The blending of blended learning: An experiential approach to academic staff development

TPACK frameworkImage by David T Jones via Flickr
Debra Bath and John Bourke spoke about the results of work they have been doing around a blended learning course at Griffith University. The University focus from 2008 onwards has been on blended learning, and to “…systematically embed BL approaches in the teaching and learning activities of all progams”. A course was set up around blended learning to support staff, and four people were appointed.

In the first year there were about 38 enrolments. The course had to embody blended learning, and allowing the students to walk that walk with the facilitators. How can yo utalk and teach about blneded learning unless you give people an opportunity to do it? Two frameworks underpinned the BL course, including TPCK. The TPCK model goes beyond content, pedagogy and technology, but rather is a blending of all three components. The Community of Inquiry model was used to complement the course “avoids the tyranny of adopting clever techniques” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2007, p. 13). The social, cognitive (creating challenge, and searching for / integrating new ideas) and teaching presence were encapsulated in the design of the course.

There were 4 key learning objectives ranging from awareness of philosophies and upskilling in practical skills. The course was structured around 3 f-2-f sessions in non-teaching weeks, 4 x learning modules. and 3 x virtual turorial sessions (Wimba). The small group wiki was used for participants to develop a resource that then became a good tip user guide.

The course was evaluated in a range of ways, including via survey to evaluate the impact of the corse (http://communitiesofinquiry.com).

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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