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New interactive environments

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Course code: IFI7144

Facilitators: Terje Väljataga (Tallinn University) & Sebastian H.D. Fiedler (Centre for Social Innovation)

Credit points: 5 ECTS

Time: 20.09. - 19.12. 2010. Please keep an eye on this page for further information about this course and its tasks from 20th of September on. In the beginning of the first week there is no need to be online at certain times.

If you would like to participate in this course, add yourself to Participants page.

Everyone is free to enroll and participate, but official credits are only available via Tallinn University. Contact the course facilitators for more information.


Participants acquire conceptual knowledge and procedural skills on how to analyse, represent, and (re-)instrumentalise human activities and activity systems with networked tools and services.

Course outline[edit]

The course focuses on the (re-)design of new interactive environments for collaborative work and study. Particular attention is paid to the analysis, representation, and (re-)instrumentalisation of human activities and activity systems with networked tools and services.

Artefacts that are typically produced from such a perspective can feed into various design processes and fields of application, such as information architecture, educational (intervention) design, interface and system design, or the design of evaluation frameworks.

The course will be conducted online and uses a variety of assignment and collaboration formats.

Learning outcomes[edit]

Participants will acquire…

…an overview of contemporary digital instrumentation options in collaborative work and study contexts

…important dispositions (conceptual knowledge, procedural skills, orientations) for conducting the analysis of human activities and activity systems

…important dispositions (conceptual knowledge, procedural skills, orientations) for representing (visually, textually, etc.) human activities and activity systems

…practical experience in collaborative work and study mediated by networked tools and services

Course tools and services[edit]

The following represents a list of tools and services that will be used during the course:

  • Personal reflection and assignments - personal Weblogs

Everyone needs a Weblog for the course. Experienced Weblog users can use their existing ones, setting up a specific subsection (i.e. a category or use tags). Participants with no Weblogs can create one. There are numerous free blogging services, the most popular are perhaps Blogger and Wordpress.

  • Weblogs aggregation and monitoring - Edufeedr (experimental... in beta)

Everybody has to register his/her Weblog in Edufeedr. EduFeedr is a feed reader for online courses, where each participant is using his/her personal Weblog to publish thoughts on course readings, answers to assignments and other course related posts. Course participants do not need user accounts in EduFeedr, however, they can follow a particular course in Edufeedr. In order to enroll to the course you must have a Weblog in the supported blogging platform. Currently it supports Blogger and Wordpress. As Edufeedr is still work in progress and this course will be used as a testbed for implementing this tool into practice the participants are not obliged to create a new Weblog in case they are not using neither Blogger nor Wordpress.com platforms. Weblogs created with other platforms wouldn't be shown in Edufeedr.

This tool helps us to find the most suitable meeting time for all of us.

  • ...

NB! The tag for this course is NIE2010 (in Twitter #NIE2010 ,of course).

General information about the course[edit]

The "New interactive environments" course is developed and taught by Sebastian Fiedler (Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna) and Terje Väljataga (Tallinn University) as a full-time e-course. All activities will be carried out online. Of course local participants are permitted to contact the local facilitator (Terje Väljataga).

The course "New interactive environments" is going to focus on interactive environments in collaborative work and study settings. It is divided into three parts:

  • Exploration – analysis of human activities, its systems and interactions in collaborative work and study settings
  • Elaboration – representation of human activities, its systems and interactions in collaborative work and study settings
  • Creation & Integration - (re-)instrumentalisation of human activities, activity systems and interactions with a set of networked tools and services.

Keywords/concepts of the course content include but are not limited to:

  • interactivity
  • human-to-human interaction
  • affordances
  • computer supported collaborative environments
  • activity theory
  • activity system
  • networked tools and services
  • re-instrumentalisation of activities
  • ...

The course is built up in a way that it requires constant contribution during the course. The course consists of several small tasks individually and in groups, which have to be completed by certain deadlines. The tasks and the deadlines will be published gradually during the course depending on the overall progress and interests of the participants. As the small tasks will be published in personal Weblogs the general criteria for them is the following: the task is completed if one is not ashamed of what he/she publishes in her/his personal Weblog. So considering the resources I have at my hand at a given point of time this is the maximum I can come up with. This is a quite fair criteria for adult learners in an online course. However, whenever the facilitators consider the quality of the task not acceptable, the participants will be notified.

Missing the deadlines of these small tasks means losing maximum points. More detailed information about collecting the points will be discussed in the first videoconference and will be published on the course Weblog. As the course ends with a pass/fail assessment there will be no formal examination. A final decision on whether the course is passed or failed will be based on the points collected during the course. 70% of the maximum points should be collected in order to pass the course.

The details of forming the groups will be discussed as the course begins. Mainly personal Weblogs will be used for presenting small tasks. We are also going to have synchronous discussions from time to time via videoconferencing tools.

Tallinn University has appointed the middle week of the semester as a self-study time with no class activities. However, our course regards the week as a regular week with ordinary work regimen.

In case of many participants with no previous experience on blogging, some time will be spent on introducing it.