Like many of you I am thinking about the class I am teaching in September, and in the process I am tweaking and restructuring syllabi and resources, replacing readings, and renewing assignments.

In our field, we talk a lot about other people’s courses. There’s good reasons for this, as that’s the nature of the field and that’s where our expertise lies.

But, we rarely talk about our own courses. We rarely share how we apply our thinking about other people’s courses to our own courses. So below is one example of how I revised one of my assignments this year. The second paragraph is this year’s addition. Along with course discussions and readings, it opens the conversation around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our field.

Assignment 1 | People in the field (Individual)

This assignment aims to introduce you to individuals in the field and their contributions. Your task is to research an individual’s work and contributions, and in XXX words describe who they are, why you selected them, and what aspect of their work is important to the field. Within your description, include at least 3 links relevant to this individual. For example, if this person is an active blogger, it would be helpful to include a link to their blog (which, then the rest of us can use to add to our RSS reader). It might also be helpful to link to specific work they did (e.g., a software they developed, a paper they wrote) or interviews with them (such as for example this interview with Dr. Marta Mena or this podcast with Prof. Laura Czerniewicz). You do not need to limit yourselves to researchers and professors or people who are living, but please select individuals whose work lies at the intersections of learning and technology.

As in many other fields of study, the contributions of women, indigenous people, people of colour, and people from other marginalized communities often remain invisible. This situation impacts all of us because any work that helps us improve the ways we teach, learn, and develop education is important work. To familiarize yourselves with the notion that there are ‘hidden’ histories in educational technology that are not part of the dominant narrative, and thereby people, prior to beginning your research read Watters (2014) Un-fathomable: The Hidden History of Ed-Tech (chapter 2) and skim her History of the Future of Ed-Tech (chapter 1). Who will you choose to shine a light on? I look forward to reading your posts!