Assessment was the topic for the final week of the BlendKit course and the reading included a great list of rubrics to help participants examine their own work. My favorite rubric came from Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program. It was developed for a contest but can just as easily help instructors directly examine course materials for a blended or hybrid course in Sakai (or another LMS). In such a situation you could ignore the point values and gauge a course against the “exemplary” level alone. With those points in mind I created a streamlined version of the rubric (3 pages instead of 6). Please let me know if you find it useful.
This week’s topic in the BlendKit Course is “Blended Content and Assignments.” In that vein I was thinking about ways student groups can work online, and it occurred to me that readers might not be aware of the wide variety of collaboration tools that are available. We’ll start with the basics and save the coolest stuff for last.
Week 3 of the BlendKit Course deals with assessment and one topic is the use of projects and authentic tasks as evidence of students reaching learning goals. For me, that translates readily into assignments where students create media. Such projects are the focus of the Remix project at Notre Dame (image above) and they are one of the main topics on this blog. To learn more, watch the video and check out the links below it.
We have lots of material to help blended course instructors explore the possibility of student-created media. Below is a sampling of articles to start with, and there are many more on the projects page.
Student engagement in learning is critical and becoming actively involved is key. Learning involves interaction with the instructor, with content, and with other students. It would be wonderful if all three could happen exclusively in face-to-face courses and very frequently, but sometimes one or the other is problematic. Today’s answer is often blended learning.
Following up on Week 2 of the BlendKit course, this article explains a few ways in which online interaction can reinforce face-to-face activities in a blended course. How many of these techniques one should use, which ones, and how frequently will vary from situation to situation. Read more…
Blended Learning describes a course where part of the face time requirement has been moved online. For example, instead of meeting three days a week in a classroom, one class period is replaced with online activity. The type of activity is up to the instructor.
When an institution is strapped for classroom space, this arrangement can make scheduling easier. For students who are commuting long distances or working full-time jobs it can be very convenient. One benefit for faculty is that the act of designing a blended course is an opportunity to infuse newer, more effective strategies.
I know of a class that meets four days a week and the department believes they are losing students due to scheduling conflicts. They are considering a blended format so the class only competes with three-day classes, ergo fewer conflicts.
I worry that faculty members and administrators with no online learning experience will make this change and simply assign students an extra hour of busy work. That shouldn’t happen, though. Many institutions have instructional designers who can work closely with faculty to develop learning experiences that effectively maximize face-to-face interaction time.
In the first week of the BlendKit MOOC I am becoming more familiar with blended learning. BlendKit itself is fully online, though, and my most useful takeaway this week has been greater sympathy for folks who struggle to navigate a rich online learning environment. The course website offers an awful lot of resources and opportunities — it’s taking time to learn my way around!
[image credit -“Mason Jar Smoothie (#2688)” by regan76]