Blendkit 2014: Reaction to Chapter 2

Well, I am playing catch-up. This is my reaction to Chapter 2 for the Blendkit 2014 course. In summary, this chapter discusses some of the challenges related to teaching and learning in a blended environment, provides ideas for types of roles an instructor might take in a blended course and shares recommendations and examples about engaging with students in a blended course.

One of the main points that stuck out to me was the necessity for "high impact activities" and that it is through interaction in the activity(ies) with the instructor and peers that meaningful learning occurs. When I think back to the courses in which I learned the most, it was those in which I was able to work with peers and receive feedback/input from the instructor. One of the challenges in a blended learning environment is disconnection the learner may feel with the course, instructor and peers. Providing opportunities to interact with peers in a more informal manner, setting expectations for polite democratic discourse, providing summary of shared ideas and providing timely and pertinent feedback can help a learner to feel involved in a course.

Of the possible instructor roles the "studio or atelier learning" resonated most with me as a preferred teaching style. I do realize though that this is context/subject dependent. When I think about developing a course for digital storytelling or integrating tech, I think that this model would work. I see more of a flipped model where the learners interact with the theoretical materials outside of class and then we use the class time as workshop or lab time to work on creative projects and to discuss the materials and experiences that the learners are having as they work.

I thought that the recommendations toward the end of the chapter about helping learners feel engaged and motivated in the course were sound. They echo the experiences I have had in courses that have and have not employed them. I think too a key point is recognizing for what audience a student is writing/creating and providing opportunities for doing so for different audiences.

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