FULT ePortfolio Blogs #10: reflection on blended learning (Activity 2a)

The task:

Reflect on active blended learning drawing from the videos, course resources, your perspective, and discussions with your peers

Active blended learning aligns well with the idea of Universal Design for Learning as long as it is well suported by face to face (for those who don’t learn well online), the online components are very carefully designed to ensure accessibility (cater to vision and hearing impaired etc) and are not bandwidth intense or too time consuming (not everyone has broadband, eg me, we don’t even have mail delivery 50 km from Canberra, and not everyone wants to spend 6 hours of their weekend watching videos).

I can see that blended learning, particularly flipping, is the solution to boring, transmission based lectures with poor attendance. Blended learning also provides an alternative means of content delivery to students who cannot get to lectures. This is important for distance education, which is a growing industry. Postgraduate online courses are a significant income stream for UNSW Canberra.

Is there a strong driver though when you’re teaching to students who are on campus, are required to be in class, are hard working and prefer face to face to online? In FULT, the statement was made that the pedagogy should drive the use of technology. This sounds like a no-brainer, but yet we rae constantly pushed to adopt technology when there is no evidence base in terms of learning outcomes to support its adoption. In fact one of the stars of the videos we have been watching has research showing that her face to face courses give better learning gains on standard conceptual tests than the online versions.

The scientist in me says “show me the evidence that it works”, especially given how often it was stated in the vidoes that it takes a lot of time. The cynic in me asks “where is the money going?”. So much of what we are being encouraged to do relies on the use, and payment of, commercial companies. A seriously huge flaw in the use of teh FutureLearn platform for FULT is that we all lose access to each course 2 weeks after it finishes, and the courses are only a few weeks long. We effectively need to try to capture our own copy of everything before we get shut out. This makes reflection later on a bit hard… doesn’t sem like a great imporvement on lectures and a textbook to me.



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