ASH: Josh, would you be able to provide insight and examples to the key points in Elizibeth Stacey’s research on “ Success factors for blended learning” JOSH: As you mentioned Dr. Stacey provided some excellent research on environments for blended learning. She had many key points classified into four main categories by Institution, Teacher, Students, and Pedagogy. I would be glad to discuss these ideas point by point.
ASH: “How should material be integrated in to a blended course?” JOSH: Blended models should be designed around the curriculum its self. The material should not be thoughtlessly plugged into a one size fits all model. ASH: “Why is there responsibility in the institution to develop hybrid courses?” JOSH: The infrastructure needs to be provided by the institution. It needs to be well understood that the system can handle the course its self. The model is useless if the course is media intensive and the institution does not have the bandwidth to accommodate the material. ASH: “In what ways can the curriculum be blended?” JOSH: The teacher has the ability to modify the material and methods of delivery to their students to reinforce strengths and supplement weaknesses in the physical classroom. The online component of the blended class is a tool. Just as a text book, calculator, guest speaker, or even the antiquated slide rule. It is up to the institution to make sure the technological devices are understood by the faculty. ASH: “If the online component is a set of tools, could blending be done by just placing parts into an existing course?” JOSH: The course should be built from the ground up. The components should be carefully considered to maximize its effect. For example, if class time is limited the online component can be used for exams to be held outside of the classroom. Or, if a guest speaker is needed such as an author to a text perhaps, they may be available for lecture through a video chat room. ASH: “Once the course is agreed upon by the instructor and institution are there any further actions needed?” JOSH: Aside from the institution maintaining support for the technical requirements. The institution should monitor the progress and effectiveness of the course through a regular feed back system as it would in a traditional classroom.
ASH: Is there further responsibilities of the teacher for blended course work? JOSH: Technology moves rapidly, Teachers constantly need to learn about new tools and how to use them to their fullest potential. Many of you have heard of Skype. Are you aware there is an App for Skype that translates language for the user? Now you can have class guests or instructors who speak other languages and the students can seamlessly engage discussion with them. To my knowledge this is something only available in an online environment . To reap the benefits of new technologies teachers must learn what about new emerging resources. ASH: Where is the easiest place a teacher can go to learn about new technologies? JOSH: If a teacher is utilizing technology at it most effective levels the teacher often not have to look beyond their course. If the teacher is promoting a technically conducive atmosphere students will bring new technologies into the lesson regularly. The teacher needs to welcome these technologies and begin to experiment with them for themselves. ASH: What do teachers need to keep in mind for success? JOSH: Teachers need to embrace the advancements. Proximity has changed but is not lost. Now in a virtual learning environment the teacher relates to the student in a very different way. Just because the students may be geographically distant does not mean they have lost their influence. ASH: Do teachers have more free time? JOSH: This is a careful balance. If teachers administer tests online, time may be saved in grading these tests. However, with an increasing presence of distance learning classroom sizes are likely to increase. The teacher can regulate this with the involvedness of the work, and the institution can regulate this with classroom capacity.
ASH: Does success solely rely on the teacher? JOSH: Just as any learning environment the main responsibility relies on the student. The pupil must have the fortitude to be diligent learners, and proficient at working independently. ASH: Will the student have more free time? JOSH: Just because a portion of the course is online doesn't mean less work. The only place time is guaranteed to be saved is in the commute to the classroom. Online environments may have condensed lectures or no lectures at all. Generally tools such as those are replaced with individual reading. ASH: If individual reading is a main component what is the incentive for a student to pay for courses versus individual reading at the local library? JOSH: That is precisely the point of integrating the classroom and online environment. The student is given the freedom to learn at a comfortable pace for that student, but the teacher is able to answer questions the student may have. The teacher also provides context to the material and the lesson to be learned.
ASH: Why not just stick with the Online environment or traditional classroom environment? JOSH: The beauty of a blended model it attempts to take into account the pros and cons in all areas. Ideally it will balance the limitations of one methodology as it applies to specific students in specific environments, and supplement them with strengths. ASH: How can this be applied? JOSH: For example, if a class lecture covers a topic in a given section it may be complimented with a specific documentary. The teacher doesn’t need to waste precious class time by showing the documentary in class. The film may simply be streamed online from the students home or library. ASH: What did Garrison, Vaughn, Kanuka say about this subject? JOSH: Basically the topics we’ve already covered. They added the physical environment provides familiarity and the comfort of a traditional setting. It also allows a regular frequency for the teacher to adjust material based on the students progress. ASH: Who ties the virtual and physical classroom together? JOSH: This is the reason the teacher needs to be cognizant of the pros and cons in online and classroom learning. Not only does the teacher need to be aware of these dynamics but keep their finger on the pulse of the students learning needs and respond accordingly.
Dr Stacey’s article compiled many concepts of hybrid learning from various authors. she provided key considerations to develop a successful model in respect to the various dynamics. Thank you for listening I hope this not only provided insight to blended coursework design but will be beneficial to you as graduate students.
Dr. Stacey’s Success factors for blended learning explained Broken Down By Joshua Austin And Ashlee Garcia
Success factors for blended learning <ul><li>Dr Stacey’s four basic considerations of hybrid learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Institution </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy </li></ul>
Institutional success factors <ul><li>Blended learning models should be developed that respond to local, community or organizational needs rather than using a generic approach (Sharpe, Benfield, Robert and Francis (2006). However, Mason and Rennie (2006) advocate putting the learners’ needs first, ahead of the context or the biases of the teacher in making such choices. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important that the institutional building blocks are in place including organizational readiness, sufficient technical resources, motivated faculty, good communication and feedback channels with students (Tabor, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>There is room for staff to develop their own meanings for blended learning, currently poorly defined to include face-to-face classes and active learning and build commitment to the concept (Sharpe, Benfield, Robert and Francis (2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Blended learning should be introduced as a scholarly and transformative redesign process within the institution, that rebuilds the course rather than simply adding on technology (Sharpe, Benfield, Robert and Francis, 2006: Littlejohn and Pegler, 2007; Garrison and Vaughan, 2008). </li></ul><ul><li>There should be institutional practice of carrying out regular evaluations and publicizing the results (Sharpe, Benfield, Robert and Francis, 2006). </li></ul>
Regarding Teachers <ul><li>The importance of, and need for, continuing professional development for teachers with sufficient time for development should be acknowledged (Vaughan, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing pedagogical and technical support through membership of a blended community of practice is a proven model that sustains such teacher innovation (Garrison and Vaughan, 2008). </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of dealing with teachers’ fears of loss of control, lower student feedback grades and general uneasiness about the impact of online learning on classroom relationships should be considered (Vaughan, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>The impact on teachers’ workloads must be taken into account. Littlejohn and Pegler (2006) indentify the costliness in terms of both institutional and teacher investment and suggest the creation of shareable and reusable digital resources in an effort to ensure that blended learning is sustainable. </li></ul>
Regarding Students <ul><li>Students’ learning maturity and readiness for blending learning with its demands for independent learning must be considered (Tabor, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Student expectations, especially their ideas that fewer face-to-face classes mean less work and the need to develop more responsibility for their learning and time management skills must be taken into account (Vaughan, 2007; Tabor, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent and transparent communication around the new expectations is needed in order to help students understand the blended learning process (Sharpe, Benfield, Robert and Francis (2006). </li></ul>
Pedagogic Considerations <ul><li>The combination of the virtual and physical environments should be made on the basis of an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each environment as well as the appropriateness of choice to the learners involved. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of good practice in the online discussion literature can inform blended learning design, for example, Meyer (2004). Walker and Arnold (2004) have extended this by providing a pedagogical framework where the different phases of the course utilize the strengths of the different media and add value to the learning activities. </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of a strong integration between the two environments (Garrison and Kanuka Kanuka (2004). More recently, Garrison and Vaughan (2007) have operationalized the integration requirement in a four phase model which is anchored around the face-to-face environment. A sequence of activities before, during, after and in preparation for the next face-to-face session are described with suggestions for various technology options which incorporate the strengths of both environments. The central role of the face-to-face environment in the model provides the comfort of a traditional learning environment for students and teachers. The model also reflects existing good practice where teachers often plan courses around the idea of learning activities ‘before, during and after’ class. </li></ul><ul><li>Careful consideration of the role of the teacher. In her research, Gerbic (2006) found that encouragement, reminders from the teacher and discussion of the rationale for addition of online discussions was not especially effective in connecting online discussions to the classroom and the course and the new online environment was marginalized by the students. The more effective process involved the teacher providing feedback on the quality of the online discussion in the face-to-face class and activities which prepared and skilled students for their online activities. The teacher’s attention in class to the new virtual environment legitimized it as part of the course and endorsed its importance for learning. </li></ul>
Thank you <ul><li>In 2008 Dr Elizabeth Stacey published Success factors for blended learning in Melbourne Australia </li></ul><ul><li>In this work she explored </li></ul><ul><li>The role of Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>The role of Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>The role of Students </li></ul><ul><li>And the integration of each </li></ul>