When issues in the classroom can seem overwhelming to teachers and leaders in education, the Michigan State University College of Education has an answer. Take a master’s-level course: Applying Educational Technology to Practice (CEP 812), which was recently recognized as the Best Fully Online Course at MSU in the annual AT&T Faculty and Staff Award Competition in Instructional Technology.
In addition to other projects, students in this Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) course are asked to tackle a “wicked problem” in education using design thinking and the power of inquiry. The culminating task is to share a critical evaluation and possible solutions for the problem through the creation of a multimodal presentation.
The main objectives are to help individuals from all walks of life think about how technology can be used in a myriad of ways to address a range of teaching and education-related problems.
“It asks students to be thoughtful and purposeful with technology integration,” said Liz Owens Boltz, one of the coordinators of MAET program. She submitted the nomination for the course on behalf of a diverse team of individuals who helped it become what it is today. “It’s not just about the technological tools themselves, but how you’re using the tools.”
Applying educational technology to curriculum
CEP 812, with a focus on the power of questioning the use and purpose of materials, is a popular course in the MAET program, and is the third and final course for the Educational Technology Certificate.
The current installation of CEP 812 was originally developed around 2014, incorporating research from scholars in the College of Education and across the university. It was created with the intention of showing foundations for educational technology, but allowing room for the students (and even the course itself) to grow and develop.
Contributors to the course over its history include current and former MSU scholars, alumni and friends of the program:
- Curriculum development
- Michelle Schira Hagerman
- Leigh Graves Wolf
- Curriculum revision
- Bill Marsland (also an instructor)
- Candace Marcotte (also MAET program coordinator and instructor)
- Liz Owens Boltz (also MAET program coordinator)
- Mary Wever
- Bill Marsland (who also helped with curriculum revision)
- Andrew Steinman
- Ron Houtman
- Alison Keller
- Katie Bradford
- Edie Erickson
- Doug Frankish
- Rachelle Galang
Students work in small groups throughout the course, interacting and collaborating with peers through teleconferencing tools such as Skype or Zoom and on Twitter. They also write blog posts to reflect on their practice, further emphasizing the public nature of their learning in the MAET program.
Although it is an educational technology course, CEP 812 emphasizes approaches, mindsets and strategies over specific technology tools. For example, the think tank model helps students learn and adopt different perspectives to their “wicked problems” and course projects. It also encourages students to become critical consumers of media and information.
Prior to beginning the course, students create a biographical sketch to explain who they are, what they’d like to learn. It is an open opportunity for students to share their identities and to identify areas where they may need help or additional support in their learning.
“Many of our students are educators, but they often come with a breadth of different experiences,” Owens Boltz added. “The diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise that students and instructors have brought to this course have been instrumental in making it such a success.”
CEP 812 was one of six courses and individuals recognized for the use of online technologies at MSU in April 2018.
This isn’t the first time an MSU College of Education course has been awarded: See other AT&T Awards.