CTL 1799H SV Special Topics in Curriculum: Holistic Approaches to Information Technology:
Course Overview and Subject Outline
Contact information: Dr. Selia Karsten selia.karsten@utoronto.ca
 
Course Topics
Expectations
Course Evaluation

This is a course in holistic education.  The course explores ways of enhancing teaching and learning environments using computer technology.  In this course we meet and communicate online in virtual classrooms.  Designed by a practitioner of holistic education methods, the course models a holistic curriculum approach.  The focus is on collaboration and all activities planned are student-centred. The professor acts as the "guide on the side" rather than the "sage on the stage" and the emphasis is more on process than product.



Course Topics (examples only - original ideas are welcome)
1. Holistic education principles and practices.
2. The positive and negative impact of computer technology on education.
3. Dealing with technology-related fears and frustrations.
4. Researching and evaluating web resources for holistic and arts education.
5. Creating web, or computer based, holistic learning experiences.
6. Computer environments for creative expression and self exploration: arts, music or multimedia packages; presentation software, creation of web portfolios.
7. Online communities of teachers and learners and support groups. Computer mediated communication - synchronous and asynchronous.
8. Online collaboration for enhancing inter-cultural understanding and global awareness.
9. Online collaboration among professionals in the ‘real world’ and students in the classroom.
10. Experiential learning through computer simulations and intelligent tutoring systems
11. Distance learning partnerships, mentoring and coaching
12. Strategies for effective communications with technicians
13. Information overload and other aspects of working with computer technology.
14. Creating subject specific online activities to supplement and support current course work
15. The impact and use of such tools used for social networking, bookmarking, etc. (examples: Facebook and Twitter)

This online course is offered in a six weeks condensed version in the summer term.  It is quite a challenge, especially if this is your first online course. It is important to take the course survey linked from the information site at http://astralsite.com/1799 and to read the information posted on that site to have a clear understanding of what is involved. The survey identifies your interests and technical skill levels so that beginners can be given extra support by those with more experience who act as mentors.

The BlackBoard learning management system used for this course is entered at the University of Toronto Web Portal -   http://portal.utoronto.ca once you have completed your registration.  When the course opens, July 7, from your BlackBoard account, you will have access to our main classroom in the OISE learning management system Connect to Create (C2C), where you will find discussion groups to join. As well, you will be conducting synchronous chats online.   Throughout the course, you will be using tools on BlackBoard and in C2C that give you variety in your online experience. With careful planning, you can participate in all areas without going into information overload.

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Expectations

1. Participation in online class forums and learning partner collaboration (40 points)
The primary class forums on various topics will be introduced online in C2C. There will be forums for readings and for general discussions of course content. You will find a "Weekly Update", posted at the beginning of each week - these weekly notes help you keep on schedule and are required reading. There is a Course Schedule page as well.  Forums are set up as meeting places for teams dealing with selected course topics.  It is required that teams use synchronous Chat to plan and progress through their project, posting links to these chats in their Team Forum.

In C2C you will find a Forum (Reading 5) for the Learning Partner Reading and Design Assignment (developed with various tools with results transferred to C2C); there are Forums for All-Class Discussions, for the Teams and for the Presentation of the Team Project, a Forum for developing Individual Projects as well as a Forum for presenting Individual Projects.

Please note: Posted messages with appropriate subject captions should not be too lengthy; you should aim for no more than one screen size. Although shorter messages are encouraged whenever possible - one-liners are discouraged. Your weekly contributions will not be measured by length but by quality. Messages should indicate that you have read previous messages and have thought about them. It is quite important that you keep up with the messages posted. Find a system that works for you. Personal messages one-to-one are best done by email or posted in the social cafe in Holistech2016 BlackBoard Discussion Board.

Typically, you will see messages posted since your last visit. When you read messages, mark them as "read". Take note of the author and subject line so you can later respond to those notes that you plan to "build onto".  It may work best to create your notes off-line in WORD, spell-check the notes and when back online, paste them into the message forms on C2C. It is also helpful if you refer to the note to which you are responding.  If you and your team are planning a chat, it is best to create a note that is co-authored by all members of the team, then only one message is needed and each member of the team can edit the note as to times when they are available to meet. All class members are expected to contribute regularly to the forums in C2C. Contribute meaningful (like Goldilocks might have said - not too long, not too short - but "just right") messages to the discussions on all topics in C2C.

If members of a team do not live in the same time zone, careful planning for synchronous (chat) sessions is necessary. Logs from planning chats are posted in C2C for all to read.

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2. Learning Reflections Journal, Reflective Paper and Individual Project (30 points)
You are expected to keep a Learning Reflections Journal during the course. In this journal you may record your reactions, thoughts, emotions and feelings in relation to your learning experiences in the course. For example, you may wish to discuss your experiences in learning new technologies, how you reacted to various challenges, triumphs and unexpected problems, or how you felt sitting at the computer for prolonged periods.

Those of you who are already at a more advanced level of experience with computer use and the types of applications introduced in this course will be asked to act as coaches (or mentors) to classmates at a less experienced level. Those who act as coaches are encouraged to reflect in their journal about their learning experiences as coaches/mentors to their classmates. Mentors may want to experiment with "blogging" the journal. For more information on blogging, visit the blogger website.

Please note that this journal is not to be confused with a learning log, which would normally include the technical details of your activities at the computer. Keeping such learning logs is also highly recommended since it usually proves to be very beneficial to your learning. You may even wish to record such logs along with your reflections.  Neither the journal or log are submitted.

The reflective paper and the individual project, both to be submitted near the end of the course should refer to your learning experiences throughout this course, highlighting those experiences that were the most important or meaningful to you. Your Learning Reflections Journal should be the primary source in writing this paper (but not the only one). This paper also supports and reports on whatever project you have created. You are encouraged to cite, or to refer to, selected entries from your Journal as well as to other readings that have impacted this learning journey.

The reflective paper should be approximately 1,500 words and no more than 2,000 words. It is expected that you will submit this paper on completing your final project. It would be appreciated if your paper is produced according to proper academic standards; please include a cover sheet, page numbers and a bibliography. This document is submitted as an attachment to email (.doc or .rtf - not .docx or .wpd).  Ideally you will word process your paper using a reasonable size font (Arial 12 is good) and line and a half spacing is fine - no need to double space. A good file name to use is "yourname.doc" and in the message you attach this to, please include the following: a self-evaluation and the mark you believe you earned in the course along with the link to your individual project.

Your individual project will typically consist of a web-based, creative product. The project may be a piece of computer art or music, a computer presentation or web portfolio presenting yourself or some aspect of your life, or it could be a web resource or computer presentation for use as part of a holistic or aesthetic learning experience. Other types of projects might also be possible but need to be approved by the instructor. There will be an Individual Project Development Forum set up in C2C where you can propose project ideas and get feedback from your classmates.

Please Note: It is considered unfair to "double dip" that is, to use a project you have already created for another course or purpose. You will need to do something expressly for this course, especially if it is building onto or inspired by an existing project.
Also note: It is expected that your project will take you beyond the level of knowledge you have at the time you start this course. Remember to develop the project with some sense of context and with the awareness that it must communicate to other educators. For example, you will want to include an introduction, mission or purpose and share any how-to's or resources that help others take your ideas further.

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3. Team Project: 30 points
The team project will be a web-based, creative product. The product is a Web site presenting a Web resource related to the topic your team has chosen. Teams will be made up of four or five members who will assist each other with technical elements. Other types of projects might also be possible but need to be approved by your professor. A brief project report will be created by members of the team to summarize and present the project at completion; this will be posted in the Forum for Team Presentations. (For projects of types other than the ones described above a longer project report might be necessary; more details on project reports will be given at a later date). Each team will also prepare a peer evaluation their team project and feedback for another team's project. Creating this project may be done in a variety of web editors, building a Wiki together is also possible.

Project sharing sessions: You will collaborate on this team project throughout the course, using the assigned Team Forum in C2C as your meeting place. Chat sessions with your team are saved and posted to this Forum. The idea is for everyone to be able to follow the process of the building of these projects. Process is emphasized and is at least as important as the resulting product. In addition to the Team Project, each Team will also facilitate one of the All-Class Discussions.  The topic of the team's discussion does not need to realate to the theme or topics covered in the team's web site project.

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Course Evaluation
Participation in Forums (Class readings, Partner work, All-class discussions)   40%
Reflective paper and Individual project     30%
All Team Work including team self-evaluation and peer feedback      30%
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Feedback during the course can be requested by a personal email to the professor.
** Note: For those class members who started the course with a more advanced level of knowledge in the computer applications covered in the course, participation will include acting as coach/mentor to classmates and to one or more learning partnerships whose members are at a less advanced level. Those who act as computer coach/mentors are also asked to actively participate in the Holistech2015 Technical questions' discussions on BlackBoard and are responsible for answering the questions posed by their less experienced classmates.

***Using a Web editor: You might want to try the SeaMonkey browser which has a built in web editor.  Remember the folder where you download a program like SeaMonkey. Find the .exe file in your folder and click on it then follow the wizard for installation on your computer. You can have more than one browser on your computer.  You'll be asked which one you want to use as the default browser.  Advice regarding various webpage making options will guide construction and publishing of web projects. Programs such as webs  and google sites are among the various free programs that can be used for web site projects - these are sites that require your email registration.

****For both individual and group projects there are numerous examples to be found in the Class Gallery at http://astralsite.com/1799/gallery.html

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Subject Outline updated Summer 2016