I remember the exact moment I got sold on blended learning. My multimedia boot camp course met Monday mornings, most weeks with tech-based assignments due. My Sundays became increasingly bogged down with emails, instant message chats and even the occasional call as students wrestled the demons of HTML, video editing and page design.
My husband became increasingly grumpy. What had been set aside as family day had descended into hour upon hour of fielding individual questions. I knew there had to be a better way.
Enter: the tech troubleshooting wiki. I set up a site where students could pose a question to the group. My teaching assistants, I and even other students would post answers. The best part was the questions were archived, so students could check earlier answers before posting something new.
My Sunday digital traffic dropped to almost nothing, and my happy husband returned.
At its base, this is all blended learning is: improving teaching by using technology to solve problems when in-person instruction isn’t optimal. The models vary from simple touches like my wiki to massive tech-based courses. But in the end, we have means now to blend the best of our live instruction with the most fitting digital tools to augment students’ learning.
I’ve since abandoned that wiki in favor of a Facebook group. Technology never stands still, so neither can we. This EdShift special series is designed to help everyone see how blended approaches can benefit instructors and students.
No Chalkboard Needed: J-Schools Experiment with Blended Learning, by Katherine Krueger
How to Use Blended Learning to Get Over Not Knowing, by Beatriz Wallace
The Real Legacy of MOOCs: Better Introductory Courses, by Joshua Kim
Looking to Flip Your Classroom? Turn to Facebook, by Steve Fox
Flip Your Classroom and Your Attitude, by Mark Johnson
Shifting Teaching from Classroom to Online: Your Digital Toolbox, by Vicki Krueger
Mediatwits #128: How Blended Learning Fits into the Future of Education, hosted by Mark Glaser, with guests Katy Culver, Kelvin Thompson, Mark E. Johnson and Andrew Lih
What It Takes to Go ‘Digital First’ in Communication Law, by Erica Salkin
Remix: Put Data Journalism into Every Entry-Level J-School Class, by Kathleen Bartzen Culver
10 Lessons Learned from Poynter’s Teachapalooza, by Steve Fox
How to Create a Successful Online Course — Without Muppets, by Steve Doig
Turning a MOOC Into a Network of Schools Collaborating, by Robert Quigley
Course Remix: Meshing Reporting Skills and Multimedia Storytelling, by Rachele Kanigel
Kathleen Bartzen Culver (@kbculver) is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching and researching at the intersection of ethics and digital media practices. Culver also serves as associate director of the Center for Journalism Ethics and education curator for PBS MediaShift.