The primary purpose of the Blended Learning Project is to explore ways to leverage technology to produce better learning outcomes for APU students.
How are blended classes defined?
At APU, blended classes are delivered with a varying mix of face-to-face (f2f) and online instruction. Blended classes are characterized by a 20%–50% reduction in class time, and instructional activities are shifted online and can be either asynchronous or synchronous. (This is different from “flipped classrooms,” which shift lectures/instruction to an online environment without any reduction in classroom time.)
For example, a typical undergraduate course meets about three hours a week for 15 weeks in a semester, totaling 45 hours. Depending on the “blend,” a course might reduce classroom time by as few as 9 hours (20% online) or as many as 22.5 hours (50% online).
What are some typical ways to ‘blend’ a course?
Replace and/or augment in-class lectures with self-recorded and/or available free online lectures (e.g., iTunesU, OER, etc.) on related topics.
Replace and/or augment traditional course materials with prepackaged learning materials, etextbooks with social annotations, and other open educational resources.
Replace and/or augment traditional assignments with multimedia assignments (e.g., eportfolios, audio/video essays, blogs, etc.) and/or project-based, experiential, and/or gaming curriculum.
Who is eligible to participate in the project?
Preferences will be given to faculty (full time, part time, and adjunct) who teach high-enrollment, introductory undergraduate courses and/or high-demand graduate courses, and demonstrate basic technological competency or a learning posture toward it.
Faculty in the project can choose to be in one of two cohorts. Faculty in the Research Cohort will receive dedicated training and support in course redesign and blended pedagogy, and the collection of student learning evidence is required. Faculty in the Teaching Cohort will receive general training and support in course redesign and blended pedagogy, and the collection of student learning evidence is optional.
What factors contribute to an effective blended learning experience?
Well-designed curriculum, effective pedagogy, appropriate student services, and robust faculty development and support are essential ingredients for an effective blended learning experience.
Teaching students in a blended learning model “takes a village,” including library staff, course designers, tutors, instructional technologists, and various other support staff who are creating, maintaining, and continually improving the learning experience for students.
What resources are available for faculty interested in blended learning?