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Monday, December 11, 2017

5 Reasons that Electric Bikes Are Like Blended Learning | Inside Higher Ed - Technology and Learning

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"My new obsession is electric bikes. Not that I own one." says Dr. Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL).
 
Technology and Learning

Being an academic, I’ll need to do 10,000 hours of research before I am comfortable contemplating any action. At this rate, I expect to be in the market for an e-bike purchase in spring of 2018.


Electric bike
Like all my obsessions, I understand electric bikes through the lens of learning and technology.

Here are 5 ways that electric bikes are exactly like blended learning:

1 - The Passion of Early Adopters:
A growing number of my colleagues are commuting to campus on an electric bike. They are replacing a drive to campus in a car with a ride to campus on an e-bike. Reasons vary. Some are riding their electric bike because they live too far away to ride a traditional bicycle. Others ride their e-bike to campus because they can arrive without getting sweaty, avoiding the need to shower. What all of these electric bike owning colleagues have in common is their passion for e-bikes. They are electric bike evangelists. They talk about how their e-bike changed their life. Not only do they get more exercise, they look forward to their morning and early evening ride. The purchase price of the e-bikes were justified by saving on the parking passes and gas, but these practical commuting decisions gave rise to a larger belief that electric biking is the future of transportation.

We hear much the same things from those educators who have gotten into blended learning. Talk to faculty teaching online courses, and they marvel at how the medium enables them to deeply interact with their students. The asynchronous nature of much of online learning creates space for all the students in the class to contribute to discussions and debates - through the mechanisms of discussion boards and blogs and wikis - space that is normally constrained and finite in a traditional 50 or 90 minute residential class. Flipping a mostly residential course, by having course content and curriculum be delivered before the class through online lectures, creates new space in the face-to-face discussion for active learning.  Class is invigorating when the teaching model moves from delivering content to coaching and mentoring.

2 - A Dedicated Community of Practice:
The small and growing number of electric bike people on my campus have started to find one another. They are meeting to talk about how they chose their e-bike, where they get it serviced, and what rides in the area (with big hills) they are now willing to tackle. These campus electric bike pioneers are starting to convert others. There seems to be many more of us who are talking about getting an e-bike than who actually own one.  The enthusiasm of these early electric bike owners is contagious.

This small group of e-bike converts reminds me of those faculty who were amongst the first to teach online and to use technology to flip their residential classes. The first professors to make the transition to online and blended learning faced a good degree of skepticism from their colleagues. Most were skeptical themselves. They wondered if technology would get in the way of what they love best about teaching. They worried about what would be lost when eye contact was replaced by screen time. When the give and take of a good lecture was substituted for recorded video presentations and discussion boards.

What most faculty found, to their surprise, was that online and blended teaching is pretty great. Maybe not better than traditional face-to-face teaching, but usually better than a straight lecture based (large enrollment) course. Online and blended learning encouraged, rather than inhibited, interactions with students.  The medium of online and blended learning still required all the expertise of an experienced educator. The difference being that now online faculty could teach students who were also full-time workers, who were unable to move to campus, and who relied on online learning to participate in higher education. For those teaching blended courses, the technologies of classroom flipping opened up more time for active learning and intensive instruction.
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Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)


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