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Resource: Three Dimensional 3-D Curriculum Design

A new model of curriculum design that truly embraces the mediums associated with the internet

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Rob Peregoodoff
15 October 2009

Anyone else had this thought?  Why is it that we are continually applying a 19th century model of curriculum design, one based on a single linear pathway for all students to progress through, with common assessment points, that really only applies and lives when articulated using the medium of paper?  Does this still sound familiary, "Okay class, you will notice in the course outline that during this semester we will all be doing...blah, blah, blah... on October 5th, and we'll all be doing...blah, blah, blah...on November 8th, culminating in a final exam on December 7th."

My argument is simple.  Through the integration of technology, we can (and should) be creating three dimensional learning environments (NOTE: i am NOT talking about 3-D graphics or Second Life) whereby we establish multiple learning pathways that responds to an individual students learning styles (both catering for and challenging of) as well as a variety of assesment tools.

I have modeled these environments using very sophisticated selective-release tools in Bb Vista and my students absolutely loved the experience.

For the record, I think the "LMS/VLE is Dead" argument is a silly-one, in the sense that what the doomsayers are arguing for, mainstream education is far from ready to implement, regardless of how utopian the 'open' environment is.  And for me, the key argument is that these environments are NOT exclusionary, as many others such as Dan Stucke have argued.  Use the VLE as the unifying and organizational hub for the myriad of activities that we can be using to engage our students.  Just imagine your response to a parent, potential employer, or district administrator when they ask, "Can you please show me the activities that you have done with the students this semester?" and all you have are are series of email messages containing links to 30 different PLE's?

In conclusion, and what should be self-evident but I'll clarify it anyway, is that if anyone were to ask me to describe or demonstrate what I am talking about, and the medium of paper was the only one they gave me, they would not be happy with my response.  I'll never forget in 1998 being told that my final master thesis could not 'exist' on the internet as there HAD to be a bound hard-copy on the shelf in the library...morons...

Contact details: Rob Peregoodoff, UBC Sauder School of Business

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Sylvia Currie
12:43am 16 October 2009

This sounds cool. I especially like the idea of variety of assessment tools. I tried to find something in the archives, but I remember a research project at Royal Roads University in the late 90s that sounds similar to your model, Rob. Learners were given options of several paths through a course --  different presentations of content, choices for activities, etc. The learning management system was designed to support this model. Anybody remember that RRU project?

Look forward to learning more about 3-D Curriculum Design!

Amanda Coolidge
4:13pm 16 October 2009

Interesting Rob.  I have been working this past year on three separated 3D curriculum design projects- ranging from health to aerospace maintenance.  Even though you say you dont want to "describe" what it is you have done, I would love to hear what exactly you are doing with students in BB vista to engage them in 3D... can you give some examples?



Rob Peregoodoff
5:58pm 16 October 2009

Hi Amanda,

Sorry if I wasn't clear enough in my explanation, but my thesis is NOT related to 'real' 3-D learning objects or curriculum as I know you have done with Aerospace (I introduced your session last spring at Celc :) ).

It is about using a three-dimensional, multi-pathway, student-centered model of designing, writing and implementing any type of curriculum that is based on the mediums of the internet.  This may or may not include 3-D renderings or simulations.  Let me ask this question to further the conversation, "Why is it that all students must do the same course activities, on the same timeline, and have the same assessments for any given course?."

Amanda Coolidge
7:01pm 16 October 2009

Hi Rob!

Yes I remember you- I knew your name was familiar but couldn't quite pin point from where- thanks for the clarification- looking forward to hearing more about this face to face next week.

Sylvia Currie
2:05pm 17 October 2009

Are all courses really designed that way? -- same activities,  same timeline, same assessments. Hopefully not but I get the point that most are, especially at 1st and 2nd yr levels. 

For me one of the key elements is to find opportunities for learners to share, discuss, challenge, and advance representations of their work. This requires that they come together and cross paths, taking a genuine interest in what others are contributing, but not that they are necessarily on the same timeline doing the same things. I wonder how that can be built into the 3-D model.

Gráinne Conole
7:22am 19 October 2009

Really looking forward to hearing more about this - I have developed a 3D framework for mapping tools in context which can be used as part of the curriculum planning process. Will post a reference to the paper this is based on, We currently have a 3D widget version of it in development.

Lynn Fujino
9:20pm 19 October 2009

What? Use the powers of the medium for course design?! Multiple pathways for learning? Users choosing their own pathway? How ever will we be able to control this??

Love this concept, and am looking forward to hearing/learning more.

Caroline Alashhab
9:37pm 19 October 2009

I like the idea. If I understood it well, it implies that students should be pre-assessed and according to their “level”, they are assigned certain activities, and assessed accordingly.  A follow-up system should be designed and implemented, of course. 

There is the issue of making sure all students reach a certain standard at the end.

I’m looking forward to learning more.

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