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Social media, disability studies and blended learning: Here are four unique courses on offer this year

September 8, 2021 

By Perry King


The 2021-2022 school year is about to begin and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is here to provide a large slate of course offerings for the community.

To wade you into this year’s course offerings, here is a list of four distinct and interesting courses (one from each of OISE’s four main departments) that still have some availability.

Have questions about registration or student life at OISE? Contact the Office of the Registrar and Student Services. There, students can request, receive, and retrieve a wealth of information – including course registration, account information, student services and professional development. View OISE's 2021-2022 Fall/Winter course schedule here.


Technology, Play, and Social Media in Adolescence (APD1235H)

Department: Applied Psychology and Human Development
Instructor: Alexandra Makos, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

This course examines the intersection of technology, social media and play during adolescence from a developmental and educational perspective. Instructed by Alexandra Makos, this course is designed to have students critically examine contemporary research to better understand the implications of technology on social emotional development, interaction, and learning in adolescence.

“The topics and issues explored in this course allow learners to understand the implications of research for students, parents and teachers in an innovative way,” said Dr. Makos, speaking with OISE News. “Students work with their teams on six challenges throughout the term to create unique solutions – the emphasis is on mobilizing theory in all educational contexts.”

The courses that Dr. Makos teaches are highly collaborative and thoughtfully designed to provide a new and fun experience for her students. Topics explored include social interaction, emotional development, gamification, and the role of technology in education.

Blended Learning: Issues and Applications (CTL1616H)

Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Instructor: Dr. Lesley Wilton

Taught by Dr. Lesley Wilton, this course examines current issues and applications of blended learning at all levels of education. Blended learning is where some learning is facilitated in a face-to-face environment and some is facilitated within a digital environment. 

The digital tools available to facilitate blended learning are explored from the perspective of how such applications can support, inform and enhance the design of digital learning environments and methods of teaching. Included in the course is a discussion of related terminology, the current state and trends of blended learning, and future predictions about teaching in digital environments that facilitate blended learning.

A course exploring a very prescient topic in education, Dr. Wilton’s students praise her for connecting students with one another and guidance through the readings and digital tools.

“The CTL50501 for blended learning has opened up my eyes to how technology can bring out the very best learning in our students,” said Sorah Loewenthal, a Masters student based in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development.

“Dr. Wilton's ability to push us in our learning, yet with an understanding and compassionate attitude is what makes her such a star teacher. She embodies all that we strive to be in our own careers."

Organizational Change in Higher Education (LHA1811H)

Department: Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Instructor: Professor Creso Sá

This course provides a solid research-based foundation for understanding, analyzing, and acting on organizational change in higher education.

To achieve this goal, Professor Creso Sá examines a variety of theories and concepts that have been applied to, or originated from, the study of academic organizations.

“During the term, we reflect on and discuss a wide range of perspectives in the literature that describe colleges and universities as complex and multifaceted organizations,” says Sá. “We actively engage with these ideas and consider how they help us make sense of the real issues we experience in higher education settings.”

Doing this will require drawing heavily from each other’s experiences and understandings in postsecondary institutions. “How we interpret and articulate our direct experience with organizational change, in light of the various viewpoints we will engage with, will be front and centre in our learning process in this course,” he says.

Disability Studies and Human Imaginary (SJE2030H)

Department: Social Justice Education
Instructor: Professor Tanya Titchkosky

This course theorizes the meaning of “human.” Instructed by Professor Tanya Titchkosky, it does so by developing conversations between disability studies and key theorists who have raised the question of the human imaginary, herein regarded as culturally structured images that govern people’s interactions.

“Frantz Fanon, W.E.B. DuBois, Audre Lorde, Hannah Arendt, Sylvia Wynter, Thomas King and many other authors that influence critical thought today, wrote before there was something called ‘disability studies’ or wrote outside the idea that disability experience is political,” says Titchkosky, herself a researcher in the area of Disability Studies.

“Yet, in this course, these authors become our disability studies teachers.”

Bringing disability studies praxis into conversation with these writers, the course will trace the meaning made of the human through two questions – what consequences has a restricted human imaginary imposed on the practices and institutions enacting disability in everyday life? And, what place does disability occupy in the work of those who have theorized a restricted human imaginary?

“Given these authors have something to say about how the human is imagined, and being human includes disability-experience, we learn to gather these authors’ hidden lessons about disability and disability studies.”


More OISE news

OISE's 2021-2022 Fall/Winter course schedule

Together Hub: OISE's COVID Response