BlendKit2014 week 1

I’ve just realised that I@ve sugned up for another MOOC, this one called: Blendkit2014, becoming a blended designer.  I’m not sure how much time I’ll give to this, it’s not gripping me so far, but here goes…

For the first week we’re set some reading (sigh) but at least it begins with a list of questions for us to think about:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?”
  3. 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?
  4. 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 amount of student time commitment consistent with the total time commitment of comparable courses taught in other modalities (e.g., face-to-face)?

I’m sure, if I engage with this class, that I’ll start to think about this more deeply, but coincidentally I gave a workshop about classroom flipping yesterday, so I have some thoughts.

  1. I think it’s something else entirely.  I very much like Eric Mazur’s comment that our first question to ourselves should be about how  we teach, rather than just what we teach.  I don’t think that trying to bolt on “enhancements” to existing courses is the way forward, I think one needs to sit down with a blank sheet and think about what the desired outcomes are before starting to add content.
  2. I think blended learning could be the best of both worlds if it manages to meet the needs of all groups of users, the worst of all possible worlds when it is badly thought out and different groups (say F2F and distance learners) end up being isolated from each other.  One unusual experience I had of this was when I taught for U Aberdeen.  Normally the tutor would be in a class with most of the tutees, and a few isolated students would join in via VOIP.  Because I lived in Glasgow, I also taught via VOIP.  This led to most of those in the classroom feeling left out as we could not hear them over the phone. Hmmm!
  3. We’re looking at our online and distance provision here at the moment.  I expect to be involved in some way, and I definitely have opinions!
  4. I have no idea/it will depend.

As I was about to publish this I got distracted by social media and saw that Maha has already blogged about this.  More from me later, and no doubt I will also be tweeting with the hashtag #BlendKit2014


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4 Responses to BlendKit2014 week 1

  1. balimaha says:

    I totally agree with Mazur’s point about focusing on the “how”. I actually didn’t know I was doing that and why exactly I was doing it when I first started teaching, but I knew I was focusing more on the process of engaging students and how they were learning rather than what they were learning… eventually learned this was sometimes called “process-oriented curriculum” (work of Stenhouse, connected to Habermas’ practical knowledge-constitutive interest). Will blog about curriculum theory soon because I keep thinking it’s one of those useful theorizations that can help classroom teachers connect to wider theory and understand their own practice better…

  2. Haha, Habermas scares me (continental philosophy, out of my comfort zone), but looking forward to hearing about curriculum theory.

  3. balimaha says:

    I took a look at your presentation about flipping. Some institutions now emphasize a difference between flipping and blending (mine does, anyway) where blending entail *replacing* f2f time with online time,,, vs. flipping which is about reversing what gets done in class and at home, as you defined it.
    Enjoyed your presentation and found many of the kinds of things I would have said to interrupt were discussed later in the presentation (e.g. flipping is meaningless for already-interactive classrooms without lecturing). Was gonna leave a note there but thought to leave it here instead 🙂

  4. Yes, I think you’re right to make that distinction. There’s probably another blog post there for one (or both) of us. Did you notice the quote from another rhizo14 peep, BTW? Simon Lancaster does good stuff about flipping 🙂

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