Selected Writing

The MOOC and the Multitude

Curinga, M. (2016). The MOOC and the Multitude. Educational Theory, 66(3), 369–387.

Abstract: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) take university lectures and other educational materials and make them available for free as online “courses.” Liberal and neoliberal MOOC supporters laud them for opening up education to the world, while incorporating market dynamics to improve quality and drive down costs. Skeptics claim MOOCs are a bald attempt to privatize higher learning, while creating an apartheid educational system with traditional universities for the wealthy and cut-rate online learning for everyone else. This paper draws on the political theory of autonomist marxism, arguing that MOOCs are Capital’s defensive reaction to the threats of resistant universities on one side and unmanageable internet-based learning on the other. It then looks at what MOOC design would support education for the multitude; the diverse, networked political body of autonomist marxism.

Keywords: moocs, open education, software studies, autonomist marxism, higher education, cognitive capitalism, online education

Mobile First Instructional Design

Curinga, M., & Saravanos, A. (2016). Mobile First Instructional Design. In D. Mentor (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Mobile Learning in Contemporary Classrooms. IGI Global.

Abstract: The rapid rise in mobile computing—primarily smartphones and tablets—has led software and interface designers to adopt a “mobile first” strategy, where they develop applications with mobile users in mind as the primary audience. More than just bringing desktop computing to smaller devices, this turn has opened up qualitatively different computing experience, refocusing interaction design on high quality user experiences. This chapter explores the ways that mobile first can help instructional designers realize a more contextual learning experience embedded in the world. We look at the primary approaches of mobile first design and then explore some cases of mobile design for learning that foster authentic and deep learning.

Keywords: instructional design; mobile learning; mobile first; educational technology; situated cognition dbook of Research on Mobile Learning in Contemporary Classrooms_

Critical analysis of interactive media with software affordances

Curinga, M. (2014). Critical analysis of interactive media with software affordances. First Monday, 19(9).

Abstract: There is a long standing, and unsettled debate surrounding the ways that technology influences society. There is strong scholarship supporting the Social Construction perspective, arguing that the effects of technology are wholly socially and politically determined. This paper argues that the social constructivist position needs to be expanded if it can be useful for more than observing the ways technologies are designed and used. We need to develop better ways to talk about software, computer hardware, and networks, so that we can describe the social interpretations of these systems while accounting for their unique characteristics. We suggest using software affordances as a way to understand the semantics of software as interactive systems. Using Facebook privacy concerns as a case study, we argue that software affordances offer a useful lens for considering the social and political implications of interactive software systems, providing us more analytical tools to interpret, and not just describe, new technologies.

Keywords: social media, software affordances, social constructivism, software studies, Facebook, human computer interaction

New materialist approaches to the study of teacher identity

de Freitas, E. & Curinga, M. (2015). New materialist approaches to the study of language and identity: Assembling the posthuman subject. Curriculum Inquiry.

Abstract: Academic learning and social identity are intertwined, making identity an enduring concept in the study of education. Two methodologies commonly inform research on identity: critical discourse analysis and conversation analysis. This paper argues that these approaches fail to fully account for the complexity of teacher identity. We outline a possible framework for combining these poststructuralist tools of analysing language as meaning with new materialist tools for studying language as material. The material approach moves language beyond a reciprocal means of information-communication, considering its capacity to create new orders and structures. This view is fruitful in studying identity, offering a path around the agency-structure binary where language either serves the subject in self-determination or the institution in furthering normative control. Identity can be studied as an assemblage that does not begin or end in the individual, where language is one of several forces that dynamically constitute identities in a given context.

Keywords: identity, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, new materialism, assemblage

Social tutoring: incorporating social network and wiki features into the design of a novel computer science educational tool for collaborative study

Curinga, M. and Auchter, K. (2015). Designing PyTutor: A Social Tutor to Support Computer Science Education Through Collaborative Study. Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning.

Abstract: This paper reports on the design of PyTutor, a social tutor and study platform that offers computer supported collaborative learning of computer science, relying on peer instruction rather than artificial intelligence to provide just in time learning. The software provides a test-driven approach to authoring questions through a wiki-like interface allowing for the rapid, collaborative authoring of high quality questions, while replacing the expert domain modeling prevalent in cognitive tutors with a crowdsourced approach. A social networking model allows learners to reach out to their peers and mentors for help while studying.

Keywords: computer science education, social tutor, peer instruction, computational thinking

From laptop to tablet: faculty use of iPads for instruction to prepare education professionals

Battaglia, D., Curinga, M., Minicozzi, L., McCarthy, M.J., Vaughn-Shavou, F., & Zarco, E. (2015). From laptop to tablet: a study of university faculty use of iPads to support instruction. Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning.

Abstract: This paper reports on a university iPad pilot project where a cohort of university faculty were given iPads for the purpose of improving instruction for their graduate and undergraduate school of education students in teacher preparation, health education, and speech pathology programs. The researchers studied implementation details to gather insight into instances where iPads were perceived to have a positive impact on learning, and where they failed to meet expectations. Findings indicate that, in the absence of extended professional development over time, faculty with prior experience using tablet computers and in fields that are already clinically saturated with iPad use had the best chances of success in transition from desktop to mobile computing.

Keywords: iPad, educational technology, mobile computing, teacher education, higher education, mobile learning, mlearning

Wikiotics: The Interactive Language Instruction Wiki

Sullivan, I., Garrison, J. R., & Curinga, M. (2011). Wikiotics: the interactive language instruction Wiki. Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration (pp. 223–224).

Abstract: While most existing wiki systems are geared toward editing text documents, we have built Wikiotics to enable the collaborative creation of interactive multimedia materials most needed in language instruction. In our demonstration, we will show several types of interactive lessons that can be created from simple multimedia elements. We will also show the lesson creation/editing interfaces and how our smart phone app can simplify the process of capturing local media and integrating that new media into existing lessons.

Keywords: Wiki, Language education, Structured wiki, Collaborative authorship, Interactive media, Wikiotics, Ductus