Fall, 1st 7.5 weeks, 2019

Meeting time Fully online, synchronous meetings 6-8pm Mondays
People Instructor: Dr. Ryan M. Straight
Slack ryanstraight
Twitter ryanstraight
PGP https://keybase.io/ryanstraight
Office hours I have a virtual open-door policy. Meetings can be scheduled if necessary.

Course Description

The course addresses the essentials of computer operations; the integration of computer technology into the learning environment; learning theory/instructional design using technology; and the use of presentation and related software. The course is directed at instructional technologists and educators.

Course Overview

Throughout this course we will touch on various methods of how learning takes place in the digital landscape. We begin with a review of a few key learning theories, move on to contemporary, digital collaboration (both content creation and communication), and issues related to going ‘fully digital.’ We then switch gears and focus on educational/serious games and mobile learning apps, as well as critically review similar materials. Finally, we explore the practical applications and concerns when integrating technology into the classroom and designing educational materials and environments for fully online programs. Upon completion, students will possess a broad and deep understanding of both the functional and theoretical nature of digital learning.

This course utilizes a variety of educational activities to deliver and assess understanding of the course content. Students will consume materials of various media ranging from popular texts to academic articles, participate in activities during the weekly course meetings, complete a series of seven independent projects, and engage in other activities as assigned.

We will cover many topics in this class, we will find ourselves in many places and times, and we will be both historians and futurists. Any study of the intersection of technology and education requires a foray into myriad topics, including psychology, sociology, media studies, gender studies, geo-politics, and more. Be prepared to become both consumers and creators. Bring your passion to this collaborative experience and we will all benefit greatly.

Course Objectives

Based upon Association for Educational Communications and Technology’s AECT Standards for Professional Education Programs (2012 version).

Through the achievement of these course objectives, the following Educational Technology program-level expected learning outcomes are met:

  • ELO 4 – Research: Apply research skills and methodologies to advance and improve learning performance and practice.
  • ELO 5 - Professional Practice: In their development as reflective practitioners, students apply their competencies by participating within a community of practice.

This course is broken down into modules and is constructed based on the following expected learning outcomes:

Compare and contrast the characteristics of major learning theories.

  • Standard 2: Content Pedagogy
    • Creating
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating
  • Standard 5: Research
    • Theoretical Foundations

Explain the role of instructional design, and its relationship to learning theory and practical educational objectives.

  • Standard 1: Content Knowledge
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating
  • Standard 2: Content Pedagogy
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating
  • Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills
    • Collaborative Practice
    • Reflection on Practice

Use technologies including wikis, blogs, digital games, mobile apps and online learning environments.

  • Standard 1: Content Knowledge
    • Creating
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating
  • Standard 3: Learning Environments
    • Creating
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating

Identify basic learning objectives for a lesson in a specific subject area, tied to a specific grade level.

  • Standard 2: Content Pedagogy
    • Creating
    • Using
  • Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills
    • Assessing/Evaluating

Evaluate the appropriateness of available technologies to support instructional goals.

  • Standard 1: Content Knowledge
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating
    • Managing
  • Standard 3: Learning Environments
    • Using
    • Assessing/Evaluating

Discuss future directions in educational technology.

  • Standard 3: Learning Environments
    • Creating
    • Ethics
    • Diversity of Learners
  • Standard 4: Professional Knowledge and Skills
    • Collaborative Practice
    • Reflection on Practice
    • Ethics
  • Standard 5: Research
    • Theoretical Foundations

Required Readings

In terms of readings you must purchase, there is none for this class. However, that is not to say there are no reading materials. You will be provided with considerable amounts of material to digest, from scholarly articles to videos to even games. Everything will be posted on the LMS, usually as a link to a Google Document.

Additional readings are also required and can be found in the LMS.


Following is a basic list of assignments and their point values. Note that this may change throughout the semester depending on class needs. Drill down into each assignment to learn more.

Assignment Point value
Learning Theories Project 10
Wiki Project 20
Organizational Workflow Project 25
Educational Game Review Project 20
Mobile App Project 30
Technology-Enhanced Lesson Plan Project 25
Online Learning Environments Project 30
Reflections 70 (7 reflections x 10 pts)
Attendance & Participation 35 (7 meetings x 5 pts)
Total: 245



I believe teaching a class should be like good jazz: there’s a basic structure with which you start but you shouldn’t be afraid to try variations on a theme. That is to say, the assignments’ and projects’ dates, point values, or even whether they are required may change throughout the term, as may the specifics of the topics we cover. Please be aware that with the exception of extremely extraneous circumstances (death in the immediate family, hospitalization, etc.), I do not give out Incomplete grades. You should be keeping an eye on your grade throughout the semester and, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/grades-and-grading-system

Example Score Breakdown

I use a simple point scale calculated to a percentage automatically by our LMS. I do not round, so an effort to attain all points possible is highly encouraged. Below is an initial grading breakdown for this class. Note: this may change as the semester moves along and point values shift or assignments are added or removed. Point values labeled with italics are bonus and are not calculated into the final grade total.

Grade Percentage Points: Low High
A 90% 220.5 245
B 80% 196 220.4
C 70% 171.5 195.9
D 60% We need to talk. Now.


In the majority of my projects you earn points based on a rubric. If you are not familiar with them, rubrics are an evaluation tool that provide you with all of the necessary criteria and my performance-level expectations before you begin the project. If you review the Accomplishing level of the rubrics in this project (below), you know exactly what you need to do to receive full credit.

Please note: While the majority of projects use rubrics, there are a few projects that you will receive points for simply by completing them. If a project does not have a rubric, I will note that in the assessment section of each project.

Rubrics vary in form so I have provided an example of the rubric from the Organizational Workflow Project.

Beginning (1pt) Progressing (3pts) Accomplishing (5pts)
Organization Organization is less than clear, or organization is clear but with some digressions. OClear organization, but strays slightly Clear organization that walks the reader through the post, and does not stray off topic.
Formatting Format is visually unappealing or haphazard. Formatting is obviously attempted but may be broken or ineffective in places. Post is formatted well both visually and spatially. It is enjoyable to look at.
Coverage of Content Three or less tools, services, or pieces of software are covered. Descriptions are sparse or cursory. Four tools, services, or pieces of software are covered. Descriptions are present but not thorough. Five or more tools, services, or pieces of software are covered. Comprehensive and meaningful descriptions.
Clarity of Writing Writing or clarity leaves something to be desired. Is possibly confusing or incomplete. Writing is clear. Proper punctuation and grammar are used, but the meaning is sometimes confusing or obfuscated. Writing is clear and succinct. It is evident what the writer is trying to express. Grammar and punctuation are used appropriately.
Paperlessness Paper enters the workflow and is not removed at some point. Paper enters the workflow but is at some point removed (scanning and recycling, for example). No paper to be seen!

This rubric has five main criteria (left-hand column). There are three levels of performance for each criteria - Accomplishing, Progressing, and Beginning. My rubrics all follow the same basic structure even if the performance level labels vary.

Also be aware that there are gateway requirements prior to reaching the assessment rubric. For example, if a project requires you to submit an 8-10 page paper, if your submission is only 6 pages I will simply not grade it. These gateway requirements are made clear in each assignment document.

Course Schedule

The general course schedule is maintained in detail in the LMS. Recorded class sessions are also available there. Attending class sessions (or watching the recorded session if you missed class) and submitting your notes to the appropriate weekly dropbox is absolutely necessary and vital to your success in this class.

For the purposes of this class, weeks begin on MONDAY.


I am nearly always available through electronic means. My policy is that I will respond usually immediately, mostly within 24 hours, and at the latest to questions within 48 hours (or by Monday morning if sent during the weekend, during which I do not work). If I do not respond in this windows do not hesitate to bug me. All questions that are class-related and not personal in nature should be posted in Slack to the class channel so everyone can benefit from the response (or chime in). Personal issues may be sent via direct message (DM). All emails sent to me should have subjects beginning with INFV ### or ETCV ###. All emails I send (that are not automatically created by the LMS) will have the same. This makes finding things considerably easier. Still, I reiterate: Slack is the better way to contact me.

Also note that I do not respond to communications about making up missed work or improving grades during the end of the semester. It is your responsibility to keep an eye on your grade throughout the semester and contact me with your concerns before the course is nearly ended. If you missed some points in week 2 you should not be petitioning me in week 7 to make them up.

Course Technology

This is a technology-driven course. As such, you are required to have ready access to a relatively modern computer and an account that allows you to install software on that computer. You should also be excited to try and use new technologies. We do a lot of that.

The course website can be found on D2L at https://d2l.arizona.edu/. Log in with your NetID. Note that course content lives primarily within D2L but usually as Google Documents that require you to use your UA account to access. Keep this in mind if you use multiple Gmail accounts.

We will have a full-class chatroom/discussion board/forum on Slack. You will be able to log into Slack via your Google Apps for Education account (it will use WebAuth). Having the Slack application installed on your phone is required (if possible).

Updating your profiles in both D2L and Slack is required. We’re spending a lot of time together, so no excuse to just be a NetID for 16 weeks. Picture, likes and dislikes, job title, degree, home campus, the works.

You may be asked to use software that requires more processing power than your computer has. Contact the instructor if you feel this will prevent you from participating.

Class meetings are hosted via Zoom. It is REQUIRED that you have a microphone and headphones for the class meetings. (A cheap set of earbuds will work if your laptop has a mic and you will be from a relatively quiet place.) You will be expected to use them. Should we have a class activity that requires a microphone and you do not have one you will not receive credit for that assignment. Having working headphones and a microphone is not negotiable.

You will need to install the latest edition of the Chrome browser for this class. Tech support is vastly simpler if everyone uses the same browser.

Document submissions are required to be in PDF format unless otherwise noted. Assignments should also be in APA 6th ed. formatting, which is best achieved using Microsoft Word (free for students) or Google Documents (free for all).

Class Policies

These policies run across all of my classes. Take the time to read them if this is your first class with me (go ahead and read them again, even if it’s not). The following are in addition to or in concert with all policies found in the University Catalog: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policies

The 7.5 Week Semester

The material covered and assignments required in a shortened 7.5 week semester are equal to those in a full 16 week semester with half the time allotted. Time management and “working ahead” are practical necessities in an accelerated semester. Do not fall behind. “I didn’t have time” is not an acceptable excuse for missing assignments or readings.

Use of Student Work

Assignments completed for this course may be used as examples of student work in an instructor portfolio. Names and other identifying elements will be removed before inclusion. Students who do not wish their work to be used must inform the instructor in writing before the start of the second week of classes.

Student Workload

According to UA policy, at least 15 contact hours of recitation, lecture, discussion, seminar, or colloquium, as well as a minimum of 30 hours of student homework are required for each unit of student credit. A contact hour is the equivalent of 50 minutes of class time or 60 minutes of independent-study work. For an online course this equates to 45 hours of work per credit; 135 hours total for the semester in a 3-credit class (9 hours per week). The hour requirements specified above represent minimums for average students, and considerable deviation (more or less) of these requirements may occur. In shortened, accelerated 7.5 week classes this workload is doubled. You should expect to spend 18 hours per week on this class. Budget your time wisely and always look ahead.



UA South provides free tutoring for writing and math, and various other related subjects, at multiple locations and fully online. Students can access free tutoring in- person at our Cochise and Yuma County locations, at the UA Think Tank in Tucson, as well as fully online from the UA Think Tank.

To find tutoring hours and availability near you, please select your location below to find the tutoring available at your learning center.

Academic Dishonesty

Cheating and plagiarism are unethical. Students are expected to do their own work. Plagiarism includes copying or cutting and pasting from online sources, taking information from a book or article, copying someone else’s paper, or having someone else do your work for you. Research sources must be properly documented. Students found cheating or intentionally plagiarizing will receive a zero for the assignment and may be dismissed from the class with a failing grade, required to attend workshops, have a permanent note included on his or her transcript, or any combination thereof to the instructor’s discretion.

I take this very seriously and, as professional academics in this field, I expect you to, as well. When in doubt, cite! See our program website for a primer on APA style, citation, and avoiding plagiarism and cheating.

In a development course like this it is likely you will come across much in the way of inspiration, be it in class or through your own research. Keep a constant log of all assets you either use in your work (free vectors or audio clips, for example) or note down what the inspiration was for a particular development choice. Being inspired by something you love is perfectly fine; simply using it is not.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Integrity and ethical behavior are expected of every student in all academic work. This Academic Integrity principle stands for honesty in all class work, and ethical conduct in all labs and clinical assignments. This principle is furthered by the student Code of Conduct and disciplinary procedures established by ABOR Policies 5-308 through 5-404, all provisions of which apply to all University of Arizona students. This Code of Academic Integrity is intended to fulfill the requirement imposed by ABOR Policy 5-403.A.4 and otherwise to supplement the Student Code of Conduct as permitted by ABOR Policy 5-308.C.1.

As a blanket policy I have automated plagiarism checking enabled for all assignments in all my classes. This is not meant to suggest I expect anyone to plagiarize but to demonstrate how seriously I take this.

Threatening Behavior

The University seeks to promote a safe environment where students and employees may participate in the educational process without compromising their health, safety or welfare. The Arizona Board of Regents’ Student Code of Conduct, ABOR Policy 5-308, prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to one’s self. Threatening behavior can harm and disrupt the University, its community and its families.

There will always be times when electronic communication will be necessary between students and between instructor and students. Please treat each other kindly and professionally!

Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination. Our classroom is a place where everyone is encouraged to express well-formed opinions and their reasons for those opinions. We also want to create a tolerant and open environment where such opinions can be expressed without resorting to bullying or discrimination of others.


You’re an adult – be responsible for your attendance. Any absences must be addressed with the instructor prior to class except in emergencies. Missed classes may require a make-up assignment submitted for partial credit. There are also a number of things that you are expected to complete within the first week of class (these are listed clearly in the LMS). Failure to do these can result in being administratively dropped from the class. Likewise, no/poor attendance throughout the beginning of the class can result in being administratively dropped from the class. Note: instructors are not obligated to administratively drop students for failure to participate. If a student is administratively dropped between weeks five through eight a “W” will be administered if he/she has maintained a passing grade (60% or higher). An “E” will be administered for anything lower unless extenuating circumstances dictate otherwise as deemed appropriate by the instructor. See the class attendance policy in the General Catalog: http://catalog.arizona.edu/policy/class-attendance-participation-and-administrative-drop

Paper/Assignment Submission

All assignments, papers, projects should be submitted in the specified method based on the system time in the class website. Due to the frantic nature of game development projects, no late work will be accepted for partial points. Keep in mind, however, that much work is iterative and you are still expected to complete it as later assignments/work are predicated on earlier assignments/work. Be aware that instructors are not obligated to accept late work at all. Students are responsible for ensuring proper delivery of their assignments/papers/projects. If an agreement has been made with the instructor to accept work after the due date or in a unique format it is the student’s responsibility to let the instructor know when this is done. Submissions of this nature may not necessarily be graded and returned along the same schedule as others. This policy may change for individual assignments. Do not wait until the last minute to submit. Your router going down or your computer’s clock being different from that of the LMS are not valid reasons for being late. It is also highly suggested you keep your ‘working’ folder in Google Drive or some other cloud-copy backup location like Box.net. Your University of Arizona Google Apps for Education account comes with free, unlimited storage. Use it.

All written assignments submitted should be properly formatted and stylized. I require that the American Psychological Association, 6th ed, revised manual be followed. Period.

Grading Turn-Around Time

Please note that I generally do not begin to grade an assignment until on or after the due date since it is my preference to grade all students’ submissions at one time, as well as return grades and feedback simultaneously. I will do my best to provide grades and useful feedback expediently.

However, some submissions require me to spend a significant time working through the materials. This may cause me to be delayed in grading that project. Additionally, if I am traveling I may be delayed in grading your submission. If this happens I will let everyone know.

NOTE: You are expected to retain an electronic copy of all work submitted. If transmission of the work fails, you are expected to “resend” the document or message (in the case of online discussions). This is entirely your responsibility.

Social Media Policy

Should this course require participation in social media you have the option of using “burner” accounts should you feel uncomfortable with using a personal account for academic work. You may even choose to use a unique, unrelated email account to sign up for various platforms. You are in no way required to follow, friend, etc., your instructor, only to provide information about the account you decided to use.

The reason for this policy is as follows: if you are active on social media already and want to combine your personal and professional/academic activities, you may; if you are active on social media and do not want to mingle your personal and professional/academic activities, you have that option (this method is preferred for students); if you are not active on social media and have no intention of maintaining a presence after this course, simply abandon or delete your burner account. It is your instructor’s wish to reap the benefits of developing personal learning networks and getting global perspectives while maintaining a safe, secure environment for you.

The exception to this rule: students in the Educational Technology program are required to joint the program’s LinkedIn group and “connect” to the program’s instructors.

Office Hours and Scheduling Meetings

I have a virtual open-door policy. That is to say, feel free to send me a DM and see if I’m available to chat any time. I like to think of it as dropping by the department’s building and peeking your head in my door. Just as it is in person, I’m not always available right that second, so you’re welcome to ‘wait in the hall’ (until I’ve finished doing whatever I was doing) or schedule an appointment with me. I’m happy to do a video conference via Slack (preferably), Zoom meet in person on Main Campus or in my office on the Pima East campus, as I live in Tucson.

Accessibility and Accommodations

If you have special needs as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and need course materials in alternative formats or need any special accommodations, please notify your course instructor(s) and contact the Disability Resource Center immediately at 520-621-3268 or get information from DRC web site http://drc.arizona.edu.

Basic Securities

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Dean of Students for support. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable them to provide any resources that they may possess. (Adapted from Sara Goldrick-Rab.)

What to Expect

Given the nature of our field, it is entirely possible that materials considered adult, controversial, or objectionable in nature will crop up from time to time. We will be spending the majority of our time on the Internet and we should not only understand but respect the fact that it is a free and open place. As responsible adults, I encourage and expect everyone to be safe, smart, and secure when engaged online. Should you have any questions or concerns about content, please email me to discuss an alternative assignment.

Non-Endorsement Policy

In the course of accessing the online resources available in this course you will encounter a number of advertisements. We can not remove them from the material so it is your choice if you explore any of the advertising you encounter. However, the University does not endorse any of these advertisements.

A Personal Note

We live in a digital age. We communicate through digital means. While I fully expect your submitted assignments to employ proper spelling, grammar, construction, and styling, I not only allow but expect and encourage you to express yourself using whatever communicative means you like. I will use emoticons; I will type in the text chat without using proper capitalization and punctuation; I will use ‘reaction gifs’ and make references to memes in casual situations; I will share entertaining but relevant media. If I can do it, so can you. Just remember: a place and time for everything, just as the way you speak with friends on a Friday night out is not the same as when you’re giving a conference presentation. Context is everything.

The contents of this syllabus are subject to on-going change over the course of the semester as needed to accommodate students’ progress. Always link to this document instead of downloading a local copy.

Syllabus dated August 19, 2019.

Download a PDF copy of this syllabus.

Copyright © 2018 Ryan Straight. All rights reserved.