Design for online and blended learning
Design – what an inspiring and thoughtful term. For me design means structures, frames, forms, colors, shapes, moves, sounds – everything that helps to put things in their places and to communicate about useful meanings, and offer functionalities that are on demand. Now looking back our discussions and work within the group on design for online and blended learning it is clear that we were exactly looking for research-based guides, and thinking how with an audiovisual story to communicate the essentials of design.
We were asked not to design a new course but merely to discuss what a teacher can face in a course, and how to reply to challenges of different kinds. Our approach was again to create a story – this time a short movie with a beginning, twist and resolution parts.
While doing collaboratively the movie I got the biggest insight so far during the course. Some hints of this already came in the previous topic, but now it was evident. A group of people that have never physically met, but only online–and that have diverse backgrounds–can create a movie to communicate about the essence of online teacher’s tactics in just few days. Our group members added different kinds of elements – ranging from figures to video clips, and from spoken text (produced with a text-to-speech system) to music.
We all then iteratively improved the transitions between clips, edited and added texts, improved formatting and compositions, and essentially improved the story. Thus by doing online collaboration our group of teachers got insight of the essences of online course design, and essentially both figured out and communicated what one can expect when running an online course – especially in the crucial twist part of the story. Out of those I raise here two for me important points that I also added to our group’s movie:
- How to address social challenges in a course? Answer: create a community of learners Interact and encourage to interact
- How to address administrational and management challenges? Answer: provide mile stones and check points & use well-tested structures and platforms
The community aspect I have discussed previously in my reflective feed, so here I will concentrate on the second point. I like metaphors, and a mile stone is a pretty good metaphor. Learning is here seen as a road with changing sceneries, and mile stones help to see how far has the learner got in her journey to final destination. Teacher provides the check points to let learners voice out their possible concerns, thus allowing to help when it is crucially needed to continue the journey.
Let us all continue our journeys together, enjoying the changing sceneries, communicative mile stones and revealing check points.
Thanks for reading! Happy to hear your comments 🙂