When working with my PBL group , we have started by sharing our experiences during the pandemic period , how our universities dealt with this exceptional case , and we as teachers what practices we opted for to insure pedagogical continuity with students .

In my case , we did not teach all subjects online :

Some subjects were reported to face-to-face sessions , and this was because some students did not own computers at home and internet was not affordable for them , and in most times they opt for 4G/5G networks data which are a bit expensive and not available in some areas . Besides Most of Technical workshops need real machines and circuits to practice theoritical concepts which are not available in students’ homes.

Some other subjects easily moved to online with implication of students and engagement of teachers who have good digital skills and necessary equipments . But before passing exams , Teachers were asked to repeat what they thought online in face to face sessions for those who could not attend online courses , and this to ensure that all students have the same chance to succeed with the same conditions .

When asking students about what mode of learning you prefer ? Most of them don’t opt for the fully online and prefer blended and mixed learning , especially for students with non technical backgrounds .

For these kind of situations , we could not design full online courses but blended learning, with assynchronous tasks to give them more time flexibility . Based on the profile of my students , I have created Elena’s Persona on our group padlet .

Based on those thoughts we discussed that when designing our courses we need to look at the generale circumstances of the learning in order to take in consideration all factors that could harm students’ engagement and retention . This will help the teachers think about what types of learning activities they can propose for students . For that , we need to adopt Kolb’s learning cycle in order to enhance student’s retention and to satisfy all types of learners .

Kolb’s learning cycle and experiential learning styles

Before designing learning activities we need to specify learning objectives and outcomes ,and Depending on the nature of the subject we can plan different types of activities. We don’t have to forget also about building social and emotional dimensions between students with each other and with the teacher by having open discussions and debates together , icebreakers and wrapping up .In other contexts we can give them case studies then quizzes to evaluate retention and comprehension .

For online sessions , we can answer questions and practice some exercices and put the recording available for the absents , or even for those who have attended and did not understand well the concepts .

In the end , we can say blended learning could be a suitable solution for all cases (in my opinion) taking in consideration the barriers of fully online learning and could afford a balanced and flexible way to motivate students to catch up and succeed .

Topic 4 : Design for online and blended learning