Blended Learning Transformation - Sharing Evidence of Success
Concurrent Session 7
The Penn State Blended Learning Transformation (BlendLT) program is now completing the fourth cohort. To share success stories, we provided faculty a webpage template for capturing the difference that BlendLT made in their specific course, showing the connections between learning objectives, blended activities, and assessments. Come review our success stories!
Blended learning is fast becoming the preferred method for transforming residential courses from traditional lectures to engaging learning experiences. Penn State University's Teaching and Learning with Technology unit offers a professional development program that inspires faculty to move away from the typical residential class offering toward providing high quality blended learning opportunities for their students. In an effort to archive and share course elements deemed essential to quality assurance, we've collected faculty feedback, student feedback, course artifacts, and comments from faculty and students to share as evidence of success.
In this educational presentation we will:
● Provide a brief overview of the BlendLT program
● Share descriptive data, case-based scenarios, and course artifacts and faculty comments as evidence of success for a dozon differnt courses
● Facilitate participant engagement by conducting small group reviews of the evidence of success provided
BlendLT Program Overview
The Penn State University Blended Learning Transformation (BlendLT) program began with a small cohort during the summer session of 2016 and is now completing the fourth cohort.
The BlendLT program supports faculty members’ efforts to redesign their course to a blended format. Three important elements support this engagement:
• Faculty Development - a formalized development program that models blended learning techniques for designing and delivering
• Instructional Design - substantive support which pairs faculty participants with an instructional designer throughout the professional development and course redesign process.
• Assessment - resources and assistance in the assessment of the redesigned blended course to ensure solid measurement of learning outcomes.
The BlendLT program requires a level of commitment from the participating faculty to accomplish the goals of redesigning a course to a blended format. Each faculty member of the cohort selected for the BlendLT Program is expected to:
● Participate in the faculty development course
● Partner with an instructional designer
● Redesign an existing course to include elements of blended learning
● Teach the redesigned blended learning course during the following semester
How are faculty selected to be a part of BlendLT?
To be considered for inclusion in the BlendLT program, faculty submit a proposal to be a part of the program cohort. Criteria for selection include: interest in redesigning a current residential course, previous experience in teaching the course, commitment to attending all BlendLT faculty development activities, offering the course in the following semester in a blended format, and participating in the creation of publications or presentations to be shared with audiences in and outside Penn State.
The BlendLT Professional Development Course
This Penn State faculty development course is taught over eight weeks in a blended format and includes two face-to-face seminars (approximately five hours each), three synchronous online seminars (approximately two hours each), and individual and group asynchronous activities.
The course is taught through Canvas and comprised of an orientation and five modules: 1. Introduction to Blended Learning, 2. Assessment and Student Centered Learning, 3. Teaching Strategies, Skills and Tools, 4. Quality Assurance, 5. Capstone. Throughout the course, faculty complete scaffolded activities which lead to the creation of a blended course module, to be included in their blended course redesign.
Four kinds of engagement were intentionally built into the BlendLT faculty development experience: (1) Asynchronous online discussions based on assigned reading in the Essentials of Blended Learning book, (2) 2 hour synchronous online meetings that included guest speakers, (3) 4 to 6 hour face to face meetings, and (4) one -on -one time with a designated instructional designer.
The Role of the Instructional Designer in BlendLT
Faculty are paired with an instructional designer to complete deliverables required for the redesigned course that will launch in the following semester. This process includes iterative meetings with instructional designers who serve as pedagogy and technology consultants, collaborating on project management, and working individually on course content and design elements.
Faculty Comments and Case Based Scenarios
Twenty-nine faculty have participated across four cohorts so far. The largest cohort offered SU17 included ten faculty paired with nine different Instructional Designers. The BlendLT course for each cohort is designed and taught largely by the same instructional designers who are paired to work with the faculty.
Participating faculty in all cohorts represent multiple colleges and campuses across the Penn State system and their course sizes range from 10 students to over 75 students. Courses include both undergraduate and graduate courses and range from required to elective courses. Blended course redesigns range from being supplemental in nature to being fully blended with 50% or more of the course being taught online.
Confidence in blended learning knowledge and skills
The most recently completed BlendLT faculty development cohort was conducted in the summer 2017 with redesigned courses taught in the fall 1018 semester. We asked participants about their confidence in engaging in particular behaviors and leveraging particular skills as a result of their BlendLT faculty development experience.
“The course has forced me to think deeply about the student learning. I am curious to see whether a blend model will work well in my course. Excited to test it out.”
“The class gave me all the tools I needed to be successful and provided a great blended learning experience to my students. The other faculty participants and the IDs were fabulously helpful with tools and innovative and creative ideas to have engagement online and F2F.”
Types of engagement
Four kinds of engagement were intentionally built into the BlendLT faculty development experience: (1) Asynchronous online discussions based on assigned reading in the Essentials of Blended Learning book, (2) 1-3 hour synchronous online meetings, (3) 6 hour face-to-face meetings, and (4) one-on-one time with a designated instructional designer. Comments from the BlendLT SU17 cohort regarding these engagements include:
- All were great. I like the 3-2-1 discussion idea. My ID is awesome and she has given me ideas that are taking the design to a level that is higher than I knew it could go to. I'm really excited!
- All of these were wonderful and helpful.
- Love the time with my ID. Thoroughly enjoyed the face-to-face meetings, I was able to build wonderful relationships with others in various campuses.
Instructional designers support BlendLT faculty throughout the course in diverse ways depending on what each individual faculty member needs. When asked “How did you use the time you spent with your ID? Faculty comments included:
- "Troubleshooting ideas and solving practical problems."
- "We worked on the nuances of Canvas and general interface."
- "Objective Clarification, Rubric Development, Course Outlining, & Canvas Development."
- "Restructuring the course, rubrics, Canvas redesign. So many things!"
- "Clarify assignments."
- "Course and lesson development, technology tools, overall strategy."
- "Determine format of blended course and discuss how to design the class materials."
When asked “What was most helpful about the one-on-one ID time for you personally?” faculty comments included:
- "She was a good pedagogical thinker, very aware of helpful resources, and willing to work with my ideas."
- "Feedback on overall design. "
- "Her perspective to help me rethink my course and how it will be executed as well as the grading distribution. Her positive feedback and encouragement alleviated doubts I had about using this approach."
- Pulling pieces together using two minds instead of one.
- Getting feedback on ideas I wanted to try
- Resources she provided and bouncing ideas off of her. She was always willing to try my crazy ideas.
- Mapping out the work plan and discussing options
Transfer of knowledge
Participants were asked, “To what extent do you expect you will transfer what you learned this week to other course design endeavors?" Faculty comments include:
- I definitely will!
- It will endure in future courses
- I'm hoping to apply some of these ideas into another class I teach in the future (Tech Writing, ENGL202C)
- Think more deeply how I plan my teaching lessons.
- I am actually working on my other fall courses and have added some of the tools I learned in BlendLT.
- Definitely – especially principles of blending and some of the specific strategies.
- Already am!
Participants were asked to rate agreement from strongly disagree to strongly agree with the following statement, “Overall, this program was valuable to me” and 8 out of 9 responded with “Strongly agree”.
Case study examples of the progress we have made will be shared in the form of evidence of success from a dozen BlendLT courses, including: the specific blend of in-class and online instruction, student feedback, faculty perspectives, and instructional designers’ insights and observations.