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It’s spring break! Here’s the vague outline of my final paper.

Here we are, just about at the halfway mark, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout so far in my edtech extravaganza it’s that there is so much I still have to learn. Hopefully the conference next week can help me fill in a few more blanks, but man, I have a long way to go.

Considering that I’ve only got about half a semester left, I think it’s time to figure out where I’m going with the paper I need to write at the end of this project. My original proposal stated that I’d write about this stuff:

Within my final paper I will explore the history and structure of the Digital Storytelling class and how it functions as part of Mary Washington’s Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies. I will focus on the unique aspects of this course as compared to other open online classes, such as its small size, student-driven assignment creation and flexible interdisciplinary curriculum. I will then connect the elements I’ve identified to larger trends within the field of online education, which will constitute the bulk of my research. I will use the analysis I have outlined in my blog posts and throughout my paper to speculate on the future of online education and educational technology as framed by my experiences in Digital Storytelling.

That… might be a little more difficult than I originally intended. I’ve expanded my knowledge of edtech and open education so much that bringing it back in to focus on ds106 and UMW feels a bit limiting. I do need to focus if I’m ever going to get this thing done., though Ergo… outline time!


Basically my independent research project proposal, but expanded a little and with some specificity added. I’ll probably add details about when ds106 began, who founded it, and briefly describe how it functions as one of UMW’s course offerings.

Defining Open Ed and Edtech

I’ve got to delineate between the two, and describe how each one is defined. I can also pull in a good deal of Spiro and Alexander’s work here, drawing on their definitions of open education to help me work out practical definitions I can apply to UMW initiatives. I think in defining edtech I can also incorporate examples from UMW classes and DTLT to help flesh out this section. The biggest issue I can see is lingering too long here.


Talking about the nature of the class can go here, as well as expanding on some of the points I made in the introduction. I suspect it would be useful to retrofit last week’s blog post into a longer section detailing how ds106 fits into the landscape of open education as a whole, again using Spiro and Alexander’s work as a starting point. That would transition into a discussion of what that means for UMW as a provider of an open online course, and maybe how more of UMW’s classes could use some of the teaching methods in ds106 in other classes, whether online or in the classroom.


This is where I’m really struggling. Considering how much the landscape of edtech and open education changes every week, how much new and interesting stuff people are doing, and the fact that educational systems in the US are struggling right now anyway, I still haven’t been able to pin down anything I consider a “conclusion” for this project. I think ultimately I want to emphasize that one of the greatest strengths of ds106, and, when implemented properly, edtech in general, is that it gives students a different perspective on learning, and allows them more freedom to create than traditional classrooms (there’s that word “traditional” again–something I’ll have to define within the paper if I want to use it at all). I also want to pull in the “student as producer” initiative I’ve been blogging about here, and why I think it’s one of the most important things edtech/open ed programs could perpetuate.

I’m also aware, however, that those ares very simplistic conclusions. Next week I’ll be blogging about some more complex rhetorical and practical concepts that Prof. Whalen and I discussed at our last meeting, and I’ll see if I can’t finagle them into a better conclusion or thesis than what I’ve outlined here. I’ll also be taking notes at OpenVA, which will be super inspiring, provided that an incredibly ill-timed winter storm doesn’t prevent me from getting there all together.



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