Planning the student journey

This blog post describes my thoughts about topic four; design for online and blended learning. As written in my last blog post, designing meaningful assignments for online learning has been challenging in my department during the pandemic. This spring, we have been moving back to campus, with mixed feelings from teachers and students, many students and teachers have appreciated working/studying from home and its possibilities. When a couple of months have passed, it’s clear that online learning is in the past in many ways. During this topic, exploring how online and blended learning can be used without being an emergency solution has been interesting.

Hodges, C. et al. (2020) write, “Online learning carries a stigma of being lower quality than face-to-face learning, despite research showing otherwise.” I recognize that view on online learning from my department of social work. I’ve heard many colleagues, this semester, saying it is nice to be back in the classroom with human interaction instead of black screens on Zoom. If that’s the comparison between online and campus education, it’s not strange that they prefer teaching on campus. I wish I had known about the resources from Open university earlier, as it would have been helpful during previous semesters. But as written before, it’s been good to reflect for future practice.

In our group work, we decided to design personas and what they need as students. We used the nine dimensions mentioned by Hodges, C. et al. (2020) to determine the course design most suitable for the student. Even though it’s not possible to make unique designs for every student in a course, I felt that it’s a good idea to reflect on the course design according to some group character traits to see if the course needs adjusting. Using the questions in the document “Planning the student’s journey” (Open University, 2021) could be helpful in the same way as the personas to map out how to adjust the course. 

Many of our student personas were best suited for blended learning. 

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2018) describe three different blended learning models with other solutions for combining online and traditional classroom teaching. The benefits of blended learning are opportunities for collaboration at a distance, increased flexibility in their studies, increased interaction between students and students/teachers, enhanced learning and engagement, and students learning to be virtual citizens.  

I would like to use blended learning to enhance learning outcomes in the campus courses I teach. For example I could use the blended face-to-face driver model, mentioned in Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2018). In this model, a substantial portion of classroom time are replaced by online activities as readings, quizzes or other assessments. Today it’s primarily lectures, and the students, between lectures, read the literature. If using the model I would use the face- to-face time for seminars instead of lecturing. The students could then watch recordings of the lectures at home and do quizes etc. 


Hodges, C. et al. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. EDUCAUSE review. 

Open University – Reflection and Resources from the Open University Learning Design Team – Webpage with Resources

Planning the student journey

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2018). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “The Community of Inquiry Conceptual framework”.

Reflection on topic 4: Design for online and blended learning.