the study over the summer or the next semester.


Because your study will be developed in such detail, you should pursue human subjects permission to conduct your study. This means becoming familiar with UCHIRS, which we will introduce in class.


Group facilitating

Early on, students will be assigned to working groups. For most weeks of the course, a group will be assigned to facilitate the class. This means (a) leading the online discussion, (b) leading the in-class discussion, (c) designing and implementing an in-class activity, (d) observing and taking notes about what happened in class, (e) summarizing the discussion and the in-class activity to a web-page. Think of these as "class minutes."


How do I participate?

"Put your mouth where your money is." – Anonymous

Participation is something that is an important part of your grade. When we say "participate," we mean this in the broadest sense.


When you're in class, you should contribute with your ideas and your voice.


Each week, students are expected to "speak" online through the class discussion list about the readings, ideas related to the weekly topic, or other "on task" contributions.


When students work in groups, they must share the load, and contribute equally.


Contributions are valuable when they have the following components: (1) They add something new to the conversation, (2) They relate and connect to the previous contributions


Simply put the rules are "play nice." Disagreement is okay, in fact we encourage it. There are good means, and bad means for disagreement.



Readings assigned in class will be provided for you via web pages and .pdf files. Make sure you download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat to view them.



There are several parts to your grade, as noted below. If students are unsure how they are doing in the class, they can request an out of class meeting with either of the instructors.


Participation is judged on how often and how effectively you communicate on-line and in-class (note: this requires that you attend class).


Your semester-long development of your research interests is very important to your grade in this class (read above).


To the extent to which you effectively communicate via your web presence will be important to your grade. This includes aspects of effective web-design.


Groups will be formed to help lead the discussion on weekly topics (see above). One grade is given for the group each time they take a turn.


We will frequently assign "homework" (e.g., read a book over break and summarize). Your performance on these assignments are one part of your grade



We both believe that humor and enjoyment are integral parts of a successful learning environment. Students (and instructors) are encouraged to laugh and enjoy themselves.


© 2002-2003, Matthew J. Koehler, Punya Mishra