Strategies for large scale blended learning initiatives: Training, teaching and management

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Abstract
Since 2003, the College of Fine Arts (COFA), The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia has successfully developed and implemented online learning and teaching training programs. In 2008, an increase of interest amongst the Faculty in the potential of blending learning, prompted COFA Online (COFA's elearning unit), to conduct a special Blended Learning Fellowship Training Program to support staff wishing to develop and implement their own blended learning curricula. This program was to serve as a pilot test before a wider implementation of blended learning strategies across the faculty. A total of 35 academics participated in the program, which comprised blended curriculum development, online teaching, and online class management techniques. A total of 11 blended courses across a range of programs and stages were developed, involving 1185 students. During the program and the teaching semester, comparative analysis of different courses in the program was conducted in the context of comprehensive evaluation data, and collegial discussion within the community of involved academics. Whilst the program was an overall success, revealing several effective blended learning strategies, it also highlighted several problematic issues relevant to any large-scale implementation of blended learning. In particular: - The traditional roles and expectations of teachers and students were challenged, revealing particular adaptive difficulties shared by both groups - Balance of workload and time management were key for both teachers and students - The 'ripple effect' of blended learning upon academic management and administrative strategies must be anticipated to ensure this form of teaching integrates well with existing practice. This paper discusses these issues and outlines what teachers, administrators and students can expect when adapting to a blended learning environment, and provides a solid foundation for further research into management, training and teaching issues surrounding large scale blended learning applications in tertiary institutions.
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McIntyre, Simon
Watson, Karin
Larsen, Soren
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2009
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Conference Paper
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download McIntyre-Watson-Larsen Blended Paper.pdf 462.38 KB Adobe Portable Document Format
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