If We Adopt the Blended Approach: Will Students Still Come to Class?

If We Adopt the Blended Approach: Will Students Still Come to Class?

Home Forums Seminar 1: October 2013 If We Adopt the Blended Approach: Will Students Still Come to Class?

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  • Thula

    said

    Hi Jerome and all. Very interesting dialogue. Reminds me of the study on E-Learning: If We Build It, Will They Come? You all re-assert the need to motivate our students to attend both the contact and online learning sessions, which is what blended learning entails. I agree that a preferred pedagogical approach such as collaborative problem-based learning will guide the way my course is designed for blended learning. For example, many opportunities will be provided for collaborative learning tasks. Now one of the questions, as already posed in this forum: Which elements of the collaborative learning task can best be facilitated online and which elements are to be facilitated offline and on-site and why?

    Obododimma

    said

    “Now one of the questions, as already posed in this forum: Which elements of the collaborative learning task can best be facilitated online and which elements are to be facilitated offline and on-site and why?” (Thula).
    I subscribed few minutes ago and have been skimming through the posts to see if I could catch up. A very lively discussion, I must say. It seems, though, to revolve around fears and worries. Thanks to Thula for taking us back to what I believe is vary crucial: which components of the learning task are best handled online and which, offline? Obviously, judgments about what to do online and offline are determined by such factors as (1) the (nature of the) topic, (2) the nature of the learning resources, (3) the location of the learning resources, etc. These ones that I have listed seem to be the major ones. If the topic is something that a real-world or offline experience could readily demonstrate ( and better too), for instance the nature of teacher-student interaction in the classroom, why should I bother to make an online trip (except maybe I have peculiar interactions on video which I intend to use for case study)? I realise that students in their private studies may need videos of such interaction. And so, I may package a video for such, or a video of a classroom interaction for a class task or test and upload it for them. Further, if the resources are in e-form and are located on the Web, it becomes inevitable that my students and I perceive our learning experience as something that moves across virtual and physical worlds. Our needs take us to where could call a classroom! Am I making any sense> .

    Hello Thula and Obododimma,

    You indeed have addressed my mind on this topic on which component will work well online and those for f2f as the main thrust for keeping students coming back?

    We need to define that on several criteria. I teach undergraduate dental students technical aspects of their studies. Skill development is paramount and when I look at Coursera I fell in love with their approach. One student once said that whether you are watching a video of a procedure directly or online there isn’t anytime the instructor will need to hold your hands to be able to achieve a skill- It is simply technical knowledge being imparted and the student is left to continue to practice until skill is developed. There is need to define accurately which of the component of a course will work online and f2f- that is the blending that will keep students coming. That is the way forward. Our students learning style have to be defined but this indeed could pose some challenges online as we have to rely on the information a student provided on his experiences and background as the source for our judgement on his participation in the course. The feeling am getting from the proceeding contributions is that online and f2f do have their merits and demerits. What has research inform us about this?

    Lennox

    said

    Andy has identified some of the many factors of a complex question giving us a direction to follow That apart, on line resources in blended learning environments are only one of several groups of resources, students will use. Do we have good reason to suspect students will not want to avail themselves of the others that will not be online? One wonders therefore whether students should in fact be part of this conversation. If they will not, a follow up activity may be able to solicit their views on and experiences with this issue. It may be enriching for us to share some useful strategies to entice our students to come to class and then keep them there. Maybe we should be strengthening our traditions of exploring a variety of resources and using multiple modes of presentation, while we worry less about students coming to class or not. A student, who can miss classes and do well, will do so, whether we blend or not. They normally form a minority group but they do exist. Lucky to have been in a few different learning environments over the years and still not met one. Have you?

    Why do teachers like students to come to come to class? I think it is because:
    1. The school rules and curricula say so. When I worked as a Curriculum Developer in Vocational Education almost all curricula had a component of 80% class attendance. Now imagine such a curricula used in a blended learning situation?
    2. Teachers love visible authority. They want students to be in class so that they can influence them f2f but one can be more influential (positively) in an online context,

    Jolanda

    said

    One size does not fit all, that we already know. I think I’m beginning to mix (blend?) my analogies. The more I think about how much time and energy is wasted daily to get students and lecturers into one space because the lecture has become the standard form of teaching (I’m not so sure about learning always), I shudder! I have seen how online learning (crossing boundaries between time and place) has managed to free up the lecturer to make best use of her available time with the students, engaging and interacting in a tutorial/ project-based format rather than “lecturing”/ transmitting knowledge.

    @Jerome, are you referring to the blurring of the boundaries between on-campus and off-campus learning, expanding the learning environment way beyond the confines of the University?

    @Andy, I think we need good precedent, and those are slowly but surely emerging. Don’t you think it could be helpful if educators started to record and share best practice and experiences through an accessible medium such as the 3 minute video/ digital story uploaded to YouTube?

    Blended learning that is well-designed has activities that will be done during the f2f session and those during online session. The lecturer/facilitator should use the f2f session for introducing the topic and brainstorming and online via discussion forum to in-dept discussion. Once the activities are properly demarcated students will not choose which attend moreover choosing which lecture or lesson to attend is not a bad thing. For example if the student has already in-dept knowledge at the topic at hand but prefer to participate in another topic which s/he has no ideas, I think it is a smart choice.

    Peter

    said

    Thanks John, the ‘secret’ in Blended Learning is setting the goals in terms of student outcomes and designing activities that help achieve these. F2f and online activities that are sequenced and engaging, using project work for example, would get students coming to class and working online.

    Following on what John said about offering choice I found the following website about personalised learning. It has quite a nice chart comparing that and differentiation. http://www.personalizelearning.com/p/toolkit.html

    Problem-based learning (vs project based learning) also brings the circumstances of the individual learner to the fore, another example of customising the learning experience to make it relevant. The question is whether access to ICT is an absolute essential?

    Hilary

    said

    Beyond the expedient tactic of including attendance in f2f sessions as part of a rubric, it seems to me that it is necessary that each component of blended learning builds on the reentrant sort of way and that the student receive from each component something that builds on the other, but which the other component cannot offer. A possible example I would put forward is idea of flip learning where video lectures either on demand or through DVDs are viewed at home and then the class or lecture theatre becomes a large tutorial where the content of the lecture is reenforced through problems and discussion of solutions rather than another lecture.

    Tony

    said

    Thanks Joy, that looks like a really useful resource. Apart from the reality that learning to live and work in an increasingly digital world matters as much as learning in a defined discipline it is of course possible to learn in a variety of ways without ICT đŸ˜‰

    Hilary, I like the way that you describe the interlocking affordances of face to face and online in a well designed blended learning activity/ course. In a world with imperfect and patchy learning design there are likely to often be misalignments between online and face to face aspects …. Do you have a sense of how these can be avoided?

    Hilary

    said

    Tony, my perception is that patchiness is a consequence of attempting to integrate online work into pre-existing courses, essentially as an add-on. The solution then (if I am right) is to design each course from the ground up and also to educate lecturers that LMS’ can serve as more than a repository for notes. In this way the elements can be truly blended.

    Obododimma

    said

    @Hilary, the idea of a component building on another is a brilliant one indeed. A component features then as both a driver of ideas and a compensatory tool. But, the very notion of “building upon” captures a reality of a lecture as always ongoing. I do not think that the “end”of any lecture is really its end. I know you are concerned about the f2f interaction becoming a repeat of the online, which could cause waster of time. Whatever sharing that is done online continues f2f, perhaps in a different route. Point is: the blend of online and f2f class interaction evokes poststructuralist ideas about instability of methods and routes to knowledge. F2f interaction also does not need to be the core or centre and the online mode a mere add-on, unless we are thinking of blending without balance.Thanks for an inspiring take.
    –Obododimma

    Thanks Hilary, as you rightly said patchiness may work to a point but for optimal result blended learning calls for re-designing of the course-content, activities and assessment. It is a paradigm shift in instructional design and delivery.

    I have just been thinking that maybe we need to address this question by looking at other contexts where technology is used.

    If We Adopt the Blended Approach(Use Technology e.g. Online banking, ATMs, etc) will clients still come to banks?
    If We Use Technology in Health care provision will patients still come to hospitals?
    If we use Technology in Shopping will consumers still come to Shopping Malls?

    My suspicion is that none of us would say that the bank clients wont go to banks or patients won’t go to hospitals or shoppers go to shopping malls.
    Why will they still go? Could it help us see why students will still go to class?
    I remember reading in the Mail and Guardian a few years ago of a survey that was done among UK youths on whether if they were given the option of learning at leading UK universities by distance learning instead of f2f even if it was cheaper for them to do so, a number said they would still want to attend f2f classes even it was more expensive than distance learning.

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