Media and the Design of

Social Learning Contexts

Communication/MT 115,

Human Development 115

Spring Focus:  Language and Culture

ERC (TEP) 518A:  Tu, Th 9:35-10:55



Professor: Honorine Nocon                Office:                  LCHC, ERC 517

Office Hours: Tu.   11:00-12:00           Phone:                 534-3079   

                        Th.    8:30-9:30              


Course Objective:

This course is designed to provide students with an intense experience that combines theory and practice in studying the roles of media and social interaction in human development.  Students will learn to employ ethnographic and participant observation techniques in order to use their field experience as the foundation for evaluating theories of learning, communication, and development.  A special focus this quarter is the role of language and culture in development.


Required Core Activities:

1)     To attend class two times per week on campus.  These class sections will be devoted to lecture, student presentations of basic readings and relation of those readings to field site activities.  NB:  Readings are listed at the front of the reader by the day they will be discussed.

2)     To attend an after-school activity site at the Lomas Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club twice per week for a total of approximately 3 hours.  During the activities, students work and play directly with children to promote their intellectual and social development.  Interactions with children occur primarily, but not exclusively, around computer games and computer-mediated telecommunications activities. 

3)     To write detailed field notes on the experience following each after-school site visit.  Field notes must be turned in by the following class time, both in hard copy and in electronic form.  They are best written within 24 hours of the site visit.


Hard copies:  Constructive feedback on field note content will be provided by the professor and is one of the major educational elements of this course.  Hard copies are due at the class session following a site visit.


Electronic copies:  Field notes must be submitted within 24 hours of the site visit to the web site:

      Select:  Boys and Girls Club Program


4)     To produce a research paper or a project report as well as a personal reflection paper based on theories discussed in class and site experiences.




Grades for the course will be based on performance of work in class and at the field site as follows:


        Class participation:  presentations, homework, quizzes:                                          20%

        Site participation and field note quality and submission:                                       45%

        Final research paper (7-10 pages) or project report (to be

      determined with professor) and a 3-page self-reflection paper:    35%


The final paper and self-reflection are due at the time of the final exam:

Thursday, June 13, 11AM.


The final research paper will develop a research question generated by the studentís experience in working with the children and draw upon course readings for theoretical points and field notes for evidence.


The alternative project report may be an individual or group design project report that defends the rationale for the design by using both the readings and site experiences of the student or students.  Attached to the report will be an appendix that includes design elements, i.e., materials or graphics representing the materials, with iterations and



The self-reflection paper will focus on the studentís own development during the course, using the first field note as a starting data point and the remaining notes as support.


Detailed guidelines for writing field notes and the final papers will be given in class.


Required readings:

The course reader will be available in class during the first two sessions, andn later by arrangement.