ETT 741 Seminar in Intstructional Technology: Theory

Instructor: Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Ph.D
Office Hours: Monday 4pm-5pm
Severe Weather Closing: 815-752-6736 (local) or 1-888-648-9847
Home Page:

Catalog Description

Applying concepts of educational communication, models, and theories to problem solving, attitude formation, and teaching.

  • Accurately and concisely summarize the major theories of educational and instructional technology.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the major theories.
  • Expand upon selected theories and models to clarify or improve the validity of those theories and models.
  • Compare different theories and models to show how they interrelate.
    Course Format
    As you are graduate student, I am going to assume you are a professional and treat you as such. That means I am not going to tell you what you need to know, check attendance or try to motivate you. I assume that you are going to take responsibility for your own learning in this course. The topic and activities will be those that I and my colleagues think you will find useful- and I hope and expect you to suggest meaningful activities for the class.

    On theory introduction days you will read an extensive overview from a handbook chapter and primary text written by authors who have made considerable contributions in that area. On theory application days you will examine how theory is researched and developed in our field.

    NIU Conceptual Framework

    NIU Dispositions Assessment

    Required Texts

    You will submit your final assignment for this course on LiveText. If you have any technical questions please email

    Recommended Texts for your Doctoral Career

    • American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition (6th ed.). American Psychological Association (APA).
    • Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. Lawrence Erlbaum.
    • LaRocque, P. (2010). The Book on Writing. Marion Street Press.
    • Silvia, P. J. (2009). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. American Psychological Association.
    • Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., van Merriënboer, J., & Driscoll, M. P. (2007). Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (3rd ed.). New York: Erlbaum Associates.
    Class Participation 150
    |View Participation Responsibilities Guide| |View Reading Responsibilities Guide|
    You are expected to come to class and participate every class session. Each class session students will be assigned the following roles:
    • Article Summarizer
      • responsible for providing summaries of the assigned readings
    • Discussion Leader
      • responsible for providing questions regarding articles and leading the discussion in class
    • Discussion Summarizer
      • responsible for summarizing class discussion and reporting to class
    When you are assigned one of the above roles, you must actively participant in class fulfilling your role. This type of role assignment related to class readings will help you become an informed reader of the literature in the field. Also consider Doctoral Students Successful Habits.

    Writing Sample 150 points (50 points *3)
    Occasionally you are required to prepare a 3-page double-spaced sample of your writing and share it to the class by bringing copies to class or by using the Blackboard Discussion Forum. You can use a sample from your older papers and new material you wrote related to the course topic. In class you will receive feedback from peers and you will identify strategies for revising your work. There will be a total of 3 writing samples you need to share. You will be provided with an example. Preparing writing samples and engaging in peer feedback will help you develop your identity as a future scholar who will be engaging in numerous writing projects.

    Theory Book Review 300 pts (50pts for submitting draft) |View Guide and Rubric| |Book List|
    You have to prepare a book review that represents your understanding of an instructional/learning theory and its applications to instructional technology research and practice. You must obtain approval from the instructor on which book to review based on your interest and appropriateness of the book topic. You need to be able to explain how the topic of the book can be a viable conceptual framework for engaging in research in educational technology. The purpose of this project is for you to engage in an in-depth reading of a theory-based primary source literature and reflection of what you have learned in this class for understanding and evaluating the value of theories and what role theories take within educational technology. Additionally, you will lead class discussion related to the book you read and this will provide you with experience facilitating discussions in a doctoral course. Your book review should not exceed 10 pages (approximately 2500 words) double-spaced using 1 inch margins 12-point Times New Roman font excluding references and following APA style guide 6th edition. Please note that there is an example provided on Blackboard.

    Theory Summary, Analysis, and Synthesis Paper 300 pts (50pts for submitting draft) |View Guide and Rubric|
    Choose two instructional/learning theories and summarize the ideas of each theory. Make sure you use primary source literature including peer reviewed work as a source of reference. Then analyze a topic of your interest from the perspectives of the two theories. The topic of your interest can be a current issue/trend or a long standing topic in our field. Finally, provide a synthesis of your analysis by discussing what were the strengths and weaknesses of each theory in explaining the phenomena involved in the topic of your interest. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities in summarizing, synthesizing, analyzing, and comparing instructional/learning theories represented in seminal works and how they are relevant to your topic. Your paper should not exceed 10 pages (approximately 2500 words) double-spaced using 1 inch margins 12-point Times New Roman font excluding references and following APA style guide 6th edition. Additionally, be prepared to share your paper in a presentation format.

    Theory Summary, Analysis, and Synthesis Paper Presentation 100 pts
    You have to present your research paper to the class. For the presentation prepare a 1 page handout for your audience to follow your talk.

    Course Assessment
    Assignments and Total Possible Points
     Assignments  Possible Points
     Class Participation  150
     Writing Samples  150
     Instructional/Learning Theory Book Review  300
     Theory Summary, Analysis, and Synthesis Paper  300
     Theory Summary, Analysis, and Synthesis Paper Presentation  100
     Total Possible Points

    Assignment of Final Grade
    A = 1000-900; B = 890-800; C = 790-700; D = 690-600; F < 590 pts.

    A= Superior, B= Satisfactory, C= Marginal, D= Deficient, F= Seriously Deficient

    For more information please visit:

    Writing Center
    It is imperative that ALL teacher certification candidates meet the Illinois Language Arts Standards for All Teachers. Therefore, students who would like assistance in or further developing their writing style and skills can do so through the NIU Writing Center located in Stevenson South Towers - Lower Level, 815-753-6636. Website:

    NIU Academic Integrity Policy
    To make authoritative statements without giving credit to the author of those statements is considered plagiarism and violates the academic integrity policy of Northern Illinois University:

    Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or assignment written, in whole or part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from other sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university (2003-04 Undergraduate Catalog, p.48).

    Students with Special Needs
    Northern Illinois University abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulates that no student shall be denied the benefits of an education solely by reason of a handicap. Disabilities covered by law include, but are not limited to learning disabilities and hearing, sight or mobility impairments.

    Your success as a student is of utmost importance to me. If you have a disability or any other special circumstance that may have some impact on your work in this class, and for which you may require special accommodations, please contact me early in the semester so that accommodations can be made in a timely manner. The NIU Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), located on the 4th floor of the University Health Service (753-1303), is the designated office on campus to provide services and accommodations to students with diagnosed disabilities. You need to provide documentation of your disability to this office. For more information, visit the CARR website:

    Topic Notes Assignments/Readings
    Course Introduction, Theory Introduction, and Developing your Identity as a Writer
    Notes 1 Readings
    Driscoll (2005), Mayer (2001), & Robinson, Molenda, & Rezabeck, (2008)
    Theory Discussion
    Notes 2 Readings
    Newell (1990), Schuh, Barab (2008), & Spector (2008)
    Guest Lecturer Gail Jackey from the NIU Writing Center
    This meeting will take place at Stevenson South building where the Writing Center is located. Student parking is located at the Stadium Drive to the west
    Notes 3
    Class Participation
    Writing Sample Practice--please bring your writing sample 3 pages double spaced to this meeting
    Situated Cognition and Problem Solving
    Notes 4 Readings
    Brown, Collins, & Duguid (1989), Jonassen (2000) & Henning (2003)
    Activity Theory
    Notes 5
    Engeström (2000) & Yamagata-Lynch (2007)


    Writing Sample 1
    Student Work Day for Book Review
    Knowledge Management, Human Factors, and Distributed Cognition Notes 7
    Norman (1993) & Nonoka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995)

    Writing Sample 2--Bring Book Review Draft to discuss with instructor and peer

    Spring Break Recess    
    Issues Surrounding Theory and Practice
    Notes 9
    Dede (2006) & Kessels & Korthagon (1996)


    Book Review
    Book Review Discussion Day 1  Notes 10
    Read Student Book Reviews
    Book Review Discussion Day 2 Notes 11
    Read Student Book Reviews
    Online Session
    Notes 12
    Writing Sample 3--Share online and provide peer response online
    Student Work Day Notes 13
    Send Draft Final Paper to Instructor for input your final paper must address instructor feedback to this draft
    Writing for your Doctoral Career
    Guest Speakers Successful Doctoral Candidates

    Notes 14
    Student Choice
    Final Paper Presentations  Notes 15
    Final Paper

    Weekly Readings
    Week 1 Theory Introduction

    Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson. Read pages 1-6.

    Mayer, R. (2001). What good is educational psychology? The case of cognition and instruction. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 83-88.

    Robinson, R., Molenda, M., & Rezabeck, L. (2008). Facilitating Learning. In A. Januszewski & M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. Lawrence Erlbaum. 

    Week 2 Theory Discussion
    Newell, A. (1990). Unified Theories of Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Read pages 1-15.

    Schuh L. K., Barab, A. S. (2008). Philosophical perspectives. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. V. Merriënboer, & M. P. Dirscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.) (pp. 69-80). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

    Spector, J. M. (2008). Theoretical foundations. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. V. Merriënboer, & M. P. Dirscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd ed.) (pp. 21-28). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

    Week 4 Situated Cognition and Problem Solving

    Brown, J.S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42.

    Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Toward a design theory of problem solving. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(4), 63-85. doi:10.1007/BF02300500

    Henning, P. H. (2003). Everyday cognition and situated learning. In D. Jonnasen (Ed), Handbook of Research for Educational Communication and Technology 2nd Edition. (pp. 143-168). New York: Simon and Schuster.

    Week 5 Activity Theory

    Engeström, Y. (2000). Activity theory as a framework for analyzing and redesigning work. Ergonomics, 43(7), 960-974.

    Yamagata-Lynch, L., C. (2007).Confronting analytical dilemmas for understanding complex human interactions in design-based research from a Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework. The Journal of the Learning Sciences.

    Week 7 Knowledge Management and Human Factors

    Norman, D. (1993). Things That Makes us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books. Read chapter 6 pages 139-153

    Nonoka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press. Read chapter 3 pages 56-94.

    Week 9 Issues Surrounding Theory and Practice
    Dede, C. (2006). Evolving innovations beyond ideal settings to challenging contexts of practice. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (pp. 551-566). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Kessels, J. P. A. M., & Korthagon, F. A. J. (1996). The relationship between theory and practice: Back to the classics. Educational Researcher, 25(3), 17-22.

    Week 14 Chose a Writing Book that is a Good Fit to You
    You can search and read a book about writing that is a good fit for you, or read either
    • LaRocque, P. (2010). The Book on Writing. Marion Street Press.
    • Silvia, P. J. (2009). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (1st ed.). American Psychological Association.
    We will engage in class discussions based on what you learn about writing as a process

    Seminar Resources
    Doctoral Students Successful Habits

    Resources for Searching Journal Articles
    Peer Reviewed Article Tips
    How do I know when an article is peer Reviewed?
    Peer Reviewed Article Matrix

    Last Updated March 7, 2011