Sunday, September 21, 2008
In a way, students are beginning to blend their curriculum on their own. They choose online classes to supplement face-to-face classes. An intriguing trend has emerged at UIS:
- Live events (those that generally take place in the classrom - or perhaps via Web conferencing)
- Self-paced learning modules (those segments that are done in online format - such as reflective essays and journaling)
- Collaboration (those activities that engage students with students or others - often done online via social networking Web 2.0 tools)
- Assessment (examinations, self-assessments are done both online and face-to-face)
- Performance support materials (reference materials simulations, tools - all of which can be either online or face-to-face)
These ingredients are blended via the online and face-to-face modalities in ways to assure optimum learning outcomes.
Meeting our students where they are means more than just academic content. Increasingly our students are older, employed, balancing multiple responsibilities and commuting to campus. Recent increases in fuel costs have meant that some students are paying more to commute TO the campus than they are paying in tuition!
Many who have not taught online wonder how one can discourage dishonesty. There are many strategies that are easy to implement and not costly. A few of the more popular ones are:
- Use unique case studies each semester
- Require distant students to take exams using a proctor
- Phone students (or use VoIP) for an oral exam
- Try Turnitin or another anti-plagiarism software tool
- Create an honor code for the class
- Require annotated bibliographies for final papers
- These and many other strategies can help you achieve a greater certainty of integrety than in on campus classes.
UIS has an online test proctoring policy: http://otel.uis.edu/Portal/teachers/proctoredexams/index.asp
There are several online anti-plagiarism tools, including:
A great tool is Fast, the free assessment tool.
One of the great features of this system is the long list of suggested questions:http://www.getfast.ca/iq.cfm. You can use these or build your own question list.
- Learner Support and Resources
- Instructional Design and Delivery
- Innovative Teaching with Technology
- Online Organization and Design
- Assessment and Evaluation
- Faculty use of Student Feedback
However, we find that faculty members often times will weave a number of synchronous sessions into the semester. Particularly popular are sessions held prior to midterm and final exams. Also popular are "virtual office hours" in which faculty members make themselves available for one-on-one or small group meetings via such technologies as the linked Elluminate V-room.
Educause publications on blended learning:
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks articles on blended learning:
Sloan Consortium 2006 report on blended learning in the U.S.:
University of Manitoba blended learning wiki:
Building Effective Blended Learning Programs - Harvey Singh:
Strategies for Building Blended Learning - Learning Circuits:
The new digital Bloom's Taxonomy (from the American Psychological Assn):