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Class meets Thursdays, 12:40-3:30, in 128 Erickson Hall


Matthew J. Koehler
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I am an Assistant Professor in the Learning, Technology, and Culture program at MSU. I have a background in mathematics, computer science, cognitive psychology, and educational psychology.

     My research has two related strands. The first striving to understand how the affordances and constraints of technology may interact with educational theory to advance pedagogy. That is, I study how recent technologies, such as digital video and hypermedia, may enhance case-based approaches to develop teachers’ knowledge and craft in the complex, ill-structured domain of teaching. The second strand of my research explores the potential of a “learning by design” approach whereby educators learn about educational technology by designing educational technology.

Check out my website for more information!



Welcome to CEP 909, where we explore the relationship between cognition and technology. A rough outline of what we will cover during the semester is as follows:

Early Weeks: Background readings and discussion about cognitive psychology and information processing theories of mind.We'll also do some classic cognitive pyschology experiments on ourselves! Issues of how information is represented in the brain are emphasized.

Middle Weeks: Exploring methodologies for assessing people's knowledge, skills, and representations when working with technology.

Later Weeks: Big picture views on the intersection of cognition and technology. Explorations into topics surrounding artificial intelligence, computer mediated communication, and learning from hypermedia are emphasized.


Semester Long Investigation

Throughout the semester, students will work in groups to study how people learn in a technology rich environment (e.g., the web). This semester, we'll explore how people learn from hypermedia, investigating learning outcomes and the role of individual differences.

We'll talk about how to design a study that addresses these questions, we'll create meaasures for our study, we'll collect data, and we'll analyze results. A true hands-on experience.

Details on this project as the course emerges.


Sharing Weekly Assignments

Every week, students will be asked to read and write on the current topic. Feel free to browse the weekly assignments in the "Schedule" section of the website. In the past, I've had students create web-portfolios of their work. Although I think web-portfolios are the ideal to work towards, they will not be a requirement in this class. Instead, students will be required to find any means at their disposal to find ways to electronically make their work in the course PUBLICALLY available. If you have some web skills, or have been anxious to learn, this is a wonderful opportunity to make an electronic portfolio. However, other methods will be allowed.

For example, the class will use yahoo groups to manage communication. There is also a place to post files in the yahoo group, so students could post their work on the yahoo group.


Other Activities Students Will be Doing

Reading - You have to do the readings. I will find out if you haven't.

Writing - Every week you'll be writing something short (a weekly homework of sorts).

Talking - You must talk in class (hint: this is a good way to show you have done the readings).

Posting - Every week, you should post something to the class via the yahoo group. Either a question, and opinion, or raise an issue. Just contribute!

Peer Reading - Every week you should read what someone else in class has done, and come prepared to talk about it when class starts.

Think - This class will ask you to try out ideas you might not agree with, but think them through and give them a try.

Argue - It's okay to disagree, in fact in many instances, it's encouraged. Be prepared to defend your ideas though. And you must "play nice" when arguing.

Collaborate - You're going to have to work in groups, and get along with team members (hint: this is important for your grade).

Joke - Be funny, it helps make class more pleasant.

Attend Class - Everyone is allowed to miss class for a good reason, but you have to tell the instructor.

Have Fun - That's what it's all about, right? (Or was that the hokey pokey?)

Watch Green Bay Packers Games - Okay, just seeing if you're paying attention. In fact this is a requirement for the instructor, not the students.



What texts? There are no books to buy for this class. But you will be reading a LOT. I'll distribute .pdf files of every reading we do. They will be password protected.

What does that mean for you? You'll have to find a way to get acrobat reader, and a fast enough internet connection somewhere to download, print, and read the assignments. If, for example, you have a slow connection at home, you might want to use campus facilities to print out the readings early in the week.



"There are no free rides" -- Koehler, 2002.

Grading has 3 components. Each worth one third of your grade.

Weekly Assignments


This represents your willingness to read, engage with, and use ideas brought up in the course. Each is graded on a 5 point scale.

5 Points - Goes beyond the requirements of the assignment, and makes good connections to the course readings and outside readings. Careful attention to good writing

4 Points -

3 Points - Meets the requirements of the assignement, and connects to the readings, ideas presented in class, or other students' work.

2 points -

1 point - Incomplete, not answering the question posed. Not including any connections to the readings or other people's work.

Each day the assignment is late will result in a one point deduction.

Group project


Each group project will be assessed two grades: One for the group as a whole, one for the individual. Your grade on the projects is the average of these two components.




This is very broadly defined, and included elements of your classroom discussion, and general participation both in and out of class. This is a way for me to assess if you've read the readings, if you've thought about the ideas, and have honestly engaged in the material. If you don't know how you're doing participation-wise, feel free to ask me at any time.


NOTE: Academic dishonesty, including plagarism, may result in a zero grade
in the course and removal from the program.


Other Stuff

Any questions? If so, feel free to ask.