ETEC 511: Foundations of Educational Technology


This case-based course addresses the cultural-historical, ecological-natural, ethical-personal, existential-spiritual, socio-political and technical-empirical dimensions of technology with implications for curriculum and instructional design. How, why and to what degree have media and technology been incorporated into, or changed by, education and what foundations underlie these processes? The course is designed from a basis that educational media and learning technologies are not merely tools; educational premises are neither fully durable nor pliable; and actors or agents of education are not merely humans. It begins with an exploration of instructional design and case-based reasoning, proceeds through disciplinary and interdisciplinary foundations of e-learning, educational technology, learning technologies, and new media and concludes with the relatively neglected existential-spiritual dimension.

Learning Objectives

Our intention is to encourage you to examine your own biases toward the foundations of media and technology, and a major effort will be in providing you with a background for research into the foundations of e-learning, educational technology, learning technologies, and new media. We will also emphasize e-learning and educational technologies with SOUL (slow online ubiquitous learning).


Each module generally consists of activities, readings, chat and discussion. In addition to work on topic modules, you will participate in group work towards your Case Study Project, and will undertake individual research and writing for your Assignment 2 (Essay or Review). Topic modules include:

  • Module 1 – Introduction/The Definition of Educational Technology
  • Module 2 – The Instructional Design of Educational Technology
  • Module 3 – The History and Philosophy of Educational Technology
  • Module 4 – The Ethics & Jurisprudence of Educational Technology
  • Module 5 – The Politics & Sociology of Educational Technology
  • Module 6 – The Psychology & Phenomenology of Educational Technology
  • Module 7 – The Ecology & Nature of Educational Technology
  • Module 8 – The Spirituality of Educational Technology

Readings & Resources

All course materials will be available online via the Library Online Course Reserve (LOCR) linked to the course navigation menu, and from links to freely available videos and articles online.


Assignments & Assessment

Assessed tasks and assignments are as follows:

  • Participation in Online Activities (20%)

We refer to the scholarly level of participation as academic conversation, which entails a variety of things including academic conversation, articulation and presentation.

  • Discourse Leadership  Case Study (40%)

In groups of four, you will choose one week and topic on the schedule and in coordination with the module develop a case study for K-12 students.

  • Scholarly Essay or Essay Review (40%)

Choose a topic that corresponds with one of the weekly topics (i.e., foundations) or themes and write a scholarly paper exploring media and technology in education (i.e., apps, artifacts, devices, problems, processes, trends, etc.).  The essay should provide a clear, cogent, concise exploration or case study of the topic


Choose a topic that corresponds with one of the weekly topics (e.g. jurisprudence of educational technology) or themes and write an essay review exploring the foundations of educational technology, drawing on 7 – 10 carefully selected and relevant research articles or a smaller number of books (2 – 3).


Minor course topic, activity, reading/resource and assignment details may change from year to year.