Using a MOOC to Teach Emerging Technologies #MOOCMOOC

One of the suggestions for today's #MOOCMOOC activities is to "Outline, draft, narrate, or otherwise create a plan for your own MOOC". I had actually started doing this when I noticed yesterday's involved creating a Storify document. My immediate thought when I saw the Storify activity, is that this MOOC has involved a lot of emerging technologies. I found myself wondering, what is the pedagogical purpose of these activities?, which led me directly to the idea of incorporating a MOOC into an Emerging Technologies in Education course, that is, a hybrid online-MOOC credit course.

For clarity in this post, I will refer to the students in the Emerging Technologies course as "learners" and the students in MOOCs as "participants".

The MOOC within the course serves multiple purposes: it provides learners with an opportunity to experience a MOOC as a learner (I consider a MOOC to be an emerging technology), and it provides learners with an opportunity to faciliate a topic using several emerging technologies.

Below is the syllabus for the course. I'd love to hear your comments on the course syllabus:

  • What issues do you see with it?
  • How would you improve it?
  • Would you take such credit course?
  • Would you teach it?
  • Would you participate in a MOOC led by learners?

If you know of any Master's programs that are looking for instructors to facilitate such a course, I'll be available starting September 2013. I expect to have completed most of my data collection for my PhD by that time.

You are welcome to use/adapt my syllabus provided that you credit my contribution and let me know. I'd love to hear how it goes.

Emerging Technologies in Education

Emerging technologies in education is a 12-lesson online course that explores the use of emerging technologies within the field of education. Throughout this course, learners are exposed to emerging technologies. Through their exploration and hands-on project, each learner will develop their own framework for evaluating emerging technologies within their teaching context.


This is a cross-discipline course that would be of interest to educators in K-12 education and adult education in both post-secondary and private sector settings.

This is a full credit course within a Master program in Education, Distance Education, or Learning Technology. This might be an appropriate elective for learners studying computer science or information and communications technology (ICT).

This course can be offered as either a 6 or 7-week intensive online course or a 12 to 14 week full semester course. Recommended maximum enrollment is 40. Minimum enrollment is 12. If the class has more than 25 students enrolled, the class will be divided into two cohorts for group work and discussions.

Course goals

After completing this course, learners will be able to:

  • Describe technologies using correct technical terminology.
  • Describe where technologies fit within computer architecture (for example, understanding the difference between application software, operating system, and hardware).
  • Describe their personal approach to learning new technologies.
  • Critically evaluate a new technology for its potential in teaching and learning.
  • Create a lesson using an emerging technology.
  • Effectively troubleshoot technology being used in a teaching or learning context.
  • Identify the issues with integrating a new technology in teaching or learning.
  • Identify at least 10 emerging technologies and critique or justify their use in teaching or learning.
  • Create a context-specific framework for evaluating emerging technologies.

Course design philosophy

The design of this course draws on adult learning theory, social constructivist learning theory, activity learning theory, and connectivism. As adults, each learner brings a wealth of experience to the classroom. This experience, when combined with reflections on the course material and shared with fellow classmates creates rich learning opportunities for all course participants. As such, the professor(s) of the course acts as a "guide on the side" rather than a "sage on the stage" presenting the course content. As a learner, you will be required to actively participate in course discussions and presentation of course material. It is through this active participation that you will learn.

Course structure

The course is divided into lessons. Each lesson runs for an equal duration, which is determined by the length of the course. Specifically, full semester courses have one lesson per week; condensed courses have two lessons per week. You are expected to keep up with the pace of the course.

Each lesson contains: readings, reflections, and discussions. In addition, some lessons contain activities. In addition to the course content, each lesson involves the introduction of a new technology.

Course outline

Lesson Topic/Activities
1 Reading: Introduction to online learning
Discussion: Introductions
Activity: Technology survey
Technology: LMS

Readings: Technology architecture and terminology
Discussion: What is an emerging technology?
Activity: Strategies for online teamwork, Brainstorm listing technologies and categorizing
Technology: Audio/Video conferencing, Mindmapping
Groups are assigned


Readings: Introduction to learning technology evaluation
Discussion: Strategies for learning new technologies
Technology: Blogs, YouTube
Activity: Temperature check (survey, how is the course going?)


Readings: Technology evaluation framework review
Discussion: Strategies for troubleshooting technology
Technology: Shared Authoring, Google Search, Twitter
Activity: Groups prepare evaluation framework
Assignment 1 Due – Evaluate a Learning Technology


Readings: MOOCs and MOOC design
Discussion: Choosing your group MOOC topic
Technology: Learner choice, MOOC, wiki
Activity: curating your MOOC content

6 MOOC – Week 1 – Introduction to MOOCs
Assignment 2 Due – Group MOOC Lesson

MOOC – Week 2 – Learner-led technology

Course activity: Temperature check (survey, how is the course going?)

8 MOOC – Week 3 – Learner-led technology
9 MOOC – Week 4 – Learner-led technology

MOOC – Wrap-up

Discussion: MOOC debriefing, what did you learn about your
technology? What did you learn about MOOCs?
Assignment 3 Due – MOOC participation log and reflection

11 Discussion: Trouble shooting technologies, learning new
technologies, evaluating technologies

Activity: Technology survey
Activity: Course evaluation survey
Assignment 4 Due – Personal learning strategy, personal evaluation framework, and course reflection


The course has five areas where your work will be assessed. These are:

  • Online discussion participation (10%). In an online environment, your attendance and participation is measured by your contributions to the online discussion groups. Your contributions are a critical aspect of online learning, and are therefore valued and required. When contributing to discussions, it is expected that you will make substantive contributions to the regular discussions.
  • Assignment 1 Evaluate a learning technology (10%). Each learner will choose an emerging technology, evaluate it according to their personal evaluation strategy (in context of their learning environment), and write a 2-3 page report on what the learning technology is and their evaluation of the technology.
  • Assignment 2 MOOC Design and Facilitation (group) (20%). Each group will present a "lesson" for the MOOC and facilitate the activities for that week. These lessons must integrate at least one emerging technology (less than 5-years old). The topic of the presentation must be chosen to best align with the technology chosen. Be mindful of the time required for participants to complete your lesson (30-60-minutes is appropriate). You must also facilitate the weekly discussion, based upon your presentation or the technology that you used. You are encouraged to be creative in your lesson, as this is intended to be an opportunity to explore a technology in-depth in a safe environment. Marks will be given based upon the completeness of your initial design and your group reflection of the lesson, not the lesson itself.
  • Assignment 3 MOOC participation and reflection (20%). As with online courses, MOOCs also require active participation to be successful. This portion of the course will be open to anyone interested in attending (it will be "open"); however, all learners in this course are required to participate fully in the activities presented by your classmates. To receive these marks, you must submit a log of your MOOC activities (10%). In addition, write a 2-3 page personal reflection on your role as a MOOC facilitator.
  • Assignment 4 Personal learning strategy, personal evaluation framework, and course reflection (40%). This report should not exceed 15-pages using the Microsoft Word template provided.
    • Personal learning strategy (10%). Throughout this course, you have been exposed to many different emerging technologies. Describe your personal approach to learning new technologies.
    • Personal evaluation framework (20%). Throughout this course, you have been exposed to many different emerging technologies. Develop a personal evaluation framework, and provide an example of how you would use it to evaluate a specific emerging technology for their usefulness in your teaching or learning context.
    • Personal learning reflection (10%). Describe what you have learned in this course, and reflect on how that will change the way you teach or learn. Look at the course objectives and ensure that you address each in your reflections.


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