Blended learning a mixed blessing

“It attempts to give the university what our official view of blended learning is,” said Students’ Union Vice-President Academic Laura Schultz. “It clarifies the positives of blended learning and the concerns we feel students have. It reflects the positive and negative aspect of blended learning.”

‘Garrison believes this approach to teaching combines the strengths of online learning and traditional teaching methods.

“Face-to-face learning is a fast paced verbal discourse that is exciting, motivating, and engaging,” he said. “The online experience is asynchronous. We can read a permanent text and respond to it in a permanent way.”

Schultz is more ambivalent.

“I have mixed feelings about blended learning,” said Schultz. “There are some aspects that are good, but on the same token, it is taking away from face to face time in class. That takes away from learning.”

Garrison stresses that blended learning must be properly implemented and well designed in order to function properly.

“From a student’s perspective, they must take increasing responsibility for their learning,” said Garrison. “Students are more intimately involved in their learning, the purpose is to enhance the quality of the learning experience.”

Garrison understands the hesitation professors have when it comes to blended learning.

“They are quite rightly skeptical, but the majority of people are open to blended learning, especially if it is better for them and their students,” he said.

Both Garrison and Schultz agree that ensuring quality education is paramount.

“We want to facilitate and sustain a community of inquiry,” said Garrison. “The real pay-off of blended learning is as a catalyst to get us to try new things.”

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