Blended Learning at the E-Learning Community Meeting

At February 2012’s  eLearning Community Meeting hosted at the Mason School of Business, Ed School professor Judi Harris shared with us an overview of blended learning.  While most faculty at William & Mary already use blended learning in their classes – for example through using Blackboard discussion boards, or wikis – they may not realize it. Blended learning is learning that uses a combination of online and face-to-face learning activities.  Professor Harris gave us an overview of what blended learning is and some of the ways that we might think about using it in the classroom.

Some of the important points that Professor Harris suggested we consider when thinking about using blended learning:

  • Online technologies allow for different learning opportunities for student and those can take many forms – but don’t design your class around the technology.
  • The kinds of decisions that we must make as instructors about whether and how to incorporate blended learning should keep student learning goals at the forefront of these decisions.
  • Make sure that blended learning is based on what we want students to learn – both knowledge and skills.
  • It’s about understanding that our students learn in different ways and figuring out the best ways for different students to learn.

Professor Harris concluded her presentation by encouraging faculty to ask “Is it worth it?” when considering incorporating a particular online technique or exercise in the classroom.  To answer that question, she recommended asking, Will this learning activity…

  1. Help us to do something not possible otherwise and/or
  2. Help us to do something better?

Using a particular technology isn’t as important as the pedagogy itself, and answering the above questions help to re-focus the goal on helping students learn the best ways that they can.

The next community eLearning meeting will be about recording video for eLearning.  If you’re interested in learning more about eLearning at W&M, check out the eLearning blog.


About Kim Mann

Kim Mann is the editor and a writer for the Academic Technology Blog. She earned her BA in English from the University of Minnesota in 2003 and her MA in American Studies from William & Mary in 2009, and her PhD in American Studies at the College in 2014. Her research is on technology, the interface, and the body in mid-twentieth century science fiction.