Presentation Title

Blended Learning: Structured and Streamlined

Streaming Media

Submission Type

5-minute Lightning Rounds

Abstract

This presentation describes a blended learning technique for quickly providing meaningful feedback on writing projects and other assignments that require nuanced analysis. This technique, based on short-answer assignments that students complete independently, can be implemented within a traditional course, using technology and resources commonly available, or in a less-traditional blended environment. The presentation will also explain how to integrate the short-answer assignments into the structure of a course, using a flow chart to show how small exercises, face-to-face-meetings, mid-length scaffolding work, and the ultimate full-length paper function as inputs and outputs of each other.

Start Date

5-22-2019 4:30 PM

End Date

5-22-2019 4:35 PM

Description

Blended learning aims to provide frequent feedback, but in courses that ask students for nuanced analysis, a challenge is that software isn’t available to provide auto-answer grading, and commenting on student writing in a traditional way would be overly time-consuming.

This presentation describes specific, practical blended learning techniques for providing feedback that is frequent, helpful, and quickly delivered—without over-burdening instructors. It will also describe a process for integrating these internet-based techniques with traditional writing assignments. The techniques and integrated process can be implemented with the technology available in most college courses—a learning management system (LMS) and student laptops—without asking instructors to dramatically reconceptualize assignments or to devote a more than average amount of time to designing lessons and providing feedback. The presenter first designed this “structured and streamlined” approach for helping students acquire skills in research-based writing, but the framework and techniques could be adapted to other learning goals.

A key element of the process is short answer assignments that conform to core blended learning concepts: students work independently, at their own pace, and the work is internet based. The presentation describes

  • How to write short-answer questions that facilitate quick but helpful feedback
  • How to connect the questions to larger course goals
  • The logistics of delivering and collecting the assignments
  • How to use the results of the assignment to make adjustments to future lesson plans and other coursework

These short-answer assignments are connected to other course activities: mid-length scaffolding assignments and full-length papers are interspersed with face-to-face meetings. Each phase has inputs from other phases and provides outputs to subsequent phases. A visualization will be displayed that shows the connection between these phases.

The “structured and streamlined” approach has been developed in a single writing course over the past few semesters at Temple University with good preliminary results:

  • Increased the frequency of engagement
  • Provided more regular feedback
  • Identified individual student problems
  • Roughly measured overall class progress
  • Reinforced key concepts

These techniques and the process for integrating them within elements of a traditional course are not without potential pitfalls and limitations, which will also be discussed. Participants will leave encouraged to think of how to mitigate these issues as well as how to improve the process and adapt it to other teaching goals and other technology.

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May 22nd, 4:30 PM May 22nd, 4:35 PM

Blended Learning: Structured and Streamlined

This presentation describes a blended learning technique for quickly providing meaningful feedback on writing projects and other assignments that require nuanced analysis. This technique, based on short-answer assignments that students complete independently, can be implemented within a traditional course, using technology and resources commonly available, or in a less-traditional blended environment. The presentation will also explain how to integrate the short-answer assignments into the structure of a course, using a flow chart to show how small exercises, face-to-face-meetings, mid-length scaffolding work, and the ultimate full-length paper function as inputs and outputs of each other.