New Learning Online Master's Program
This program pushes the boundaries of theory and practice, forging strong connections between the two. It encourages lateral relationships of professional learning amongst course participants (all qualified teachers), focusing on the effect of this collaborative professional learning on the performance and outcomes of their students.
Lateral Relationships of Professional Learning
The New Learning Master's degree program aims to build new practices of professional knowledge making and sharing. It requires high levels of reciprocity, based on principles of collaborative knowledge construction and social networking. Even though this is an online program, higher levels of participant interaction and purposeful networking are anticipated than is the case in face-to-face classrooms. Key points of social responsibility include:
- Synchronous classroom discussions, held for 90 minutes every week for the 8 week duration of each course.
- Asynchronous discussions, requiring one blog post each week, and commenting on others blog posts.
- Two projects, each involving drafting, peer review of the others’ drafts, redrafting, publication to the private course website, and oral presentation in class.
Participants interact as a ‘knowledge producing community’, bringing their own interests and expertise to the community, researching new interests, and sharing emerging insights and knowledge with the class.
The Substantive Courses
Participants are asked to research a range of theorists or theoretical concepts, which are then published to the class website, thereby building a collaboratively constructed conceptual schema for the course.
Course participants will also be asked to develop case studies of the translation of theory into practice, either their own practice, or new practices of interest that they research. These case studies are published to the class website for discussion.
Two terms per spring and fall semester plus summer term, students are expected to complete the degree within two years if courses are taken regularly each term. Courses do not need to be taken in this order. Entry to the program is continuous. Participants may start as early as the next term after enrolment.
Course 1: EPS 431: New Learning
An introduction to the changing social and cultural contexts of education. What changes are afoot today in workplaces, civic life and everyday community life? What are their implications for education? This course will examine the possible impacts of contemporary social transformations on teaching and learning, including in the areas of technology, media, globalization, diversity, and changing forms of work. The course will contrast classical theories and practices of education with new and emerging educational, policies, institutions and pedagogies. We begin by examining the political and community expectations of schooling in the contemporary era - frequently characterized as the ’knowledge society’. How are these expectations expressed in the public discourse of politics? What value is accorded to education today, and does the reality match the rhetoric? The course then goes on to investigate the proposition that we are reaching a point where education has a particularly critical social significance. What is this social significance, and what are the dimensions of a ’New Learning’ which might meet changed and broadened expectations? In order to answer these questions, the course takes an historical journey through three eras and three paradigms in the development of modern, mass-institutional education: didactic education, authentic education and a transformative education that might be characteristic of the New Learning.
Course 2: EPS 532: Knowledge, Learning and Pedagogy
This course investigates the theories of knowledge that underlie different pedagogical approaches, and how these impact on the practices of pedagogy. Itintroduces a number of different ways of knowing and discuss the kinds of learning and education that typically come with these ways of knowing. One cluster of ways of knowing we call ‘committed knowledge’. These ways of knowing operate as though they are the best way of knowing, at least for a particular purpose. For instance, empirical knowledge derives from experimentation and observation. Rationalist knowledge is the product of the capacity of human reason to make sense of the world. Canonical knowledge is based in in bodies of knowledge and important writings. Another set of ways of knowing we call ‘knowledge relativism’. Epistemological or cultural relativism is the view that no way of knowing should claim itself to be superior to any other. Relativism views knowledge as a matter of perspective in a cultural context, such that no culture can claim superiority over any other. A third way of knowing in which learners are flexible and draw on a variety of purposeful ways o know. We call these ‘knowledge processes’ or a knowledge repertoire. The practical, case study part of this course examines traditional as well as contemporary and technology media environments, analyzing their foundational understandings of the nature of knowledge and learning.
Course 3: EPSY 408: Learning and Human Development with Technologies
This course has two components. The first is a theoretical component in which we attempt to develop an overall frame of reference, locating approaches to the psychology of learning in terms of large paradigm shifts, from ‘behaviorism’ to ‘brain developmentalism’ to ‘social cognitivism’. The second component is practical, in which we will use these theoretical concepts to ‘parse’ a technology-mediated learning environment for its underlying presuppositions.
Course 4: CI560: Trends and Issues in Language Arts
This course is designed to address issues of language and literacy, not only for language arts teachers, but all educators in all disciplines and at all levels, where students are required to represent their knowledge in writing as well as other media. It will introduce the ’Multiliteracies’ theory of literacy learning which recognizes that the contemporary communications environment is increasingly multimodal. Written language today is more closely connected with oral, visual, gestural, tactile and spatial modes. To remain relevant, effective pedagogy needs to connect with the new communications media, and to explore their underlying processes. The course will focus on current trends in language arts instruction and explore current research and practice in reading, writing, listening and speaking across all curriculum areas. The course will also investigate the implications of new media of language and literacy and explore the implications of developments in the contemporary media, particularly the new, digital media.
Course 5: SPED 413: Using New Media to Address Learner Differences
Focusing particularly on the potentials of new media, this course explores inclusive approaches to teaching and learning. Its main practical question is, how do we create learning environments in which learning experiences can be customized and calibrated to meet the precise needs of particular learners? To support this line of investigation, the course examines socio-cultural theories of difference, and considers alternative responses to these differences in educational settings-ranging from broad social, policy and institutional responses to specific pedagogical responses within classes of students.
Course 6: HRE 572: e-Learning Ecologies
An examination of emerging environments of e-learning, some of which set out to emulate the heritage social relationships and discourses of the classroom, others of which attempt to create new forms of learning. The course aims to push the imaginative boundaries of what might be possible in e-learning environments and educational policy.
Course 7: EPS 535: Assessment for Learning
An investigation of how learning is measured. We begin by examining the first modern forms of measurement: tests of intelligence and knowledge, typical of the era of didactic pedagogy. In the third quarter of the twentieth century, a movement to measure ‘standards’ emerges that begins to challenge older ideas about innate intelligence and the priority of memory work. In this time, the fields of educational evaluation and research became well established as integral aspects of education. Most recently, new media for accessing and creating knowledge have opened possibilities for ‘synergistic feedback’ learning environments, which give learners feedback that supports their learning and teachersdetailed information about learner needs and progress. The course both provides an overview of assessment theory, and exploration of a range of assessment practices.
Course 8: EPS 415: Technology & Educational Reform
This is a special section of a course devoted to exploring the social, ethical, and policy dimensions of new technology use in schools. Computers, the Internet, and other multimedia technologies introduce new challenges in thinking about the consequences of technology uses for the learning opportunities and outcomes of students. This course will explore such critical themes as access and equity issues, censorship, privacy, commercialization, new forms of literacy, online communication, and developing a "global community" through the Internet.
The capstone project can either be undertaken as 2 x 2 credit smaller projects or, one combined 2 + 2 credit project. The project is intended to be a ‘hands-on’ intervention, in which the participant designs a learning intervention, implements that intervention, and evaluates its effectiveness. Interventions involving technology in learning are preferred. Among the recommended intervention platforms are Scholar and Learning by Design. Other platforms or modes of intervention can be used, to be negotiated with the instructor. If the course participant does not currently have access to a class, they might write a case study of an intervention in which colleagues are involved, or review the research on a particular form of intervention or educational technology.
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