Course Syllabus

82.288 Everyday Learning:
Designing learning experiences in times of unrest and uncertainty

Fall 2 Mini-Course

Stephan Casparstephancaspar@cmu.eduGlobal Languages & Cultures Room – Tepper Building Room 1024Tuesdays/Thursdays
10:10 AM – 11:30 PM
Assistant Teaching Professor in Media Creation & Multicultural Studiestwitter@dotsandspacesIn-person expectedOffice hours
Mondays 1-3 pm 
Accommodations for Disabilities
If you have a disability and are registered with the Office of Disability Resources, I encourage you to use their online system to notify me of your accommodations and discuss your needs with me as early in the semester as possible. I will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate. This is an important aspect of my instruction as an educator, and I believe that accessibility is a right and that all students and collaborators benefit from an approach that is open and inclusive. 
If you suspect that you may have a disability and would benefit from accommodations but are not yet registered with the Office of Disability Resources, I encourage you to contact them at
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
The Department of Modern Languages is firmly committed to building a community that is radically inclusive of people of all backgrounds while simultaneously recognizing the inherent social, personal, political, and institutional racism pervasive in higher education. The ways we are diverse are many and are fundamental to building and maintaining an equitable and inclusive campus community. These include but are not limited to race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, ancestry, language, culture, political affiliation, belief, veteran status, or genetic information, among others. We do not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or disrespect, and we strive to provide a safe, respectful environment that promotes the success of all individuals, and that fosters a space for dialogue. While we are imperfect and may make mistakes, we all need to fully commit to build and sustain a campus community that embraces these core values. Incidents of bias or discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional in their occurrence, contribute to creating an unwelcoming environment for individuals and groups at the university. If you experience or observe unfair or hostile treatment based on identity, we encourage you to speak out for justice and support at the moment and/or share your experience using the following resources:

•          Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion:, (412) 268 – 2150
•          Report-It online anonymous reporting platform:
username: tartans password: plaid 

All reports will be acknowledged, documented, and a determination will be made regarding a course of action. All experiences shared will be used to transform the campus climate to be more equitable and just.
CMU Land Acknowledgement Statement for Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Mellon University rests on land that has been home to Indigenous People for centuries and millennia longer than we have known it as Pittsburgh. The Seneca call this place Jö:deogë, meaning “between two rivers.” The rivers we know as Allegheny and Monongahela come from the language of the Lenape: welhik hane and Mënaonkihëla, respectively. We acknowledge the Haudenosaunee who entered into treat relationships with the British and then with the United States regarding this land to achieve peace and long-term prosperity. We acknowledge the Seneca, or Onodowa’ga, in particular, as the Keeper of the Western Door. We also acknowledge the Shawnee and Lenape peoples who were stewards of this land. We acknowledge that Pittsburgh continues to be home for Indigenous peoples of many nations, and we encourage you to support local Indigenous organizations like the East Coast Two-Spirit Society and the Council for Three Rivers American Indian Center.

I am not American, so some may say that the issues that affect American people and their history are not my concern, but as someone who has moved here and who lives and works in the community that surrounds me, and as an educator, I feel that it is important to know about this place I now call home and reflect on the experiences and encounters that I take place, in my work and personal life. Learning in this way has helped me recognize that many of the issues of race, discrimination, poverty, injustice, and climate emergency are global issues that affect us all. As an educator, I have a responsibility to ensure that the classroom is a space where we can have conversations about all kinds of subjects and that we can debate and discuss issues respectfully and thoughtfully. If you would like to talk to me about anything written in this section, please feel free to do so. 
Centering Care and Wellbeing
I’ve quickly come to understand the sorts of stresses and work pressures that students feel at CMU, I should tell you that I’ve also encountered at other universities and you should be reassured that all students at some point feel slightly overwhelmed and benefit from advice and guidance. 

I am always available if you are unsure or have a question. If I can not answer it then I will endeavor to find someone who can help. I have prepared some resources that can help on the academic side, with planning, writing, and balancing your time.

These are available here on Canvas.

Please don’t hesitate to email or contact me on Discord

As a student, you may experience a range of challenges that can interfere with learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, substance use, feeling down, difficulty concentrating, and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may diminish your academic performance and/or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. CMU services are available, and treatment does work. You can learn more about confidential mental health services available on campus at

Support is always available (24/7) from Counseling and Psychological Services: 412-268-2922; Re: solve Crisis Network: 888-796-8226If any situation is life-threatening, call the police: On-campus: CMU Police: 412-268-2323 Off-campus: 911


Could you make complex ideas accessible and engaging to learners everywhere? Could you use what you know to make society better, and can teachers be active agents of social change?

In these times of Covid-19, many people have used learning to stay connected with friends and communities, pursue their interests and passions, there’s been a groundswell in teaching, instruction, and the sharing of skills and knowledge online.

In this course, you will design learning experiences for the community. These will be in the form of activity packs, physical pieces that might include worksheets, and handouts, creative materials, electronics, and resources that can be easily sourced, distributed, and shared with learners. You might support these packs with analog or digital resources, including instructional videos, AR or VR elements, websites, and more. 

We want to use this design project to challenge assumptions and ask questions about how we learning.

We will underpin our work with ideas from philosophers and educators, we will explore the democratization of education in a post-Covid world, and consider a shifting educational landscape inspired by the pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests. We will look at the response from museums, libraries, cinemas, and civic spaces to better meet the diverse needs of learners in their communities.

By the end of this course, you will have an appreciation of the complexity of designing learning in everyday settings and gain the technical know-how to work with digital and analog formats. Based on your selected topic and learning situation, you will design and produce examples of learning materials that can be shared in the community. 

There will be modules on the following topics:

  • Creating learning activity packs. 
  • Design thinking in learning
  • Creating online learning
  • Exploring community learning
  • Learning design theory

There are no prerequisites, coding, and design skills are not required, only an open-minded approach to learning and a desire to share, teach and engage with learners. This course would be useful to METALS students and students in HCI exploring the design of teaching and learning, and all students with an interest in sharing their knowledge and expertise with young people, community groups, and learners everywhere.

So do you have what it takes to teach, create, and share?


By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Plan, design, and create effective and engaging learning experiences
  • Apply theories of learning design in the creation of new learning experiences.
  • Support life-long learning in your community.


This course will be taught in person in The Global Languages & Cultures Room, Tepper Room 1024. This course will include homework tasks to complete between sessions and you will be encouraged to follow up on resources posted on Canvas.

You can access canvas here – 

We will explore concepts in Learning Design and Instructional Design working through a series of short activities before selecting a final project that will see us creating learning experiences and thinking about ways to share and distribute these as resources. 

Along the way, we will talk to experts and discuss the value of learning in the community and other everyday contexts. We’ll talk about how we have had to adapt to learning and how people have used learning in these uncertain times. 


A full course calendar will be published on Canvas, but some important dates are as follows:

Week 1

Tuesday – 10/19
Thursday – 10/21
Course Begins in person
Room 1024 – The Global Languages & Cultures Room.
Tepper Building
What is everyday learning?

Week 2 Tuesday – 10/26Thursday – 10/28WorkshopWhat is teaching?
Week 3 Tuesday – 11/2Thursday – 11/4GuestLearning in the community
Week 4 Tuesday – 11/9Thursday – 11/11WorkshopLearning in Digital Spaces
Week 5 Tuesday – 11/16Thursday – 11/18WorkshopDesigning Learning Experiences

Week 6Tuesday – 11/23TBC – 1.1’s Build
Week 7 Tuesday – 11/30Thursday 12/2Final Outcomes Presentations and Distribution.


For our final project, you will be asked to create a set of learning materials that can be shared with the public. 

You will be able to choose what materials to add to your learning pack. 

We want to be sure of: 

  • Our learning aims
  • Understanding our learners’ needs
  • How we might create and publish project materials. 

Below are the steps you will follow when working on the project:

  • Research and develop learning materials to support defined learning aims.
  • Retain evidence of the development of your project (include research, papers, texts, images, storyboards, photographs, audio clips, reference materials, and any other supporting digital media.)
  • Develop ideas for your final project.
  • Organize, edit, and publish your final outcome.
  • Capture learner response, reflection, and appreciation of your work.


Although this course culminates with a project output, we will be learning through a series of short activities, and your learning will be checked with homework tasks. If you complete the weekly tasks and work consistently through the course then you should have no trouble producing your outcome.

Please keep up to date with the tasks and activities published in Canvas, these are designed to ensure that you are on track and will contribute to the development of your final project.  Each task will have a deadline and you will need to respond on our Discord Channel.  If you have questions about these tasks or deadlines, please ask.

We want you to excel and be proud of the work you achieve, this may be one of the few opportunities to experiment and express yourself, test ideas, make mistakes and work out the best way forward. I hope that you will embrace this opportunity and use it to its fullest.

There are no pre-requisites for this course and many of you may have never created learning content before. That’s fine.  You may need some help and support but you may also have a question as to what constitutes too much “help”. Of course, you may ask a friend (who may be able to edit or have some experience of teaching and tutoring, or might have some technical skills or design materials for you) BUT, this course aims to develop your appreciation of these skills and demonstrate your understanding, independently and evidenced through your work.

You may be required to explain your process and you will need to ensure that the language that you use is in line with the process used (for instance if you’re asked how you achieved a particular effect or edit) Experienced media professionals can easily recognize professional help or work taken from elsewhere and we will be obligated to uphold the university’s policy on academic integrity and plagiarism and take this responsibility very seriously. If you are unsure about your particular situation, please ask me for clarification BEFORE you turn in an assignment as your work. There will be an opportunity to discuss this further in class. 

Please review CMU’s policy on Academic Integrity

Materials created by someone else (code, photos, graphics, music, etc) should include proper permission and/or attribution.

Towards a professional working model

For this course, it is expected that all interactions, including those with fellow students, should be treated as though this were a professional work environment. While this course offers opportunities to experiment with designs and technologies – and to take larger risks than one might in an actual workplace – you are expected to exhibit the conduct of a professional at all times.


Consistent attendance is important and will ensure you do not fall behind with the work. Please send me a note to let me know that you will be out. Excused absences will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you know you will be out of town or have a conflicting appointment, please let the instructors know ahead of time via e-mail.


Participation is paramount in this class as you will learn most from (1) contributing to the classroom conversation, (2) being prepared to present your work in progress, (3) critically reflecting on your work, and (4) commenting on your classmates/reading your classmates comments.

We will be learning together and we aim to nurture a supportive environment where we can share ideas and talk about our work. We know that active involvement in learning increases what is remembered, how well it is assimilated, and how the learning is used in new situations.

Course Assessment

Students enrolled in Multicultural Pittsburgh will be graded on their blogs and weekly assignments and for the final project.

Assessment TypePercentage of the final grade
Research and Development50%
Final Project40%
Attendance and Participation10%

Grades for this course are assigned based on the following table, you will need to reach the required percentage or above (up to the next listed percentage) to obtain the following grade. Undergraduate students will be marked A, B, C, D, R within each threshold.

65%DRequires Improvement
Below 60%RNot achieved

You will be graded according to a rubric that will be published via Canvas. Please use the rubric as a guide for self-evaluation and help you to improve and develop your work.

Projects and Exercises are to be turned in at the beginning of class on their due date. Late work will not be accepted without the instructor’s prior approval and written agreement as to revised due dates and grading policy. Upon approval, late work will be penalized by a reduction in score of 10% per day late. Failure to submit work for any single deadline is grounds for course failure at the discretion of the instructor.

Incomplete Work

Incomplete work will not be accepted without the instructor’s prior approval and written agreement as to revised completion dates and applicable grading penalties.

“Last known good” Policy

Deliverables are expected to function during our reviews. Submitting or displaying broken or unplayable builds may result in an incomplete grade. It is recommended that you adopt and adhere to a process to regularly back up your work during development. A cornerstone of a solid backup strategy is having a “last known good” policy in place, where a version is saved as a snapshot, independent of your ongoing development. Using this policy ensures that you still have something to show in class in the event of something going catastrophically wrong with your current production (which happens way more often than you think).


Stephan Caspar’s courses at CMU include Multicultural Pittsburgh: Exploring Language and Culture through Virtual Reality, Podcasting: Language and Culture, and more recently Language Learning and Technology, exploring learning technologies and the current EdTech landscape. These courses have introduced students to digital storytelling, taught as active workshop sessions supported by cultural and educational theory and practice. Stephan brings experience in media creation, learning design, and the use of technology; with previous roles at the University of Southampton leading the Digital Learning Team and with BBC Informal Learning. You can follow Stephan on Twitter @dotsandspaces or visit him online at 

Further help and guidance

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.

If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact Catherine Getchell, Director of Disability Resources, 412-268-6121, If you have an accommodations letter from the Disability Resources office, I encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with me as early in the semester as possible. I will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate

Carnegie Mellon University Academic Policies

Please refer to the following web-link for policies regarding the goals, rights, and responsibilities of students at Carnegie Mellon University: to an external site.

Carnegie Mellon University Student Code of Academic Integrity

Please refer to the following web-link for policies concerning plagiarism and authenticity in student work: at Carnegie Mellon University:

Acknowledgments and Thanks

Congratulations on reading this far, now I’m going to tell you a secret. This course is going to be great fun, we’re going to play, try things out, and experiment with ideas. I’m not sure why this isn’t in the first paragraph of the syllabus, but there you go. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the development of this course, including Professors Marti Louw, Sebastien Dubreil, Anne Lambrook, and Bonnie Youngs; and to the staff at IDeATe, the Hunt Library, and Eberly Centre for their brilliance, guidance, support, and wealth of resources. Good luck, enjoy and take care.