Area Seminars, Colloquia, and Electives

Following successful completion of the Core courses and the First Examination, students will enroll in Area Seminars specific to their Concentration and Option. The purpose of these seminars will be to promote discussion of critical contemporary research issues in Arts and Humanities Education; Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, and Policy Studies in Education. Participation in the seminars will inform students of the state of the art in research in their specialized field of interest and help them to formulate significant topics for their own dissertation research. The seminars will carry 2 credits each semester and students will take three of these special topics seminars.

Area seminars may be taught by teams of more than one faculty member, when this is justified by enrollment. The participating faculty would plan together the issues to be studied each term, with a view to what would make the most useful dialogue for the candidates' thesis planning, and also the most coherent way for them to review and exchange perspectives on the main themes of the program. Focus topics for each seminar will be announced in advance of registration for the following semester. Course numbering for the Area Seminars will correspond to special topics within a concentration and (where applicable) an option; students may not repeat Area Seminars with the same topic designation. Area Seminar credits are counted toward the 24 credit total in the program concentration. Descriptions of the Area Seminars are given below.

Less formal than the Area Seminars, and available to students from the time of their arrival at the Graduate Center will be the Area Colloquia, whose principal function will be to introduce students to the CUNY faculty members who are active in research and professional work relevant to their interests and to the faculty's current research projects. In addition, the Colloquia will also promote dialogue with guests from other programs and institutions, and provide opportunities for discussions of and guidance to initial reading in the literature of the field, up-coming conferences, and other professional activities.

In addition to the scheme of electives described in Section 8 above, the doctoral program in Curriculum and Policy Studies in Urban Education will from time to time introduce elective courses of special significance for our students, which may not be available through other doctoral programs (and which may also be of interest to some students in those programs). We have determined that the first such elective, to be proposed as an integral part of the initial doctoral program, will be "Technology and Education: Critical Perspectives". It is expected that all students in the MSTE Option of Curriculum Studies will elect this course, as well as many other students in the program. The course is described below, following the information on the Area Seminars.

Finally, there will be Dissertation Cluster Seminars, organized around the common educational issues addressed by various thematically related clusters of dissertations and attended by all students with approved dissertation topics for at least one semester. In these seminars advanced research students will have opportunities to share the experiences and difficulties of their research work with one another and with members of the faculty, to articulate the relations and connections of their various projects and findings to one another's work, and to mutually support one another during the dissertation phase of their doctoral studies. The Dissertation Seminar will unite students at this level across the concentrations and options of their specializations. (See sample topic areas in section 5 above and in Appendix A.)


Area Seminars in Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies Education

(2 credits each semester)

This seminar provides opportunity for discussion of contemporary research issues in the fields of arts, humanities, and social studies education. Each semester one or two special topics are selected as the focus of the work of the seminar.

Representative topics include:


Area Seminars in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

(2 credits each semester)

This seminar provides opportunity for discussion of contemporary research issues in the fields of mathematics, science, and technology education. Each semester one or two special topics will be selected as the focus of the work of the seminar. Topics which will receive priority in the organization and scheduling of seminars include the relations to mathematics and science education of issues of:


Area Seminars in Policy Analysis

(2 credits each semester)

The Area Seminars for the Policy Analysis concentration will provide an opportunity for in-depth study and critique of policy issues and puzzles currently confronting the field and their own thinking as they develop their thesis proposals. In these seminars students and more senior scholars from the faculty and invited guests will seriously examine these issues in order to advance policy analysis in these areas. Each semester one or two focal topics will be occupy the work of the seminar. Among the critical areas to be examined will be:

Policy issues will be critiqued from the point of view of the major themes of the program: historical, urban-pedagogical, logics of inquiry, epistemology, and technology. In this seminar, special focus will be given to two over-arching and too often neglected questions: (1) How can research shed light on finding the best policy answers to the issue in question? (2) How can such research be designed so that the results will most likely be reported to and discussed by policy-makers and the public, and used in a way that will realize this benefit from the research? A typical policy issue for study would be one arising from one or more of the candidates' thesis ideas; but issues could also be derived from current policy problems confronting the NYC school system, the NYS legislature, or education generally.


Program Elective (New Course):

Technology and Education: Critical Perspectives (3 credits)


In this course students will examine current curriculum and policy issues regarding the use of new information and communications technologies in education in their larger social, historical, and political contexts. Economic, legal, ethical, instructional, and institutional issues, as well as questions of the validation of knowledge sources, will be discussed and students will gain direct experience developing and participating in individual and group projects utilizing advanced communications and information technologies.


New information and communication technologies are creating both new opportunities and new dilemmas for educators concerned with curriculum and policy issues. This course will situate contemporary concerns about technology and education in their larger social and historical contexts, offering critical perspectives on such issues as economic pressures to adopt new technologies, the history of American technological optimism, technologies as media for social control, and the assessment of technological effectiveness in education. Beginning with views of the larger role of technology in urban social ecologies and the history of education, the course will aim to examine current curricular, legal, ethical, and political issues surrounding the adoption of multimedia and networked computer technologies in schools.

Educators need conceptual frameworks for examining such issues as resistance to the imposition of technological change in the workplace, possible gender bias in software and interface design, legal and ethical issues of uncensored access to information in schools, and teachers' and students' rights to publish their views on networks. We also need to critically examine the potential impact of non-linear, interactive, multimedia genres of expression, argumentation, and communication on the curriculum and on the culture of schools. New communications technologies integrated with learning may also radically change the institutional networks, and so the roles and relationships, among students, teachers, administrators, and the many potential mentors and knowledge providers outside traditional school structures.

In this course students will not only gain experience with analyzing curricular and policy issues involving the use of new educational technologies but will also participate in and develop individual and group projects using such technologies as computerized simulations and visualizations, multimedia authoring systems, intranet groupware and internet communication and resource design tools. Students will be expected to have already achieved basic levels of computer literacy independently or through non-credit workshops available in existing GSUC computer labs. The course will also aim to take advantage of the various research and development projects in educational and telecommunications technology at CUNY, including those at the Center for Media and Learning and at the Stanton-Heiskell Center for Telecommunications.

This course will be available to all students in the doctoral program in Curriculum and Policy Studies in Urban Education, and will be required for students electing the Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education option within Curriculum Studies.