Challenges of Blended and Distance Learning
New course design
You cannot take an existing course and just “put it” online. Initially, you should identify which content would best be presented face-to-face and which content would be presented online for a blended course. You must also decide how best to change the presentation of your materials for the online learning environment. Align course learning goals and objectives with instructional strategies, activities, and assessments that work best in the online versus F2F learning environment.
Roles and responsibilities
Students who are new to the distance learning environment must learn to adapt to this mode of delivery, which often requires more reading and writing than face-to-face courses. Students also must employ good time management skills as distance courses require them to balance online and face-to-face course activities with outside obligations. Whether content is presented online or face-to-face, the instructor’s role is ultimately that of learning facilitator. Although the instructor creates the blended learning environment, the technology takes center stage as students interact with technology through its delivery, accessibility, flow, content, and activities.
Through careful planning, blended learning can help impart knowledge in new and exciting ways. Traditional face-to-face courses can be modified to fit a blended or distance model that meets student learning needs and expectations as well as the pedagogical requirements of the instructor. With time and practice, blended and distance learning will become a standard and expected method of instructional delivery.
Milne, A. J. (2006). Chapter 11. Designing blended learning space to the student experience. http://www.educause.edu/learningspacesch11
Pennsylvania State University. (2009). What is blended learning? https://weblearning.psu.edu/blended-learning-initiative/what_is_blended_learning
Smith, B., & Brame, C. (n.d.). Blended and online learning. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blended-and-online-learning/
EDUCAUSE. (n.d.). Online Teaching Strategies. Accessed at https://library.educause.edu/topics/teaching-and-learning/online-teaching-strategies
Northeastern University. (n.d.). “Being there” in online courses: Fostering community online. Accessed at https://learning.northeastern.edu/being-there-in-online-courses/
Northeastern University. (n.d.). Hybrid course design. Accessed at https://learning.northeastern.edu/hybrid-course-design/
Northeastern University. (n.d.). Organize your online course for student success: Designing for clarity. Accessed at https://learning.northeastern.edu/organize-your-online-course-for-student-success/
Northeastern University. (n.d.). A roadmap for online course development. Accessed at https://learning.northeastern.edu/roadmap-for-online-course-development/