Regardless of whether the module runs over a four week block or a 12 week semester, blended learning should include a mixture of face to face and rich online learning experiences. These should include:
the use of technology, both the online learning environment, and other classroom technologies to deliver a range of clearly structured synchronous and asynchronous learning activities;
lectures which are streamed and recorded using Virtual Classroom providing opportunity for students to revisit content post-live delivery;
group and individual activities, as well as one-to-one tutor time;
one to one tutor time
small, regular, low risk formative assessment, particularly at Level 4, to test learning gain and understanding.
This guide has been developed with thanks to Doug Clow at Wonkhe and Anne Hole at ALTC along with the CELT.
Some of what you already know about teaching still applies. Your understanding of how to help people learn your subject remains central. Education students will have the same conceptual struggles with threshold concepts, English students will continue to oversimplify Foucault.
But some of what you know doesn’t apply. You’ve developed skills and expertise in teaching your subject based on face-to-face methods, building on decades or more of expertise in your discipline in how to teach at university level. Doing it all online is different.
One of the most useful concepts for new online teachers is the idea that different tools and technologies have different affordances for learning. Any particular tool will be better for some things than for others. If you try to use a tool for something it’s not suited to, it’s likely to go badly. Attempting to teach exactly the same way online as you do face to face probably won’t go well.
Use what you know
You already know some technological tools that can help, Brightspace is the prime learning and teaching tool. Use it for the things that it is good for. Don’t try to use instant messaging for considered, in-depth discussion.
Brightspace has a vast array of functions and features, the following pages will guide you through their use. Now’s the time to try them out. It might appear tricky at first, but your students are already signed up to it, and CELT are providing as much technical support as possible, whether that is face-to-face or online.
Use other people stuff
Another really useful concept is that when you’re teaching online, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can re-use and re-purpose good resources that already exist. For instance, making high-quality videos is difficult, slow, and expensive. But if someone else has already done the work, you can re-use it in your course. If it’s an Open Educational Resource (OER), you don’t even have to ask anyone for permission. Check out MOOCs and OER for inspiration and things you can just lift wholesale.
A classic piece of online learning sets out the background to a topic, linking to what’s gone before, then sends the students off to study an external resource, before bringing them back to do something with what they’ve learned.
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