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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Secret Is the Blend

Recently, a Dean’s office asked me whether they should deliver blended classes in their college. Specifically, they wanted some evidence that showed that students enrolled in blended courses as they do online courses. Our online courses can sometimes fill up far faster than our face-to-face (f2f) courses." reports Tanya Joosten, Director, eLearning Research and Development, Academic Affairs and Co-Director, National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Through the years, I have had a couple chapters on blended learning, one of which I just wrote a little over a year ago, so I had some literature, but I wanted to know what was happening on other campuses as of late.

This request led me to ask my tweeps (peeps or friends on Twitter) what research was out there and resulted in a working blog post that listed some of these resources.  

Let’s remember that blended learning is not new, but it has had a resurgence in the past couple years. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), our blended learning initiative started back in 2001 with the support of University of Wisconsin System funds to explore this mode of teaching and learning.  Not only did the effort grow blended programs, but it led to a fantastic experience-based, practical faculty development program.

I am a bit partial, I know. As many might know, the Online Learning Consortium (previously Sloan-C) Blended Learning Workshop and Conference has been around for over 10 years. Also, many researchers acknowledge the opportunities provided by blended (e.g., Dziuban & Moskal, 2001; Dziuban, Hartman, & Moskal, 2004, Picciano, 2006).

However, as recent as last month, I was asked to come talk to a university that was starting a blended program (Hi, friends at U of Tampa). Some universities, schools, and colleges are still looking to be persuaded that blended is the right strategic choice for them.  

Now, emerging digital technology pilots and new catchy terms to describe different forms of blended learning, like the flipped classroom and flipped instruction, have brought new attention to the area. There is renewed interest, and we are seeing disciplines previously reluctant to provide instruction in online environments making the move to online, partially. Moreover, there is continud evidence that blended learning is growing.
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Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)