During the COVID19 pandemic, all the courses at the university had to be given online. This happened during the period April-June 2020. With a short period of notice, teachers had to transform the course that was designed to give in a traditional manner to an online environment. Of course, as one would expect, transforming a course directly to an online environment without rethinking or redesigning would not give the best learning experience for the students. However, we cant also blame the teachers as things happened within a short period. However what surprised me was that when the new study period started in August 2020, still most of the teachers have not to think about this transformation seriously. Most of them were complaining about how to do the exams online. Of course, the traditional exams where you have in an exam hall will not be ideal in the online environment. One has to rethink and redesign these courses so that it student get a smooth learning experience throughout the course. 

In some courses, I personally also had to give lectures online where I did not have any visuals from the students. In such a scenario, as a teacher, you don’t get any feedback if the students have understood the things or not. In fact, after taking ONL, I see that such online lectures don’t contribute to students learning. In Infract I could have just recorded the lecture and ask the students to watch it. But now I know that we have to give out the courses in a blended way so that you give a good learning experience for the students. So this topic 4 was an e
ye-opening and important topic for me. From the starting of next year, I will be responsible for 4 courses. I have to design these course from scratch. Now After learning about this topic, I wanted to design the course in a blended way. Hopefully, by that time we are allowed to have some level of face to face meetings with students which I think is an essential part of a blended learning environment.

The ONL course itself gave us this blended learning experience. The course had prerecorded lectures and links to articles that we had to go through before we engage in the mandatory group discussions. This is nice since we could go through the learning material in our phase and whenever we want. The webinar that was arranged during the study weeks, help to further strengthen the knowledge and gave a chance to directly interact with the teacher and clarify questions. The group discussion through zoom helps us to have a virtual face to face session and engage in a nice discussion where we get to see a collaborative learning experience. The individual reflections that we had to write (like this blog post) enable the teachers to evaluate the student individually and provide feedback. I will be going to use this blended learning approach in my courses. Hopefully, I would be able to write up a follow-up blog post on this!


Topic 4 – Design for online and blended learning – Reflections by Chamara