Faculty Profiles and Testimony
Chris Penna: English
If a flipped classroom in one in which “courses . . . combine face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning and reduced classroom contact hours (reduced seat time)” ((Dziuban, Hartman and Moskal, 2), then in some respects, a literature course is by default very close to flipped classroom. That is, most professors expect their students to engage in some out-of-classroom instruction before meeting as a group in the class. While this may not necessarily mean “online instruction,” it does at a minimum require that students read that day’s assigned texts before coming to class. The ideal classroom meeting then becomes a professor-guided discussion of the salient issues that arose from the students’ reading, a way to step back and help them see the bigger relationships between that day’s discussion and the larger trajectory of the course. The question then, is how do you further “flip” a course like that. For me the answer was to have students engage in with digital, multimedia material outside of class, material that would provide a deeper context for the readings that they already were doing.
Ellen Monk: Management Information Systems
Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. Many university professors are adopting blended learning in hopes of increasing student engagement. With today’s technology for both online and classroom delivery, creating a blended learning class can be achievable by all. My goals for teaching with blended learning were multifaceted. (1) I wanted to put the onus of learning onto my students and help them become self and lifelong learners; (2) past research has shown that blended learning often results in increased student satisfaction, a goal of mine; (3) some research hinted at foreign students’ increased success with blended learning. Since the College of Business and Economics attracts many foreign students, I was hoping to engage that group further; (4) computer lab space is at a premium and alleviating some strain on scheduling might help other classes. With the support of the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL), I embarked on a study to compare my face-to-face MIS class with one that was blended. Through a series of quantitative comparisons of grades and personal interviews conducted by CTAL, I was able to make some conclusions about teaching with blended learning.
Jen Nauen: Biology
One of the first questions that comes to mind when one is thinking of designing a hybrid or online course is: What digital resources will I use? Current textbooks come with a plethora of digital resources including question banks, animations, slides and interactive resources. Most instructors still, however, see the need to create their own digital resources, including course videos.
Dustyn Roberts: Mechanical Engineering
All departments within the College of Engineering just went through an exercise encouraged by the dean to identify how we can better prepare our students to be ideal 21st century engineers. Part of this preparation includes access to new and emerging technology. However, in the Mechanical Engineering department, many of our core courses are still taught in lecture only format, with little to no technology integration. My participation with this [Faculty Learning Community on Blended Learning] initiative was a first step in seeing how I might develop hybrid, online, and/or technology-enabled curriculum delivery.
Amanda Jansen: Education
Coursework in the School of Education is designed to support prospective teachers in developing the knowledge, dispositions, and skills needed to be effective teachers (specifically, I teach mathematics education coursework to prospective elementary and middle school teachers). One dilemma faced by those of us who teach in pre-professional degree programs is integrating coursework into their professional field experiences, both conceptually and pragmatically. Conceptually, we want to provide opportunities for the students (prospective teachers) to learn and apply the most empirically grounded, theoretically substantive, and up-to-date research-based ideas and practices. Pragmatically, we want to design course assignments and structures for the course that integrate seamlessly into their professional demands so that the prospective teachers’ learning at the university and learning in their field placement (professional context of K-12 classrooms) is simultaneously enhanced.
Asima Saad Maura: Foreign Languages
In courses such as Spanish, in which listening and speaking are essential in the development of language acquisition, blended or hybrid learning can be a positive teaching tool. A beneficial aspect of hybridity is that it truly enhances the teaching-learning experience by its mere continuation after the face-to-face class has ended. In addition to the traditional classroom instruction, throughout the semester students are able to watch at home a number of pertinent brief lessons, Clasecitas, of less than 8 minutes prior to attending the next class. This added review –done in an iPad, using program or app called Educreations— provides ample in-class time for more productive, in person, oral communication, which is so crucially important in order to polish a foreign language. When students first arrive to class, having seen and heard any particular Clasecita, they usually feel confident, not to mention more prone to speaking among themselves as well as to asking questions specific to the material to which they were exposed beforehand. This type of blended learning offers the extra opportunity to develop not only the students’ reading skills; most importantly it also improves their listening comprehension abilities. Spanish learners get to see how words are spelled or how verbs are conjugated simultaneously with hearing the correct sounds. By the end of the semester, when the students’ final video assignment is due, they are truly comfortable, plus their pronunciation has become admirably better. Together with the audiovisual recordings, the use of UD-Capture results in an additional bonus to students who might have missed class or who want to review further. While the actual preparation of the Clasecitas consumes time, once done, they can be employed repeatedly, even in different courses where the same grammar and/or vocabulary nuances require more explanation. In terms of hybrid or blended learning, the computer-based activities mentioned above have proven an extremely valuable review in my Spanish grammar courses; the short videos represent the advantageous chance of seeing and hearing the language outside the classroom as many times as each individual student desires or needs.