BlendKit 2015

So i’ve started taking the #Blendkit2015 MOOC ‘Becoming a Blended Learning Designer’ a couple of days ago and I must say it’s going pretty well so far. The reading is interesting and engaging and I especially like the ‘Questions to ponder’ section they add before the reading. Anyway, so for this week’s reading we had the title ‘Understanding Blended Learning’, which is obviously an intro about what blended learning is and is not, examples of good blended learning modules and what institutions adopt Blended Learning research…etc.

I’ve answered a couple of the Questions included in the chapter and here are my answers. Would love to discuss with anyone if interested!

  • 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?

I think it depends on the extent of which the online portion is used. If we are talking about undergraduate courses, then surely it’s an online enhancement to the f2f experience. Even for graduate courses, it’s the same. but then you have the varying percentages of online learning. Unless there are in class activities that build on topics and issues discussed online previously. I think it also depends on the nature of the activities/discussions that take place online as opposed to f2f. If the main topic is introduced and explained in class, then it would make sense that it’s the main portion of the course and vice versa. Also, it could be both options in the same course; one unit could have the main portion in class and an online activity that enhances the f2f experience and it could go the other way around. So i’m not sure I’d call it any of the things in the question; it could be all of them together. it could be labeled as “mutually enhancing” kind of. Thoughts?

  • 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?”

Because BL combines the good things about a traditional classroom with the good things about online learning. Good things for f2f classes are, among a lot of elements, visual and physical interaction among students as well as between the professor and the students, the seriousness, respect and behavior of a class lecture, the whole experience of being in an educational institution with all the elements that go into that, including extracurricular and social activities. Some good things about online learning is the self paced learning element, the comfort of mobility, the independence and responsibility, educational technology and the doors it opens to its users.

The way BL could become the worst of both worlds is, clearly, if the negatives of the classroom and online learning combine. Negatives of the classroom is if the lecture is boring for the students and is not engaging, if it’s fast paced for the students. Negatives of online learning in a sense overlap with the positives as some could be both negative and positive depending on the student and the way the course is designed and/or taught. So taking for example the self paced element, this could be a good thing because the student is progressing with a comfortable pace but it could also be a bad thing because the student does not have the urgency that consistent and regular classes have, therefore there could be some slacking. Also the student could be irresponsible and not very independent to pursue his learning or take their learning process in their own hands. There is of course netiquette, which could be a blessing if followed but also a curse if not adhered to. Educational technology for some people is very easy, useful and fulfilling but for others it’s quite problematic and more of a hassle than anything else. So if we combine all the negatives from f2f classes and online learning then you get the worst of both world, a boring class that the student goes to every other week and a non-consistent boring online interaction with people who are rude and the professor asks them to use all these tools that are too annoying to understand and use. It all depends on the professor and how they blend their course, what goes online and what doesn’t…etc

Like I said, would love to discuss with whoever is interested, whether participating in the MOOC or not! Just comment below and let’s start discussing. Or we could discuss using a thread on Canvas, and of course there’s twitter 🙂

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