While there are many advantages of using a blended approach for a course, there are also barriers of which faculty should be aware before starting in order to be well-informed about the approach on which they are about to begin. Some of these barriers can be avoided by talking with an instructional designer.
BARRIERS FOR FACULTY
- Implementing blended learning requires additional faculty time and effort (Kaleta, et, al., 2007; Lee and Im, 2006; Lefor and Hedberg, 2006).
- Many faculty members incur the additional workload cost because they see the benefits of blended learning for student learning (Starenko et al.,2007).
- Faculty members need to be comfortable with risk-taking: adopting or adapting technologies and pedagogies.
- Faculty members need support from their department, school, campus, and tenure committees.
BARRIERS FOR STUDENTS
- Students can have difficulty learning on their own and not be able to immediately ask questions if they are unsure about the material (Kennedy and Newcombe, 2011).
- Students need to understand what will happen in and out of the classroom when they select a “blended” course.
- Students have the typical barriers related to cost, time, location, available learning & teaching preference.
SEVEN BLENDED LEARNING CHALLENGES FOR UW-MADISON
The following document was created by the 2014-2015 Blended Learning Fellows as a means of documenting work that needs to be done to ensure smooth pathways for blended learning on campus. In May 2015, campus leaders came together to review and approve these challenges and groups have been formed to address these challenges.
1: Instructional Modes
- Identify instructional modes for faculty to designate blended courses within the Course Guide.
- Use these instructional modes to assist campus with evaluation efforts.
2: Seat Time /
- Define policies around reduced seat time for blended courses.
- Define processes around approval of redesign of existing courses that reduce seat time and replace them with blended approaches.
3: COURSE MODE
- Publish information on the blended learning toolkit to help faculty use the Instructor Notes within the Course Guide to communicate their blended learning approaches to help potential students make informed decisions around their preferred instructional mode.
4: Learning Spaces
- Publish guide on Blended Learning Toolkit that helps faculty find and request active learning spaces.
- Determine how and where active classrooms are needed to support “pervasive active learning” on campus.
- Develop credentialing for use of active learning classrooms for faculty who go through blended learning programs.
- Work to integrate credentialing into classroom request process to ensure appropriate uses of these spaces.
5: SUITE OF TOOLS
- Engage Fellows in Unizin/Canvas pilot to evaluate functionality of tool for blended learning approaches.
- Work with TLT-MAG to develop process that reviews functionality of existing suite of tools to evalute gaps for faculty blending their course.
- Work with DoIT and TLT-MAG to develop process to continue to assess tools that could meet blended learning needs and make recommendations for inclusion in campus suite of tools.
- Incorporate existing evaluation resources into Blended Learning Toolkit.
- Have Fellows provide feedback on Online Evaluation Tool conversation.
- Develop institutional ways of evaluating the effectiveness of blended learning efforts – impact on teaching, return on investment, facilitation of institutional goals (i.e. Essential Learning Outcomes / Wisconsin Experience).
- Develop robust, scalable, and sustainable support models for the design, development, delivery, and evaluation of blended learning.
- Identify ways to provide incentives and/or recognition to faculty who want to blend their courses using active learning approaches.