Blended Learning at the University of
Wolverhampton is an approach to learning and teaching which
combines and aligns learning undertaken in face-to-face sessions
with learning opportunities created online. A full definition might
be 'the use of technologies to extend and enhance the student
learning opportunities through the provision of tasks and materials
which enrich, and are aligned with, face-to-face learning.'
Many learning and teaching encounters can
count as Blended Learning and you will find many examples on the
Blended Learning website www.wlv.ac.uk/blu.
The following points give a
flavour of blend:
Resources, by which we mean, written
documents, links, video etc, which are designed to support the
knowledge base of a module, or its subject content, can be
available through WOLF, or PebblePad. These can be used to
prepare learners in advance of a face to face session, or provided
extended and additional information, as well as being used as
reinforcement, revision or research for use in face to face
learning. Students can access these online materials at any time or
place to suit their own learning style. This clearly improves
accessibility and flexibility of learning. However, students will
still need the face to face contact in order to contextualize all
the different information provided. Online resources should be seen
as an aid to learning which aim to engage and attract different
learning styles and expectations of students.
Even when broadcasts of complete lectures have
been made available online, attendance did not seem to suffer – see
Harley et al (2003) Costs, Culture, and Complexity: An Analysis of
Technology Enhancements in a Large Lecture Course at UC
Berkeley (pdf - 969k-opens in a new window)
Providing a variety of ways to learn can help
students to design their own learning experience. Giving students’
ownership of this experience reduces the risk of low retention
rates within a module. Some ways that Blended Learning can help
retention rates by identifying a student who may be struggling to
Blended learning does not always have to occur
within the classroom. The value of this style of learning is that
it can be used in a large variety of ways to support a large
variety of students in a large variety of subjects. An advantage of
Blended Learning is that you can encourage individual or
collaborative online out of class activities that lead on from the
classroom experience and therefore not requiring regular access to
computers during class time.
All registered Wolverhampton students have
automatic access to WOLF and PebblePad through their University
login details. This includes full and part time students and
students studying on a HE course at a partner college.
Occasionally, bandwidth issues may hamper
students being able to access materials and resources externally.
However, this is easily overcome by the file size of the resource
being kept to a minimum.
Yes, external verifiers can access work
through a PebblePad gateway or by being given access to a WOLF
topic. Both of these processes require a username and password
which issued directly by the system (PebblePad) or by completing
the necessary paperwork (WOLF).
There is a small time consideration to be
taken into account when creating any new resources and learning
tasks be they paper or online based. However, setting aside the
time to create online learning tasks and resources will not only
give you completely reusable learning tasks, but will also provide
you with a wide range of transferable skills to be used in other
areas of content design. Also, why not contact your LIS
representative and ask if they are able to help?
It is important to be aware of digital
copyright laws and how to ensure your digitised material doesn’t
infringe copyright. To find out more you can attend the
development session ‘You can’t use that, it’s mine! A brief dip
into the shark infested waters of digital copyright’
There is a good animation considering
Intellectual Property Rights in their use and re-use of interactive
Web 2.0 technologies available on the JISC
Many useful, copyright-cleared sources of
authentic video and visual materials are freely available
– for a list ot these see the Use of
Video section on the module content pages.
Finally, the resources pages of your
Centre may well also have ready made tasks, resources,
computer-based questions etc
Of course! No-one wants to create unnecessary
work. If the resources are still valid, correct and applicable then
there is place for them. For instance, try putting a PowerPoint
onto WOLF and asking students to discuss the content. This is
providing both online resources and creating a formative assessment
using an existing resource but in a slightly different way.
Both WOLF and PebblePad come with very
comprehensive help documentation to support the student in their
use of the technology. IT services can also provide some technical
help through ringing extension 2000. However, the most effective
way to support students is the member of staff running the topic or
module. Please see the next question for the range of support
available to staff.
The Blended Learning Unit www.wlv.ac.uk/blu run a variety of
workshops and events that cover all aspects of available learning
technology. The unit is also happy to work with individual module
teams to personalise the training and support required.
Additionally, staff development is provided through the Institute
for Learning Enhancement. A full list of programmes and events can
be found on the personnel website.
Please visit the Reference page for
all Blended Learning references.
University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1LY
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