1. There is a continuum of technology-based learning, from ‘pure’ face-to-face teaching to fully online programs. Every teacher or instructor needs to decide where on the continuum a particular course or program should be.
2. We do not have good research evidence or theories to make this decision, although we do have growing experience of the strengths and limitations of online learning. What is particularly missing is an evidence-based analysis of the strengths and limitations of face-to-face teaching when online learning is also available.
3. In the absence of good theory, I have suggested four factors to consider when deciding on mode of delivery, and in particular the different uses of face-to-face and online learning in blended courses:
- your preferred teaching strategy, in terms of methods and learning outcomes
- student characteristics and needs
- the pedagogical and presentational requirements of the subject matter, in terms of (a) content and (b) skills
- the resources available to an instructor (including the instructor’s time).
4. The move to blended or hybrid learning in particular means rethinking the use of the campus and the facilities needed fully to support learning in a hybrid mode.
5. Open educational resources offer many benefits but they need to be well designed and embedded within a rich learning environment to be effective.
6. The increasing availability of OER, open textbooks, open research and open data means that in future, almost all academic content will be open and freely accessible over the Internet.
7. As a result, students will increasingly look to institutions for learning support and help with the development of skills needed in a digital age rather than with the delivery of content. This will have major consequences for the role of teachers/instructors and the design of courses.
8. OER and other forms of open education will lead to increased modularization and disaggregation of learning services, which are needed to respond to the increasing diversity of learner needs in a digital age.
9. MOOCs are essentially a dead end with regard to providing learners who do not have adequate access to education with high quality qualifications. The main value of MOOCs is in providing opportunities for non-formal education and supporting communities of practice.
10. OER, MOOCs, open textbooks and other digital forms of open-ness are important in helping to widen access to learning opportunities, but ultimately these are enhancements rather than a replacement for a well-funded public education system, which remains the core foundation for enabling equal access to educational opportunities.