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Back to e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age

Learner Reviews & Feedback for e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

1,339 ratings

About the Course

For three decades and longer we have heard educators and technologists making a case for the transformative power of technology in learning. However, despite the rhetoric, in many ways and at most institutional sites, education is still relatively untouched by technology. Even when technologies are introduced, the changes sometimes seem insignificant and the results seem disappointing. If the print textbook is replaced by an e-book, do the social relations of knowledge and learning necessarily change at all or for the better? If the pen-and-paper test is mechanized, does this change the nature of our assessment systems? Technology, in other words, need not necessarily bring significant change. Technology might not even represent a step forward in education. But what might be new? How can we use technologies to innovate in education? This course explores seven affordances of e-learning ecologies, which open up genuine possibilities for what we call New Learning – transformative, 21st century learning: 1. Ubiquitous Learning 2. Active Knowledge Making 3. Multimodal Meaning 4. Recursive Feedback 5. Collaborative Intelligence 6. Metacognition 7. Differentiated Learning These affordances, if recognized and harnessed, will prepare learners for success in a world that is increasingly dominated by digital information flows and tools for communication in the workplace, public spaces, and personal life. This course offers a wide variety of examples of learning technologies and technology implementations that, to varying degrees, demonstrate these affordances in action. -------------------------------- Recommended Background -------------------------------- This course is designed for people interested in the future of education and the "learning society," including people who may wish to join education as a profession, practicing teachers interested in exploring future directions for a vocation that is currently undergoing transformation, and community and workplace leaders who regard their mission to be in part "educative." -------------------------------- Related Resources -------------------------------- Online resources are available here: -------------------------------- Join our Online Communities! -------------------------------- CGScholar (Create an account and join the New Learning community) Facebook Twitter -------------------------------- Take this Course for Credit at the University of Illinois -------------------------------- This course has the same content and anticipates the same level of contribution by students in the Assessment for Learning course offered to graduate certificate, masters, and doctoral level students in the Learning Design and Leadership Program in the College of Education at the University of Illinois. Of course, in the nature of MOOCs many people will just want to view the videos and casually join some of the discussions. Some people say that these limited kinds of participation offer evidence that MOOCs suffer from low retention rates. Far from it – we say that any level of engagement is good engagement. On the other hand, if you would like to take this course for credit at the University of Illinois, you will find more information about our program here: And you can apply here: -------------------------------- The Learning Design and Leadership Series of MOOCs -------------------------------- This course is one of a series of eight MOOCs created by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis for the Learning Design and Leadership program at the University of Illinois. If you find this MOOC helpful, please join us in others! e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age New Learning: Principles and Patterns of Pedagogy Assessment for Learning Learning, Knowledge, and Human Development Ubiquitous Learning and Instructional Technologies Negotiating Learner Differences: Towards Productive Diversity in Learning Literacy Teaching and Learning: Aims, Approaches and Pedagogies Multimodal Literacies: Communication and Learning in the Era of Digital Media

Top reviews


Apr 12, 2020

This course was very interesting and thought provoking. I would certainly recommend for any teacher that is now trying to work with their students from within an online forum. Thank you!!!


Jul 8, 2020

This course is Amazing. The learning opportunity helps me to become more EQUIPT with the necessary information and practices that I need to be more effective in my work. Thank you so much.

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1 - 25 of 444 Reviews for e-Learning Ecologies: Innovative Approaches to Teaching and Learning for the Digital Age

By Juliette L

Mar 1, 2019

Nothing "innovative" or new in this course. Don't expect academic rigor.

The professors essentially delivered the content in ways they said NOT to deliver content (stand in front of a boring visual and talk AT your class; have students do discussion questions). I found myself skipping the videos and only reading the transcripts. It was quicker and made me realize there was nothing in any of the videos that made video a preferred medium to deliver content. Why sit through 5-15 minutes of someone talking/reading their notes when I could read the page and get more from it? What a waste.

Beyond that, the peer grading of assignments was foolish. Some of the grades/feedback I got from peers showed they did not actually read my full response or pay attention to the question asked of us. One person even said it seemed I hadn't watched the video--even though I quoted directly from the video and responded to it. In a different assignment I brought in relevant links and details that I have found/used/learned in my work as a college professor already versed in digital learning, but my classmates gave me a failing grade. When I revised my assignment to only reference Wikipedia instead, it got a full score. Baffling.

My only take-away from this course is how NOT to do an online course.

By Mitch H

Jan 16, 2020

The content was quite interesting. I felt the value that the instructors and Illinois brought to this topic.

The dual format (Scholar and Coursera) approach was confusing.

I did not get the sense of community with this course. Not sure how many were enrolled but there was very little contact.

There was no current content provided by the instructor during the run of the course. (on autopilot?)

In a course on eLearning I expected much more facile, innovative and creative delivery. The experience felt very much like MOOC v.1

I also felt there was too much self-emphasis placed on the Scholar format - as if the instructors were using the content to tout and promote the format. It felt disingenuous.

Rigor and assessment were very light - which is good or bad depending on your expectations.

As with any format like this, you get more out of it if you put more in.

Why is this response set up to be center justified?

By Anna C R

Sep 27, 2018

An overview of basic best practices in education with the repeated thesis that "today's technology" enables such practices to occur to a greater extent. Lack of depth in concepts and very few concrete tools or "innovative" approaches to be utilized. If you think "e-learning ecologies" will specifically address topics and problems related to online and blended learning, you will be disappointed.

By Adrian H

Jul 5, 2021

The course provides a thought provoking review of the learning best practice and highlights some potential areas where technology will better enable us to implement this best practice.

By Kerri Y

Aug 8, 2020

I appreciated the well-organized format and overall the way the course was designed. Particularly the opportunity to choose our own areas of focus for assignments to learn more.

By LaNessa H

Oct 31, 2020

This course does not represent what they are teaching. It talks about active learning but is actually based on watch videos, write an “update” and then review peer work. The peer work of many does not follow the prompt at all. Then 3 other “peers” review your work with possibly no comments on improvements or that they can’t follow the link you share. No valid comments- but yet you are to resubmit? The peers could be one of the many that did not follow the prompt. Very dissatisfied with the e-learning. There also seems to be nowhere to ask for technical help in regards to the url link to your post not being hyperlinked. Also the points distribution is not appropriate. Research shows that “peers” are tougher on grading other peers as that is not in their repertoire. Horrible! Nothing like a Professor-student relationship.

By Mariana P V

Jan 18, 2021

It is confusing where/how to post required assignments and how to get credit for reviewing the work of peers. The multiple platforms (Coursera AND Scholar) don't talk to each other in terms of getting credit for the work done. As a result, you sit around waiting for someone to review your written response and can't finish the course. Because where/how to post is so confusing, I am waiting to review 5 assignments that still show as "there are no assignments available to review" and so I can't complete the course in a timely manner.

By Fareed K K

May 26, 2020

This course is designed primarily for every teacher or learner to understand the innovative approaches to teaching and learning. The best part of it is that you will learn and review your work of peers and you need to submit your work early to get your grades faster. This course has honed my research skills and the ability to perform better in this course which was quite evident at the end of this course. A satisfaction of gaining a new approach to knowledge-making with a certificate, indeed. Thanks to Dr. William Cope and Dr. Mary Kalantzis for sharing their knowledge with us. Cheers :)

By Miriam M

May 21, 2020

The videos are incredibly dull - talking heads and not very animated ones, either. I just read the transcripts instead, and other than learning a bunch of ridiculous jargon, I can honestly say, I learned nothing. The peer grading was silly. One assignment I was tasked to grade was a link to a video that had nothing to do with the class. The grades I was given by my classmates were useless with no comments other than 'interesting'. I wondered if anyone had read them. Ugh.

By Roberto S

Nov 14, 2017

This course is fantastic! I started with a level of expectation that was quickly overwhelmed and I finished got achieving much more. This extens content gave me valuable insights and a large spectrum of issues to research and learn about from now. I'm thankful to Prof. Bill Cope and Prof. Mary Kalantzis for this great course that I certainly recommend.

By Emily S L

Dec 15, 2019

almost everything were good enough to learn about elearning ecology.

but sometimes it was very hard to get a score from peers, though i had already uploaded the assignment

By Swarup S

Apr 18, 2020

not useful

By Lolita G R

Jul 8, 2020

This course is Amazing. The learning opportunity helps me to become more EQUIPT with the necessary information and practices that I need to be more effective in my work. Thank you so much.

By Rik G

Mar 3, 2022

As a trainer in the corporate world, I enjoyed the course, even though the course is orientated to the academic world. Most of the affordances, with some adaptations, are perfectly applicable to corporate training. In the future, I will no longer create an e-learning course and throw it on the employees. Recursive feedback, active knowledge-making and collaborative intelligence are from now on part of my e-learning strategy.

By Erika K

Feb 20, 2023

This course is ironic - it describes how to make e-learning effective and interactive (ex. use active learning principles) but in a course that is anything but. The way material is presented is outdated, dry, and confusing. If all you are looking for is a collection of theoretical articles and chapters about e-learning, then this is great. But if you are looking for an engaging and relevant course about e-learning, this is NOT for you. These instructors need to remember the sayings "practice what you preach" and "lead by example". I am floored that these instructors can title this course "Innovated Approaches to Teaching in the Digital Age" and give students text PDFs, text PDFs, more text PDFs, and a couple magazine articles and boring videos. This review may sound too harsh but these instructors need a serious wake up call.

By Sebastien R

May 11, 2020

At an age when all the formal learning is moving online, it's essential to understand how to make the most of digital technologies in education (and not replicate the outdated practices that are already out there). This course helps you do this AND MORE. The contents are highly relevant and the course design is brilliant. I walk away with a clearer understanding of how to teach better in an online environment and with input from other course participants, I have been inspired by many of their ideas, on top of the research from the two experts teaching this course. 100% satisfied!

By Brenda G

Apr 13, 2020

This course was very interesting and thought provoking. I would certainly recommend for any teacher that is now trying to work with their students from within an online forum. Thank you!!!

By Rufo R M

Apr 16, 2020

The course itself is superb and the teachers are great. But the online facilities, specifically the submission of peer-reviewed assignments are problematic. Overall. the course is highly recommended for those who are in the field of education.

By Patrice W G J

Jul 11, 2020

The course accomplished my objective--giving me new ideas on which to think about and consider. I wish there were a bit more examples or simulations to show effective methods of applying these approaches in a virtual ecology.

By Robert D

Aug 11, 2017

A logically arranged course offering a cogent, insightful creative vision of learning in a time of emerging digital affordances. The course is interesting and worthwhile to take, beyond any shadow of a doubt. Highly recommended for anyone interested in teaching and learning in the 21st century, particularly e-learning, which increasingly intrudes on and mixes with "face to face" teaching and learning, as we harness the tools and media now available relatively easily, cheaply and ubiquitously. This MOOC . provides a good framework for thinking about the near future in 2017. If you take the course for a certificate or if you are considering using this course as an entree into the Champaign-Urbana graduate program, be aware that not all students take the peer review process seriously and that you may need to do one or more of the four peer-assessed tasks more than once to earn your certificate if one or more of your peers evaluates your work as inadequate or substandard, whether fairly or unfairly. In my view, for the most part, if you invest in the course and take it seriously, you will benefit significantly and gain new perspectives and skills. Not a perfect course, but it is engaging, informative, visionary and extremely well constructed.

By Violeta Z

Nov 25, 2020

I find this course very up-to-date and very useful! A real must-have for any educator!

I liked the online course format making the education of such good level achievable worldwide which is topical for me. It wasn't easy for me at the beginning as I haven't been a student myself for quite a while. The course assignments required quit a lot of additional reading and research which was really valuable and still gives me opportunities for further professional growth and development. Observing deadlines for submitting written assignments was a motivating challenge.

I am very grateful to the course instructors - Dr Bill Cope and Dr Mary Kalantzis - for the interesting explanatory video lectures and the whole course altogether! Special thanks to the Coursera team!


May 21, 2020

With our university closing its doors due to the pandemic, as professors we have all been scrambling to figure out how to switch to remote instruction. Many of my colleagues are hyperfocused on which webcam to use or how to get the best audio for their lectures. Instead I asked, "How can I take advantage of this disruption to figure out how to truly teach this new generation?" This class has given me the answers I've been seeking. I'll never go back to my old way of teaching again, even after the pandemic ends.

By Rich L

May 8, 2021

I thought the course was excellent. The only complaints I have is not the course, but the delivery within Coursera since I have not used Coursera for a really long time, and with no guides or instructions for the first week of the course, I missed deadlines because I didn't know how to submit discussion posts. At least, I know better now since I have more online certification courses to take through Coursera.

By Maruta D

Jul 29, 2022

Although I was initially expecting something different (more practical tools?), I found a lot of importance in global lines when I entered this course. All respect and thanks to the instructors and course creators, who made it possible to see the overall picture of digital learning against the background of the era in a relatively short and rationally designed course.

By h.s. h s

Feb 6, 2023

The course was a very good introduction to the digital tools of and for learning that can be used in education. The lectures were very interesting and informative. The assignments gave the learner the chance to read and immerse themselves in new concepts, and reflect on their relevance with his/her own teaching or learning practice. Overall, very good experience.