The core of blended-learning is the integration
of face-to-face and online learning activities . Very often we want to have
something fancy and very innovative in our online teaching, and don't think
about consequences. We should realize that just an addition of activities which
don't provoke deep learning can completely destroy the course outcome. In other
words, the constructive alignment will be not established. In my opinion, the
course content becomes more colorful and exciting if we think very carefully
about each online activity which we offer to our students. I looked
through the Topic 4 literature and was quite surprised that it is mostly about
how to establish an online course, but not how to integrate the learning activities
smoothly into the course program. The organic integration of thoughtfully
selected activities is one of the major constituents of our success with the
blended learning. I imagine the laboratory balances where both sites of
face-to-face and online learning must be in a balance. Also we should
think that the instructors must be trained not only to use the technology, but
also bring it in the ways in which they organize and deliver the material. I
have noticed during the seminar with Martha Cleveland-Innes that the activity
with the testing was too much for this 1.5 hour interaction. Even the test was
only 10 min, it was too overloading to be concentrated on the major course
context. Instead of giving such a test during 1.5 hours lecture, maybe a shorter,
more exciting, and automated test will be a better match for this seminar.
I cannot also say that it provoked any new concept of the blending learning.
The choice of activity, the right time point, right duration of that online
activity, logical chain and our inspiring feelings from that activity play a
major role in the blended course design. I thought about a memo which we need
to keep in mind when we work on the blended course design.The tasks 1, 2, 3, and 4 are
the well-known constituents of the Bigg's constructive alignment model .
What I decided to add into
the blended course design are integrated interactive activities and dialog-based
communication with the consistent feedback. We have to select learning
activities very carefully and always ask for the feedback at the end of the
class if anybody experienced large problems with the section or just has any
complementary comments. The online activities must be done under guidance of
the instructors using dialog-based communication. The activities between
students can be also implemented in the course program, but students should be
not left for a long time without any guidance. Otherwise, it will remind more
the homework and assignment work which students try to solve during the class
time. Also, it could become more difficult to track what students really learn
from the class. I understand that not at all Universities will have enough
resources for the dialog-based communication, but there are always options to
split a large class in smaller groups to establish more close relationship with
students and provide a better quality of guidance. Overall, we should think
that we learn from our experiences, and our goal is deep and interactive
learning. You remember significantly better teaching material which you learned
in a good working environment by having fun and feeling motivation of others to
learn something new!
N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in
blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of
inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press.
Pea, R., & Cooper, S. (2015). Designing for deeper learning in a
blended computer science course for middle school students, Computer
Science Education, 25(2), 199-237.
(1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment, Higher
Education, 32, 347-364.