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EDUC 7008, Foundations of Teaching and Learning:  Curriculum Theory and Design

This is a broad-based foundational course designed to study advanced learning theory and curriculum design, and develop skills in critical analysis of teaching applications and student outcomes. The course will also focus on the importance of working in the context of a professional community.

Learner Outcomes

This course will enable participants to:

  • Understand and think critically about the application of learning theories and curriculum design
  • Demonstrate ability to design and implement a curriculum integrating theory and critical thought
  • Describe, analyze, and reflect on their own educational practices
  • Develop a baseline of self-knowledge, with learning goals based on data and feedback
  • Demonstrate skills necessary to create and maintain a professional community
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current best practices in the field

Driving Questions:

  1. What is curriculum? How does it function within a context of schooling? How might curriculum be revolutionary or oppressive?
  2. What is critical theory? How can it be used to understand curriculum?
  3. What is the place of language and culture in education? How does curriculum produce identities?

Required Texts and Readings

  • All course readings will be accessed through links in the syllabus.

Instructional Strategies

The following instructional strategies and formats will be used this semester:

  1. First weekend of the semester, in-person session: M.Ed. program orientation, direct instruction, small and large group discussion, computer laptop lab, experiential activities.
  2. Web-based threaded discussions in Moodle: original posts, feedback and responses, with critical reflection, collaboration, and discussion on assignments
  3. Use of blogs, wikis, synchronous chat forums and other online tools to share ideas and collaborate on other assignments.
  4. Use of of online resources such as links to various web pages, UMD library online resources, online tutorials and podcasts.

Cohort Requirements and Expectations

As members of the cohort learning community, the expectation is that we all contribute to the learning of the group and each other, and share in creating a quality learning environment. Cohort members bring diverse and extraordinary experience to the process, and we will encourage and rely on that experience to deepen the learning of the group. Participation is therefore expected at all class sessions, as well as in the online threaded discussions. Expect to spend approximately 6-7 hours per week engaged in online communication.

Moodle Discussions, Wikis, Blogs and other online tools

Asynchronous threaded discussions constitute the primary means of interaction in both Educ 7001 and Educ 7008 after the first in-person meeting each semester. In addition, online discussions and sharing of your work will be carried out through other formats such as wikis and blogs.

Discussion topics and questions will be posted usually in ten day to two week units, with guidelines posted for the quantity and type of posts required during this period of time. The minimum expectation is that you will participate in each WebX discussion assignment by posting initial input, engaging in web dialogue, and providing feedback/responses to group members.

We suggest you allow yourselves 6-7 hours per week to engage in these discussions and other online assignments. This amount of time may vary from week to week, depending on the assignment and how you balance or average out your own time. It's important to remember, however, that you'll want to stay current, completing each discussion before moving on to the next.

Considerations when participating on online discussions?
Writing your insights, thoughts, and responses to others in a way that's relatively public and semi-permanent (at least for the duration of the semester) can be a little un-nerving at first and can stifle creativity or thoughtful discussion. So not one of us will be worrying about misspellings, incomplete sentences, or questionable grammar when you are engaged in the informal online discussions.
As to the kind of posts in WebX?
Productive, satisfying discussions are often the result of risk-taking, feedback, questioning, and occasional disagreements, as well as affirming, supportive interaction. With each unit's discussion topic, we will ask you for thoughtful input that reflects the reading, your own experience, and your thoughts or insights. We will also ask you to reflect on other cohort members' posts--do you agree or disagree, do you have questions, does this lead you to think about something else?
Asynchronous threaded discussions (WebX)
With asynchronous online discussions, it is also important to simply "be present" --to find ways to describe in writing what you might be doing non-verbally, e.g., nodding your head, smiling, or looking quizically at someone. Imagine making a statement in person in a class, and having no response from the audience--doesn't help a conversation to flow... So...let people know you're there, that you've read their posts, even if you don't have something content-related to contribute at the moment. Also, let others in your small group know when you might be out of town or away from your computer, and when you'll return.

In addition to the course-related discussions, we have created a folder called "Cyberspace Cafe" in webx. This is the place where you can have casual conversations similar to what goes on in classrooms before class starts, during breaks, etc. We will occasionally start a folder, and encourage you to create your own folders for conversation on topics that interest you. Participation in the cyberspace cafe is not required.

Diversity

This semester's coursework will incorporate an analysis of learning theories and curriculum theory through the lens of critical reflection and critical pedagogy which includes in its foundation cultural analyses. In addition, online discussions will emphasize the importance and practice of eliciting and understanding diverse experiences, opinions, and insights.

Privacy

Use of student names & Internet IDs on website: In this class, our use of technology will sometimes make students' names and U of M Internet IDs visible within the secure pages of our course website, but only to other students in the same class. Since we are using a secure, password-protected course website, this will not increase the risk of identity theft or spamming for anyone in the class. If you have concerns about the visibility of your Internet ID, please contact your instructors for further information.

Important:
We invite any of you who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, or any other special circumstances which might affect your ability to perform in this class to inform us so that together we can adapt methods, materials, or assignments as needed to provide equitable participation.