Excellent presentation provides thorough overview ofÂ process, tools,Â and lessons learned inÂ university's implementation ofÂ blended learning curriculum.
Instructional Designer and Teacher Kimberly Greene provides deep insights into Brandman University'sÂ implementationÂ of a blended learning environment in their School of Education.Â In the presentation, GreeneÂ discussesÂ the goals of the effort, many of the technologiesÂ and approaches used,Â and identifies whatÂ worked well and whatÂ they've been working toÂ improve.
The presentation alsoÂ explores Greene's experienceÂ working with peers to teach blended courses (also commonly referred to as ‘hybrid' courses). Resistance to Web 2.0, social media, and synchronous tools was strong. Was there a place for “cutting edge” technology in preparing students to work in public schools? The double-edged sword of potential for learning versus the reality of how it played outÂ was an eye-opener for a self-described “geek who thought she had all the answers”.
Following is an overview ofÂ some of the presentation's key points:
AfterÂ aÂ transition from Chapman University College to Brandman University,Â a separate, fully accredited university within the Chapman University System, a decision was made to create a Blended Learning Environment,Â including the standardization of Blackboard Shells for the entire course catalog. The point of â€œblendingâ€ was to extend the learning experience and ensure that students would be constructively engaged throughout the week and be involved with their own construction of understanding on a more personal level, with less time in the physical classroom.
Traditional â€œon groundâ€ 9 week courses with 5.5 hours of class time were translated into 8 week courses with 3.5 hours of face-to-faceÂ time and approximately 3 hours of extended engagement via an online environment facilitated through the Blackboard LMS. Each course was broken down and redesigned around a shell that housed all course content and explained the class design and flow for all instructors.
Efforts to prepare faculty (71 fulltime and 1400 adjuncts) included:
- Training in theÂ tools in general (Blackboard LMS, synchronous vs asynch, etc.)
- Training inÂ how to teach with the tools
- Recognizing/discovering and understanding the value in teaching in a blended environment, and where Web 2.0 tools truly supported the learning objectives
- A â€œsandboxâ€ of the LMS basic shell was created for exploration and experimentation
- Face-to-Face training was done in one-shot visits to campuses
Results – The Positives
Some of the positive outcomes of the effort included the following (be sure to explore the video presentation to learn more!):
- A more collaborative environment for all faculty (full time and adjunct)
- More opportunities for personalized feedback and instruction from the instructor
- Greater opportunity for all students to have a â€œvoiceâ€ within the class
- An increase in collaboration among students
ResultsÂ –Â The â€œDouble-Edged Swordâ€
Among the more challenging aspects of the effort …
- Lack of access or reliable Internet connections
- Lack of confidence (old reliable ways no longer worked or were relevant)
- A loss of a sense of â€œcontrolâ€
- Missing materials or poor directions
- Feeling â€œput-uponâ€ to produce results
- Lack of technologyÂ in many public schools concernedÂ many instructors, making them think they might beÂ focusing on skills their students would not be able to use in the real world
Of all theÂ knowledge gained in the effort and shared in this presentation, these are some of the most valuable take-aways.Â
- A shared understanding of â€œauthentic applicationâ€ in action and the relation to pedagogy/andragogy is crucial and must be revisited continually
- More training from instructors/practitioners, rather than IT support, is crucial
- Student preparation for using technology must be given more focus and is equally as important as faculty training
- The â€œ2.0â€ tools must continue to move the class forward rather than simply rehash what was done in the classroom.
- Enthusiasm alone is not enough! Real world applicability is crucial
- Comprehensive training must include opportunities for mistakes and the chance for those mistakes to be tools for inquiry, rather than simply viewed as a lack of ability on the part of the instructor
- It takes a village (instructional designers, IT specialists, peers, simulations that offer feedback, student feedback)
- Everyone has their own â€œexpert blind spotâ€ and it can be very uncomfortable for the individual to accept; the person assisting that individual must not make light of the issue or assume it stems from a lack of intelligence
Thanks to Kimberly Greene and Brandman University for sharing this excellent presentation.
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