Teacher: Helle Overgaard Larsen
In her course “Research Planning”, Helle has used blended learning with both online activities and face-to-face interaction. Her aim was to create a better, more engaging environment for the students.When Helle learnt about the important of the student activation for learning, she decided to reconstruct the course, to improve the student learning. The way she did that was to have a higher degree of blended learning. With blended learning Helle means a mix of online and face-to-face activities.
Here is how Helle combined face-to-face and online activities:
First of all she used Absalon to support the student’s progression through the course. Each week she made an activity in Absalon, which needed to be completed online before the face-to-face interacting. The students got access to the material and lectures on Absalon, so they can see them in their own time. The material includes reading material and lectures as PowerPoint presentations with speak. In the PowerPoint presentations there are quizzes, where the students can verify that they have understood the material.
In the video Helle will explain to you have to activities fit together.
What was your motivation?
“It was fun”, is the first thing Helle says, adding: “and the course runs regularly so it made sense to invest time in making videos. Had it been a one-off course it wouldn’t have been possible.”
How did you get started?
Other people at IFRO were already teaching online, so for Helle it was an easy decision to build on some of these experiences in her own course. Her colleagues was generally very supportive and gave her a lot of advice.
“I read some literature about blended learning and the didactics involved. I spent quite some time formulating a written plan for how to implement it, got feedback from my colleagues and then got started.” She also points out that she knew the local IT Learning Centre was there to help her along the way.
How did it go?
In general the first run of the revised course – without the lectures – went very well.
“The students had to get used to it at first. They had to understand that there would NOT be lectures in the way they were used to. Instead they had to watch the video lectures before we met. The activities with online reflections and discussions (the students had to reflect on the subjects together online each week) could have been better. Maybe with smaller groups or a different format.”
What was the outcome for you - and the students?
“The students were pleased that they could watch the lectures several times if they needed to. And they really appreciated the opportunity to meet face-to-face for peer review and peer learning. It served to create feeling of belonging to a learning community, and they got a lot out of that.”
“For me it’s been great fun. I will try new things again this year, a little at a time – more videos and maybe padlet.”
How much time did you spend on it?
“A lot. Especially finding and reading up-to-date material on the possibilities and the didactics involved. When I started, this support site for online and blended learning did not exist. That would have been a huge help.”
Helle continues to find and try out new tools to enhance the students’ engagement and learning. The next step will be to have the students produce online material for peer learning and video assignments. She has already enlisted the help of an e-learning consultant from the IT Learning Centre.