a Bryn Mawr College initiative
The Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Initiative is a collective effort to explore ways blended learning might be used to improve student learning within the context of a liberal arts education and provide higher education faculty and staff with the information and resources they need to adopt approaches that are discovered to be successful.
Blended learning (also known as hybrid learning) is a combination of online, self-paced learning and face-to-face classroom instruction. Prior to this initiative, research had shown that this kind of blended approach could significantly improve student learning, engagement, and satisfaction in large institutional settings; however, its role in a liberal arts college setting was untested. Our research has found that blended learning can not only improve student learning in this setting as well, but it can also support the meaningful faculty-student interactions and deep, active learning pedagogies that that liberal arts colleges value. The online elements of a blended course can be used to provide students with more opportunities to assess and get feedback on their learning and develop the metacognitive skills needed to be successful lifelong learners. The instructor “dashboards” in online courseware can in turn provide faculty with a “real-time” snapshot of student progress, enabling them to narrow lectures down to the areas where students need additional help, and freeing up remaining class time for discussions, projects, and other activities that promote deep learning. Blended learning also helps faculty meet the needs of a more diverse student body, since online activities can be customized to a student’s level of understanding and student learning data helps faculty identify and reach out to students who need additional help or extra challenges.
2014 Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference
Thanks to everyone who made the 2013 Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference a huge success. We had almost 100 registered guests from over 30 institutions around the country, and many additional drop-ins from the Tri-College Community. If you missed this year’s event, speaker presentations and slides are archived on the conference website. The 2014 Blended Learning in the Liberal Arts Conference is tentatively scheduled for 20-21 May. Details and a call for proposals will be posted in December 2013.
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