E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology. We’ll explore some of the most engaging perspectives on digital culture in its popular and academic forms, and we’ll consider how our practices as teachers and learners are informed by the difference of the digital. We’ll look at how learning and literacy is represented in popular digital-, (or cyber-) culture, and explore how that connects with the visions and initiatives we are seeing unfold in our approaches to digital education.
This course will not be taught via a series of video lectures. Rather, a selection of rich resources will be provided through which you can begin to engage with the themes of the course. While the teachers will be present in the discussion forums and in various other media environments, there will be an emphasis on learner-led group formation, and the use of social media to build personal learning networks and communities of peers. On this course, you will be invited to think critically and creatively about e-learning both as a process and as a topic of study; you will be able to try out new ideas in a supportive environment, and gain fresh perspectives on your own experiences of teaching and learning. This course is also intended to be an exploration of the MOOC format itself. Rather than approaching this course with the expectation of exacting teaching methods or precise learning routines, we invite all participants to collectively experiment with what the MOOC experience might be.
The course assessment will involve you creating your own digital artefact: something that is designed to be experienced digitally, on the web. It will be likely to contain a mixture of text, image, sound, video, links, and can be created in the environment of your choice. The artefact will be a representation of any of the themes encountered during the course, and you‘ll have the opportunity to use digital spaces in new ways to present this work. Our definition of ‘digital artefact’ is intentionally imprecise to invite experimentation and creativity: it will be evaluated via guided peer-assessment.
This course has been developed collaboratively by a team of experienced teachers and researchers in online education, who run the international MSc in Digital Education distance programme at the University of Edinburgh.