Mediatwits #128: How Blended Learning Fits into the Future of Education

    by Fannie Cohen
    August 29, 2014
    Kelvin Thompson from the University of Central Florida, a pioneer in blended learning programs.

    Blended learning is a hybrid mix of online and in-class teaching intended to boost student engagement and bring learning into the 21st century. This method encourages collaboration, discussion and in-person learning in lieu of the traditional lecture format. Teachers integrate technology into the course with online management systems such as Blackboard or Moodle, which provide video lectures, supporting materials, peer messaging and real-time tracking of student progress. Advocates claim the mix of face-to-face and virtual learning better prepares students for their post-collegiate careers. But not all educators are on-board, and not all platforms work as intended.

    On this week’s podcast, which is part of EdShift’s larger Special Series, we’ll discuss blending learning and where it fits into the future of education. Guests include MediaShift’s education curator Katy Culver at the University of Wisconsin, Kelvin Thompson from the University of Central Florida, and Mark E. Johnson, at the University of Georgia. Plus, we’ll have Mediatwits regular Andrew Lih from American University, with MediaShift’s Mark Glaser hosting and Fannie Cohen producing.



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    mark-glaser-ISOJ-headshot-150x150Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He is a longtime freelance writer and editor, who has contributed to magazines such as Entertainment Weekly, Wired and Conde Nast Traveler, and websites such as CNET and the Yale Global Forum. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Renee and son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.


    AndrewLih_270x210Andrew Lih is a new media journalist and associate professor of journalism at the American University School of Communication. He is the author of “The Wikipedia Revolution” (Hyperion 2009, Aurum UK 2009) and is a noted expert on online collaboration and journalism. He is a veteran of AT&T Bell Laboratories and in 1994 created the first online city guide for New York City (www.ny.com). Follow him on Twitter @fuzheado.


     culver_kathleen_5x7Kathleen Bartzen Culver is an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication and associate director of the Center for Journalism Ethics. Long interested in the implications of digital media on journalism and public interest communication, Culver focuses on the ethical dimensions of social tools, technological advances and networked information. She combines these interests with a background in law and the effects of boundary-free communication on free expression. She also serves as visiting faculty for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and education curator for PBS MediaShift.

    120707_mugs_0166Mark E. Johnson is the Senior Lecturer of Photojournalism at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and is a visiting faculty member at the Poynter Institute. At Grady, he has lead numerous digital initiatives, including the Department of Journalism’s Digital Literacy video tutorials and chairs the college’s Information Resources Committee helping to find solutions to digital needs across all departments. Prior to moving south in 2005, he worked as a photojournalist and director of photography for newspapers, wire services and magazines from North Carolina up to his native Massachusetts.

    kelvin headshotKelvin Thompson is an administrator and faculty member at UCF (the University of Central Florida). Kelvin developed the BlendKit Course open courseware, has facilitated three professional development MOOCs on the topic of blended learning, and is the 2015 Program Chair for the OLC Blended Learning Conference and Workshop. You can follow him on Twitter @kthompso.


    The traditional lecture model is getting disrupted as universities integrate multimedia learning into their classrooms. Massive Open Online Courses, otherwise known as MOOCs, reached peak hype two years ago, as many predicted this model would change the higher education landscape. The integration of online courses is seeping gradually into higher ed, and has already transformed the way introductory classes are taught. Some say this change in course structure gives students an increased sense of value, ultimately increasing overall retention.

    Blended learning has also helped close the feedback loop between professors and students. Techniques such as classroom flipping (doing homework in class and watching lectures at home) and real-time polling of students help teachers better engage with their students.
    During the #EdShift Twitter chat this week on blended learning, Mark Johnson reiterated that hybrid learning is about shifting the focus from one-way lecturing to a more holistic engagement.

    Fannie Cohen is the managing producer for the Mediatwits Podcast. Her work has appeared on WNYC New York Public Radio and SiriusXM. You can follow her @yofannie

    Tagged: edshift education educationshift higher education hybrid learning journalism school

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