EDUC 642
Teaching Digital Media Literacy  - The Power of Primary Sources

Online Course 2 semester hours graduate credit
Instructor: Mary Alice Anderson

Summer: June 12 - July 28, 2017

Tuition, Due Dates, and Registration

You Will Learn

  • How to locate and analyze quality web-based primary sources in multiple digital formats to support differentiated instruction and enhance your curriculum
  • How to apply learning activities that teach students to think critically and independently to construct new understandings from varied information sources.
  • Strategies for incorporating primary sources in varied formats, disciplinary literacy, inquiry and informational text in all content areas


Research-based and practical strategies for analyzing, critiquing and engaging with informational digital text, video, images and diverse multimedia primary sources in the classroom to stimulate inquiry, creativity, and critical thinking.

This course is an approved elective in the Master of Science in Education online degree program.

You may enroll in this course to meet your goals for professional development, license renewal, or to complete graduate credits and transfer the credit to another university.

Who Should Enroll

Participants in the course may include:

  • K-12 teachers
  • Community college, higher education and continuing education faculty
  • Higher ed librarians and K-12 school library media specialists
  • National History Day educators

The course is especially helpful for

  • teachers of Advanced Placement classes and core content area teachers
  • educators addressing disciplinary literacy, state and national standards requiring the use of primary sources
  • educators incorporating inquiry and informational text reading skills, and those working with National History Day activities.

Digital primary sources from The Library of Congress (LOC), the LOC's professional development program, and the Digital Public Library of America will be incorporated.

This Class Changed My Teaching Forever...

Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff
Blog postings by the instructor, Mary Alice Anderson


There is no required textbook. All readings will be provided online.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyze and apply evidence-based digital media literacy research when selecting and integrating primary sources in the development of learning activities.

  2. Model how to access primary source digital online repositories and how to select the appropriate search strategy to access resources in complex archival primary source databases and collections.

  3. Model the inquiry process with a content-related research question and critically analyze the authority and reliability of information and make comparisons between collections.

  4. Demonstrate how to determine the effectiveness of primary source learning objects in meeting learning outcomes and how to integrate universal design for diverse learning styles.

  5. Advocate and model legal and ethical practices related to copyright laws and citation of digital media sources according to type of media.

  6. Analyze developmentally appropriate instructional strategies for interpreting, organizing and interacting with learning objects found in digital media primary sources.

  7. Develop interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary instructional activities using primary sources to enhance understanding in a variety of subject areas that may include science, math, social studies, language arts, the arts, family and consumer science education, marketing and business education, media production, gifted and talented, special education and technology education.

  8. Integrate a variety of digital media primary resources from local community, state, or national archives to demonstrate the impact of instruction on learning in a field based setting and interpret field test results.

Alignment with Teaching Standards

Course objectives are aligned with the following teaching standards:

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 4, 5
Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure (WI DPI) 4, 6, 7, 9

Wisconsin Model Academic Standards Information and Technology Literacy

B. 12.2 Analyze primary and secondary sources related to a historical question to evaluate their relevance, make comparisons, integrate new information with prior knowledge and come to a reasoned conclusion.

International Society for Technology in Education, National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers 2, 3, 4
American Association of School Librarians, Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. 1.1, 2.1, 2.2,
National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards and the National Standards for History

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Contact Us

School of Education
Email: Online Professional Development
University of Wisconsin - Stout
Menomonie, WI 54751
Phone: 715-232-2693

Our Students Say. . .

"Primary sources are one of those things that content area teachers need to have in their tool box."
~ Science Teacher, Wisconsin


"I have never felt so good taking a course than I have during this course. The instructor's teaching style of reaching out through e-mail and follow-up questions on the discussion board created a community feel that I enjoyed. The exploratory nature of the assignments has sparked many ideas for my own classroom. I can't even go out to eat without thinking about primary sources."
~ High School Social Studies Teacher, Wisconsin


"I'm very excited about the Library of Congress and their digital collection. Thanks, Mary Alice, for giving us the opportunity to check it out. I'm fairly certain that I would not have known about these resources without this course."
~ Social Studies Teacher, Illinois


"I can confidently admit that this course far exceeded my expectations."
~ History Teacher, Illinois


"Thanks for everything! It has been a pleasure taking this class with you. I have learned a lot. You were very helpful when I didn't understand something."
~ 4th Grade Teacher, Germany


"When I thought of primary sources before this course, I had a vague idea of dry, dull information—treaties, science research. Instead I found lots of great ways to enrich my curriculum."
~ Middle School English Teacher, Wisconsin


"I have gotten my money's worth with this class! I learned so much from the assignments, as well as my classmates in our online discussions. This has been one of the most valuable, if not the most valuable, class I've ever taken."
~ Elementary Media Specialist, Wisconsin


"It's incredible what I've learned about my neighborhood not only during the local history module, but the entire class."
~ Park Ranger-Education, Ellis Island, New York


"I feel a sense of being enlightened, enriched, and enthused. I was able to build lessons that I would have never thought of before, and I was able to enhance older lessons with primary sources so that students in my classes are truly able to draw connections between history and literature. I feel that this class fueled an enthusiasm about teaching and learning I have not had in some time."
~ High School English Teacher, Maryland


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