One Diverse Universe: MOOCs and Learning

Week four of CEP 811 allows us to use what we have learned about learning theories and instructional design to create our own Ultra Micro Massively Open Online Course (MOOC).  So with a topic of my own choosing and two weeks worth of notes in hand, here is my dream course to teach my peers.

In my One Diverse Universe: Diversity in Children’s Literature course my peers will analyze and critique multicultural children’s literature by creating and sharing a book blog, developing an interactive on-line bibliography of titles and using blogs and social media to discuss diverse literature with their peers.


Course Topic:  Diversity in Children’s Literature

Children today come from more diverse backgrounds than ever and they deserve to know that their life is represented.  This course is for parents, teachers, and librarians who want to find books that allow all the children in their world to see themselves reflected back in the words that they read.  This course will look at literature K-12 and participants can choose to focus on the grade levels that apply most closely to their situation.

Learning Objectives:
Learners will be able to identify credible sources to assist them in the selection and analysis of diverse books.
Learners will be able to analyze and critique “classic” children’s literature titles through a multicultural lens.
Learners will be able to discuss diverse children’s literature in an informed and culturally sensitive way.

Learning Experiences:
Learners will read extensively from a variety of cultural and literary styles.
Learners will create a Twitter Account to share their work with their peers.
Learners will create an interactive bibliography of multi-cultural titles.
Learners will create a WordPress blog to document their reading and book analysis.
Learners will respond to each other through on-going discussion via blogs and social media.

Peer Interaction
Learners will be expected to interact with their peers by commenting on blog and social media posts.  Some of the content in this course can cause intense feelings in some individuals and the most effective way to process what is being learned is through discussion.  Please remember to use digital etiquette in all interactions with your peers.

Course Structure
This course will run four weeks.  It will start out with looking at the need for diverse literature for students.  The middle of the course will be focused on the resources that can be used to search out and analyze titles, and we will finish up with the creation of an annotated bibliography of resources to share.

Course Overview
Before class starts, please create both a Twitter and a Google account, and set up a WordPress blog.  These are the tools we will be using to communicate and complete our course work.  I would also recommend getting a library card and becoming familiar with your local public library.

Week 1:  Why Do We Need Diverse Literature?

Watch this short video from the We Need Diverse Books campaign.  (The campaign is over and fully funded.)

Read the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) white paper on the Importance of Diversity in Programs and Material Collections for Children.  Then read the article Children’s Books: Still an All White World? by Katie Horning from the May 2014 issue of School Library Journal for a short overview on the history of diverse literature for children.

Reread your favorite childhood books.  Pay particular attention to how or if they address cultures other than the dominant one.

Write a blog post about your favorite children’s book.  Explain why it was a favorite for you as a child and if you still feel the same way.  Talk about what kinds of children would see themselves through the story.

Tweet out the link to your blog.  Use the hashtag #diverselit.  Read and comment on at least two of your classmates’ blog posts.

Works Cited

Horning, K. (2014, May). Children’s books: still an all white world? School Library Journal. Retrieved from

Naidoo, J. (2014, April 5).  The importance of diversity in programs and material collections for children. Retrieved from

We Need Diverse Books. (2014, October 27). We need diverse books campaign video [Video file].  Retrieved from

Week 2:  ALA Awards Recognizing Diverse Literature

Most educators know about the Newbery and Caldecott awards given out each year for distinguished writing and illustration of children’s books respectively.  These two awards are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to awards for children’s books and the medal lists for many of these awards are a great place to find diverse literature for children and teens.  These are some of the awards given.  Go to each homepage to learn more.


Pura Belpré Award

Schneider Family Book Award

Stonewall Book Award

Coretta Scott King Award

American Indian Youth Literature Awards

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

Choose 3-6 books (depending on the length) from these award winner lists to read and evaluate.

Start creating your interactive annotated bibliography in GoogleDocs.  For more information on annotated bibliographies, check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab here.   Your bibliography should contain links to on-line reviews of the work and author information if available.  Choose your favorite title and write a blog post critiquing the book.

Tweet out the link to your blog post using the hashtag #diverselit.  Read and comment on at least two of your classmates’ blog posts.

Week 3: Resources for Selecting Diverse Literature

For many teachers, librarians and parents, the biggest stumbling block to choosing diverse literature is we don’t know what we don’t know.  Fortunately, there are many resources out there to help guide us through the process.  Read through these two sites that feature questions we should ask ourselves when choosing books that represent backgrounds and experiences that may be different than our own.

How to Tell the Difference
How to Choose the Best Multicultural Books

Visit two of the sites below and explore the resources available on these sites

CBC Diversity
CCBC Multicultural Literature
Disability in Kidlit
Latinos in Kidlit
Exploring Diversity

Choose another 3-5 titles to read and add to your bibliography.

Choose your favorite title and write a blog post critiquing the book.  Add a paragraph at the end of your critique discussing the on-line resources you used to help you find the book, which one you felt was the most useful and why.

Tweet out the link to your blog using the hastag #diverselit.  Read and comment on at least two of your classmates’ blog posts.

Week 4 – Wrapping Things Up

Watch this TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the danger of a single story.

Read a final three titles that have looked interesting to you over the past three weeks.

Write a final blog post summarizing your learning about the importance of diverse literature and the resources available to help teachers, librarians and parents find it.  Finish your bibliography and include a link to it in your blog post.

Tweet out the link to your final blog post.  Use the hashtag #diverselit.

Work Cited
Adichie, C. (2009, July). Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story [Video file]. Retrieved from

How CEP 811 Learning influenced Course Development

This course was developed using Wiggins and McTighe’s backwards design model.  I started with the outcome of being able to critique and select quality multicultural literature and created my lessons with that goal in mind.  This is the instructional design model I have used throughout my teaching career because for me, if I try to teach without an outcome in mind, my instruction wanders and is not as cohesive.  This model allows me to focus my energy and time on developing the skills necessary for the outcome I desire – in this case choosing and critiquing children’s literature for diverse students.

I have also tried to keep Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory in mind as well.  While this course isn’t as maker centered as most of the work we are doing in this class, I feel that the reading of the articles and books in this class serve as the experience portion.  For example, reading the Oyate website would definitely create a situation where the learner reflects on what they have read.  This leads to new ideas about literature which are then tested through the reading and analysis of a book from one of their book lists.  Kolb’s learning spiral is definitely represented in this course.


Photo Credits

Schu. (2008). Award winning literature. [Online image]. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial -ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

SunSrfr. (2014). Birds on a wire. [Online image]. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial -ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s