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Blended Courses: How to have the best of both worlds in higher education By Susan C. Slowey.

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Presentation on theme: "Blended Courses: How to have the best of both worlds in higher education By Susan C. Slowey."— Presentation transcript:

1 Blended Courses: How to have the best of both worlds in higher education By Susan C. Slowey

2 Best of both worlds? One of the current trends in higher education is the hybrid or blended course. While these courses utilize both traditional and non-traditional teaching methodologies, these courses can offer students the best of both worlds if they are carefully planned and executed.

3 What is a blended course? What is your definition of a blended course?

4 What is a blended course?

5 Other definitions: A hybrid course is a blend of face-to- face instruction with online learning. In a hybrid course, a significant part of the course learning is online and as a result, the amount of classroom seat- time is reduced.California State University Long BeachCalifornia State University Long Beach

6 Other definitions: "Hybrid" is the name commonly used nationwide to describe courses that combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. Hybrid courses move a significant part of course learning online and, as a result, reduce the amount of classroom seat time.University of Wisconsin Hybrid Course ProjectUniversity of Wisconsin Hybrid Course Project

7 Why choose blended courses? New teaching opportunities: Faculty can choose a variety of teaching methods that may not be best suited to the traditional classroom. Teachers have the flexibility to combine collaborative learning, independent learning with bits of traditional lectures to create a new learning environment.

8 Why choose blended courses? Increased student engagement: –Instructors report that they feel more connected with their students and are able to get to know them better since they communicate both online and face-to-face.

9 Why choose blended courses? Increased student engagement: –Blended course environments have the potential to increase and extend instructor-student and student- student connectivity and to build relationships even more so than in traditional or online courses.

10 Why choose blended courses? Increased student engagement: –Discussions started in class are continued online and online interaction often carries over into the traditional face-to-face classes.

11 Why choose blended courses? Increased student engagement: –Integration of out-of-class activities with in-class activities allows more effective use of traditional class time.

12 Why choose blended courses? Increased student engagement: –Students who rarely take part in class discussions are more likely to participate online.

13 Why choose blended courses? Instructors report that students write better papers, performed better on exams, produced higher quality projects, and were capable of more meaningful discussions on course material when reflecting online.

14 Why choose blended courses? Pedagogical changes may lead a faculty member to switch from lectures to a learner-centered based course.

15 Why choose blended courses? Students like the idea of blended courses because they have the flexibility of an online course that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week WITH the added bonus of face-to-face contact with their instructor.

16 How do blended courses differ? Teaching a blended course can be challenging, since it requires acquiring different teaching skills, redesigning a course to take into account new teaching and learning opportunities, managing the course content both online and in-class, and preparing students to work in a blended format.

17 Rethinking Course Design To teach a successful blended course instructors must re-examine their course goals and objectives, design online learning activities to meet these goals and objectives, and effectively integrate the online activities with the face-to face meetings. Instructors must make the transition from lectures and presentation to a more student- centered active learning.

18 Adopting a New Approach to Teaching Instructors need to learn how to facilitate online discussions and small group activities, and re- examine traditional methods of assessment of student work to take into account the new learning environment.

19 Managing the Dual Learning Environment The blended environment also adds additional scheduling and communication challenges as courses meet both online and face- to-face. Instructors must also take care not to overload themselves and their students.

20 Preparing Students Instructors must be prepared to help students understand their active role in the blended, assist students in keeping their work on time and on track, and be prepared to offer strategies for trouble-shooting new course technologies.

21 Sample Course For several semesters I have taught World Geog (Geog 1303), Cultural Geog (Geog 1302) and Economic Geog (Geog 2312) in the blended format. I honestly found that Cultural and Economic Geog were ideally suited for the blended format while World Geog provided to be fairly difficult to teach this way.

22 Sample Course For the purposed of this presentation, I want to briefly describe how the Cultural Geography, Geog 1302 course was set up.

23 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Each week the students are to read over a chapter and take an online chapter quiz before attending the class. These quizzes are graded and make up a portion of the student’s total grade.

24 Sample Course: Geog 1302 To ensure that the students emphasize the correct material while reading the chapter, chapter outlines and key terms are posted online.

25 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Class meetings include a brief introduction to the key cultural concept discussed in the chapter Following the brief introduction of the topic, students are asked to discuss key topics

26 Sample Course: Geog 1302 After class discussion, the class may break into groups to further analyze key concepts and apply them to real world situations. All group work is graded.

27 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Instead of working in groups every period, students may also see DVDs to illustrate example of culture. Additional materials are available online to help review the DVDs.

28 Sample Class: Geog 1302 At the end of class, students will be asked to turn in and report on their findings. The class may continue discussions as necessary at this time or continue the discussions online. The final moments of the class are spent wrapping up the class meeting and reinforcing the key concept of the day.

29 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Student exams: I have tested in class, online and in the Learning Center. How you test is really a personal decision.

30 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Student grades: The student is graded over: –Major Exams –Assignments--done online or available online and worked on out of class –Online chapter quizzes –Groups work –Final Exam

31 Sample Course: Geog 1302 Student comments: –Overall, students liked the blended course –Some felt it was too much work and they were not disciplined enough to earn a high grade –Most students comment on how much more they learned on their own than they had in other college courses

32 Blended or not blended? Deciding whether to teach a blended course is not an easy decision. Just because you meet the class once a week does not mean these course are less work. They can be much more involved than traditional lecture courses.

33 Tips for preparing a blended course Examine your course. Is the course content lend itself to a variety of teaching styles? Not all courses are ideally suited for this environment. Science lectures might work but labs will still need to be taught in the traditional form.

34 Tips for preparing a blended course You will need to decide what students need to accomplish in the course. Examine the master course syllabus for the student learning outcomes for your course Decide what learning objectives are best taught in the classroom and what objectives can be taught online.

35 Tips for preparing a blended course Design online activities that will engage and challenge your students –The online portion should not be just your lecture notes and old power points

36 Tips for preparing a blended course Decide on how you will grade the online portion of the course. Keep in mind that they are supposed to complete half of the course online.

37 Tips for preparing a blended course Flexibility--if something works then are you doing fine. If the classroom time isn’t working out as effectively as you hoped, change things around. If the students cannot complete all of the online work before the next class, rework the online material.

38 Tips for preparing a blended course Keep in mind, these courses are learner-centered. This is a hard concept to remember when creating your blended course. Traditional lectures do not work well in these courses.

39 References: Much of the material is from the University of Wisconsin’s Hybrid Course Home Page. It is one of the base online websites discussing blended courses.

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