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6 Blended Learning Models

Research has shown the blended learning, the combination of face-to-face and online instruction, increases flexibility, individualization and chance of student success. It is a great way to meet the diverse needs of several students at once. Here are 6 models of blended learning that has a unique system for teachers to choose from.

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  • Face to Face Driver Model: Best when students function at varying levels. More skilled students will be able to move a faster pace so that they would not be bored and be given appropriate challenges.
  • Rotation Model: Teachers set schedules for face to face and online meetings. This model is popular in elementary classrooms where math and reading could be divided, so that students can be scheduled face to face meetings with reading and study math via learning stations
  • Flex Model: This model is heavily online, where instructors act as facilitators instead of primary delivers. This works best in school settings where students are in work-study programs, have attendance problems or are part time students
  • Online Lab Model: There are no certified teachers, but there are supervisors for these classes. This will be most suitable for students who: have other responsibilities; want to progress at a faster rate; want to slow down the pace; and schools with budget constraints
  • Self-Blend Model: Students take traditional face to face classes but enroll for separate online courses as supplements. This would be beneficial if: the school didn’t offer the course; students want to gain college credit and take advance placement classes; students are motivated and independent learners
  • Online Driver Model: This is completely online and students would be working from their home. There would be opportunities to check in with the teacher as well. This would be suitable for students: with chronic illnesses or disabilities; who have other jobs and obligations; want to progress faster than a traditional school setting

 

Schools and institutions will be able to refer to these models when planning out their class setup as it has a lot of potential and success. It will save schools a lot of money, and it is appropriately adapting to the way students learn nowadays. For more info, click here.

Face to Face: a New Way of Blending Digital and Physical Classrooms

Georgetown University has recently experimented with turning one of its digital-only courses into a hybrid course. Usually, this process occurs in the other direction: a physical class slowly spins off portions into online sections. This means a lot of the class can occur online, but it is still constrained by scheduled, physical meetings instead of fully taking advantage of the digital format.

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By moving from a conventional online class, more helpful, innovative ways of addressing online learning can be addressed. Georgetown’s system is based on holding the same class twice a week at scheduled times- students only need to tune into one of the two. Attendance is done entirely remotely. Students teleconference in and participate in a live discussion just as they would in a traditional setting. Their webcams and microphones are utilized to give the illusion of physically being present. In this way, the digital classroom experience is raised beyond the typical list of tasks and readings and becomes a personally engaging system. Interactivity even includes a method of virtually raising one’s hand, and splitscreen conversations between professor and pupil. Perhaps UW Bothell could adapt this system to let more students participate in each class while preserving the same small-class feel that has become its trademark.

For more information on this topic, click here.

Virtual Labs Taking Over

While online courses are at an all-time high, these programs still have a major problem: how can they can give their students access to software and data sets needed for class when they can’t walk into a computer lab on campus and log in?

At Indiana University, for example, the online course there required a high-end mapping application. Before, the university would put together 10 DVDs or so with the software for the students to use, but this only created more problems and was impractical as the students had to spend time figuring out how to install the software and possibly calling tech support. Another example would be at Capella University, an online school, where the students needed industry-grade applications such as EnCase Forensic and such in order to succeed in their course.

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Now, at both of these universities, virtualized desktops are being provided for the students, although the approaches are different. At Indiana University, the technologists have developed a virtual desktop solution with “zero logistical overhead”, according to David Goodrum, the director of teaching and learning technologies. At Capella, they have outsourced the work to a service provider that specializes in virtual environments.

In order to figure out how to grade its virtual desktops, IU (Indiana University), put a team together comprising of staff from IU, Client Services and Support, and Enterprise Systems. Their goal was to figure out a way to move different classes online in a way that would be a good experience for the students.

While the group had different components already set in place prior to, for students, they were all missing one thing: an easy way for instructors to distribute the digital course files to their students.  What they came up with, is Broadcast. This is a plug-in that is used alongside Canvas that allows the staff to send copies of all the course files to the students through their accounts. With the problem of hundreds of files being sent out, the next issue is to tackle programs such as Adobe products which are graphically heavy and poses performance issues above all else.

At Capella, a virtualized secure space was created. This space is heavily protected and allows students to use some of the same tools that hackers may use. The school works with Toolwire, a group in the virtual desktop and scenario-based training business to deliver this environment. Basically what happens is that the student sees a link, they click on that link, and it takes them to this secured environment.

Using virtual labs has many advantages, such as students don’t need to schedule time at a lab, worry about grabbing a free seat at a computer, or finding time to get to the lab. There are still some kinks to work out in this area, but once it’s worked out, virtual labs will be a regular thing to use in online courses.

For more information, visit here

Building a Better Blueprint for E-Books

Professors at the Brookdale Community College decided to make use of the fact that students are on their phones a multitude of times throughout the day. Mike Qaissaunee, chair of the Engineering and Technology department at the Lincroft institution thought that he could deliver academic content into their phones which would lure them to using their devices to academics.

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The E-MATE project created three e-books to be integrated into the students’ iPhones: Fundamentals of Light and Lasers, Introduction to the Automated Warehouse and Essential Mathematics for Engineering Technicians. Professors will be able to make their e-books more engaging by customizing it with widgets and interactive content.

E-MATE is also aware that not all students have iPhones, so they accommodate by having PDF formats of the e-books. That way, students are also able to access the books offline. Students and professors would also be able to save more money through e-books as they would not have to pay for the hard-cover prices. Professors with Apple devices would also be able to create their e-books for free.

Students have voiced their opinions about e-books and agreed that it has helped them learn material easier. The interactivity makes students more engaged in the content, and those who find difficulty in reading text would not have to worry as much.

For more info, visit the article here.

Adding More Technology Reduces the Costs of Teaching?

The hype and excitement over technology-based learning environments have taken universities by storm. Universities are now looking into ways to incorporate online and hybrid courses in order to help students who need this convenience but educators also believe that once universities get a good handle on technology-based classes it will overall save them money and reduce the cost for students.

However, after the hype has dissipated, Randall Bergen, assistant to the president of Bethel University, has found that adding more technology hasn’t necessarily meant reduced spending for universities. This has left him discouraged and the hype has worn off.

Although online and hybrid courses would be most convenient and reduce the sizes of classes, it could also jeopardize the organization of discussion based courses such as liberal-arts related majors.  Most educators believe that to fully make implementing technologies more cost efficient there needs to be a model or change in how the university is structured. This would cause the entire institution to change and to add more time and dedication to educating professors and getting their faculty the technology tools they need to be successful.

However, for courses that are math and solutions based, universities have the greatest opportunity to not only have automatic grading of homework, but also quizzes and timed exams. Though this might insinuate opportunities in cheating. But by cutting most of the time that professors would use on grading, they could be teaching multiple classes of the same subject to allow more students in these specific courses.

There is no particular solution thus far, however with more collaboration with other universities, there can be a cost-reducing use of technology.

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