Digital Age I
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Digital Age 2 Course

Dave Moursund's ICT in Education Home Page

Oregon Technology in Education Council

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Nitty Gritty of Course Syllabus

All students should familiarize themselves with the information listed below.

Course Prerequisites

Course Philosophy and Some Unifying Themes

Course Expectations for Reading and Writing Assignments

Course Instructor Office Hours and Contact Information

Disclaimer: Syllabus Content is Subject to Change

Diversity Statement

Electronic Interactions with the Instructor and Others

Grades of I (incomplete) and Y (no basis for a grade)

Ombudsperson, College of Education

Rules, Regulations, and Policies

Textbooks and Reading Packet

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Ombudsperson, College of Education

The role of ombudsperson has a long tradition as a means of protecting against abuse, bias, unfairness and other improper treatment. The ombudsperson suggests strategies to increase communication and reduce conflict. You may want to consult the ombudsperson if:

  • You are unsure about which rules, policies or procedures apply to your situation
  • You feel that your learning has been adversely affected by the conduct and behavior of another person
  • You require someone to help facilitate communication between you and a member of the university community,

William D. Young, Ombudsman
Phone: (541) 346-1401
Location:  270 Education
1215 University of Oregon,  Eugene, OR 97403-1215

Diversity and Other College of Education Information Statement (1/4/06)

UO College of Education
January 3, 2006


It is the policy of the University of Oregon to support and value diversity. To do so requires that we:

  • respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals.
  • promote a culture of respect throughout the University community.
  • respect the privacy, property, and freedom of others.
  • reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.
  • practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others.
  • promote the diversity of opinions, ideas and backgrounds which is the lifeblood of the university.

Documented Disability

Appropriate accommodations will be provided for students with documented disabilities. If you have a documented disability and require accommodation, arrange to meet with the course instructor within the first two weeks of the term. The documentation of your disability must come in writing from the Disability Services in the Office of Academic Advising and Student Services. Disabilities may include (but are not limited to) neurological impairment, orthopedic impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, chronic medical conditions, emotional/psychological disabilities, hearing impairment, and learning disabilities. For more information on Disability Services, please see

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are subject to the regulations stipulated in the UO Student Conduct Code ( This code represents a compilation of important regulations, policies, and procedures pertaining to student life. It is intended to inform students of their rights and responsibilities during their association with this institution, and to provide general guidance for enforcing those regulations and policies essential to the educational and research missions of the University.

Conflict Resolution

The mission of the College of Education is to “Make educational and social systems work for all.” Several options, both informal and formal are available to resolve conflicts for students who believe they have been subjected to or have witnessed bias, unfairness or other improper treatment. Within the College of Education, you can contact: Bill Young, COE Ombudsperson at 346-1401 or or

Outside the College, you can contact:
UO Bias Response Team: 346-1139 or
UO Conflict Resolution Services 346-0617 or
UO Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity 346-3123 or

Grievance Policy

A student or group of students of the College of Education may appeal decisions or actions pertaining to admissions, programs, evaluation of performance and program retention and completion. Students who decide to file a grievance should follow the student grievance procedure, or alternative ways to file a grievance outlined in the Student Grievance Policy ( or enter search: student grievance.

Inclement Weather Policy

In the event the university operates on a curtailed schedule or closes, UO media relations will notify the Eugene-Springfield area radio and television stations as quickly as possible. In addition, a notice regarding the university's schedule will be posted on the UO main homepage (in the “News” section) at College of Education students should contact their program department for further information.

Grades of I and Y

Students are expected to be familiar with university policy regarding grades of “incomplete” and the time line for removal of these. Consult the UO Catalog for the policy and procedure specifics regarding incompletes for undergraduate or graduate students. Roughly speaking, a grade of I applies to situations in which a student is making satisfactory progress in a course and then is unable to complete some of the required work of the course due to circumstances such as serious illness, injury, and so on.

Students are expected to be familiar with university policy regarding grade of Y (no basis for a grade). Roughly speaking, the grade of Y applies to situations in which a student stops attending and participating in a course before making measurable progress in the course. For example, if a student registers for a course, never attends, and never turns in any assignments, this student is likely eligible for a grade of Y.

Textbooks and Reading Packet

Students in this course are not being asked to purchase a textbook or a reading packet. All readings in the course will come from Web resources and printed materials provided by the course instructor. Participants in the course will receive a free copy of ISTE's 371 page book National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers: Preparing Teachers to Use Technology. Much of the online reading assignments will come from materials written by Dave Moursund and accessible at:


There are two general prerequisites for the course:

  1. This is a graduate level course intended for educators. It assumes a background in education and a graduate student level of maturity and commitment. It assumes a commitment of approximately 12 hours per week ( which includes class meeting time).
  2. The course assumes participants are comfortable in using a wide range of computer hardware and software facilities. If the need arises in the course for a student to learn additional uses of ICT hardware and software facilities, it is assumed that the student has the maturity and study skills to take responsibility for gaining this additional knowledge. This course is not designed to teach details of hardware and software knowledge and skills.

The course and this Website make use of the term Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This term is somewhat broader that Information Technology, the term that it is replacing.

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Course Philosophy and Some Unifying Themes

Information and Communication Technology is affecting curriculum, instruction, and assessment throughout all of our formal and informal education systems. ICT has been changing very rapidly in the past, and it will continue to change very rapidly during the next several decades. Each preservice and inservice educator can consider ICT both as a threat and as an opportunity. Those who embrace and become competent in ICT will gain a substantial advantage in their professional careers.

Big Ideas

This course focuses on Big Ideas. Many of the ideas are visionary, but many others are practical, down to earth, and relevant to today's educational system. The course content is a balance between theory and practice.

Here is an example of a Big Idea. It is an assertion--an example of the types of ideas that we discuss and argue about in this course.

Assertion 1. The quality of education that students are receiving would be significantly improved if there were increased emphasis on students learning to make effective use of contemporary, readily available ICT tools, and if students spent less time learning to use "traditional" (by-hand) methods in competition with such ICT tools.

Here is another example of a Big Idea. It provides a unifying theme in the Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age 1 and 2 sequence. Moreover, it helps explain why the two-courser sequence draws upon all of the previous coursework and educational experience of the students in the courses.

Assertion 2. A good teacher has an appropriate blend of:
  • Content knowledge in the areas he or she teaches.
  • General, broad-based knowledge of the craft and the science of teaching and learning.
  • Pedagogical knowledge that is specific to the content disciplines being taught.

ICT is an integral component of each of the three bulleted items. A good teacher has appropriate (and modern) knowledge and skills of ICT in each of the three bulleted areas.

Here is a third example of a Big Idea. It is an assertion--an example of the types of ideas that we discuss and argue about in this course.

Assertion 3. ICT is a powerful change agent (a disruptive technology) in education. It is the most powerful change agent since the development of reading, writing, and arithmetic by the Sumerians about 5,200 years ago.

Here is a fourth Big Idea. It concerns human/machine competition and collaboration.

Assertion 4. (This is related to Assertion 1.)

  • There are many things that people can do better than machines. A good educational system helps people to gain appropriate knowledge, skills, and wisdom in areas where people can do better than machines.
  • There are many things that machines can do better than people. A good educational system helps people gain the knowledge, skills, and wisdom to make appropriate use of machines in such cases.
  • There are many things that people and machines working together can do better than people alone or machines alone. A good educational system helps people gain the knowledge, skills, and wisdom to work appropriately together with machines in such cases.
  • We are living at a time of very rapid change in the totality of human knowledge, the number and nature of tools, and so on. This rapid pace of change shows every sign of continuing (indeed, in creasing) well into the future. A good educational system helps people learn to cope with such change.

Learning Theories

The course is rooted in Constructivism, a learning theory that says all learners build new knowledge and skills upon their current knowledge and skills. A learner constructs knowledge and develops skills. This is in contrast to a "factory" model of education in which the student is considered to be an empty vessel that is receptive to having new knowledge and skills "poured in." Constructivist-based teaching assumes that no two students in the course will bring the same knowledge and skills to the course, and no two students will gain the same new knowledge and skills.

The course will also draw upon Situated Learning Theory, which is a relatively new cognitive learning theory. Situated Learning Theory posits that the environment of a learning experience is a key component of what is learned. If the environment is relatively "authentic" (quite a bit like the environment in which the learning will be used) then one can expect good transfer of learning. Quite a bit of our "traditional" educational system lacks this authenticity.

The course will include a major emphasis on teaching and learning for Transfer of Learning. Both the "Near Transfer, Far Transfer" and the "High-Road, Low-Road" transfer theories will be explored.

The course has a major emphasis on higher-order thinking skills (including meta cognition and reflective thinking) and on problem solving.

My Expectation

Many students bring the following attitude to courses they are taking:

"Tell me what to do and what to learn, and I'll do it."

In my opinion, such an attitude or philosophy is a very poor approach to formal schooling and informal education. Please do some introspection to see the extent to which you have this attitude and approach to your program of study. Think about the consequences of instilling such an attitude in the students you will teach.

My expectation of graduate students is that they will move away from this attitude and toward the following:

"Provide me guidance in learning to pose learning tasks and accomplish these learning tasks. Help me move toward becoming an independent, self sufficient, lifelong learner. As I make continuing progress in this endeavor, I will work to help my students gain such values and skills."

Translating Practitioner and
Research Knowledge Into Practice

There is a huge and steadily growing collection of Craft Knowledge and Research Knowledge in education. Only a modest amount of this accumulated data, information, knowledge, and wisdom is successfully translated into educational practice and routinely used when it might make a significant contribution to the education of students. ICT provides a number of aids to addressing this shortcoming in our educational systems.

The problem of translating educational theory into educational practice has existed since the beginnings of formal education, and it has steadily grown in complexity. Consider, for example, just the College of Education at the University of Oregon. It receives research grants totaling more than $20 million a year. This generates a tremendous amount of research. Now, add to this the educational research being done at hundreds of other locations throughout the world, and the steadily growing accumulation of such research. Even if a teacher spends full time learning new things, the teacher has no chance in keeping up with the mass of new research results.

ICT is an important aid to dealing with this problem. Some of the research results can be built into the hardware and software that is used by students and their teachers. We already have some Highly Interactive Intelligent Computer-Assisted Learning materials that are more effective than human teachers. The availability and quality of such materials will grow steadily in the future.

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Expectations for Reading and Writing Assignments

There are reading assignments for most weeks of the term. Many of the readings will be online documents. Note that:

  • Research tends to suggest that online reading is somewhat more difficult, produces somewhat lower levels of comprehension, and is often less convenient than reading hardcopy (on paper) materials.
  • However, the Internet and the global library that we call the World Wide Web are gradually moving us toward doing more and more online reading.

Thus, you should view this course as providing you an opportunity to examine you attitude towards and improve your skills in online reading.

The amount of assigned reading will vary from week to week. Here's something to think about. How much "intellectual" material can you read, understand, think about, and add to your knowledge in an hour? For example, suppose that when you read a novel, you read 300 or more words per minute. That is about 40 to50 pages per hour.

Now, go back to Assertions 1-4 in Course Philosophy and Some Unifying Themes. This is about a page of material. A conscientious, deep thinking student could easily spend an hour or more reflecting on these four assertions. Thus, a person might read 40 to 50 pages an hour in one situation, and one page per hour in another situation. My current guess is that the types of reading materials I assign probably fall in the 8-10 pages per hour range. You might think about this in terms of "spend four minutes thinking about each minutes worth of stuff you read."

Perhaps you remember that Rene Descartes (1596-1650) said: "I think, therefore I am." The thinking, exploration, and introspecting that accompanies reading is an important aspect of constructivism. It is your opportunity "to be" and to build upon your previous knowledge and skills.

Constructivism is a very important learning theory. A teacher can teach in a constructivist manner and can create environments that facilitate and encourage constructivism. However, constructivist learning is an internal and personal thing. Thus, as you read, you will build upon your current knowledge and skills. The amount of time and effort you expend on this constructivist activity will, to a large extent, determine the value you get out of the reading.

Most participants in the course are in a transition from being students to becoming teachers. My expectations are that students in the course are all responsible graduate students. I expect that you will read the reading assignments, and that you will display knowledge and understand of these reading materials via the in-class discussions, through your Attendance & Reading Quizzes, through your longer written assignments, and in your term project(s). I hope that you will view reading assignments as an opportunity to learn and to practice constructivist learning.

The typical class meeting will begin with a short Attendance & Reading Quiz. About half of the points are awarded for being present to take the quiz, and the other half are based on your written answers. While questions may cover any component of the course materials up to the date of the quiz, typically the emphasis will be on the most recent reading assignment.

The course contains a number of writing assignments. Of course, I expect your writing to be on the specified topic, be of the specified length, use appropriate spelling and grammar, use appropriate desktop publishing, and have appropriate bibliographic references. Beyond these superficial things I am looking for good and careful thinking--integration of your ideas with the new things you are learning. I want to see evidence of constructivism and reflective thinking at work.

Finally, in your written assignments I want you to pay careful attention to the issue of plagiarism. You should strive to avoid even a hint of plagiarism in your writing. As a perspective teacher, you should role model very high ethical (and legal) behavior.

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Electronic Interactions with the Instructor and Others

The course will require a significant amount of email interaction among class members and with the course instructor. The assumption is that students know how to do this well. Some of the things that I look for in an email message include:

  1. A "Subject" line that clearly indicates the content.
  2. A "Signature" at the end that clearly identifies the person sending the message.
  3. Avoidance of inappropriately responding to a list when the intent is to respond to a specific individual or individuals on the list.
  4. Appropriate thought given to the formatting of the document.
  5. The message contains copies of previous components of an ongoing sequence of messages, when this is appropriate. These come after the new material that you are adding to the conversation.
  6. The length of the new material is relatively brief. Avoid long email messages.
  7. Appropriate use of attachments. If attachments are used, the body of the email message includes an adequate description and/or brief summary of what is in the attachments, including the software used to prepare the attached document. For example, you might say that the attachment is a Microsoft Word 2001 file, or an AppleWorks 6 document, and that the attachment is (given the assignment name, date due, and other identification information).

Office Hours and Contact Information

Fall Term 2004 Office Hours are 1:00 to 3:30 Thursdays in Room 124A, College of Education. Phone (541) 346-3564. Email: Home Fax: (541) 484-0913. Office hours sometimes get canceled due to meetings and/or out of town trips. Please do not contact Dave Moursund at his home phone except in extreme emergencies.

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This Website and the material that it contains should be viewed as a work in progress. This is a relatively complex document and it undoubtedly contains errors. Significant changes are apt to occur as the course progresses. When these changes affect specific reading assignments, written and other graded assignments, and/or assessment, announcements will be made in class and also in the Announcements and Updates section of this Website.