THE SWANSEA UNIVERSITY BLENDED LEARNING PILOT
Swansea University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The Higher Education sector In the United Kingdom has seen significant changes in recent years with higher students fees, removal of the cap on student numbers and the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework to benchmark teaching quality across the country. Swansea University management has recognised these fast-changing and complex demands on the HE sector and has responded by introducing strategy, organisational changes and initiatives. These have included a teaching and scholarship academic career pathway, a focus on improving training and recognition for staff innovation in teaching practice.
One of the effects of these interventions was organic growth in the use of blended approaches, showing positive student feedback and the emerging evidence of improved performance. These positive effects aligned with sectoral developments in independent learning, student co-creation, and enhanced digital capabilities. However, the change to increased adoption of such online learning approaches led to broader considerations of how the institution should best support it, how to manage the risk of unintended consequences and consistency of practice issues and the impact on IT services in terms of software systems and cybersecurity.
To provide answers to these considerations and to support further growth an institution-wide pilot project was designed and ran from August 2017 to March 2019. The design of the Blended Pilot project was such that it maintained the spirit and freedom of the previous organic growth but wrapped institutional support around it, continuing the natural innovation and departmental ownership. Staff volunteers wanting to trial blended learning were encouraged, trained and given access to appropriate hardware and software tools.
In this work, we will present the outputs of the pilot, where over 50 academic volunteers converted 90 modules to a blended learning format reaching over 6,555 students. We will describe a range of achieved outputs and the lessons learned that will help institutions wishing to support or increase the use of blended learning successfully.
Keywords: Blended Learning, Flipped Learning, Active Learning, TEL.