Life by Design

Blended Learning – Creating a Consistent Whole

Posted on: March 19, 2015

One of the challenges in creating a blended learning course is being certain that there is a tight integration of learning activities and content flow from the online side of the course to the face-to-face session.  When a blended course is integrated well, the user experience is seamless.

There are tools available to help the instructor (or the instructional designer) create a balanced approach to the blended learning course.  A tool that I’m particularly fond of is the “mix map”.  I first learned about this tool when I visited with Cub Kahn, coordinator of the Hybrid Course Initiative supported by ECampus at Oregon State University last year.  This is the tool that he advises faculty to use as they begin to reimagine how their content can be used in this new delivery format.

The value of creating a mix-map is that it forces the designer of the course to list all content items, assignments and assessments and create a lively interplay between the online and f2f environments to ensure that it is all done in an engaging manner.

To see an example of the mix map, please click here:  http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/pp/ctla-files/docs/hybrid-mix-map-driver.pdf .

Here are some additional tips for creating a consistent whole while developing a blended course:

  • “If students know that they can always find the details of the assignments introduced in the last class session by turning to the online modules or that they will always submit assignments via a particular online tool, students are likely to perceive the course as one consistent whole.” (BlendKit Reader2015)
  • Plan an integration chart showing the course objectives, how they will be measured, where the learning activities and resources will be found and exactly how the online and f2f components will integrate. This big picture view is wonderful for planning purposes.

I tend to think that a seamless integration looks much like a lively tennis game with the ball being hit back and forth between the online segment and the f2f meetings, both sides scoring points!

Resources

BlendKit2015 – The BlendKit Reader is edited by Dr. Kelvin Thompson as part of The Blended Learning Toolkit prepared by the University of Central Florida and the AASCU with funding from NGLC.

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