Week 2: Blended Interaction
You can read my blog entry/reading reaction for this week’s reading.
In this week’s deliverables, we started really getting into the “meat” of the course by developing several documents providing a good overview of the course: Course Expectations, Syllabus, and a Blended Schedule. Next, we went into great detail for one module, detailing all of the assignments and interactions involved. All of the deliverables are shown below.
- Course Expectations: Traditionally, I have always included the course expectations, Syllabus, and Course Schedule as a single document that students may refer to throughout the semester. However, I like the way the BlendKit course has organized these into 3 distinct documents, making the content easier to digest for the students. I would also go through these expectations in detail during the first face-to-face session of the course. Much of the content such as the Academic Integrity and Accessibility policies were taken from my existing Syllabus, which itself is based on standards from Quality Matters. For instance, communication guidelines are especially important in a blended course since it may not be obvious to students how to best communicate with me. Of course, they have the option to ask questions in class, but outside of that, I made the decision to open up Discussion Forums for questions, so that all students can benefit from the answer (and also to save my inbox from answering the same questions over and over!).
- Blended Syllabus: This Syllabus example was much shorter than I am used to, as I mentioned above, but I do like that it provides the essential information at a glance for the students.
- Blended Schedule: Considering that the course schedule is usually the one aspect of a course that is most likely to change, I find it helpful that it’s separated into its own document. As you can see, most modules consist of two weeks of content, where I introduce the concept in class, and then allow the students to practice the application and programming online. During the next face-to-face session, I have the students work on some activities to verify they understood the material and answer any lingering questions before moving on to the next concept. This model ensures that students do not fall too far behind and that I’m not moving ahead too quickly.
- Detailed Module Interaction: The final deliverable for this week involved providing a very detailed breakdown of objectives, activities, materials, interactions, and tools for one of the modules of the course. I chose my second module to detail, since it’s the first substantive module in the course. One of the focuses of Quality Matters is ensuring that blended and online courses incorporate active learning interactions, including learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner (if appropriate). For this reason, I wanted to ensure that my course had all of these components, especially because the learner-learner interaction will prepare them for a real-world software engineering job as part of a team, unlike the stereotypical “geek” writing code solo in the back corner of an office somewhere.