Intro to Blended or Hybrid Learning
What is Blended Learning?
Blended courses (also known as hybrid or mixed-mode courses) are classes where a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning.
At URI, blended courses are designated in eCampus with a (B), and are officially defined as:
25-74% delivered online: there is a reduction in seat time; requires some face-to-face meetings (CAC Policies and Procedures)
There are many, many benefits (and challenges) to blended delivery of your course content. According to the UCF Blended Learning Toolkit:
- For universities, blended courses can be part of a strategy to compensate for limited classroom space, as well as a way to think differently about encouraging faculty collaboration.
- For faculty, blended courses can be a method to infuse new engagement opportunities into established courses or, for some, provide a transitional opportunity between fully face-to-face and fully online instruction.
- For students, blended courses offer the conveniences of online learning combined with the social and instructional interactions that may not lend themselves to online delivery (e.g., lab sections or proctored assessments).
Blended Modes of Delivery
Finding the most effective mix for your blended course means sorting out what modes of delivery work best to accomplish your learning objectives. There’s no magic formula that will suddenly reveal this mix to you—part of your work is testing and revising your course assignments.
For those of you who are preparing blended courses, the choices of which tools to use, and when, are somewhat different than those of your fully online colleagues. By using a learning management system, you can enhance your face-to-face (f2f) classes without losing the energy and contact that class meetings provide. The primary uses of online tools as an enhancement to face-to-face classes include:
- Deepening and Broadening Classroom Discussion
Instructors can use the discussion boards and chat to follow-up on in-class discussions, provide feedback on written assignments, or pose questions to prepare students for future classes.
- Linking Students to the World-Wide Web and the World Outside
Using computers at home to do schoolwork is a visible reminder to students that learning can be part of their larger worlds and lives. Instructors can use their sites to encourage students to connect their online and personal experiences with the course material.
- Expanding Team Work
Using the group tool, instructors can assign group activities or long-term projects. The group tool in a learning management systems allows for intra-team discussion, chat, and sharing of documents. Classes can also build collaborative wikis or blogs.
- Using Computer Labs
For those classes that are scheduled in computer labs, instructors can use course sites for one-minute responses, peer editing, internet work, or the posting of papers and other documents.
- A Repository of Texts
Instructors can use their sites to store documents and other class materials that are cumbersome to duplicate or file. These might include PowerPoint lectures, class notes, slides of artwork, mathematical formulas, exemplary papers, and research guidelines.
Tips and Resources
SAKAI TIP: Did you know that in Assignments, you can post a model answer so students have an example to peruse prior to their own submission? Have you considered holding your office hours or a quiz/test help session in a chat room?
SAKAI TIP: Hide any unused tools or the tools you do not want your students to see! Site Info– Page Order — Click off the lightbulb. As an instructor, you may choose to use certain tools just for you- resources, statistics, etc. – if you hide these extra documents from your students it will make the class much less confusing for the student.
Sakai How-To: To build groups in your class, go to Site Info — Manage Groups. You can create as many groups as you want and name them accordingly.