Designing Blended Learning Environments That Engage Students

About the Course

explore - blm

In 1916, Dewey wrote “the engagement of the imagination is the only thing that makes any activity more than mechanical”. Engagement in the context of learning, refers to the “emotional and mental energy that students are willing to expend during a learning experience” (Stein and Graham, 2014). Numerous studies have shown that “academic achievement is positively influenced by the amount of active participation in the learning process” (Graham et al., 2007). Technology is often leveraged as means to engage students, although care should be taken to recognise the pedagogical advantage of the technology rather than its ability purely to engage. That said, we are perhaps obliged as educators to integrate technology into education given the ubiquity of technology in the modern world—that without technology, the provision of an education lacks authenticity. Blended learning is a relatively recent model that, by combining face-to-face activities with online experiences, effectively incorporates technology into education. For example, in the flipped classroom approach, technology is used to facilitate the transmission of content and so allow for the repurposing of face-to-face classroom time for activities that are likely to lead to higher-order learning outcomes. In this course, participants will be guided through an evidence-based approach to design and develop blended learning courses that aim both to engage learners and create “effective, efficient and flexible learning” (Stein and Graham, 2014).

Pre-requisite

Faculty members should:

  • have either (i) taught a module for at least a semester, or (ii) started to implement blended learning/flipped classroom and want to learn more; and,
  • be able to commit to all sessions. (Please refer to the dates listed below, under ‘Course Schedule’.)

Intended learning outcomes

The course aims to enable participants to:

  • adopt an evidence-based approach towards designing and developing a module for blended learning;
  • identify appropriate educational technologies to be adopted for the module;
  • design and develop appropriate learning resources and teaching & learning activities for online sessions;
  • design and develop appropriate teaching & learning activities and tasks for face-to-face sessions; and,
  • reflect upon their experiences while participating as learners in the course.


Course structure

The course will be conducted in a fully online mode (both synchronous and asynchronous) over a period of eight weeks, utilizing collaborative learning practices within a problem-based format. By the end of the course, participants will develop a prototype of a unit in blended learning mode and present the prototype at the last session.

Course requirements

The course runs online over a period of eight weeks, and the following activities are to be completed:

  • active participation in small groups for each topic, both synchronously and asynchronously, taking responsibility for tasks, creating presentations, giving feedback to colleagues, etc.). 
  • active participation in plenary sessions for each topic. 
  • development of a prototype of a unit in blended learning mode and present the prototype at the last session. 

Course schedule

Thursday, 14 January 2021
BL Course Session 1: Orientation/Connecting Week 

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting after the plenary session to work a specified scenario related to the topic. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

Thursday, 21 January 2021
BL Course Session 2: What is Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom? 

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting after the plenary session to work a specified scenario related to the topic. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

Thursday, 28 January 2021
BL Course Session 3: Writing and aligning ILO with Assessment Tasks (AT) and Teaching & Learning Activities (TLA)

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting after the plenary session to work a specified scenario related to the topic. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

Thursday, 4 February 2021
BL Course Session 4:Incorporate active learning strategies to promote engagement

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting after the plenary session to work a specified scenario related to the topic. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

BL Course Session 5: Peer Review (there is no plenary session)

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting during the week (11-17 Feb 2021) to provide peer feedback on their draft assignments. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

Thursday, 18 February 2021
BL Course Session 6: Storyboarding and the principles of multimedia 

Small group meetings
Each small group will organise a one-hour online synchronous meeting after the plenary session to work a specified scenario related to the topic. Each small group will be facilitated by one or two course instructors.

Thurs, 4 Mar 2021
BL Course Session 7: Virtual gallery walk 


Course Leaders

  • Assoc Prof Adrian Michael Lee, Deputy Director, CDTL
  • Mr Alan Soong, Associate Director, CDTL
  • Ms Jeanette Choy, Senior Education Specialist, CDTL
  • Ms Charina Ong, Senior Education Technologist, CDTL
  • Ms Wanyun, Educational Technologist, CIT
  • Mr Wee Ying Qin, Educational Technologist, CIT
  • Mr Daris Tan, Educational Technologist, CIT

For further information, please contact:

Adrian LEE
Deputy Director, CDTL
e-mail: cdtaml@nus.edu.sg