ET 690 is a discussion and issue oriented class. 30% of your grade will be earned for class participation. Students are expected to attend all classes and participate in discussions. In addition to class participation, students will write two, three, or four papers for the class: one paper about each of the major textbooks, and one final paper, synthesizing material from all the readings in the class. Students may opt out of one paper by volunteering to lead a class discussion one week. Students will sign up for days and topics to lead discussions. Students will earn grades for their leadership of discussions in lieu of the grade for the paper. In addition, students will earn grades for their participation in discussions that others are leading. Failure to participate in discussions will significantly impact the class participation grade (hint: read the assigned readings before class).
There are three major textbooks for this course: Postman, Turkle, and Erneling. Students will write one paper for each of these books. These papers will be 5 - 10 pages and answer specific questions posed by the instructor. Papers will be assigned at least one week before they are due. Additionally, each student will write one final paper, 10 - 15 pages, synthesizing all the readings from the semester.
For the discussions of the Carr and Burbules & Callister textbooks, there are 6 discussions (3 for Carr and 3 for Burbules & Callister). Students may opt to lead one discussion in lieu of the paper for that book. That is, if you lead a discussion of part of the Carr textbook, you do not have to write the Carr paper; if you lead a discussion of part of the Burbules & Callister textbook, you do not have to write the Burbules & Callister paper. Each of these discussions will be led by a student or pair of students in the class, and each student will lead a maximum of one discussion. If there are no volunteers to lead a discussion, the instructor will select a student to lead the discussion (including possibly splitting up students who signed up to lead together).
Discussions will begin each class and should last between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours. While these are discussions, not presentations, you might wish to begin your discussion time with a brief presentation. At a minimum, you should have enough thoughts and ideas about the chapters to keep the discussion going for over an hour and a half. If you wish, you may design activities related to the chapters to help promote discussion. You should expect that all class members will have read the chapters so any chapter summaries should be extremely brief.
In addition, you must find at least one supporting article (two if you are leading a discussion in a pair) related to the topic of the chapters. If you have one or more articles available before your scheduled discussion, you may wish to distribute copies of the additional articles, but you should not expect the class members to have read anything more than a brief article beyond the assigned chapter. Supporting articles should be either book chapters or articles from peer-reviewed journals. You may bring in newspaper or magazine articles, Web page printouts, or other non-scholarly articles, but at least one article per leader must be a book chapter or from a peer-reviewed journal.
Do not feel constrained to a typical discussion. Be creative. Think of ways that your classmates and instructor can explore the material in fun and interesting ways. Don't forget: everyone has read the readings.
When you lead a discussion, you should hand in a list of references that you used--this list must have at least one reference per leader beyond the assigned reading--and a one-two page list of major points you plan to discuss during class.
Two or more times during the semester (probably once for the Carr book and once for the Burbules & Callister book) our discussions will take place online (through a Moodle discussion forum). For online classes, I will set up a discussion forum in Moodle for our class. Discussion leaders should add threads to this discussion board forum with some of the questions you have for the class. You should be able to do anything you need, such as adding threads, attaching files, putting in links. Let me know if you have any questions or technical problems when leading. Online discussions will be a little bit more work (simply because the time is not finite), but it should be fun to have the discussion in this way. Leaders need to be sure to check back regularly in the forum to help manage the discussion and keep it going. I'll try to do the same. Participants should try to participate as they would in class, but they can do so over the course of the week.
Online leaders should have their discussion questions and material
available one night before class. If class is canceled due to snow, and
you are forced to be an online leader, do your best to post questions
by the night of class.
Each student is required to be prepared to lead a discussion of a contemporary issue in education, technology, and society. The texts deal with issues of technology criticism, and your chosen issue should be a current issue that affects education, technology, and/or society. Your issue discussion is likely to stem from a web site or newspaper article, and you are encouraged to bring copies for the entire class of some brief material (such as a newspaper article) for everyone to read to begin the discussion. This discussion should last approximately 1 hour.
Examples of issue discussion topics are: filtering software, online privacy, online privacy as it relates to children, advertising in the schools (Channel 1, ZapMe!), free speech on the Internet, the effects of the Internet on the democratic process, the impact of always being connected. These are just examples; you should be able to think of several (or scan the newspapers for several) of your own.
Issue discussions will take place at the end of some class periods from the 4th to the 10th class and possibly at the beginning of class 11. Since the discussions of the text should be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, many classes will have extra time at the end to discuss issues. If text discussions take the entire class, no issue discussion will take place that class period.
By the third class, you should hand in to the instructor one or more articles related to an issue, and by the fourth class, you should be prepared to lead a discussion on that issue. The instructor will choose the issue that will be discussed each class, so from classes 4 to 12 be prepared to lead your discussion. Note that not all discussion topics will be chosen. Whether or not we discuss your issue will not affect your grade.
The issue discussion is not graded separately but is part of your class participation grade. If you do not hand in an article by the 3rd week, your class participation grade will suffer. Preparation for the issue discussion should not be significant beyond choosing and reading an appropriate article. The topic you choose should be interesting enough to sustain a one hour discussion. If you don't think the topic can do that, find something else.
On the last night of the class, we will have one or two class debates. Participants in a debate will be exempt from writing a final paper. Details of the debate will be discussed in class and time for debate preparation may be allotted during the second-to-last class of the semester. Each debate will focus on some of the articles for the final paper (all are available online).
Debates will follow the following strictly timed structure:
Debates will follow the following rules:
Debate teams will be organized in the following way:
Students choosing not to participate in debate will complete the final paper.
This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.
Last Updated: May 3, 2013