Learning blended (?) about blended Learning in BlendKIT2017
First I want to introduce you to my classmates and teachers of the BlendKIT2017 Course I am participating in. We all are interested, like yourself, in Blended Learning and how to get (more) experienced in building blended course(s) material. There are several bloggers a-like who are going to share their course experiences online. I will mention them later.
Classmates, I want to welcome you to the duo-blog Judith and I share over the last couple of years. Most of it is in Dutch, because we both are IT in Education enthusiasts in the Netherlands at Zuyd University of Applied Science. But I have been blogging in English before, which you can find under the category: English Jam. Judith is the big engine in this blog, the hero that finds time in her schedule and room in her head to blog about anything she encounters at Zuyd that has to do with IT in education, innovation in education or inspiring stories in education. I, as a sidekick, am trying to keep up with her. So our course will be an opportunity to make up some ground. We write to each other in our blogposts about our experiences, so that is the form that I am going to use for our course blogs as well.
The BlendKIT2017 course is a course on Canvas. As you know I know Blackboard inside out, and I have experienced with Coursera and Edx, but I didn’t use Canvas before. So that also is a learning experience. On the first look it seems to deliver a lot of structure, but after the orientation and the first week content (being on another website) I am still have to see a lot of action to be able to make a judgement of Canvas.
The topic of week 1 is chapter 1 of the Blended Learning Toolkit. And the main discussion there is the definition of Blended Learning. As we have seen in our past projects at Zuyd that was, and still is, an issue. The most important thing is to create a common language within an institution on that topic. As we are an University of Applied Science with 10 faculties, with all of them experts and strong opinions it is important that someone makes or chooses a definition that fits all of our needs. As we are building Guidelines for our Zuyd Professional project to build blended learning courses we should reflect on how others did that. McGee and Reis have made an overview of guidelines and handbooks and have researched the elements of them (http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/sites/default/files/jaln_v16n4_1_Blended_Course_Design_A_Synthesis_of_Best_Practices.pdf) For me the most interesting resource in the first chapter, because it illustrates the struggle in getting uniformity and gives several directions that can be taken to categorize blends or elements in a blended learning environment.
Choosing a blended learning model to build a framework upon is something that our research center Technology Enhanced Learning and our iTeam is working on. So I was glad to read that this was the road presented to us. The importance of blended learning for a university, teacher or student are different (economics and engagement from institutions, quality and engagement from students, efficiency and flexibility) but the challenge is to trigger all three with our model and framework.
For me Blended Learning is the combination of F2F and online where we choose the options based on student, teacher, institution (preferably in that order). In a dutch blogpost on designing your blend I posted a presentation on which cheat 8 illustrates a blended strategy choosing several F2F and online items in a course. This is the way I would like to design my own blended (part of a) course. I hope I can use the next weeks of the course to work and learn on that.