Course Syllabus

Technology Learning Studio - Fall 2016

This course will enable you to:

  • Spend time learning technologies of your choice (alone or in small groups)
  • Display your learning to peers and the wider world
  • Provide supportive feedback on the learning projects of others
  • Think critically about the literature on learning (in a technology context)

In this class we'll learn how to learn new technologies.

We'll do this in three ways: 1) we'll learn new technologies ourselves, 2) as a studio group, we'll reflect critically on our learning processes, and 3) we'll review some literature (academic and practitioner, formal and informal) on learning techniques.

Students will define their own learning goals and projects, over three projects during the course, working both independently or in small groups of people interested in learning same thing).

The definition of technology is extremely broad: examples of topics might include a new programming language or paradigm (e.g., object orientation, or model-view-controller), a new data representation (e.g., SQL, RDF, JSON-LD, or XML), new statistical techniques, version control, CAD design, GIS.

The bulk of this class is students learning independently. Students should recognize that the professor is not going to teach these topics---indeed the professor won't know many of the technologies students choose to learn---students are going to teach themselves. Rather, the professor (and other students) are going to help each other reflect on their learning (as well as introduce a few topics of general usefulness).

A studio class?

A studio class is a special kind of class, often found in Architecture or Fine Arts. My take on the studio experience is:

  • We see each other working, learning, and reflecting.
  • We help each other reflect and learn about learning through shared critique.
  • We identify ways we can help each other learn (concretely and learning about learning)

Probably the most crucial part here is that we will meet for 5 hours (rather than 3). There will be breaks, but think of this as taking most of the time you'd spend outside class and spending it together. We will work to make our learning and reflection visible to each other (not an easy task!). Students will demonstrate their learning processes and outcomes, both at the end of projects and during the projects. Examples of ways we might do this are: code samples, screencasts, reflection essays, design documentation, videos, and physical prototypes.

Tech Learning Blog

Students will keep a blog that describes their technology learning.

The blog should be a reflection of your process, showing your missteps as well as your successes. The blog is, therefore, not just a polished up set of tutorials (although it's fine to have some featured posts that summarize/publicize your successes).

Your blog will be a key part of displaying your learning to others and seeking their feedback.

You may choose to host your blog outside Canvas. You can use a general purpose platform, like Blogger/Wordpress/Tumbr, or a special purpose platform like, or you can use the Canvas discussion.  You should post at least once a week, but likely many times a week (you might make multiple posts while in class).


Course Summary:

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