I am working through a blended unit plan right now as part of my Sloan Consortium “Blended Mastery” online course. I am coming up with some cool ideas for how to use Canvas and Google Docs as well as videos of lectures to accomplish goals I used to accomplish only face-to-face. However, I was initially drawn to this research and our Patterson grant group because I wanted to see how blended learning could help me transition from 4 nights of HW a week to 3, from 4 class meetings to three. I wanted to know if this could save me time.
What I’ve realized, however, is that most of the online assessments (both formative and summative) would be completed by students outside of class, i.e. in homework time. And that (HW time) is what is being slashed with the new 5-day week. Our face-to-face (F2F) time is pretty much the same (though some color blocks are losing 10 minutes a week).
I see the great value in moving things around. For example, moving in-class lectures to out-of-class videos will condense required content to the essentials (more efficient) and will allow students to reference and review that content at any time from Canvas. It also frees up class time for more interactive experiences. However, in making that switch, I must be aware of potential negative consequences. This past year, I was having students read content in a textbook, then we’d do an interactive lecture in class to go over key points. That had the benefits of A) forcing students to first try and pick out the points of greatest significance from the reading themselves, and then B) having that same content reinforced. The “flipped” model takes away the role of the student in analyzing the text, and removes that reinforcement (unless of course they choose to review the video, but even that is the same information conveyed the same way, not two unique casts on the same material).
Thus, while my Sloan course is prompting me to come up with lots of great ideas for online assessments and activities, it isn’t helping me (yet) to solve my problems of how to cover the same amount of material in 25% less homework time. In fact, I want more homework time so they can do the cool online activities and explorations.
Would love to hear your thoughts…