Will It Blend? Final Reflections -Edtech 522

In this final class post, we were asked to blog about a significant learning experience from the semester. I have to say I was fairly surprised by the specific needs of creating and implementing a hybrid or blended course.  Call it ignorance if you wish, but I think it was more about my orientation to teaching and learning.

I realized as we studied the blended course models that I had very little background in teaching face-to-face. My strengths and experience as both an instructor and student have been in fully online environments for the most part. I also have a strong bias against any course that requires me to drive to a location and sit in a room  two times a week from 7:30pm to 10:00 pm. I simply won’t do that anymore and I don’t think students in general want to do that anymore.  My presence in a fully online graduate program speaks volumes in terms of my preferences and I really have a hard time understanding the attraction or purpose of fully grounded classes. Workshops, conferences, seminars…that I can take, but a fully face-to-face learning experience for me wastes too much precious time!

So blending the best of these two methods seems ideal, but I didn’t take into account the need for specific planning and -yes, I’ll say it – training to facilitate the classroom experience in conjunction with the online experience. If I had been asked to teach a hybrid course prior to taking EdTech522, I think I would have failed miserably in the grounded portion of the course. Clearly I have some work to do to understand the transition and to find the activities and strategies that I would be comfortable with. I think I need to observe some fully grounded courses again as well as hybrid courses ( the face-to-face portion ) and try to pick out those strategies that will lend themselves to blending – learn more about how to facilitate active learning activities and how to help faculty become comfortable with a blending process. I have credibility with my peers as an online instructor, but need some street cred in the “other” format.

In short, while I’ve had the chance to experience excellent online teaching in my graduate courses, I have a gap in understanding the world of teaching face-to-face and need to find some exemplars to observe and learn from.   When I have a better grasp on what works in the grounded classroom, I’ll have a better idea of what will blend.