Design for online and blended learning

person using black and silver laptop computer

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This course, Open Network Learning (ONL), was a strategical choice for me to apply for this spring, as I’m together with my colleges at Karlstad University are planning for the new Dental hygiene program, starting in August. One part of our “new” program is related to the theoretical parts in the courses, that will mainly be online. I have had online course within higher education before, how hard can it be…? (so very wrong of me)

During my stay at the Ohio State University (thanks to a STINT scholarship “Teaching sabbatical”) in the fall 2019, I was impressed by their pedagogical ways to use both face- to face and online as complementary. I also took part in some of their courses about online learning. They had a lot of learning activities keeping the students active and both the teachers and students felt presence the whole course. They were also good at giving the students feedback in different ways. This was of course based on the good preparations by the teachers planning the course design and then progresses to facilitate and direct instructions to ensure the successful resolution of the tasks. This ONL course, have indeed increased my awareness about that this is what Blended learning is about. However, new pedagogical skills, for example about the “Community of Inquiry (COI)” as well as knowledge about digital technology (as a tool), is needed. Here, I can recommend prof. G Salmon (2013) “The Five Stage Model” which focuses on online blended learning, but also Prof. M Cleveland- Inns & D Wilton (2018) and Majeski et al (2018), talking about COI and emotional presence in online learning.

My experience from OSU together with the ONL course have given me opportunities to further develop my knowledge within the area, but also increased my cognitive ability to better understand the possibilities and quality but also challenges with open network learning. This is about a way of think and approach teaching in another way. I think this is one of the most important things that I will bring planning for online courses in the future.

In the time for the Covid-19 pandemic, I have listening to teachers at high school (in Sweden). It has been (still are) difficult and demanding, both for them and their pupils in different ways. Online teaching has been a challenge. However, many teachers have also described that this is also a good thing. For some pupils, the online teaching has been very suitable for their learning. For examples, pupils who are introvert now feeling that they can join the class activities in a better way and they can concentrate on tasks in a better way not being disturbed. Only traditional face- to- face teaching is maybe not the best way for every one? Maybe Blended learning, i.e. a combination of both, is the best way? Actually, this is also something that is discussed now. However, based on my new experience from the area, time to prepare and get the pedagogical skills for this is important, and must be seen as a progress, both for the teachers and pupils/student’s perspective.

Well, I have really realized that online learning and teaching is far more than I thought before, it is another kind of pedagogic which demands knowledge from us as educators. It also takes time to learn and to practice. You also need time to reflect of what Blended learning is for you as a teacher, and in what way you can adapt it for your students. There are some good literature and articles to read, even you tube videos about the area (see ONL web site for different topics).

Take care and be aware!

 

 

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