Secret, Bryant & Cummings

Teaching an Interdisciplinary Graduate-Level Methods Course in an Openly-Networked Connected Learning Environment: A Glass Half-Full

Mary Secret, Virginia Commonwealth University
Nita L. Bryant, Virginia Commonwealth University
Cory R. Cummings, Virginia Commonwealth University


Our paper describes the design and delivery of an online interdisciplinary social science research methods course (ISRM) for graduate students in sociology, education, social work, and public administration. Collaborative activities and learning took place in two types of computer-mediated learning environments: a closed Blackboard course management system and a public facing “openly-networked connected learning” environment designed to facilitate cross-discipline connections, student engagement, and digital fluency. A course formative assessment based on student feedback and instructors’ reflections informed the lessons learned about the design and delivery of the course. Our assessment suggests that many of the connected learning goals can be met through the closed course management system rather than through the open platform.


computer-mediated learning, interdisciplinary education, connected learning environment, online education, research methods, information competencies

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