learning, teaching and research (archive)

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Blended Learning 2

April 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · Uncategorized

This is a comment I made in the Blended Learning Community in Eduspaces started by Rick Lilly 

Hi Rick. I like the combination of the 1 page handout and the video commentary. It certainly made the hand out and its objectives clear. A couple of quick comments. We are resisting the notion that ‘delivery’ is the best description of what we try to achieve when enabling and supporting learning. It is too implicated in the old knowledge transmission model of teaching. I think the transmission of knowledge is still very important in what we do. However, it is not now the central metaphor for how we characterise the learning process and what we should be doing as teachers.

Secondly, we are very keen to continue with and make better our traditional face-to-face learning and teaching techniques – basically lectures and tutorials. This is what our students want, it is what they expect and it is for many a key measure of if they are getting their money’s worth for the fees they pay.

Thirdly, full-time students take 120 credits of study each year. This typically consists of 6 modules of 20 credits each. A 20 credit module assumes 200 hours study. Traditional face-to-face teaching contact hours in social sciences and humanities for a 20 credit module consist of 1 lecture per week and 1 small group tutorial per week for an 11 week semester. This with a small number of scheduled meetings with tutors and additional seminars amounts to approximately 30 hours scheduled face-to-face activity out of the 200. The expectation is that the remaining 170 ‘independent study’ hours is spent in library work, preparation for lectures and tutorial presentations and discussion, research for and writing of assessment essays and preparation and revision for exams. The whole kit and caboodle. We are developing blended learning in order to give more structure, guidance and feedback for the unscheduled 170 hours.  Precisely how we do this in the context of our VLE, Blackboard, and other on-line resources and facilities is what we are currently thinking about and designing.

This overlaps with some of the discussion in the thread you started in Spaces Central. I’ll just add a summary of our general position on blended learning I posted there.
We see a blended learning approach as a central plank of our strategy for developing students as independent and self motivated learners. We want to use blended teaching to induct students into the research and learning culture and processes we are all involved in, both staff and students. Staff aid students learning by exemplifying and making transparent what they are doing anyway – research and scholarship. We want students to learn the research and evaluation skills, the communication, collaboration and presentation skills and the problem solving skills that will make them their own continuing teachers, individually and collectively. This means we want to help them to develop their own personal learning ecologies, to blend and exploit their most effective learning techniques and strategies, formal and informal, active and passive, and situate themselves proactively in a network of people, objects and resources in order to develop their knowledge and learning practice. We take as given that learning is a social process. So, hopefully, we are developing a notion of blended learning that is more than a set of varied teaching techniques and location. The blend is of learning strategies, learning contexts, formal and informal, structured and vicarious, and increasingly constructed and maintained by the students as developing ‘expert’ learners in their own right.


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