I can make videos. I can teach. At some point, I realized I could teach in a video. This is blended learning.
I’ve been blending my courses at both University of La Verne at at Azusa Pacific University for a while. At first, my videos were created from necessity. At ULV, we meet weekly for five hours. That’s a long time. My lectures were dense with information, and had little interaction. So, I flipped my courses whenever I had a long lecture–students watch my lecture at home and take notes, and then we spend more time in class on activities and discussion. This is a much better use of class time. Students appreciate the flexibility, and I appreciate more discussion and less lecturing.
At APU, summer courses have a strange schedule: we have five hour classes twice each week. Again, that’s a lot of class time. Born out of this impacted schedule, I flipped my class again. One of the meetings had lectures and activities online, and the other was entirely face-to-face. I already had a sequence for this course, so the flipped sessions ended up being arbitrary at first. Student feedback has slowly transformed this process.
As it turns out, blended learning already has a taxonomy. The Innosight Institute has published a whitepaper on blended learning trends and practices. They identify four blended learning models: Rotation model, Flex model, Self-Blend model, and Enriched/Virtual model. My attempts at blended learning fall into the Flex model. My videos can be used as enrichment or to reteach.
I didn’t know what I was doing when I began blending my courses. After reading the whitepaper, I realized that I need to support student learning in a blended environment. Next quarter, my APU students will join a Google+ Community, where they can connect, share resources and ideas, and support each other. The combination of my course website and a place for online discussions will hopefully make students feel more connected.
A significant component of a blended course is student control over path. I could definitely leverage some online video tools to allow for more student choice. My goal is to transform, rather than sustain, the traditional classroom model.
After reading Mike Lawrence’s article, Smells like Ed Tech, I’m wondering if ed tech hitting the mainstream is a good thing…