Blended and online learning

Blended and online learning

A female student texts from her room

Online learning has typically replaced the term ‘e-learning’, and refers to students learning online (via a networked computer or mobile device), on or off-campus. Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle is the main platform used to support online learning.

Blended learning resources

Case studies

The following case studies are largely, but not exclusively, derived from staff engaged with the Blended and Online Learning Development (BOLD) project.

Additional case studies are in the process of being added - please visit this site again soon.

 

Supporting student transitions into and through online learning

As part of the Enhancement Themes activity in 2017, a collaborative project between the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, the University of the Highlands and Islands, and Queen Margaret University (lead institution), resulted in the production of resources for students and their tutors:

Supporting student transitions into and through online learning (Enhancement Themes website)

The project focused on four themes:

  1. Being an effective online learner
  2. Working with others online
  3. Learning effectively with technology
  4. Being a responsible online learner

All resources were produced by students involved in the project; at Glasgow this included Lauren McDougall and Hannah May Todd.

For each theme, the individual resources include:

  • A video representing the student voice
  • A checklist and top tips
  • A reflective activity
  • Further resources

A tutor guide was also produced for staff.


Frequently Asked Questions and Support for Staff

How do I go about designing a blended or online curriculum?

Academic and Digital Development Advisers within LEADS will be happy to discuss your course requirements, and suggest potential ways of structuring your blended or online curriculum. One approach that has been used successfully is the ABC approach to learning design, developed by our colleagues at UCL. This is a paper-based method that allows participants to focus on producing a constructively aligned course, before considering how this may be delivered online.

You may also like to consult the following online guides in Moodle [University of Glasgow access only]:

 

How long will it take to design/develop/deliver an online course?

See this guidance from the Digital Education Unit. This specifies a minimum number of hours, assuming the support of a local learning technologist acting as an instuctional designer.

Online course delivery - new       
       
Category No. of students Hours/week  Total 
Delivering a 10-week, 20-credit online course      
Online Tutoring -monitoring discussion boards (per week): 2 hours for each week of tutoring + 1 hour the following week to conclude   3 30
Assessment brief + marking based on 2 x assignments (30 mins per student on the course per assignment) 30 n/a 30
New materials for each week of the course *   10 100
Live online Lecture/tutorial (includes preparation) - based on 2 per 10 week course   5 10
       
Course Organiser role: Preparation of timetable, syllabus organising, organising assignment deadlines, liaising with lecturers, programme director, digital education and admin teams, attending meetings, acting as a main point of contact for the course.    3 30
*New materials includes: biography, welcome to the week, lecture materials,  an activity and feedback on the activity.   Total hours  200
       
       
Online course delivery - ongoing      
Category   Hours/week  Total 
Delivering a 10-week, 20-credit online course      
Online Tutoring -monitoring discussion boards (per week): 2 hours for each week of tutoring + 1 hour the following week to conclude   3 30
Assessment brief + marking based on 2 x assignments (30 mins per student on the course per assignment) 30 n/a 30
Update of materials for each week of the course*   2 20
Live online Lecture/tutorial (includes preparation) - based on 2 per 10 week course   5 10
       
Course Organiser role: Preparation of timetable, syllabus organising, organising assignment deadlines, liaising with lecturers, programme director, digital education and admin teams, attending meetings, acting as a main point of contact for the course.    1 10
*New materials includes: biography, welcome to the week, lecture materials,  an activity and feedback on the activity.   Total hours  100
       
       
Category   Hours/week  Total 
Dissertation supervision and marking      
MSc Dissertation Marking (per dissertation)   n/a 5
Acting as dissertation supervisor   n/a 25
    Total hours  30
       
Please note:      
This is for guidance only and the hours provided here are the minimum required for the various elements of online course delivery.      
These hours have also been developed on the basis that learning technology support is available, if that is not the case then further hours will be required.       

 

What learning technology support is available to me?

Some colleges and schools at the University of Glasgow have their own specialist learning technology support. These are listed below. There is also some central learning technology support within LEADS; however, our focus is very much to work with staff to develop blended learning designs, rather than developing them for you.

LEADS

Staff TBA

College of Arts

John Maguire, E-Learning Innovation Officer

College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences

Digital Education (led by Professor Jo-Anne Murray)

College of Social Sciences

John Kerr, Learning Innovation Officer

School of Law

Craig Brown, E-Learning Officer

School of Psychology

Ute Barrett, Learning Technologist

School of Veterinary Medicine

Gordon McLeod, University Veterinary Learning Technologist

 

What resources are available to help me develop my course or programme?

Online resources

Online guides in Moodle [University of Glasgow access only]:

Yammer groups [University of Glasgow access only]:

Videos

If you are developing a blended or online course, it is very likely that you will need support for video editing or capture. We advocate the use of high quality bespoke video presentations for blended/online programme and course introductions. If you anticipate using high quality short video presentations, our media staff in LEADS will be happy to discuss your requirements. Please complete this Media enquiry form and send it to Nigel Hutchins.

You may also wish to supplement high-end videos with recorded presentations on your own computer, captured using a tool such as Camtasia. Please contact Vicki Dale for more information about individual license arrangements.

Reading materials

With regards to preparing online reading lists, and e-texts (online journals and e-books), our library colleagues are best placed to help you with acquisition of essential reading materials. It is advisable to talk to your College Librarian at an early stage in the process to establish whether it will be possible to make resources available electronically. Not all resources are available in a suitable online format, and some may be very expensive. Contact your College Librarian at the following page : http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/library/subjectssupport/collegelibrarians/

The Library's Reading List team are on hand to answer your queries regarding creating and maintaining Reading Lists. you can get in touch with them at the following page: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/library/usingthelibrary/informationforstaff/supportforteaching/

Copyright

For advice relating to Copyright, please visit the following page: http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/library/usingthelibrary/copyright/

 

What is required of me as a blended or online teacher?

As noted in the framework, the roles of students and teachers in a blended learning context are recognised as follows:

  • Students should be supported to be independent, reflective learners
  • Teachers should facilitate the learning process, enabling student learning by allowing students autonomy to engage flexibly and deeply in learning

This typically requires a move away from traditional lectures towards; for example, a more flipped classroom approach, where students engage with core concepts online, in their own time, and come to class for higher-level discussions or problem solving. Students studying part or all of their studies online will still need supported throughout the learning process, which is typically scaffolded to offer them more help and explicit instructions towards the start of their studies, tailing off as students become more familiar with studying independently online and taking responsibility for their own learning. A suggested framework to support student transitions to blended learning is shown below.

Framework to support student transitions into blended learning

Student transitions to blended and online learning (Adekola et al., 2017)

 

How should I evaluate my blended and online courses? 

All courses and programmes at the University of Glasgow are subject to quality assurance processes; however, it is especially important to evaluate new course designs. This is to ensure that the courses are fit-for-purpose, in terms of the student experience, as well as the attainment of intended learning outcomes. You may also wish to conduct a research or scholarship study around the introduction of new blended or online course designs – staff in LEADS are happy to advise on how you might approach this. Due to the need to ensure that ethical requirements are met when undertaking educational research or scholarship, we would advise speaking with staff in LEADS before designing your evaluation and collecting data.


Links and further reading

Adekola, J., Dale, V. H. M. & Gardiner, K. (in press) Development of an institutional framework to guide transitions into enhanced blended learning in higher education. Research in Learning Technology.

Adekola, J., Dale, V. H. M., Gardiner, K. & Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2017) Student transitions to blended learning; an institutional case studyJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice 5(2), 58-65.

Adekola, J., Dale, V. H. M., Gardiner, K., Murray, J.-A. & Fischbacher-Smith, M. (2017) Institutional and student transitions to into blended learning. Paper presented at The 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference: Inspiring excellence - transforming the student experience, Glasgow.

Garrison, D. R. & Kanuka, H. (2004) Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher educationThe Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.

Graham, C. R., Woodfield, W. & Harrison, J. B. (2013) A framework for institutional adoption and implementation of blended learning in higher educationThe Internet and Higher Education, 18(4-14.

Higher Education Academy (no date) Blended learning. Available online at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/enhancement/starter-tools/blended-learning (accessed 11 May 2017).

Higher Education Academy (no date) Flipped learning. Available online at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/enhancement/starter-tools/flipped-learning-0 (accessed 11 May 2017).

Perović, N. & Young, C. (2015) ABC (Arena Blended Connected) Curriculum Design. Available online at: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/04/09/abc-arena-blended-connected-curriculum-design/  (accessed 11 May 2016).