This semester, Joyce Kincannon and I are both facilitating two separate faculty learning communities on blended learning. I am also trying to wrap my brain around the whole MOOC thing. So what better way than to sign up for a MOOC on blended learning! Joyce is taking it too, so we will see if we can keep each other on task. (This while co-teaching our online faculty development course, Preparing to Teach Online).
Kelvin Thompson of University of Central Florida will be directing / teaching / facilitating this course, which runs September 24 through October 29. Kelvin has set up a Twitter hashtag – #BlendKit2012 – to help with communication and socializing. I am looking forward to seeing just how Kelvin manages this “class”. I also look forward to “meeting” some new people through the tweets and blog commentary.
Being an open course, anyone can access the course materials. Kelvin provided a narrated slidedeck for the orientation and has a set of weekly readings available through the website. He starts this week with some good questions:
- Is it most helpful to think of blended learning as an online enhancement to a face-to-face learning environment, a face-to-face enhancement to an online learning environment, or as something else entirely?
- I see it as something else, requiring a thoughtful design
- In what ways can blended learning courses be considered the “best of both worlds” (i.e., face-to-face and online)? What could make blended learning the “worst of both worlds?”
- To me, the best of both worlds means taking advantage of the affordances each provides. The worst of both worlds (which I have done) is trying to shoehorn a textbook organization into a blended approach (Chapter one face-to-face, chapter two online, etc)
- As you consider designing a blended learning course, what course components are you open to implementing differently than you have in the past? How will you decide which components will occur online and which will take place face-to-face? How will you manage the relationship between these two modalities?
- Great questions. It also leads to a caveat – will your hours face-to-face (and online) be dictated by room scheduling? I designed a blended approach for my summer course, but that required face-to-face meetings at the beginning and end of the term, and a significant online portion in the middle. It would not work if one took a twice a week course and made it meet once a week with an online component.
- How often will you meet with students face-to-face? How many hours per week will students be engaged online, and how many hours per week will students meet face-to-face? Is the total amount of student time commitment consistent with the total time commitment of comparable courses taught in other modalities (e.g., face-to-face)?
- I would think for accreditation reasons one has to be able to show comparability…
Kelvin asked us to put together two maps of courses we might further develop as blended courses, so I am using ADLT 640 – The Theory and Practice of eLearning.
I am looking forward to seeing the posts of my fellow MOOCers, and learning more about blended learning. Stay tuned! (…and whether you are in the course or not, feedback is welcome and encouraged – particularly my good friends in ADLT 641!)