Course Philosophy

As one former student points out in her ONID portfolio, (link no longer active) you might feel a little silly as an experienced educator taking a 400-level course with the term “fundamentals” in the title. However, as the comment on that post argues, this is an area of immense change and constant newness, to the point that the title of the course (specifically Web 2.0) almost no longer seems appropriate.

It is my goal to make this course relevant to your current and future practice as educators and build a foundation, comprised of the ONID portfolio, a nascent PLN/PLE, and the other assignments and explorations that we will undertake. In order to do this, and to also practice the preachings of The Open Web and the notion of true cohort-based collaboration, I will strive to be as responsive and radically oriented to the ways we build learning and competency around the very big concepts that this course attempts to cover.

To do this, I’ve designed each learning activity to be as relevant as possible to the state of society and our own presences on the web in the current moment.  I am always open to your suggestions about ways that the pieces of this course can be improved and changed.

Here are the things that I think will create a valuable experience for you in this course:

1. Consider me a member of the cohort.

I have enough experience and educational credentials that both myself and the UAF School of Education have deemed me qualified to teach it. But I am not an expert on every technology or on every teaching practice. In many ways, I will be learning from you. And of course, we will be learning together, as a community of inquiry.

2. The course design is flexible, and your feedback will be taken seriously.

I place value on your experience as students, and I strive to listen and incorporate changes to the course based on your input. Just as I am flexible with due dates and allow unlimited revisions to assignments, I want this course delivery to be flexible as well, within reason.

3. Tools don’t matter.

Ok, they matter. And the evaluation and informed implementation of them is extremely important. But as you will learn throughout the program, tools should never lead pedagogy. Tools should support the goals you are trying to achieve and harmonize with your own teaching philosophy. This is why the tools I have chosen in this course should be ready to be abandoned if necessary. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts or recommendations on the topic of tool choice and implementation.

4. Remember that no one owns the definition of Web 2.0. You do.

In fact, it’s a poor term and I actually tried to change the title of the course in the redevelopment process. But, bureaucracy. What is Web 2.0? The term was coined in 1998 and popularized in 2005. It lives on, seeming to colloquially refer to whatever new fads are sweeping the web at any one moment. We will address this in the first few weeks of the course as we build our portfolios and PLNs.