We Can Be Heroes: Applying the Hero’s Journey as a Framework for Online Course Design
Pre-Conference Workshop Session 2
As a means of accelerating agency and autonomy within online classes, what if we reimagined our roles as students, educators, support staff, administrators as heroes on an epic quest? This ebullient, gamer’s delight will provide an experiential look at the application of monomyth structure within online learning, providing innovative tools and approaches to creating classroom heroes.
“Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day”
Heroes by David Bowie
As we walk through various paths through the online learning environment, we each play specific roles in supporting student success. Within the learning journey itself, students are on a quest for knowledge and skills that will ideally open new opportunities and enhance their lives. Additionally, stakeholders supporting this journey of student success are on a path of challenges and opportunities themselves. As a means of accelerating student agency and autonomy within online classes, what if we reimagined all of these roles - students, educators, support staff, administrators - as heroes on an epic quest? What if we were to contextualize the challenges and obstacles we face in designing and facilitating online courses as a cooperative journey in which we combine our collective talents to answer a call to adventure? From constructivism and gameful learning, to meaningful group work and side quests, applying monomyth structure to online education allows individuals to bring the best elements to the forefront of the learning experience. Monomyth structure reminds us that in the game of online learning, we’re all on the path together, and our efforts are amplified when we work together.
This pre-conference workshop is designed for a deep dive discussion of the possibilities and challenges encompassed in establishing students as the drivers of their education. In this workshop, we will discuss our hero’s journey framework, look at the people, paths and methods that build powerful stories within a course experience. A gamer’s delight, the day will be organized into a variety show of collaborative, experiential activities, kicking off with:
- Lightning-style talks as a crash course on the monomyth online;
- A gaming session on the people, paths and methods of the monomyth; and
- A cooperative battle royale tackling use cases and real applications of the monomyth online;
Participants will then apply the monomyth framework to a single unit of instruction of their choosing, crowdsourcing ideas for implementation from the presenters and their colleagues around the room in a rapid prototyping session. The workshop will close with a lively showcase of what we’ve learned, what we think, and what we’d like to know more about.
Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of how the monomyth can be applied to their teaching and learning contexts, as well as a tangible artifact in the form of an applied instance of the monomyth framework. Additionally, they will be equipped with new, technology-enhanced effective practices (technology-driven) that are compatible with the monomyth online. The presenters make it their goal to ensure that participants leave with a sense of excitement and joy over using these methods, and a willingness to share their individual applications of the monomyth in their own work with the larger community.
OUR JOURNEY THROUGH THE MONOMYTH
Chapter I: Crash Course on the Monomyth
Participants will complete an interactive KWL, and then listen to three short lightning talks on the monomyth and how it can be applied to the online learning environment.
- What is the monomyth and why should we care?
- What are the people, paths and methods of the monomyth?
- How does the monomyth work online
Chapter II: Ready Player One - Three Games on the Monomyth
Participants will learn about the people, paths, and methods of the monomyth by playing three original games, and then discuss their findings as they relate to the challenges and opportunities within online learning.
- About the Games
- Let’s Play! Games choice of...
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
- The Oregon Trail
- Speed Share
Chapter III: Battle Royale!
Participants will engage in (mostly) friendly competition constructing narratives around the idea of incorporating narrative structure into a series of use cases. Teams will use monomyth-friendly concepts of their choosing (such as project-based learning, gameful learning, research quests, microcredentialing, etc.) to craft an effective practice that answers the use case presented. The room will vote on the solution they are most eager to try first, with prizes for the winning team.
- Rules of the Narrative Battle Royale
- Speed Design in Teams
- Presentation of the Findings
- Voting on Most Exciting Effective Practice
Chapter IV: Profit!
Participants will synthesize their knowledge of the monomyth framework in the creation of a unit of online instruction, a full course map, a student reflection, or an assessment of an online module/course. They will then pair and share with a colleague to further hone their creation. We’ll conclude with a share out of the mappings, exploring new interpretations of the monomyth through an interdisciplinary lens.
- Introducing the Monomyth Framework
- Filling Out the Monomyth Framework
- Pair and Share
- Speed Share
Chapter V: It’s a Wrap!
We’ll end the day with a 30,000 foot view of the terrain covered, exploring what we’ve learned and where we are excited to journey next. The presenters will conclude with a few extra gems for the road, including further readings, emerging technology tools, and findings that will extend the impact of the workshop well beyond the scope of the short time working together as teams to apply the monomyth to online learning.
- Sharing Out Takeaways
- Additional Resources