Here’s more about my Master’s Degree courses.
While you can get a sense of my professional work here and my academic work for my Master’s here, I wanted to share with you more about the Master’s program that has so greatly shaped all this output. These ten classes have each shaped me in their own way, and you’ll find the major themes from my projects also woven in here: research, empathy, and ideation.
Course numbers starting with “TC” refer to offerings of the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University (now renamed the Department of Media and Information).
Read more about the Serious Games program here.
These three certificate courses also counted toward the Master of Arts in Educational Technology Degree.
Theories of Games and Interaction for Design
In TC 831, I learned a broad overview of theories for learning and theories for research-driven serious game design. Learning theories covered included behaviorism, constructivism, multiple intelligences, experiential learning, socially constructed knowledge, distributed cognition, systems thinking, and gamification. I learned game-based learning design principles such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, theories of persuasion, scaffolding, feedback and assessment, zone of proximal development, competition and cooperation, pedagogical agents, embodied learning, situated learning, models of fun, and media effects. For the final project of this course I wrote a proposal for a research-driven serious game, complete with a literature review of background research, description of core game mechanics, and development budget.
In TC 841, I learned about designing serious games with players at the center. The course followed the phases of an emergent design process, in which the early Research phase is broad and scattered, the Concept phase begins to narrow focus somewhat, and finally the Design phase produces something specific to test. I practiced implementing user experience (UX) research tools including literature review, competitive analysis, listening tours, strategy workshops, sampling strategies, observation heuristics, user observation methods, surveys, interviews, focus group research, persona creation, and budgeting. I also learned UX design tools such as design briefs, sketching and wireframes, paper prototypes, and usability testing. For the final project of this course I wrote an ethnographic research report covering my use of these many tools and a proposal for a serious game to aid low-income grocery shoppers make healthier food choices.
Foundations of Serious Games
In TC 830, I learned a broad overview of serious-game genres and a deep look at the game design process. Genres of serious games studied included games for health, games for learning, corporate games, persuasive games, newsgames, and military games. I completed short projects working on adaptations of commercial off-the-shelf games, new game concepts, game mechanics, playtesting and iteration, and gamification principles. For the final project of this course I worked with a partner to research, define mechanics, playtest, and pitch a card game to teach college freshmen about making healthy eating choices in their dining hall.
Course numbers starting with “CEP” refer to offerings of the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University.
Read more about the Educational Technology program here.
Psychology of Learning in School and Other Settings
In CEP 800, I learned a broad overview of learning theories and how to understand student understanding. I evaluated technologies for teaching and learning and I studied how to craft powerful learning experiences, immersion, and supporting special needs. I created multimodal pieces of work including an audio interview a digital storytelling piece. For the final project of this course I conducted an action research project; I planned and implemented a staff meeting plan that used technology to facilitate a collaborative mind-mapping activity.
Approaches to Educational Research
In CEP 822, I learned a broad overview of research methods for education, including literature review, qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and statistical analysis. I completed short projects to evaluate research designs, explore research ethics, and examine both external and internal research validity. I designed and conducted a survey, which included collecting, coding, and analyzing data. I used Microsoft Excel for basic statistical analysis of datasets, including graphing, means and standard deviations, z-scores (standardized variables), t-tests, correlation, and probability. For the final project of this course I completed a research review project of the intersection of college undergraduates, money, and technology.
Technology and Leadership
In CEP 815, I learned at the intersection of Harvard Business Review leadership practices and strategic technology uses for learning. I learned the difference between instrumental and missional thinking, that is, the difference between using a technology for its own sake (focused on the instrument) and selecting technologies as tools to solve specific problems (focused on the mission). I was introduced to two powerful tools for evaluating educational technologies, TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) and SAMR (Substitution-Augmentation-Modification-Redefinition). I compiled a personal manifesto, a collection of resources that have been essential to my professional work as a startup leader of ministry in digital spaces. For the final project of this course I wrote a paper that included a policy brief, a literature review, a synthesis of learning, and a sustainability statement for ministry in digital spaces.
Creativity in Teaching and Learning
In CEP 818, I learned about using creative thinking tools for teaching and learning experiences that are NEW (Novel, Effective, and Whole). I practiced quite a bit of video editing as I made digital storytelling pieces for each of these creative thinking tools in order to examine community from many angles. I perceived community through the lens of an iconic dinner party, I looked at the patterns of community as communication spreads in a nonlinear, patchwork saturation effect, and I abstracted community into the resiliency of a wave and ripples. I reflected on how community is embodied while talking on the phone (smiles, stress, and so on), I modeled community through the effects of mediated communication, and I created an opportunity to play with the idea of mediated communication by developing a videogame. For the final project of this course I wrote a created a final video for an elevator pitch and wrote a synthesis white paper summarizing how these new understandings about community inform ministry in digital spaces.
Learning Technology through Design
In CEP 817, I learned at the intersection of the Stanford Design Model and educational technology. Throughout the entire course I used Stanford’s toolkit of design methods to explore the problem of young staff learning ministry in digital spaces. I empathized with these young staff by conducting interviews and observing social media, and I defined the problem through a root-cause analysis and a why-how ladder. I ideated possibilities through both active and passive techniques, and I created a paper prototype for a mobile app that would provide personal coaching to young staff. I turned the paper prototype into a digital one using Twine, and invited a handful of staff to test it. For the final project of this course I wrote a design report that reflected on what each step of the design process taught me about this problem of practice.
Adapting Innovative Technologies to Education
In CEP 811, I learned how to use the act of making to develop compelling teaching and learning. I studied the Makers Movement and makerspaces, looking at learning theories in the work of remixing and repurposing. I learned how to use the Raspberry Pi and the possibilities it creates for designing learning experiences. For the final project of this course I wrote a reflection paper to summarize what I had learned from making with the Raspberry Pi.
Capstone in Educational Technology
In CEP 807, I learned about professional portfolios and web development, including FTP, HTML, PHP, and CSS. I wrote three reflections on my Master’s program experience: revisiting my original goals for the program, planning my future learning goals, and synthesizing everything I learned from these courses. I curated all my academic work into a showcase of my nine best projects and an extended gallery of all my digital projects. I significantly improved my social media presence through a resume on my website, a list of technological tools I regularly use, and my Linkedin and about.me profiles. For the final project of this course I compiled all of these pieces into a digital portfolio on a self-hosted Wordpress website.