Welcome to my space for the reflections on topic 4 – Design for online and blended learning
My ONL journey ended as I started. Again, I was stunned that I haven’t heard about a concept that has been around for more than twenty years now. This time, it was the “The Community of Inquiry Model” also known as Garrison, Anderson, and Archer’s Inquiry Model (Garrison et al., 1999).
In the webinar with Dr. Robin Kay on the topic “Thriving Online in Higher Education” which is “a condensed version of a workshop for higher education instructors built on over 15 years of experience in online and blended learning” (‘ONL222 Topic 4 Event’, 2022) I saw again how great it is to hear an expert talk on the subject.
My current practice consists of online and blended learning concepts, which I have adopted from my colleagues. I feel comfortable with the different formats and could already see valuable hints during the webinar on how to enrich my concepts. Firstly, to better motivate my students by making the benefits of my teaching clearer. And on the other hand, to relieve my students, they don’t always have to know everything, but it would be nice if they know at person “x” or place “y” I can get support for my studies.
What I definitely have in mind for 2023 is to analyze my courses and align them with the “Community of Inquiry Educator Survey”. As well as really take time to read the «Thriving Online in Higher Education» (Kay et al., 2022).
When I think of a few ways to support, encourage, and guide students in online and blended learning environments, this comes to my mind:
- Provide clear instructions and expectations for online assignments and activities. The better I communicate what is expected of students. The better they can meet expectations.
- Encourage open communication and foster a sense of community among students. This can be done through virtual group discussions and collaboration on projects. Tools like the breakout rooms or Miroboard come to my mind here.
- Offer regular feedback and support on assignments and progress. This can help students stay motivated and on track with their learning. I try to give my students the feeling that they can always ask questions and that they are in a protected space.
- Use a variety of engaging and interactive teaching methods, such as videos, games, and virtual field trips, to keep students engaged and interested. I am thinking here of my lessons with Padlet or Mentimeter.
- Provide access to resources and support for students who may need extra help, such as tutoring or accommodations for learning differences. Whether it’s the link to additional resources or to the help desk, students need extra points of contact.
Overall, the key is to create a positive and supportive learning environment that is tailored to the needs of individual students. Of course, this takes a lot of time. But I think this time is so well spent when it comes to long-term success for my students in their studies.
Cleveland-Innes, M. & Wilton, D. (2018). Guide to Blended Learning. Burnaby: Commonwealth of
Learning. Appendix 1. p.74-77
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00016-6
Kay, R. H., Hunter, W. J., Lauricella, S., Craig, C. D., Mann, A., Dwyer-Kuntz, T., Hughes, J., Petrarca, D., Power, R., Bahula, T., Morrison, L., Banks, L., Barber, W. S., DiPasquale, J., Eamer, A., Edmunds, T. K., Jackson, T., Li, J., Muirhead, B., … Thompson, S. (2022). Thriving Online: A Guide for Busy Educators. Ontario Tech University. https://doi.org/10.51357/TMSM9420
ONL222 Topic 4 event: Webinar with Dr. Robin Kay. (2022, November 17). Open Networked Learning. https://www.opennetworkedlearning.se/onl222-course-overview/onl222-topic-4-design-for-online-and-blended-learning/onl222-topic-4-event-webinar-with-dr-robin-kay/