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What is blended learning? [rev.]

March 4, 2017

Mason Jar Smoothie (#2688)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]

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