Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blended Learning - The Quiet Revolution (Marie-Pierre Huguet, Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute)

Marie is a course developer that works with professors. She is an instructional designer, but a teacher at heart. Was doing this, as she puts it, before it had a name... (it = blended learning).

A World of Blends

Blended vs Hybrid - Which is which? The convergence of traditional face to face with virtual learning. Marie, however, says she has her own definition:

There are 5 levels:
Level 0 - Face to face
Level 1 - No course content, just administrative information
Level 2 - Some course content, available materials as an additional point of reference.
Level 3 - Majority of course content is available. Students cannot be productive unless they access said materials. Use of asynchronous tools.
Level 4 - Blended/hybrid course. retains traditional classroom meeting but makes steady use of the web course site. Use of synchronous and asynchronous tools. (IDEAL)
Level 5 - Distance education or distributed courses. Completely online.

Web and face-to-face should be half and half. If you have a class on Mondays and Thursdays, you don't have to be in class on Monday. Items are made available and items must be completed in that timeframe and will be taken down thereafter. It functions as a classroom class would, while giving freedom/flexibility. Then the actual face-to-face class on Thursday re-roots them.

Then there's the bookends approach: The very first class is in person, and the very last (final) class is in person. Between that, all online. Finally, the Gazebo blend is somewhere between half and half and Bookends. In the end, the preference and the method you go with depends on your students, your management, and your outcomes.

Marie proceeded to go through a number of real world examples of these different models. Great presentation, very relevant, and very well put together.

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