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Week 1 - Setting the stage (S12012)

Page history last edited by Linda Newell 8 years, 3 months ago


Welcome to EDTC 6329 - Special Topics! In this first week, you will be introduced to course-related policies and procedures in order to become familiar with overall expectations. There will also be an opportunity to introduce yourself to the group. The week will conclude with activities that will begin your familiarization with the topic of disruptive technologies.


Learning Outcomes

  • Locate, review, and be able to describe course requirements;

  • Become acquainted with your classmates and instructor; 

  • Become familiar with the subject of disruptive technologies, particularly as it relates to the education environment;



 This week, you will read:

           (author interview)


*Note that the technologies listed have been further disrupted since publishing in fall of 2009 - 2 1/2 short years!)



Research has shown that a sense of community plays in a key role in academic success and persistence, particularly in higher education (Shea, Sau Li, & Pickett, 2006). This is accomplished through sharing and collaboration within social networks that are formed. A successful community is based upon five fundamental elements:

  • ·        a sense of shared purpose;

  • ·        establishment of boundaries regarding membership;

  • ·        agreement regarding community behavior;

  • ·        interaction; and

  • ·        a level of trust, respect and support (Vesley, Bloom, & Sherlock, 2007).


However, online learners frequently express feelings of isolation and disconnection.The power of establishing a sense of community in online classes has been demonstrated by LaRose and Whitten (2000) who found a statistically significant relationship between students’ sense of community and the positive achievement of learning outcomes in the online setting. In addition, the establishment of a professional network is one of many ways to keep up in rapidly advancing fields such as technology.


This semester, you will have opportunities each week to connect with your fellow students in this course as well as to your instructor. While these will be assigned (and therefore graded), you are strongly encouraged to expand upon these opportunities both within the context of this course as well as outside this classroom.




  • Option 1 - You will attend a seminar that will discuss the course and establish goals. Time will also be given for Q&A. See grading rubric here. Access to Meeting of the Minds is via the collaborate tool in Blackboard. See course calendar for meeting times.


  • Option 2 – This option is to provide flexibility in meeting the scheduled portion of the course. If selected, your assignment is to listen to the archived seminar and then write a 350+ word synopsis, including your own responses to any questions or statements, posed during the meeting. All APA formatting and citations conventions are to be followed (see syllabus).


          Because of the time sensitive nature of the information given during our seminar

          time, this assignment is to be received no later than the Saturday following the

          seminar meeting date. The synopsis is to be emailed to your instructor and

          timestamped by midnight. Papers received after Saturday will be accepted until the           course close on Sunday at midnight but will be considered late. a 20%. After that,           papers will no longer be accepted.


Your grade for attendance will be predicated upon the following rubric:


To do


Offer quality, reflective commentary regarding all readings (see rubric)



Your grade for a written response will be predicated upon the following rubric:


To do


Quality reflections concerning discussion and statements by both faculty and students


Quality response to each question posed during MoM




Weekly assignment

The focus of this special topics class is disruptive technologies. What do we mean by the term disruptive technology and why is it significant to education? The term was coined by Joseph Bower and Clayton M. Christensen, professors at Harvard Business School, in their 1995 paper Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. They maintained that any new technology which unexpectedly displaces an established technology is considered disruptive. Interestingly, the word disruptive has a negative connotation attached to it. If you look in a thesaurus, you will find synonyms for the word disruptive such as troublesome, unruly, upsetting or troublemaking. While disruptive technologies cause concern to educators as they struggle to keep up with the latest technology tools on a daily basis, you can clearly understand then how these new technologies can be troublesome and upsetting. Yet, these very same disruptive technologies offer great potential to change the face of education just as they are changing the way the world conducts business. In fact, Bower and Christensen stated that one reason certain technologies have proven to be so disruptive is that they support a fundamental tenet of business: stay close to your customers. In educational parallel, those would be our students.


In his 1997 best-selling book, The Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen separates new technology into two categories: sustaining and disruptive. He describes sustaining technology as technology that incrementally improves an already established established technology. On the other hand, disruptive technology has the following characteristics:


  • it lacks refinement;

  • it frequently has performance problems because it is new;

  • it appeals to a limited audience; and

  • it may not yet have a proven practical application.


An example of a disruptive technology that we can all understand is the electrical speech machine, invented by Alexander Graham Bell. We now call that apparatus the telephone, which has actually been disrupted into the mobile cellular and satellite phones. Bottomline, we have all certainly figured out how to use the device(s) effectively and in all honesty, can't do without them.


While Christensen looks at disruptive technologies and how they impact business, we are increasingly seeing these technologies become important in education. For many educators, it is difficult to keep up with the demands of the profession as well as the sustaining technologies, much less the newest disruptive technologies. It seems that almost daily some new technology has emerged and is already prevalent in some innovative teacher's tools of the trade. Within a few short years, we have witnessed the emergence of Web 2.0, Second Life, websites for kids, Facebook (whose predecessor, MySpace, was the actual disruptor), anything Apple, anything Google, YouTube, mobile technologies, podcasting, blogs and wikis, Twitter, streaming, e-books, cloud computing - the list is continuous and beyond imagination. Do you ever seem to wake up one day and think to yourself - Where did this latest technology come from and where was I when it happened?


Trying to keep up with all of it can be mind-boggling and time-consuming, to say the least. Thus, the purpose of this special topics class is to teach you to use one of the most versatile disruptive technologies to date in order to create a textbook for the course. Next you will be given time to

immerse yourself in one additional technology.. Finally, we will learn about other disruptive technologies from each other who will also be immersing themselves in their chosen technology. Thus, each of us will become an expert in our respective technologies and in the spirit of networking will hopefully remain a valuable resource for others in the class to tap into when they are ready to embark its use. And remember, these technology tools can be used in K-16 education as well as in industry training.




Bower, J. and Christensen, C. (1995, Jan.-Feb.) Disruptive technologies: Catching the wave. 

      Harvard Business Review, 73(1), 43-53. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.


Disruptive technology. Whatis.com. Retrieved from 



Jackson, J. (2003). Disruptive technologies. Washington Technology, (17)20. Retrieved from



A special thank you to Dr. Janice Butler for her working notes on this subject.

This week, you will introduce yourself to the class using Twitter! You will have three goals:

1. Tell us about yourself in one tweet and upload a photo to your account

2. Read the electronic booklet The Simple Twitter Book and the Do's and Don'ts of Hashtags (regardless of your length of experience)

3. Make sure you are following every person in class (look at my following list)


Your first assignment will be to send three tweets - an answer per question. I ask that you not do any research or borrow from the book. I simply want to know what you know. I would prefer an honest "I don't know" than a regurgitation of something you found that someone else wrote. This will not only help me determine where our understanding is as a whole but will also allow us to begin to probe assumptions.


To do:

1. Tweet your answers to each of the three questions listed above.

2. Your responses will need to be made no later than Wednesday, January 18 at midnight.


To do

Tweet answers to each of the three questions


Tweeted by the above deadline



Beginning Thursday, January 18--

3. Read each of your classmates' tweeted responses. Find 2-3 statements which you feel are provocative or resonate with you in some way. 

4. Expand upon the perspectives of others (tweet back!) The idea is for you/us to have a three day discussion to helps us explore what we mean by instructional design at this point in class. Talk of your experiences on "both sides of the desk." (The implied expectation is that you will discuss and discuss thoroughly. I am not looking so much at quantity of tweets and as I am collaboration quality and your participation in building a community of learning.)

5. Utilize the Twitter conventions and etiquette.

6. This discussion will close Saturday, January 21 at midnight.


To do


Participate in the two day discussion


Challenge, build upon, and explore -->develop these three definitions with your classmates



Twitter conventions and etiquette maintained at all times







Congratulations - you have just finished week 1!




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The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College

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