What is Blended Learning?
Blended Learning (BL) has been extensively used in Higher Education for many years. With advancements in computer technologies, students now have new ways to access and interact with knowledge and people. However, new information and communication technologies on their own do not necessarily lead to good learning experiences. Good pedagogy and well-designed courses are crucial.
At HKUST, BL is defined as a blend of online and face-to-face teaching aimed at enhancing student learning. In a blended course, students typically acquire fundamental conceptual knowledge online and then apply, analyze, or evaluate it through classroom activities to achieve higher levels of learning outcomes. The online component of a blended course is usually delivered through a Learning Management System, which includes video lectures, online activities, and online assessments. The face-to-face component on campus includes interactive exercises, group tasks, projects, and discussions. We recommend replacing 30-50% of contact hours with the online component for self-study and keeping the remaining 50-70% of contact hours for course instructors’ face-to-face teaching.
Why do it?
Blended courses offer advantages over the traditional form of didactic lecture where learning is seen as a one-way dissemination during classroom time. Both teaching staff and students’ experiences can be enriched through an active blended learning approach.
With blended courses, basic concepts can be taught through online video lectures, online interactive exercises, and online discussions in a self-paced, asynchronous mode. Students’ mastery of lower-level knowledge can be assessed through online/in-class assessments. The traditional classroom time can then be transformed into highly interactive sessions where students can apply what they have learned online to a real situation or develop their higher-order thinking through the interactions between instructors-students or among their peers.
Moreover, the high-quality online components developed can also be used for MOOC delivery, enhancing faculty outreach, and increasing the university's reputation.
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