A TOOLKIT FOR BLENDED LEARNING
The new generation of university students view online tools and resources as integrated parts of their daily lives. The results of a survey concerning the use of university supported LMS (Learning Management Systems) conducted in Lund University in 2009 showed, however, that only very few students used the LMS platform to communicate and collaborate with their peers. Although students use web 2.0 tools for communication and collaboration, they do not use the closed environments that the university provides for this. Many teachers are not aware of the possibilities that free online tools and resources could offer in terms of helping them to enhance the quality of teaching and learning activities or host an – understandable - suspicion towards using technology for technology's sake.
The students enrolled in programmes and courses offered at the Faculty of Humanties and Theology at Lund University have fewer classroom hours than many of the students enrolled in courses elsewhere at the university and the teachers there often struggle with the need to make the few lectures and seminars that they have at their disposal as focused and concentrated as possible. The students thus need well planned and structured activities to engage in outside the classroom in order for them to be able to come prepared to class and to process, discuss and come to new conclusions together with their peers between classroom sessions. Free online tools/resources can be used as platforms for such activities, both in campus and online courses/programmes.
In this presentation, we will present a pilot project within the Faculty of Humanities and Theology consisting of a series of workshops for teachers, a “toolkit”, with the Media Wheel – a representation of how different online tools can afford different learning activities inspired by Laurillard´s Rethinking University teaching (2002) - as a simple underlying pedagogical framework. The workshop series is conducted during Spring 2011 and consists of six sessions:
Learn to make your own screen recording (screencast)
Introduction to e-meetings (Adobe Connect Pro)
Advanced e-meetings (Adobe Connect Pro)
Guide to Google Docs and Google Maps
Quizzes, flashcards, collaborative quiz-tools
Using Facebook for collaboration
The workshops are not only intended to help the teachers with the practical and technical issues related to using these tools and applications, but also to invite thoughts on how they - together with their students - can start building a flexible online learning environment consisting of open resources, which can be tailored to the learning outcomes of the course, the learning activitites intended to help the students reach these outcomes and the students’ individual needs.
In our presentation we will discuss our experiences from the workshop series and the feedback that we have received from the participating teachers. We will also show a suggestion for a development of this toolkit into a complete online version.
Laurillard D (2002). Rethinking university teaching: a framework for the effective use of educational technology (2nd edition) London: Routledge