Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 610

Survey of Current Educational Technology Applications

Course cover

Formerly "Introduction to Current Distance Education Technologies"

Delivery Mode: Group Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: None.

Availability: All Terms

Note: MEd program students must complete Mdde601 & Mdde602 prior to all other courses
Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


This course will give you hands-on experience with, and allow you to make a critical evaluation of a number of computer-based technologies currently used in distance education. This course "walks the talk", and as you progress through the course, of different technologies will be used to present material, to notify you of upcoming course-related activities, and to allow you to communicate with your classmates and the instructor various ways.

Course Goals

The goals of the course are as follows:

  • To gain hands-on experience with, and undertake a critical evaluation of, a variety of educational technologies.
  • To apply media attribute schema and Bates ACTIONS/SECTIONS criteria to various media.
  • To apply adoption theories to a particular technology that could be used in your own local teaching/learning context.

Course Outline

The following technologies are examined in the course:

  • Electronic portfolios
  • Asynchronous tools
  • Synchronous tools
  • Social software educational tools
  • Computer-based education
  • Web 2.0 applications
  • Mobile applications
  • Cloud computing, virtualization, and green computing

Learning Resources

Online Study Guide and Readings

Student Assessment

Assignment 1: Course Enhancement Proposal (60%)

This assignment will be completed in three stages:

Part 1: Problem Identification (20%)

This assignment asks you to write a paper that describes the current status of a course you propose to change and the program in which this course is offered. This description should be adequate to describe the situation to someone who is not familiar with the course content, the program or the institution offering the course, and why you believe (or what evidence you have) that the course needs improvement.

Part 2: SECTIONS Analysis (20%)

In this assignment you will use a SECTIONS analysis to examine in detail two broad categories of educational technologies (from those discussed in this course) that could be used to enhance the course identified in Part 1, and the specific learning objectives and activities that you have highlighted. Your final product for this assignment will be side-by-side SECTIONS analyses of two categories of technology, with a recommendation for using one specific type, as well as side-by-side SECTIONS analyses of two competing applications, with a recommendation for which application to integrate into the course you identified in Part 1.

Part 3: Briefing Note (20%)

In this assignment, you are to write a short proposal to modify that course to include one or more of the technologies covered in this course. The proposal should include a rationale, adoption attributes of the technology, context, and process for development.

Assignment 2: Learn Something with CAI or a Mobile App (15%)

Identify something that you have always wanted to learn to do. This could be a computer program, playing a musical instrument, learning to make buttercream icing, etc. You will use a Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) program (Web-based instruction is a type of Computer Assisted Instruction) or a mobile app to teach you how to do this. You will demonstrate your competence with whatever you have chosen to learn by preparing a blog post, website, or Mahara ePortfolio collection that demonstrates both what you learned and the way you used the CAI program. Show why you chose this CAI program or mobile app in the first place, what you hoped to learn, what you achieved, and how you achieved what you did. You should also include a critical reflection on the use of CAI or mobile apps for learning in general, and a final recommendation to others about the application that you used.

Assignment 3: Group Project (20%)

Students will form into 4-5 groups at the beginning of the course. Each group will select one technology that particularly interests them. They will prepare a short demonstration of that technology for the rest of the class. Some topics that you might consider for a group project include the development of a podcast that demonstrates how you could use this technology to deliver a distance education course or a presentation on how cell phones can be used in distance education.

Class participation (5%)

Students are required to reflect and respond on the content of the course collaboratively in a number of different electronic environments.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.