ED 650: Current Topics in Educational Technology


Course Information: Current Topics in Educational Technology, ED 650, 3 Credits

Prerequisites: No prerequisites.

Location: Distance delivery, asynchronous, with two individual student check-in sessions

Instructor Information:

Dr. John Monahan

Office Hours: By appointment

Cellular Phone: 907-590-0376

Email: jdmonahan@alaska.edu

Required Text:

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mar, A McDaniel

(For purposes of the course you can purchase the book as an audio book, ebook or hardcopy. I personally enjoy listening to the book through Audible, and have a hard copy available for notes in the margins.)

Supplemental recommended readings:

These books are not required but will be very helpful throughout your career as a student and researcher.

American Psychological Association (2009). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA.: SAGE Publications.

Course Description:

This is a content-customized course for students interested in increasing their awareness of the impact of innovative technology in the learning environment. Participants in the class study professional and personal technology based topics relevant to various career fields in education, with an emphasis on current events, emerging technologies and ethical considerations. Readings, research papers and discussions lead to the development of an instructionally oriented technology proposal that includes an implementation plan and formal presentation.

This course supports the UAF School of Education’s mission by providing students with the skills necessary to design thoughtful individualized instructional environments utilizing technologies and strategies appropriate to all learners. Students will acquire skills in the management and implementation of technology that will enhance their professional qualifications based on International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and Alaska teacher standards for technology and instructional design.

Course Goals:

1. Awareness. Critically review current technology topics considering their impact in personal, educational, social, and professional areas.

2. Academic research. Research current literature concerning technology that is relevant to (student) individual interest.

3. Diversity. Explore the relationship between technology and culture.

4. Innovation and leadership. Create and present a technology based proposal that will solve a problem or introduce new technology in an educational or professional setting.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Research and comment on current technology topics
  • Recommend ways technology can be used to enhance learning
  • Conduct online academic research
  • Write a research based technology proposal
  • Effectively present a technology proposal
  • Post substantive feedback on peer created materials

Instructional methods:

This is course is designed to be delivered asynchronously and completely online. In this course you will use a variety of web-based tools, if you are not prepared to participate in this type of course, discuss your concerns with the instructor and consider taking an alternative course.

While this course is primarily asynchronous there will be three optional scheduled synchronous “check-ins”. The dates of the check-in sessions are posted in the course calendar.

The first check-in will occur during the second week of class and will allow everyone an initial connection to one another and an opportunity to go over the syllabus and address any initial “start of course” questions. The second check-in will occur the week before instructor initiated withdrawal date, this is meant to confirm the student’s progress in completing the course. The third check-in will occur in the final month to allow for a review regarding the summarizing assignments and final assignment. Feel comfortable contacting the instructor to ask additional questions or assistance throughout the semester.

Course Calendar:

Date RangeTopicAssignments and Date
 Week 1Reviewing the course materials, becoming familiar with Blackboard, meeting the instructor and introducing yourself to the class.• Read syllabus and welcome letter

• UAF account set-up, forward UAF email if necessary

• Confirm technology is up to speed

• Schedule an introduction appointment with instructor

• Weekly discussion posting — self introduction due Sept. 9

• Call in audio/video session – Sept. 07 (contact details will be emailed to you)

Week 2Technology Learning in our Daily Lives

Make It Stick, Chapter 1, “Learning is Misunderstood”

• Log into Diigo.com

• Subscribe to “http://www.smartbrief.com/industry/education/edtech”

• Week 2 discussion post due Sept. 15

Week 3Bring on the Revolution

Make It Stick, Chapter 2 “Mix Up Your Practice”

• Week 3 discussion post due Sept. 21

• Post first reaction paper #1 due Sept. 25

Week 4The Impact of Technology in Learning

Make It Stick, Chapter 3, “Avoid Illusions of Knowing”

• Week 4 discussion post due Sept. 28
Week 5Imagine – Individualized Learning for All

Make It Stick, Chapter 4 – 5, “Avoid Illusions of Knowing”

• Week 5 discussion post due Oct. 05

• Post second reaction paper #2 due Oct. 09

• Two page project “supposal” due Oct. 09

Week 6Changing Physical Location of Learning

Make It Stick, Chapter 6, “Get Beyond Learning Styles”

• contact the instructor before October 15th to schedule an individual meeting to discuss your final project (phone call or by Google Hangout).

• Week 6 discussion post due Oct. 12

• Individual meeting check in due Oct. 15

Week 7Bring on the Revolution

Make It Stick, Chapter 7-8, “Increase Your Abilities and Make It Stick”

• Week 7 discussion post due Oct. 19

• Post third reaction  paper #3 due Oct. 23

Week 8Mobile Learning in the Classroom• Week 8 discussion post due Oct 26
Week 9Technology Standards in Education• Week 9 discussion post due Nov. 02

• Suggested due date for research paper #4 due Nov. 06

Week 10Old School Skills – Is Keyboarding Necessary?• Week 10 discussion post due Nov. 09
Week 11How does Education Evolve?• Week 11 discussion post due Nov. 16

• Suggested due date for research paper #5 due Nov. 20

Week 12The Impact of Technology on Culture• Week 12 discussion post due Nov. 23
Week 13New Learning Tools in the Classroom

• contact the instructor before October 15th to schedule an individual meeting to discuss your final project (phone call or by Google Hangout).

• Week 13 discussion post due Nov. 30

• Individual meeting check in due Dec. 03

• Suggested due date for research paper #6 due Dec. 04

Week 14 Stretch your creativity activity• Week 14 discussion post due Dec. 07
Week 15 Sharing Projects and wrap up• Week 15 discussion post due Dec. 14

• Suggested due date for research paper #7 due Dec. 14

• Final project proposal and presentation due Dec. 14


Posting to the weekly discussion boards is required. Actively participating in your classmate’s electronic presence is important for you and your fellow students. It is important to engage and share your reactions to in conversations, activities, and posted assignments. Missing more than one posting will affect your grade. Please email the instructor if you miss a posting deadline.

Academic Honesty:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks policies are in effect in this class. Academic honesty is required of all members of a learning community. Unethical behavior such as plagiarism or using others’ work without appropriate acknowledgment in presentations, papers, or other course assignments is not tolerated.

Research must be conducted in a professional manner; this includes the write-up and the inclusion of the proper citations and formatting.

Students who fail to follow academic integrity policies may be given failing grades. Plagiarism has several definitions but simply put it is the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work.

When you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas, opinions, theories, evidence, or research you must give the source credit. Use the American Psychological Association (APA) 6thedition for guidelines.


Student grades will be based upon the following criteria and assignments.

100% – 90% A

89% – 80% B

79% – 70% C (Not Yet)

69% or below is failing.

Posting Assignments:
All discussion assignments should be submitted weekly. Discussion postings are due each Monday by noon, in order to give you the week to post comments on your class mates postings and work on the current topic assignments.

The current topic research papers should be submitted two each quarter (total of 7 research papers), pace yourself. Try to complete half of the assignments by mid-semester and complete all assignments by the 15th week of the course.

Late Assignments:
Arrangements can be made for “absences/vacations”, but in the event that several assignments start to back-up, points will potentially be deducted for assignments turned in late.

Resubmitted Assignments:
Points will not be deducted for resubmitted a revised assignment for a better grade.

Summary of Assignments:

Class participation/postings300 points
Paper on current issues in technology700 points
Final paper and presentation500 points
Total points1,500 points
  1. Class participation/ Posting: (20%: 300 points)
    You are expected to demonstrate that you have done the readings or given consideration to the topic by contributing appropriately to class discussions. You are expected to contribute to class discussion boards regularly (a discussion comment is provided weekly).  You will post questions, responses and/or observations regarding the discussion topic for the other class participants to read and respond to accordingly.
  2. Papers on Current Issues in Technology: (47%; 700 points)
    Research, read and critically review seven research articles focused on your area of inquiry or interest. The objective of this assignment is to familiarize yourself with a selection of current issues in technology through various research journals, by critically reading, analyzing and reviewing the research.
  3. Final paper and presentation: (33%; 500 points)
    Prepare a proposal and presentation for a technology oriented project that you desire to be approved by a governing board.

Topics are provided, but you can also present issues of interest to you. This will also allow you to start perusing research articles that may be of interest to you and perhaps choose some that you can use for your future work. These should be primary research articles in printed guides [reviews, indexes, abstracts, journals, etc.] or in database sources [ERIC, Academic Premier, Proquest, etc.]. Your cited sources must come from scholarly journals and two cited sources may be web-based. Include proper citations and adhere to APA 6 formatting and writing conventions. (good practice)

Clearly identify the important points of conducting research regarding this topic, include a summarizing section on how you may see future impacts and issues regarding this current issue in technology. This paper must explore your issue in-depth (as is appropriate for two pages) with appropriate supporting APA 6 documentation, length two pages for each review.

Student Services:

The Division of Student Services provides student-centered programs and services designed to assist students in achieving their personal, academic and career goals. In collaboration with the academic deans, we lead the university in recruiting a diverse student body. With the use of ongoing assessment we support and develop programs and communities that contribute to the retention, success and leadership development of students. Go to http://www.uaf.edu/ses/ to learn more.

The UAF eLearning and Distance Education provides student service support for this online course. See their website at: http://distance.uaf.edu

Writing support services are available to UAF students through the Writing Center, located in 801 Gruening, 474-5314, online at: http://www.alaska.edu/english/studentresources/writing/. You are encouraged to use this resource to meet writing expectations.

Technology support services are available through the OIT Support Center, 450-8300 (Toll Free: 800-478-8226), online at: http://www.alaska.edu/oit/sc/about/contact.xml, and via email to helpdesk@alaska.edu.

Disability Services:

UAF offers many services for students with disabilities. If you require information regarding these services. Their URL is http://www.uaf.edu/apache/disability/ or you give them a call at 474-5655. I will work with Office of Disability Services in providing any reasonable accommodations, please notify me of any such requirements as soon as possible.