Course Description

Critical examination of social and cultural implications of educational technologies, considering issues of cultural bias, equity, and questions of who benefits from particular technologies. International applications of computer technologies to promote learning about different cultures. Case studies of issues concerning computers and society.

This course was completed in Fall 2006.

Artifacts

Mini-Paper

This assignment was to write a mini-paper on a topic of our choice that dealt with the social and cultural implications. I chose to write about women and gaming, specifically women who played Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games or MMORPG. In an MMORPG environment, women are attracted to both the social aspect of the game, but also how immersing such games can be.

At the time of this assignment, I had played a MMORPG game for several years and was considered an elder member of a guild of players. This means I was a leader within the guild and helped maintain activities within the guild during the hours I played in the Pacific time zone. As a woman, I did find that the social factor was attractive as opposed to normal games I had played in the past however for me, the immersion into the open ended story line was why I found the game entertaining.

This assignment aligns with the learning objective for researching issues concerning social and cultural implications in technology.

Service Learning Project

One of the course assignments was to “create a service learning project which promotes participation in a global learning network” (Lamkins, ETEC 525 Syllabus). For my service learning project, I returned to the New Media Center at Pasadena City College and proposed doing a train the trainer sessions for instructors and staff at the college. After discussing potential topics with the college webmaster, we decided on doing sessions on MathML, Wikis, and Blogging with a focus on accessibility.

By utilizing accessibility as a theme through out all three sessions, I was able to maintain the spirit of the course objectives by discussing the importance of accessibility as a means of ensuring information is available to all regardless of ability. Accessible information benefits all as it provides equitable access to information benefiting all who learn from it.

This assignment aligns with the course objectives relating to equility of technology access and issues concering society and computers.

Reflection

I found course challenging on multiple levels. As a programmer, I typically do not consider the implications of culture or gender in my work and how that could affect their use of technology. I have considered the implications of technology accessibility and how that affects the equitable access to technology and information for individuals with disabilities. This course expanded

As a personal challenge for myself, the instructor had adjusted the instructional delivery and assignments a bit so that all of the readings and associated discussions were done outside of class via the online course message board. This made for interesting discussions as at first no one in the class had ever attended a hybrid course such as this, so many of the students did not have any idea of how to get started with the discussions. After some coxing from our instructor, we as a class began to come out of our shells and started participating fully. Personally I found it difficult to get started and understand what was required for me. However once I understood, I began to not only see it from a students perspective, but I found it interesting to see how the instructor got us to where we were by the end of the course. Her management of the online component, was an excellent example of how to get such asynchronous discussions going with an inexperienced group of students.

The artifacts I selected are the only two surviving documents I have from the course, however, outside of the online discussions, these made up the bulk of the assignments and would have selected them anyway. The mini-paper, while on a topic I enjoy, I selected because it shows a depth of knowledge I seldom utilize. The service learning project I selected because it deals with accessiblity and I have been an advocate for accessible web for many years. I know from first hand experience, just how wonderful, accessible technology can help a student learn and grow. This is something that is a global and is part of the spirit of this course.