Universities globally are addressing the challenges of making learning and teaching more accessible and more flexible. The push towards greater flexibility of learning, supported by existing and emerging technologies, is substantially being driven by students who increasingly seek to engage in learning when and where they choose. UWS is leveraging the opportunities provided by technologies to support learners, many of whom are digitally literate, frequent users of mobile devices, and seeking highly interactive, visual, immediate, and socially engaging learning. At UWS there is a strategic and systematic approach to combining times and modes of learning, integrating the best aspects of face-to-face and online interactions for each discipline, using appropriate ICTs.
Initially, careful planning and consideration needs to be taken before creating a 'blended' unit. ICT’s should be integrated as tools which enable the achievement of learning outcomes and in doing so allow for flexible, inclusive and authentic learning experiences for students.
As a starting point, you may need to determine:
- what learning outcomes would you like your students to achieve?
- what, and where, are the learning activities?
- what will students do online?
- what will students to on-campus, or on-site?
- what learning resources will students need?
- what learner supports are required?
These key questions form part of the process for designing a unit for blended learning. This process is detailed in the guide Designing your Unit for Blended Learning (PDF, 96.49 KB) (opens in a new window) and describes five steps involved in designing a unit for blended learning:
- Planning for integration of blended learning
- Designing learning activities and assessment, and developing them as required
- Implementing the blended learning design
- Evaluating the effectiveness of your blended learning designs
- Making improvements for the next time you teach your unit
Blended learning can increase access and flexibility for learners, increase level of active learning, and achieve better student experiences and outcomes. For teaching staff, blended learning can improve teaching and class management practices. A blend might include:
- face-to-face and online learning activities and formats
- traditional timetabled classes with different modes, such as weekend, intensive, external, trimester
- well established technologies such as lecture capture, and/or with social media and emerging technologies
- simulations, group activities, site-based learning, practicals