Welcome to C&T 4004!

In advance of our first class tomorrow, I wanted to share with you a copy of the syllabus, and I hope you will review it before we meet. I also wanted to draw your attention to a couple of key aspects of the course (also mentioned at the beginning of the syllabus).

First, through this course, I hope to enable people from many different backgrounds to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that can help them to make productive contributions to the design, pursuit, and assessment of school improvement efforts of all kinds.  Although the course is designed primarily for students at Teachers College, I am also exploring ways that the course might continue to serve as a source of support as alumni from the course move on in their careers. For example, this semester we are experimenting with using a public wordpress blog as the main course website so that current students, as well as alumni and others interested in issues of school design and educational change can have access to course discussions, resources, and activities. Correspondingly, I expect to send out an email to course alumni inviting them to check out the site and follow along if they’d like to, and I will also be inviting last year’s students to share some of their school designs with this year’s students.  At the same time, with the help of Deirdre Faughey who will serve as TA, over the past year, I am also trying to make the course more self-directed for students and experimenting with ways to incorporate more online activities.   Thus, I’m approaching this year’s course as a pilot that could lead to the development of something like a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in the future.

Second, although this is a pilot, supporting the learning and development of the students enrolled in the course remains the primary concern.  In many ways, the changes are inspired by previous experiences with the course that have reinforced my belief that one semester of work can provide an important foundation for learning but that long-term learning and reflection is also required in order to achieve the goals of the course. Second, because of all the changes being made at the same time, the course this year will only be offered pass/fail.  Students who complete the requirements for the course outlined in the syllabus will receive a passing grade.

Third, I hope that the course is engaging and challenging, but I also expect it will be a lot of work for all of us and will require some flexibility and patience as we experiment with new technologies, activities, and assignments.

Fourth, I also hope you will all contribute to the shaping and development of the course and share your reflections, ideas and feedback (in constructive and productive ways) throughout the semester and in the future.

Finally, students should be aware that the class blog and other aspects of the course will be public. We are currently exploring what kinds of permissions might be required for these kinds of activities, but please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these possibilities, and we will be happy to discuss them with you.

Deirdre and I look forward to meeting you tomorrow!


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