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A. Kostas, N. Tapsis, V. Vitsilaki

University of the Aegean (GREECE)
As is the case around the globe, so in Greece there has recently been a great increasing in demand for online distance learning programs on the part of Greek universities, as candidates are seeking to overcome time, space and economic constraints in their postgraduate studies. As a result, a number of new primarily blended-learning courses are being introduced in universities’ curriculum, enriching traditional classroom offerings and freeing up valuable resources thus expanding the offerings to greater numbers of students. With blended learning environments, faculties design programs and courses to mix and match the two teaching modalities, i.e. combining the best of online and face-to-face instruction in order to raise the level of educational quality. Blended learning as an educational method combines diverse pedagogical models and takes advantage of various technologies, offering an overall positive learning experience to students. And the online aspect of blended learning capitalizes on the selection and integration of various tools and technologies into the curriculum, in order to secure quality in educational content design, didactic approaches, interaction, and assessment.

Various studies have tried to investigate aspects of blended learning such as the optimal balance between online and face to face instruction, what is the most appropriate delivery media, which are the attitudes and perceptions of students, etc. In this study, we present postgraduate students’ views and experiences about the use of alternative forms of technologies as means to achieving an effective instructional design in blended-learning courses. More specifically, students of the Postgraduate Program “New Forms of Education and Learning” at the University of the Aegean in Greece, which is implemented though blended learning, were assigned, in the context of their final project for the course “Technologies for e-Learning”, the role of instructional designer with the task of redesigning the curriculum in terms of the actual and proposed use of alternative new technologies in 5 main axis: content development, teaching, communication, interaction and assessment. The systematic content analysis of the students' designs were supplemented by their completion of a partially-structured questionnaire through which a combination of qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Our combined analysis of the above resulted in an evaluation and classification of various technologies on the part of students based on their acquired knowledge and experience. The results of this study not only provide us with essential feedback about how students experience and assess technology for e-Learning, but also drive the actual redesign of academic courses in terms of ICT usage in a more realistic and effective approach.