Course Description

This course is different from your typical undergraduate course. I approach this course as a grand experiment and look forward to watching it evolve and grow over the semester. My goal is to create an interesting and challenging blend of academic rigor within the context of applied technology. Not only will we look at technologies that could be viewed as disruptive to typical practices, but we will investigate them to uncover the emergent opportunities for discovering novel use. In other words, we will not only kick the tires, but we will strip the whole vehicle down, understand how it fits together, and rebuild it with a new ability to see its potential.

This course is designed in a blended model that will take advantage of all sorts of digital tools and online spaces. Because of the blended nature, we will not be in class together all the time. Many weeks we will meet once and you will use the other scheduled time to work with your teams any where you choose.

One of my goals is to press you into uncomfortable waters where you will need to be an active participant in order to thrive. My best students are ones who are willing to take risks and make mistakes with me along the way. I strive to create more than a classroom experience — I work to create a learning community.

The last thing I feel important to mention is that while this syllabus shows details for most of the semester, the course is fully designed to evolve as our learning does. I like to adapt the order things are exposed, assigned, and discussed based on the natural progression of our work together. I also appreciate the ability to make on the fly changes to the design based on your work, thoughts, and feedback — so please be a very active participant in the overall design of the course. Also, take note that about half way into the course it becomes your job to lead portions of the work through presentations, discussions, activities, and more.

Class hash tag = #CDT450

Course Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Work in teams to solve complex, novel challenges
  • Demonstrate their understanding of emerging and disruptive technologies
  • Recognize and discuss the differences and affordances inherent in emerging and disruptive technologies for different contexts
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the intersection of community, identity, and design as it relates to the larger context of disruptive and emerging technologies
  • Create digital artifacts using web and mobile technologies that demonstrate the primary themes of community, identity, and design
  • Produce digital media of many types (audio, video, photography, animations, text)
  • Synthesize individual and team based knowledge into digital presentations

Course Faculty

This course is taught by Cole Camplese. Cole serves as the Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Stony Brook University. He arrived in August 2013 after 15 years in various administrative and academic positions at Penn State University. This course is adapted from a graduate course with the same name he co-taught with long time friend and collaborator, Dr. Scott McDonald.


The class reading list can be found on the 2015 Reading List page.


All assignments are described in detail in the Assignment Overviews section of the site.

Class Participation

This is an area where we will continue to explore and expand as you begin to move into additional teaching and learning spaces throughout the semester. What that means is that we will measure your overall participation in very broad terms — contributions to blog posts, comments in class, tweets, and more will be taken into account as a measure of your overall participation in the class.

We have allocated an additional 100 points to this aspect of the course and it is has proven to be the tipping point for students in the past.

Point Totals

The course has a total of 1000 points, assigned as follows:

  • 1 Team Contract Assignment @ 25 Points
  • 1 Personal Introduction Assignment @ 25 Points
  • 1 Team Video Assignment @ 50 Points = 50 Points
  • 8 Team Writing Assignments @ 20 Points = 160 Points
  • 13 Individual Weekly Create Posts @ 10 Points = 130 Points
  • 13 iPad Reflection Posts @10 Points = 130 Points
  • 2 “Synthesis” Presentations @ 50 Points = 100 Points
  • Class Participation @ 230 Points = 230 Points
  • 1 “Occupy Technology” Report @ 150 points = 150 Points
    • – 100 for final artifact
    • – 25 for pitch
    • – 25 for framework

Weekly Readings, Posts, and Comments Schedule

  • Every Thursday Night – Monday Night = Read & Organize Group Post
  • Every Tuesday by 5pm = Publish Group Blog Post
  • Every Thursday by 12pm (noon) = Comment on other groups’ Blog Posts
  • Every Tuesday by 5pm = Post Weekly Create Post and the Weekly iPad Reflection

Weekly Schedule (Subject to Change!)

Class 1: January 29

  • Introductions and course background
  • Syllabus review
  • Meet our technology: Twitter and course hashtag #CDT450, Google Drive, Yammer, Diigo, Course Blog, the iPad, and (maybe) NoteBowl
  • Disruptive Conversation
    • Explore the notion of disruption and disruptive technologies
    • Explore the three themes of the course — community, identity, and design
    • Explore a story and unpack disruption through the lens of our three themes
  • Establish our shared “Weekly Create Post” guidelines and assessment model

Out of Class Assignments

Class 2: February 5

  • Reflections on the readings
    • Deeper insights on the one of the disruptors from the reading — Students as Content Creators and an Introduction to Web 2.0
    • Watch: “The Machine is Us/ing Us
  • Introduction to your team
  • iPad seminar by Apple team

Out of Class Assignments

This week we will be our first real deep dive into community. Now that you’ve experienced a little bit of Wenger we need to unpack what you learned there. Let’s talk about your reactions to the chapter you read and discuss some of the big issues embedded in his writing. I am going to ask you to write your own definition of community in teams and post it to the blog.

After that we will take a look at the curious case of The Bloomsburg Daily. We will look at it through the lens of community and disruption.

The second half of class we will be conducting a SWOT Analysis in class around the question of the iPad as an enabler within the context of higher education — teaching, learning, and community engagement.

BTW, we will be done early today!

In class

  • Define Community
  • Conduct SWOT Analysis

Out of class

  • Readings:
  • Begin working on your Team Video projectThis will be due in two weeks — by noon on 2/25/2015
  • Complete the iPad survey
  • Leave a comment on the other team’s definition of community
  • Team Post: Select one strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat from the class SWOT activity and expand upon each to make a persuasive argument. See post holding our SWOT outcomesDue Tuesday 5:00 PM.
  • Weekly iPad Reflection: How are you utilizing the device now across all of your courses and academic life? Due Tuesday 5:00 PM.
  • Weekly create. Due Tuesday 5:00 PM

Week 4: 2/19/2015

We will be doing lots of team work this week. I will be asking you to work within your teams to construct a couple of artifacts. We will start with an informal presentation by each team of their work on rounding out the SWOT analysis of the iPad in education exercise we did last week (Right Shark & Too Disruptive). I want to push you to the front of the room so you get comfortable for your synthesis presentation next week. After we talk a bit about that work, I am going to ask you to individually identify your three top thesis from the Cluetrain manifesto and why and post them to the course blog … then do the same as a team, but I want you to add in a reflection/refraction with/about the Cluetrain New Clues piece — this time synthesizing your work together and make a single post. That will provide a nice basis for a discussion of those readings. The remainder of time will be for you to work together on the Synthesis Post and Presentation … if you have questions, I will be available.

Out of Class

  • I am not assigning any readings for next week as you should be doing that in your synthesis posts (be judicious)
  • Finish your Team Videos and post them to the course site via YouTube or Vimeo embeds with a short overview of what technology you focused on and why by noon on 2/25/2015
  • Construct your team’s first synthesis post, post questions for the class to consider, post any readings you want us to do (or videos to watch, etc) by 5 PM on Tuesday
  • Weekly iPad Reflection by 5 PM on Tuesday
  • iPad Survey

Next Week

  • Present Team Videos
  • Present your first Synthesis

The rest will be exposed based on how we are progressing as a learning community.

Week 5

This week the stage is yours … Teams Right Shark and Too Disruptive get to present their synthesis of the first four classes with an emphasis on Community. I am really excited to see how you pull together the notions of community that we’ve discussed in the first block of the class. I did my assigned readings, did you?

Before we dive into the presentations we will look at a few quick items and talk a little bit about what they might mean to us going forward. I know that you are all hard at work on your videos and I promise I will let you wrap up early so you can take some time work more on those. Next week we will be looking at those as we also kick off the “identity” phase of the class. But enough about next week, let’s get to work on discussing the first big artifact of the class!

Out of Class



  • Continue working on your Team Videos and post them to the course site via a YouTube or Vimeo embeds with a short overview of what technology you focused on and why you chose to explore it by noon on 3/5/2015
  • Weekly Create using Phoster or another like app for the iPad that illustrates your initial thoughts on identity. Post your artifact and share a short thought in the post about why this speaks to our next theme. Due by 5 PM on Tuesday
  • Weekly Team Post … what were the biggest takeaways from the readings? Please cite at least two core ideas from both The Medium is the Massage and The Web is a Customer Service Medium and discuss them in the context of both community and identity. Do you feel differently about your team video now that you have read McLuhan’s work? Due by 5 PM on Tuesday

Week 6

Today we embark on our second theme, identity. The readings I had you do might seem strange in the context of identity, but I think they start to lay a deeper groundwork toward moving from looking at things from a pure perspective on community to how identity shapes what we see and feel. They really truly make perfect sense in the context of the team video project and based on the amazing conversations we had last week. Speaking of last week, you guys were terrific! Thank you for generating an exceptional learning experience for everyone.

Today we would have done quite a bit in class, but given the snow has conspired against us we will have to improvise. So what I am going to do is convert what we would have done in class to additional individual work that you will do here on the blog.

Had we been in class we would have started with a brief reflection on the synthesis presentations and answer any follow up questions. Given we aren’t together I am happy to answer anything either here in the open or more privately in a Yammer group. I would like everyone to take a minute and log in and give it a try. Do yourself a favor and get the Yammer iOS app … it makes it so much better on the go.

Speaking of Yammer, I posted some general thoughts on your work so far in our Yammer group. Please view it and leave a comment on it in Yammer so I know you looked at it.

We would have also watched your videos — Team Right Shark and Team Too Disruptive. Since we can’t discuss them in class, please respond individually to the other team’s video — specifically in the context of McLuhan!

To make the jump into our next theme, I want you to watch a video that explores an incredible story that will quite literally build a bridge for us from community toward identity. Share your reactions as comments to that video on that post.

After that, I want you to self record and publish a short video (no more than two minutes) using your iPads and iMovie for iOS is free for owners of iPad Airs). Please post it to YouTube and embed it in the course blog. In the blog post where you embed the video, please write your weekly iPad reflection to focus on the process of creating the video. The video itself should address the following questions:

  • How do you personally define the word identity?
  • Who are you?
  • What you do?
  • What shapes and makes up who you are?
  • Are you the sum parts of your online and offline identities?
  • When you post the video write our weekly iPad reflection to focus on the process of creating the video.

Out of Class

Preparing for next week — remember I will not be here (sadly), but a team from Apple will be here to teach you some more specific iPad skills. I will post a Week 7 overview, with assignments, readings, etc. Take care and be safe. You will need several free apps from Apple. Please make sure you get them. Go to the App Store on your iPad,scroll to the bottom and tap “Apps Made by Apple” … there you will be able to get that group of apps. Thanks!


Week 7: Apple is Here

I’m hopeful that you will enjoy today’s time with Apple and have a safe a restful Spring Break! 

While on your iPad, please click this link to download the iTunes U materials for class today. 

Before you leave class today, I’d like you to write a team definition of Identity, just like we did for community a few weeks ago. Be ready to defend it and discuss it when we get back together after Spring Break. Please choose one person to post it to the blog.

Out of Class — All Due 3/24/2015 by 5 PM

  • Weekly iPad Reflection — what did you learn from the Apple visit and what did you create? Did what you learn alter your appreciation for the iPad?
  • Weekly Create — Time to Tweet! Everyone needs to Tweet something interesting about this class using the hashtag #CDT450. I’d then like you to post about what Twitter can mean to shaping your identity and embed your tweet in the post.

Week 8: Spring Break

I understand last week was a very positive experience … I’m thrilled about that and I look forward to hearing more next week when we get together. I am not going to assign anything new this week, but I will remind you to wrap up the assignments by the posted due dates.

Out of Class — All Due 3/24/2015 by 5 PM

  • Weekly iPad Reflection — what did you learn from the Apple visit and what did you create? Did what you learn alter your appreciation for the iPad?
  • Weekly Create — Time to Tweet! Everyone needs to Tweet something interesting about this class using the hashtag #CDT450. I’d then like you to post about what Twitter can mean to shaping your identity and embed your tweet in the post.

Week 9: Wrapping Up Identity

Today we wrap up the block on Identity and while I can tell from reading your work that you’ve gotten stuff out of the experience, I am disappointed in the fact that we lost so much time together. With that said, it is time for you guys to take over again next week and produce your second Team Synthesis Post and Presentations. Same format as last time, but I want you all to me cognizant of the time you take to deliver your synthesis. Each team has an hour.

Conversation Starters

We define who we are by the ways we experience ourselves through participation as well as by the ways we and others reify ourselves. — Wenger

Identity as negotiated experience. — Katherine

Buckingham and Wenger coincided in their discussions on identity in several ways. Both authors emphasized that identity is neither static nor steady; instead, they describe how it is a “state of becoming,” and that the process of “identification” is going on all the time. — Jay

Thinking about how you can have “multiple” identities thanks to the power of anonymity on the Internet a more fluid definition of identity works. A definition where you are not only identify with your physical characteristics, but also your interest, your thoughts, and the content you create. — Shady

Identity Posts

Let’s talk about digital identity and how social identities can shape other people’s overall impression of us. Does the “web function as tools for people to create constantly changing projections of their identities through content production online?[1]” Take for example the stories of the Star Wars Kid and David after the Dentist.

Out of Class

Week 10: Synthesis Number Two

This week I will once again hand the course over to our two teams. I am very much looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us all today. The vast majority of the class today will center on the two teams leading the conversation. We will see if there is time remaining to introduce the next (and final) block of he class focusing on design.

For the final block we will be focusing on Human Centered Design and will follow the process that the unbelievably good firm, Ideo articulates. I would like you all to get accounts at their Design Kit site, download it, and read the Introduction and the Hear portion for next week. That will allow us to hit the ground running.

Out of Class

  • Weekly Create — Show us what you think design means by being creative. Write your personal definition of design in your post.
  • Weekly iPad Reflection — what iPad app is missing for you students in higher education? I want you to be as creative in your thinking as possible and use what you feel you understand about the work flow of students on college campuses. If you could build anything, what would it be and what would it enable?
  • Read “An Introduction to Design Thinking
  • Read “Designing the New Twitter Profiles
  • Go to the Read Kit site and watch the “What is Human Centered Design” video
  • Create an account
  • Download and read the Design Kit Pages 1-18

Week 11: Kicking Off Design

We have arrived at the final third of the class. Over the next few weeks I will be asking you to do quite a bit of thinking from a design perspective. Today we will focus all of our time on arriving at our team Design Challenge. The Design Challenge will form the basis for our app creation. To this end, you will be actively engaged in this process for the majority of class. Slides for today are here.

We will start with you individually sharing your app ideas from last week’s work in front of the class and answer any questions. From there I will put you in your teams and turn you loose on Framing the Design Challenge. You will identify things you know and don’t know about the challenge and the audience and document them. You will create the types of questions you need to explore to learn more and outline your research methods. The outcome of this work will then be translated into a team post that I will provide guidance on.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.20.20 PM

Out of Class

Week 12: Design Challenge

We may have a visitor in class this week … Eric Kunz, developer of LiveBlend.

I’m impressed by your Design Challenges and how far you’ve come in a week. Let’s review:

Slides for today are here. Let’s start by writing your Design Challenges back on the board. Using your sticky notes expand a bit on the things you know and don’t know and update your team’s post from last week.

I will ask you to work through your research questions and methods to be ready to come to class next week to start thinking about creating your app experience.

  • Read pages 79-109 of the Design Kit
  • iPad Reflection: Due 5 PM on 4/2/2015
  • Team Post … see instructions below: Due 10 PM on 4/22/2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 2.30.14 PM

Week 13: Prototyping

This week I want to give you ample time to complete your research and start actually prototyping a couple key interactions within your proposed app. We will start with you sharing the results of last week’s Team Post assignment. Let’s discuss what you have learned so far from your research and what has been effective.

Start with a peek at something I’ve been working on.


We need to start with learning how to appropriately brainstorm … let’s do something together to illustrate how to best construct opportunities to arrive at ideas together.

Now it is your turn, I want you to brainstorm a set of scenarios or case studies that you can use as the basis to develop set of prototype interactions within your app. Work together to imagine:

  • A set of scenarios (3-5) where your app would be the tool people would use to solve their problem
  • How the app would be used in those scenarios by creating a work flow, a diagram, a process map, or other visual ways of articulating how the app addresses your audiences’ challenges
  • Create a set of opportunity areas to focus on within the scenarios — the team should construct a series of “How Might We …” statements to address the challenges illustrated in the frameworks from the previous step
    Spend time brainstorming each opportunity area …
  • Decide if your app truly does overcome the problems that people are trying to solve with your app
  • Choose at least two scenarios to prototype

Begin to Design your Interactions

Paper prototyping is a great way to do this … let’s explore some options. Here is a fantastic PDF template of the iPad you are designing for available for free to print (I even printed some for you). Here is an app that automates your paper prototypes — and it works perfectly with the template I just linked to.

Out of Class

  • Watch the Paper Prototyping course on
  • Come to class next week with your interactions ready to paper prototype … it is a good idea to play with some of the tools we looked at.
  • Bring your iPad paper templates to class with some ideas sketched out.
  • Start working on your final synthesis — due in two weeks!
  • Remember you can now start doing your class evaluation.

Week 14: Working Session

Well, this is it … our last class before we wrap up with the final Team Synthesis next week. It is hard to believe, but here we are. Today will be unlike any other day we’ve spent together. I will be giving the class to you — we will still be in the room together for most of it, but I want you to take the time to hang out, talk, laugh, and work in your teams on a couple of things. First and foremost, I want you to make progress on your paper prototypes. I am really excited to see how you have decided to design at least two of the interactions we brainstormed last week and I am very interested to see if you took advantage of the tools we looked at.

The second thing I want you to work on is your Final Synthesis. This one is different than the first two in that I want you to work together to draw our three themes together. You can do that in any creative way you see fit, but you must connect the dots from across the entire semester and use the lenses of Community, Identity, and Design to bring your synthesis to life. I am giving you one last reading this week and I do think you’ll enjoy it … please integrate it into your Final Synthesis. I expect you to share your app prototype, discuss the disruptive potential of the iPad, and describe how our themes and our semester long conversations about disruption impacted your final design statement. Most importantly I want your teams to bring forward a bold statement about how your collective minds may or may not have been expanded by our little grand experiment this semester.

Again, if you have readings or things for the rest of the class to do to prepare, please post them by 5 PM on Tuesday. As some inspiration, here is a Final Synthesis from ghosts of Disruptive Technology Past …

Out of Class

Week 15: Long Strange Trip

It is hard to believe that we’ve only been at this since late January … so much has happened in that time. I owe you all both a very real “thank you” and a longer reflection on what this experience has meant to me. Consider this the thank you, but I will take some time to reflect on this very rich and rewarding experience and share it with you.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me, Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been. —Truckin’, The Grateful Dead

Today we see how you have taken the time to bring all of this to closure — Linking community, identity, and design together to synthesize your own understanding of what the last 15 weeks has exposed us to. It only seems fitting that you all own our last 3 hours together. After 6 PM tonight there will be no more “out of class” assignments, no more strange readings from Weinberger or Wenger, and certainly no need to reflect on a piece of glass and aluminum. I sincerely hope you do take some of these things we’ve done and turn them into habits — creating on a regular basis, working to not dismiss new and emergent ideas but instead unpacking them and discovering their affordances, and certainly taking the time to reflect on yourself and the world around you.

My closing thought as we embark on our final week is that the work we created here in this space is like a time machine — you will be able to return to the course site and see what you were thinking about, working on, and making for as long as it stays here. You are co-creators of something that will extend well beyond this week 15 and into the future. If I teach this course again here (or somewhere else) you will be linked to the legacy that is the Grand Experiment of Disruptive Technologies. Welcome to the club!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email