Introduction to the Special Issue on Blended Learning in the Health Sciences
In January 2014, The Chronicle of Higher Education conducted an opinion survey of college and university presidents (N=349), on their views regarding change in higher education. The Innovative University: What College Presidents Think about Change in American Higher Education, provided insights into what campus leaders think about higher education’s response to the wave of online technology that has inundated all aspects of human endeavor since the debut of the Internet and World Wide Web in the 1990s. In terms of instructional modalities, an overwhelming majority (81%) of presidents responded that hybrid courses that blend both face-to-face and online components are the future and will have a positive impact on higher education. In addition, when it comes to initiating change, most college presidents believe that government officials, politicians, and private industry have too much influence. Almost 80% believe that technological change should come from the faculty (Selingo, 2014).
This special edition focuses on the experiences at one university that exemplify faculty-led change. It is premised on the idea that faculty know their subject matter, curricula, and most importantly, their students better than outside drivers, and are in a pivotal position to affect change that provides meaningful improvement to their academic programs. The articles also provide evidence that online technology can be effective in instruction but is also in need of on-going adjustment and improvement.