Blended Learning

Overview

Course Redesign for Hybrid Delivery:

Hybrid teaching is not just a matter of transferring a portion of your current course to the Web. Instead, it involves developing challenging and engaging learning activities that occur within and outside of the classroom along with a well-designed plan to integrate both in-class and online work.

According to a recent Department of Education meta-analysis of research measuring the effectiveness of face-to-face, fully online, and blended [hybrid] delivery modes, blended delivery, when well designed and effectively delivered, showed the greatest gains in learning (http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf ).  Faculty members should be advised that a successful re-design process will involve a significant amount of their time including training, design, evaluation, and revisions.

Please take the time to read this document carefully. It includes information on the process and timeline as well as important links to policies regarding copyright, accessibility, and intellectual property that must be considered before proceeding.

What is a Hybrid Course?

Penn State’s Web Learning @ PSU site (http://weblearning.psu.edu/glossary) defines a blended or hybrid course as a course that “combine[s] Web and traditional classroom instruction. The percentage of online material vs. classroom sessions can vary depending on the individual course. At Penn State, these are also called Blended Learning courses, though they may be called Hybrid courses elsewhere.  Blended learning/hybrid courses are offered through resident instruction at Penn State.”

The University Registrar defines hybrid courses as “specific packages of online and face-to-face content and processes organized to reduce or replace the number of required class sessions in order to improve effectiveness and flexibility for instructors and students and/or to achieve other efficiencies. Hybrid courses reduce by approximately 40% or more the number of required classroom sessions, although some classroom sessions are required.” (Office of the University Registrar ARUAC ‐ Schedule Course Section – http://www.registrar.psu.edu/staff/isis/aruac.cfm )

Are you Ready?

Before you decide to start the re-design process, find out more about hybrid course development at http://weblearning.psu.edu/blended-learning-initiative/what_is_blended_learning

Take a faculty readiness test at http://weblearning.psu.edu/news/faculty-self-assessment . This self-assessment is anonymous. It was designed for faculty intending to teach fully online courses, but it can give you a good idea of the time and tasks involved in developing the online portion of your hybrid course.

Approvals

At this point in time, all requests to teach a blended course need to go through the Director of Academic Affairs for full-time faculty and the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs for part-time faculty.

Getting Started

Hybrid teaching is not just a matter of transferring a portion of your current course to the Web. Both the online and in-class activities must also be artfully conceived so as to integrate smoothly and meaningfully. What types of learning activities and assessments will you design that will help your students reach your stated learning outcomes?

The Sloan Consortium provides a list of 10 Questions to consider during your re-design project

(shared with permission)1. What do you want students to know/do/value when they have finished taking your blended course?

2. As you think about learning objectives, which would be better achieved online and which would be best achieved face-to-face?

3. Blended teaching is not just a matter of transferring a portion of your traditional course to the Web. Instead it involves developing challenging and engaging online learning activities that complement your face-to-face activities. What types of learning activities do you think you will be using for the online portion of your course?

4. Online asynchronous discussion is often an important part of blended courses. What new learning opportunities will arise as a result of using asynchronous discussion? What challenges do you anticipate in using online discussions? How would you address these?

5. How will the face-to-face and time out of class components be integrated into a single course? In other words, how will the work done in each component feed back into and support the other?

6. When working online, students frequently have problems scheduling their work and managing their time, and understanding the implications of the blended course module as related to learning. What do you plan to do to help your students address these issues?

7. How will you divide the percent of time between the face-to-face portion and the online portion of your course?

8. How will you divide the course grading scheme between face-to-face and online activities? What means will you use to assess student work in each of these two components so that one portion (online or F2F) doesn’t feel “more important” than the other?

9. Students sometimes have difficulty acclimating to the course Web site and to other instructional technologies you may be using for face-to-face and online activities. What specific technologies will you use for the online and face-to-face portions of your course? What initial steps can you take to assist students to become familiar with your Web site and those instructional technologies? If students need help with technology later in the course, how will you provide support?

10. There is a tendency for faculty to require students to do more work in a blended course than they normally would complete in a purely traditional course. What are you going to do to ensure that you have not created a course and a half? How will you evaluate the student workload as compared to a traditional class?

Getting concrete: Think about your course

  1. Describe the proposed course learning goals/objectives/outcomes
  2. What framework makes sense for the re-design: project-based, topics/theme-based, module-based?
  3. What overall rhythm makes sense for your course – Alternating weeks of F2F/online, one class per week online, F2F at the beginning with alternating in the middle and F2F at the end, other?
  4. What are your anticipated in-class and online activities: lectures, reading assignments, discussions, problem sets, etc.
  5. How will you assess both portions (F2F and online)

Anticipated assessment strategies:

_____ Discussion boards
_____ Essays/research papers/reports
_____ Journaling
_____ Peer review
_____ Drill and practice for self-assessment
_____ Case studies
_____ Portfolio
_____ Individual Projects (student-created web pages, PowerPoint presentations)
_____ Group Projects
_____ Online quizzes
_____ In-class exams
_____ Other:

 Read more

6. What course materials do you need? Do you need to create materials?

7. What copyright and accessibility concerns do you need to address?

8. What technology/technology support do you need?

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the instructional design staff at Penn State Harrisburg and Berks campuses for sharing their expertise and materials.

Resources

Web Learning at PSU

The EDUCAUSE Blended Learning Toolkit
Blended Learning Resources

Sloan Consortium

Center for Online Innovation in Learning

Copyright at PSU

Copyright Recording

Accessibility at PSU

Accessibility Recording

 

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