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Making Blended Learning Truly “Blended”. Mary F. Stuck, SUNY Oswego Mary C. Ware, SUNY Cortland 13 th Sloan-C Conference, Online Learning November 9, 2007. Outline. Presenters’ background What is a blended/hybrid course? Institutional involvement Blended benefits Seamless transition

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making blended learning truly blended

Making Blended Learning Truly “Blended”

Mary F. Stuck, SUNY Oswego

Mary C. Ware, SUNY Cortland

13th Sloan-C Conference, Online Learning

November 9, 2007

  • Presenters’ background
  • What is a blended/hybrid course?
  • Institutional involvement
  • Blended benefits
  • Seamless transition
  • Costs of blended courses
  • Benefits revisited
  • Things to take away
presenters prior experience
Presenters’ Prior Experience
  • 8 blended courses:
  • Ware taught blended courses Summers 05-07, Fall 06, 07
  • Stuck did blended courses Summers 06 and 07, Fall 06
  • Graduate work in Instructional Development – Syracuse University (Ware)
your ideas
Your Ideas …
  • What is a blended/hybrid course?
  • Is it different from a web-assisted course?
what is an hybrid course
What IS an hybrid course?
  • A hybrid course is a blend of face-to-face instruction with online learning. In a hybrid course, a significant part of the course learning is online and as a result, the amount of classroom seat-time is reduced.California State University Long Beach
  • "Hybrid" is the name commonly used nationwide to describe courses that combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. Hybrid courses move a significant part of course learning online and, as a result, reduce the amount of classroom seat time.University of Wisconsin Hybrid Course Project
  • (
audience involvement
Audience Involvement
  • Why would you want to do a blended course? (Or why are you doing a blended course?)
  • On what basis would you “split” a blended course?
  • Why?
institutional input
Institutional input …
  • SUNY Oswego: only 1/3 of a blended course may be on line
  • No training for blended (but much for totally online)… Instructional Developer available for “help”
  • Consequences….???
  • SUNY Cortland : has no “rules” governing the balance on on-line and face to face in an hybrid course
  • Little, if any, training -- one instructional developer shared by all faculty users
course design
Course Design
  • Technology competencies: faculty & students
  • Goals & objectives
  • Substantive content
  • Learning activities
course design technological competencies issues
Faculty may be less tech competent than some students!

Dynamic changes in software

Students w/o competencies procrastinate –put off doing software and/or course orientation

Students w/some prior experience with DL don’t familiarize themselves with YOUR design, software, etc.

Course Design: Technological Competencies Issues
course design substantive difficulties

Immediate use of online component required (access syllabus, etc.)

Online discussion following 1st face-to-face


Students don’t do this; ability to expect readings completed for next class compromised

Students haven’t gone into the online course yet to do anything

Course Design-Substantive, Difficulties
course design substantive difficulties1

Expectation of online discussion by all

Expectation of response to others’ postings


Students who claim the need for body language, and facial expressions in discussion

Students who only respond to the opening discussion prompt (as in F2F)

Course Design-Substantive, Difficulties
learning activities

Students must see a connection between F2F and on line (implies more work for faculty in design)

Because of online component, a chance for different types of learning activities (more work for faculty in design)


Students who refuse to “get it” -- the seamless nature of the course

Students’ different learning styles can be addressed

Learning Activities
blended course benefits pedagogical
Blended course benefits:Pedagogical
  • Allows/requires student work outside of class (more efficient use of time)
  • Allows many different modalities of learning
  • Allows everyone to be heard (discussion assignments)
  • Depending on design, allows “real time” addition of materials from “current events”
blended course benefits pedagogical cont d
Blended course benefits:Pedagogical, Cont’d.
  • Depending on design, real time modifications to assignments
  • Continuous contact with students (via discussions, announcements, mail, etc.)
  • Feedback on assignments (easier to read than handwritten comments)
blended course benefits institutional
Blended course benefits:Institutional
  • Perceived availability of brick & mortar classroom space during on-line portions of courses
  • Class meetings can be “held” when weather cancels classes (both our institutions are in areas with very difficult winters)
  • Enrollment management benefits: Students may enroll in blended courses when they might not sign up for a face to face (summer vacation; winter break; winter semester) because of perceived “flexibility” of time or freedom from commuting
audience discussion
Audience Discussion
  • The ideal is “seamless” transition …
  • What does this mean to you?
  • Is it possible?
  • How to achieve it?
soc wst 250
  • Attempts at seamless blended course
  • (Web-assisted:
audience discussion1
Audience Discussion
  • “Costs” of seamless blended courses
  • Benefits of seamless blended courses
  • Benefits to F2F courses from attempts at developing hybrids?
costs of seamless blended courses
“Costs” of seamless blended courses
  • Faculty workload increase
  • Student workload increase
  • All assignments on line, loss of vehicle to learn students’ names
  • Grade distribution compared to other semesters
things to take away
Things to “take away”
  • Collaboration helps – in designing courses and in improving them
  • Training for hybrids is critical – substantive and technological – for both students and faculty
  • “Social presence” and “community” can be lacking in Hybrid courses unless specifically planned for
  • Students may react positively to one aspect of an hybrid course, and react negatively to the other (e.g., the parts may not be seamless to students)
benefits revisited
Benefits Revisited
  • Allows/requires student work outside of class (more efficient use of time)
  • Allows possibility of many different modalities of learning
  • Allows insertion of “current events” into class
  • Allows everyone to be heard (discussion assignments)
  • May foster total rethinking of course to be delivered as hybrid
  • Bourne, J.R., McMaster, E., Rieger, J., & Campbell. J.O. (1997). Paradigms for on-line learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Network, 2(2).
  • Cameron, Brian. “The Effectiveness of Simulation in a Hybrid and Online Networking Courses.” TechTrends 47, No 5 (2003): 18-21. Davies, R.S., & Mendenhall, R. (1998). Evaluation comparison of online and classroom instruction for HEPE 129-Fitness and Lifestyle Management course. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 427752. Dziuban, C. & Moskal, P. (2001). Evaluating distributed learning at metropolitan universities. Educause Quarterly, 24(4), 60-61. Gagne, M., & Shepherd, M. (2001). A comparison between a distance and a traditional graduate accounting class. T.H.E. Journal, 28(9).
  • Gaide, Susan. “NYU’s Virtual College Creates Its Own Kind of Hybrid.” Distance Education Report 8 No 10 (2004): 1-6.
  • “Hybrid Courses – Hidden Dangers?” Distance Education 8 No 7 (2004): 3-6.
resources cont d
Resources Cont’d.
  • Meyer, K. A. (2002). Quality in distance education. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 490357. Accessed through www.eric.ed.govMiller, B. (2000). Comparison of large-class instruction versus online instruction: Age does make a difference. Accessed at
  • Oblender, Thomas E. “A Hybrid Course Model: One Solution to the High Online Drop- Out Rate.” Learning & Leading With Technology 29 No 6 (2002): 42-46
resources cont d1
Resources Cont’d.
  • Russell, T.L. (1999). The no significant difference phenomenon. Raleigh: North Carolina State University. Schulman, A.H., & Sims, R.L. (1999). Learning in an online format versus an in-class format: An experimental study. T.H.E. Journal, 26(22). Wegner, S.B., Holloway, K.C., & Garton, E.M. (1999). The effects of internet-based instruction on student learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 3(2). Young, J.R. (2002, March 22). “Hybrid” teaching seeks to end the divide between traditional and online instruction. Chronicles of Higher Education, 48(28), A33.
community of inquiry
Community of Inquiry
  • Ideal dynamics of any course involving a distance component:

Community of Inquiry with

  • Cognitive Presence
  • Teaching Presence
  • Social Presence