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[T.E.L.L. March Summary] Blended/Hybrid Learning: A new breed of animal???

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”
  • flexibility
  • 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.
  • Money?
  • 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.

Resources

Recorded Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2012-03-27.1207.M.3CA3D7A2433949B7F0E9163CDFD4AE.vcr&sid=727
Slides:

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: leva.lee@bccampus.ca
This series is part of Opening Education, a BCcampus initiative to bring together individuals in open educational curriculum development, publishing, teaching, and administrative practices.
 

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