Georgetown Domains and the Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology

Speakers: Lee Skallerup Bessette, Randal Ellsworth

Abstract: The mission of the new Master’s of Learning, Design, and Technology program at Georgetown University is “to give our students a deep foundation in the tools and theory of learning design, technology innovation, learning analytics, and higher education leadership, a foundation on which they can create engaging and innovative learning experiences for all students.” Working in and with Georgetown Domains is a key part of this engagement; the students learn about and create their domains during the opening week-long foundations course, and build on it throughout the duration of the degree, ending with a final portfolio on their domain of their work. In between, the students have the option of taking a one-credit course in Domains, as well as showcasing their coursework and projects on the site. For some, their personal Domains specifically and Georgetown Domains more generally have become the subject of their research and study. What this allows is for students to engage directly with the technology, as well as questions of accessibility, privacy, surveillance, and tools. They learn about and apply these lessons as they move through the program, perform and reflect on their research, and build their sites. But most importantly, this allows for students to own their own intellectual property, as well as provide the tools to apply what they have learned in a practical and holistic way. The e-portfolio requirement at the end of the degree highlights this commitment to students’ intellectual property as well as professionalization, while also providing an experimental and reflective space for students to connect their work. This short presentation will discuss curricular examples (Intro week, Domains course, Studio and Studio Capstone) of how Domains has been integrated into the program, sharing some student sites, projects, and portfolios.

My Notes

Georgetown is integrating domain creation into the curriculum for their Master’s for Learning, Design, and Technology. The metacognition of designing a domain and also thinking about how you would help others design their domain is “a Trojan Horse for thinking about ed-tech.” As Lee said, “Why domains and not an LMS?” This message reflects one of the core goals of the broader domains community in using this technology to get students thinking about digital identity, digital ethics, digital making –> digital literacy.

The program has a 1-hour intro to Domains course, taught by Lee, but this is really just a jumpstart for a broader curricular integration. And while domains are encouraged, some students have chosen to use SquareSpace or even paper. The open-ended design of the capstone project is platform agnostic, centered around a way of thinking rather than particular technologies.

Randal shared the story of several students in the program. For many of the students, building the domain helped them develop their thinking not only on ed-tech but on learning more broadly.

Lee mentioned in the Q&A that UMW has domains integrated in their Communications and History programs.

I’m really looking forward to exploring these projects and then talking with our Graduate college about thinking about domains and portfolios at a more systemic level than as compared to the one-off workshops or short learning communities that we have offered to this point.