Blended learning course design, a deliberate combination of face-to-face and online learning, requires a shift in thinking in what it means to teach and what it means to learn.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
teaching hybrid courses
Blended learning is often described as the best of both worlds because it combines elements of face-to-face and online learning. For an instructor getting ready to teach his first blended course, the temptation may be to look at his traditional course syllabus, pick which classes can be moved online and then leave the rest of the syllabus as it has always been.
When we maintain our focus on learning, the means used to help students learn dominates our thinking. Too often teachers can fall into the trap of testing students only on lower-level material (knowledge and comprehension questions). When exams become the only means to assess learning, a teacher becomes a carpenter with only a hammer: all problems start to seem like nails.
Blending learning involves using a combination of face-to-face interactions and online interactions in the same course. Students still regularly meet in the classroom in a blended course, but the frequency of those meetings is usually decreased. The goal of blended learning is to facilitate greater student learning and could thus fit within a learner-centered paradigm.
Blended learning — a strategy that combines online and classroom learning activities and resources to reduce in-class seat time for students in a face-to-face environment — can be a tremendous boon for a university. It can help the institution enhance under-enrolled programs, complete faculty teaching loads, and improve cost effectiveness. However, convincing the institution’s constituents that a blended course or program is a good idea may take some work.
“Hybrid education” has become a hot catchphrase recently as faculty blend face-to-face learning with online technology. But the growth of hybrid education has been steered by the unstated assumption that hybrid technology should be used to facilitate discussion outside of the classroom, while classroom time should be spent lecturing.