Subject Matter, Faculty Development and Smart Use of Resources Among Keys to Successful Transition to Blended Learning

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Latest issue of Sloan Consortium’s Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks focuses on lessons learned by public and private institutions in transition to blended learning.

Papers in this month’s issue represent an array of public and private institutions that describe the lessons learned with a wealth of practical guidance for developing and improving blended courses and programs.

The latest issue of the Sloan Consortium’s (Sloan-C) scholarly periodical, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), focuses on how institutions are transitioning to blended learning. Editors Gouri Banerjee of Emmanuel College and Anthony G. Picciano of Hunter College selected papers for this month’s issue representing an array of public and private institutions that describe the lessons learned with a wealth of practical guidance for developing and improving blended courses and programs.

The content for this issue of JALN was drawn from the 7th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop, which took place in 2010. Educational leaders, faculty members, instructional designers and researchers will reconvene next month at Sloan-C’s 8th Annual Blended Learning Conference, which takes place March 28-29 in Oak Brook, Illinois. For details about the conference program, speakers and registration, visit http://sloanconsortium.org/blended.

Highlights from the current issue of JALN are described below.

"Blended Environments: Learning Effectiveness and Student Satisfaction at a Small College in Transition," by Gouri Banerjee of Emmanuel College, shows student satisfaction with blended learning relates to subject matter, self-directed learning and problem solving, and the combination of face-to-face and online pedagogies.

At Georgia Gwinnet College, in "Transitioning to Blended Learning: Understanding Student and Faculty Perceptions," Nannette P. Napier, Sonal Dekhane, and Stella Smith show that student performance in traditional and blended learning sections is comparable and that students report high levels of interaction with their instructors and fellow students. West Chester University of Pennsylvania transitioned to blending to improve student participation, preparation, and understanding and to encourage active rather than passive learning, particularly for large-sized, undergraduate courses.

"Blending at Small Colleges: Challenges and Solutions," by Ying-Hsiu Liu and Mark Tourtellott of the University of Missouri-Columbia and Mount Saint Mary College, reviews issues faced by small colleges with limited resources and presents a case study detailing how a small private college designed and implemented a successful blended accelerated learning program.

In "Adopting a Blended Learning Approach: Challenges Encountered and Lessons Learned in an Action Research Study," Jane Kenney and Ellen Newcombe describe testing a blended instructional method as a way to make better decisions for wider implementation.

Reba-Anna Lee and Brian Dashew, in "Designed Learner Interactions in Blended Course Delivery," present Marist College’s model for blending. The model focuses on student interactions with the content, the instructor, and with other students for deeper engagement with learning.

Gerald Bergtrom of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in "Content v. Learning: an Old Dichotomy in Science Courses," provides principles of course redesign for creating a content-rich science course that keeps pace with present and future content, and uses active learning to model the scientific method.

Michael L. Fetters and Tova Garcia Duby of Babson College, in "Faculty Development: A Stage Model Matched to Blended Learning Maturation," draw on ten years of experience to trace the stages of faculty development in designing blended learning courses and programs.

Howard Wach, Laura Broughton, and Stephen Powers of Bronx Community College, in "Blending in the Bronx: The Dimensions of Hybrid Course Development at Bronx Community College," present a case study that describes expanding the faculty development program with strategies for faculty recruitment, face-to-face and online workshop activities, faculty peer mentoring, students as Instructional Technology Tutors, and evaluating program activities.

Veronica Diaz, the Associate Director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, in "Cloud-Based Technologies: Faculty Development, Support, and Implementation," explains the significant opportunities and efficiencies of cloud computing and provides a guide for supporting innovation.

ABOUT JALN
Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), published by the Sloan Consortium, is a major source of knowledge about online education. The aim of the JALN is to describe original work in synchronous learning networks (ALN), including experimental results. For more information, visit http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln_main.

ABOUT SLOAN-C
The Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of education. For more information, visit http://www.sloanconsortium.org. The 8th Annual Sloan-C Blended Learning Workshop and Conference begins March 29 in Chicago, see details at http://sloanconsortium.org/blended.

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EILEEN PACHECO
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