As part of the PBL07 work on Theme 4, we decided to explore the topic by discussing the topic in relation to different aspects of designing for online and blended learning. In my case, I offered to present my experience of teaching in collaboration with guests and I shared different experiences that might be classified as follows:

Blended learning synchronous

”Synchronous time can be scheduled for those activities where students need the support of faculty and peers” (Farmer, 2020)

The first is an example from my experience of teaching qualitative methods with a guest invited to share her specific knowledge and experience on a specific matter. The class was organized following the principle of learning by doing.

1) Purpose: to teach a specific method for analysing qualitative data by using a software called Atlas.ti.

Guest: she is an expert on Qualitative research & Consulting and author scientific publications on Atlas.ti

Activity: instead of teaching all principles of Atlas.ti qualitative analysis I organised a workshop at the laboratory of informatics at my university together with the guest having both us – as teachers – and students physically present in the classroom but combining theory with practice on computers where they could exercise with the software based on qualitative data shared by the guest.

Blended learning “asynchronous”

”Asynchronous learning allows students to acquire new knowledge and practice skills at a pace that is optimal for their learning” (Farmer, 2020)

2) Purpose: to explore arts-based research methods that provide rich data that can help to understand organizational phenomena from a new perspective, alternative to traditional business research methods.

Guest: she is an expert on arts-based method that she also applied in companies with managers

Activity: before the class, students were invited to find a photo online representing their last year at high school. Since this course is open to international students, with a heterogeneous preparation about qualitative methods, we decided to use this question to make sure that all students were anyway capable of doing the task regardless of their native country. In class, based on a detailed the protocol shared via email with students, we asked them to share their photos on another document provided in advance via email too; students were then asked to write individual notes on the photos and then, upon the creation of groups, students were asked to interview each other on what every specific photo was representing. Eventually, students appreciated the capacity of this photo-elicitation method not only to collect data that open up to methodological questions otherwise overlooked or not considered at all.

Asynchronous online learning

”Asynchronous online learning allows students to view instructional materials each week at any time they choose and does not include a live video lecture component” (Hodges et al, 2020)

3) Purpose: to offer a variety of voices of scholars in Science and Technology Studies, based at different European universities, and invited to introduce a specific theme of the course.

Guests: 13 guests were invited to record a lecture made then available on the university platform and available at any time – within the timeframe of the course.

Activity: the course was fully online and made of recorded lecture to listen along with a course reading to use for exploring every single theme.

Synchronous online learning

Synchronous online learning means that students are required to log in and participate in class at a specific time each week” (Hodges et al, 2020)

4) Purpose: to present the “case-study” method and how different theoretical perspectives have interpreted it within the same subject.

Guest: author of important essays on the case-study method in business administration

Activity: entirely online but according to a schedule that all students had to follow, by attending every week at a scheduled time. The guest, introduce the method by sharing online a ppt presentation; then, she provided students with a link to a Padlet where different columns – as many as the theoretical perspectives previously introduced – were added; students have been asked to position themselves within one specific theoretical perspective. Finally, they have been invited to elaborate on their own positioning and discuss it with teachers and students.

Although the specificity of these examples, which are drawn from my own teaching experiences, what can be shared is the importance of planning well ahead of time the activities, especially when guests are involved. This is extremely important because preparation allows for setting reciprocal expectations between teachers, makes the collaboration more efficient, as well as allows for informing guests about specific needs and, in general, about the characteristics of the group of students that will be met. Activities that imply using specific material or technologies require an extra effort in making sure that such material and technological tools are available and ready to be used to reach the learning objectives and make the learning experience enjoyable and rewarding for all people involved.


Farmer, Heather (2020) “Asynchronous Online Course Delivery”, Educause review. Available at:

Hodges, Charles; Moore, Stephanie; Lockee, Barb; Trust, Torrey and Bond, Aaron (2020) “The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning”, Educause review. Available at:

Photo by Seema Miah on Unsplash

Collaborative teaching: the importance of preparation.