This post contributed by Leva Lee
The March T.E.L.L. on “Blended/Hybrid Learning: A new breed of animal???” was a thoughtful and interactive session facilitated by Gina Bennett, elearning specialist at the College of the Rockies. Ten of us gathered to learn more about blended/hybrid learning and share our experiences and experiments.
To start,we explored definitions of blended/hybrid and hyflex learning. Then Gina shared a case study from the College of the Rockies of how they started through trying out a variety of offerings and improving things iteratively. The graphic of a hybrid animal on the intro slide, which we aptly named “moose-mouse”, captures the amorphous nature of blended/hybrid learning. Neither beauty nor beast, this creature offers many advantages and options for learning and teaching, but not without worries and concerns . Check out the ideas generated by our group in the interactive part of the session when we shared our thoughts on the whiteboard:
Why do Hybrid? What’s in it for Faculty? For the institution? (Slide 10 )
- Ability to use online tools in the classroom that aren’t accessible in normal class (i.e. computers for each student)
- From language teaching perspective–benefit of in class interaction and access to many great “apps”
- Classroom resource cost down, Able to use classroom spaces when needed vs. All the time
- Perhaps bette evaluations? I imagine students really appreciate the flexible approach
- Better use of resources
- A good introduction to taking a fully online course
- Allow students to split their learning and working life
- Access to international collaborations and instruction. We currently have program that is face to face.
- Increased student engagement…participation …success
- Faculty can act more as a facilitator and give more control to students
- More opportunities for learners to construct their own knowledge.
- Can teach in Pjs
- Environmentally friendly – reduced driving, reduced paper
- Tomorrow begins a 48 hour international conference: http://www2.le.ac.u/deparments/beyon-distance-research-alliance/festival
- Don’t have to rely on physical space – building buildings
- Maybe use online for asychronous discussions to promote reflection & critical thinking & F2F for?
- In continuing studies – we deal with adults/working professionals —this is great opportunity for flexible scheduling
Why not do Hybrid? What People worry about (Slide 11)
- Worry about Class size i.e. instructor-student class saes and a slippery slope therein
- Faculty might worry about workload? More work to start something new?
- Important to know how to create meaningful online and F2F environments
- Assessment for non-F2F?
- No time for Professional development to learn how. Not willing to make increased time commitment. Don’t like change. A few folks in our area are getting ready for retirement…Not willing to make changes now.
- Worry about loss of control; coverage of material
- Will students DO the work? will they LEARN as much if the instructor isn’t in their face all the time?
- Is there enough self movtiation on the students’ part?
- Instructors do need to plan ahead…Takes some forward thinking, vs. pulling out a PPT at last minute
- Don’t do it if you can’t keep up with managing who says what where. This is a problem when F2F attendance is optional.
- Good IT support and budget for online support.
How do we support our students in a Hybrid learning environment? (Slide 14)
- I try to take polls as much as I can to get student feedback on what I’m doing
- We have a model in which we have a faculty member released half-time to bridge between instruction & IT
- Technology that works! Accurate dates, links, etc. assistance with technology. Lots of communications/presence.
- Assessment of courses – what works and what doesn’t – good web conferencing tools
- Really good course design across courses and good support documentation for faculty and students
One thing is evident: there are innumerable ways and reasons to offer blended/hybrid learning and opportunities to “mix it up”. Gina cited one very interesting bit of research—there is evidence to support that students are more successful learning with the blended/hybrid model than with face-to-face or online learning alone. For those who’ve not yet considered it, what better reason than that to motivate us to look at blended/hybrid learning more closely.
Additional Resources: Gina provided a list of references and resources on her slides 17 & 18. In addition, here are some more resource links for background reading, case studies and help with getting started with blended/hybrid learning.
Our next T.E.L.L. session will be April 24, 2012 noon – 1 PM DST “Let the Net Work: Harnessing the power of networks to solve real world problems” facilitated by Clint Lalonde, Manager, LearningTechnologies, Centre for Teaching & Educational Technology, Royal Roads University. For previous T.E.L.L. session recordings and resources see: http://etug.ca//event/online-events/
Interested in facilitating a T.E.L.L. Tuesdays with ETUG Lunch n’ Learn? If so, get in touch! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This series is part of Opening Education, a BCcampus initiative to bring together individuals in open educational curriculum development, publishing, teaching, and administrative practices.