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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Co-Teaching a Blended Class Across Universities

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"Last term I co-taught a graduate class in advanced groundwater hydrology with Grant Ferguson (University of Saskatchewan) and Steve Loheide (University of Wisconsin – Madison)." summarizes Tom Gleeson, Assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department at McGill University.

In co-developing and co-delivering this course we have learned a lot – I’ll start here with our initial motivations and write later about our pedagogic decisions, software tools and reflections after the course.

It is mostly win-win for students and professors, but I’ll describe some of the disadvantages below. Instead of being a MOOC , the course is a SPOC – a small, private, online 

The author teaching in an active learning classroom.
Photo by Owen Chapman, courtesy of Faculty of Engineering, McGill University.

Students and professors simultaneously meet in real classrooms at each university and connect as a video conference. Students collaborate on projects across universities and each professor leads instruction for part of the term and participates in all classes.

We use a variety of software tools for blended learning including polling (socrative), content management (wikispaces ), and video conferencing (microsoft lync ). Students are exposed to topics, tools and skills they would never learn in a regular classroom.

Probably most importantly, students learn about varied topics that would not normally be covered at their university. One idea that has worked well is focusing on cutting-edge research ideas and techniques including research ugly babies that are not often discussed in the literature.

They learn to collaborate internationally using virtual tools. And they develop an international professional network spanning multiple universities.

A number of students have said ‘wow, it’s like three courses in one!’ and as instructors we have noticed there is not lull in the middle or end of term where students and/or instructors are tired of the course, tired of each other, or just tired.
Read more... 

Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)