Building the bridge while crossing it
This is the best analogy for how I had approached course design in my early days of teaching online and blended courses. I knew where I was heading, I knew the assessment tool that would determine the degree to which my students could apply the concepts in the course, Learning Technology for Educators, however, I had a hazy roadmap for getting there.
Another difficulty of teaching a hybrid course was definition. I also had no real directive on the hybrid delivery method other than a percentage of “out of class” time, read: butts not in seats. When I began purposefully teaching a hybrid course, face to face time could be replaced with up to 50% of course activities in the online environment. This left so many things unclear. And so many possibilities.
So perhaps this course plan method was a positive start. I began by replacing a single group activity spanning two class sessions with a structured group collaboration using cloud based tools. Course plan altered only by location but not activity or outcome. I knew I was taking baby steps of trying to replicate the identical f2f experience and initially this was comfortable.
As I read more from other instructors, met innovative colleagues at conferences, and listened closely to my student’s feedback, it was clear that trying to replicate a f2f class was misunderstanding the pedagogical possibilities afforded by the blended environment.
Phase One: (2008) “Skip” three class sessions and do a group activity using a cloud based tool
Phase Two (2010) Fully online; weekly recorded lessons (another whole journey here with screencasting!) replicating the f2f sessions teaching. Students had group work and weekly open blogging for dialogue.
Phase Three (2011) Fully online; on demand recorded resources (generic) with weekly screencast summarizing previous concepts and framing upcoming ones. These recordings were directed at each specific section and using students names and examples to add personalization to the experience. Weekly blog topics & required substantive response.
Phase Four (2013) Weekly online meetings, structured group activities in the breakout session, weekly assignment overview and any needed modeling. Two f2f meetings on campus during semester. Emphasis on social presence and structured teamwork. Learning outcomes aligned with assessments; detailed quantitative & qualitative rubrics for each activity.
This BlendKit course is a chance to stop and look at where I am in the design and implementation of this course. I’d like to add a different arc so that the culminating assignment is built up to more intentionally. Creating a gaming component in the early middle of the course is what I am hoping to build during the next 4 weeks.