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Athabasca University


MDDE 630: Trends and Issues in K-12 Online and Blended Learning

Delivery mode: Online course using Moodle

Credits: 3 - Elective

Prerequisites: MDDE 601, MDDE 602 for MEd program students only

Instructor: Nathaniel Ostashewski



MDDE630: Trends and Issues in K-12 Online and Blended Learning explores current and emerging uses of information and communication technology (ICT) in schools as well as the factors associated with their successful implementation. Research and practice related to educational and technological innovations in the K-12 sector is examined. In addition, students participate in collaborative, applied research activities in which they investigate their own school environments and explore the capacity for change and technology adoption. The course is presented in four units as described below.

The introduction, Unit 1, surveys the different uses of ICTs in K-12 education – this is to ensure that a commons set of definitions and an awareness of the current state of the art is achieved. Then, Unit 2 will ask the learners to conduct an interview with a “decision-maker” in their local school and report back to the class on that person's view of the key factors shaping adoption of technology in that local setting. The class will then analyze the collected data from all students to see if patterns appear to emerge. In Unit 3, the class will be introduced to the concept of a meta-analysis and then will be given a wide range of meta-analyses to examine to understand a) the volume of research done in the area of technology and education and b) the usefulness of John Hattie’s research approach to sorting out promising practices from less promising practices.  Course participants will be given the outcomes of two meta-analyses and decide which factor provides the best direction for implementation. Unit 4 of the course focuses on promising practices – actual usage of ICTs in schools, and consumption of ICT resources provided by open practices. The final report will be to produce a case study for their local K-12 school on current and potential practices of technology for both F2F and Distance Learning.

This course is not a “how-to” course in planning and preparing instructional materials for K-12. It is a course to become aware of global trends in technology use in K-12, and learning two sets of skills – the case study, and the meta-analysis – to objectively analyse options for implementation.

Course Outline

  • Unit 1: ICTs in K-12 – Perspectives

  • Unit 2: The ICT in K-12 Education Ecosystem

  • Unit 3: Meta-analyses of Research on ICT in Education

  • Unit 4: DE Innovation Plan for K-12

Each Unit will also be supported by a number of additional online articles and web sites, drawing as much as possible on Open Educational Resources. While the focus of assignments will be on Canadian settings, the course will also draw on international case studies for intervention in countries such as Korea, Brazil. Russia, Europe, Chile and the UK.

Course Goals and Objectives

Upon completion of MDDE 630, students will be able to:

  1.  Identify the current uses of ICTs for Distance Learning in K-12 settings and their impact on public schools, and higher education.
    • Distributed class-sharing (synchronous video-conferencing)
    • eLearning (asynchronous paced)
    • eLearning (independent studies)
    • assessment and tutoring methods
    • resource sharing (partnerships and Open educational Resources)
    • ICTs in classrooms
    • Collaboration and
    • Creation.

  2.  Identify factors that influence decision-making about technology directions in the K-12 public schools. This will include but is not limited to:
    • ICT push
    • Demographic shifts
    • Politics and funding at international, national and local levels
    • Current Educational beliefs about the cost effectiveness of integrating ICTs in public schools
    • ICT infrastructure
    • Educational research on effective use of ICTs in K-12
    • Practical barriers to implementation of ICT in K-12 systems.

  3. Describe how meta-analysis is conducted and how it provides a perspective on interpreting educational research
    • Describe the general approach to meta-analysis and given a meta-analysis report be able to identify effect size.
    • Identify weaknesses in the assumptions of a particular meta-analysis
    • Compare two or more variables with different effect sizes and determine which variables have the most promise for implementing in K-12 education.

  4. Develop a conceptual proposal for an ICT intervention in a local K-12 school/ school board/ province that is accessible to you.

Student Evaluation

There will be a number of Unit based assignments scattered throughout the course and a culminating final assessment.  A breakdown of the assignments and their proposed weight are described below.

  1. Historical retrospective readings (Unit 1). 10%
  2. Case study of local school.  (Units 2).  20%
  3. Analysis and comparison of two Meta-Analyses (Unit 3).  20%
  4. ICT Case Study Proposal 30%
  5. Active Participation in Discussions.  20%

Get Started Early

Early access to the Learning Management System, Moodle, begins one week before the official start date of your course, at that time you will have limited access to the course. On the Official Start Date of the course, instructors will be available and the discussion forums will automatically become active.


Last updated by MM December 15, 2016

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