Blended Learning Toolkit


If you are an SMU faculty member who wishes to adopt a blended learning approach for your course, this toolkit is for you. On this page, we will align on what Blended Learning is and is not, recommend an implementation process and design framework, and share a menu of tools and resources for your consideration.

 

What is Blended Learning?
 

In SMU, Blended learning (BL) is defined as a pedagogical approach that harnesses and merges the relative strengths of face-to-face and online modes of learning to create and sustain vital communities of inquiry in bringing about active learning. The blended learning approach is not simply about replacing face-to-face contact time with online content. An important consideration in implementing a blended course or topic is the affordances of each delivery mode and the alignment of objectives, assessment activities, and instructional strategies. 

The following illustrates examples and non-examples of blended learning. 
 

Blended Learning Not Blended Learning

Online:

Students are tasked to view a video on the learning management system. They could view it anytime before the next lesson and interact with peers with questions or notes about the video content online.

In a discussion forum, they share their personal perspectives and respond to peers’ responses.

 

Face-to-face:

Discussion in the synchronous class builds upon the content discussed by students online. The instructor clarifies and summarises the discussion.

Online:

Students are tasked to read an article uploaded onto the learning management system.

 



Face-to-face:

Discussion about the article’s content is carried in the synchronous class.

 

 

 

Online:

Students prepare video presentations for their assignments and submit the presentations online. They are then given one week to carry out more research and provide constructive feedback for peers.

 

Face-to-face:

Instructor refers to samples of submitted presentations and discusses the content during the synchronous class.

Online:

Students download worksheets from the learning management system and complete them on their own.

 

Face-to-face:

Instructor goes through the answers with the students during the synchronous class.

 

 

 

Proposal to Implement Blended Learning

Blended Learning Proposal

 

To get started, SMU faculty are invited to visit SMU's guidelines on implementing blended learningOnce again, the blended learning approach is not simply about replacing face-to-face contact time with online content. An important consideration in implementing a blended course or topic is the affordances of each delivery mode and the alignment of objectives, assessment activities, and instructional strategies.

 

Blended merges strengths of both

 

Possible Scenarios

 

 

BL Modalities

 

Scenario 1: Blend of F2F and online sessions over 12 weeks (four 3-hour online slots)
 

Scenario 1

Scenario 2: Blend of F2F and online components within each week (1 hour per week)

Scenario 2

 

b


Online Synchronous Activities, e.g.:
Online guest speakers (esp. overseas)
Online collaboration with overseas students
Online meetings: class session/ group consultations


Asynchronous Digital Content and Activities, e.g.:
Interactive Videos, recorded lectures and Animations
Discussion Forums (elearn, Piazza)
Collaborative Platforms 
(e.g. Mindmapping, Google Apps, Padlet, MIRO, Lucidchart)

 


 

 

 

Framework for Developing Effective Blended Learning

In 2000, Garrison, Anderson and Archer published a theoretical framework developed to structure the process of learning in an online or blended environment.

The COI framework describes the necessary elements to create deep and meaningful learning, beyond just transmission models of delivery. The framework  identifies the education experience as occurring at the convergence of three presences: cognitive, teaching and social. 

Effective blended learning requires the careful planning of both synchronous (or traditional face-to-face) and asynchronous activities. The balance between face-to-face elements and online activities varies depending on the purpose and outcomes to be achieved, and is guided by pedagogical design principles (Partridge, Ponting, & McCay, 2011). The Community of Inquiry theoretical framework can be used to guide, support and direct your design of blended teaching and learning activities.
 

In-person and off-campus teaching experiences

Adapted from Bath and Bourke, 2010

 

Designing for Blended Learning

These questions can be adopted to assist you, at a granular level of planning to ensure logical flow of in-class and online activities, and alignment between learning outcomes (objectives), activities, and assessment.

  1. Revisit course learning objectives
    What knowledge or skills should students acquire, and what shifts do we hope to see by the end of the course?
  2. Identify assessments
    Based on the desired learning outcomes, what opportunities can be created for students to check their understanding and demonstrate their ability?
  3. Decide the "blend" of content and learning activities
    How the activities conducted over the various modalities (synchronous online, asynchronous online and face-to-face) can be integrated in complementary ways into a coherent whole
  4. Determine the instructional strategies
    What strategies and methods can be used to support students in knowledge acquisition and engage them in active learning?
  5. Technology Utilisation
    What technological tools can be used and how are they used to achieve the instructional strategies in bringing about active learning?
  6. Course Implementation
    What are the plans in communicating the blended learning design, expectation, and process to students during the delivery of the course?
  7. Review
    What are the methods and and frequency in gathering student feedback to assist you in making changes during and after the course completion?

(Adapted from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ982678.pdf)

If you would like to convert part of your course to a blended learning format or would like to explore further options on blending your lessons, please download and complete the blended learning proposal and send it to the Dean’s office (copying cte [at] smu.edu.sg) for approval to ensure coordination at the school level.

 

 

Workshops for Faculty

CTE also organises faculty development workshops to equip you with knowledge and ideas on designing and implementing Blended Learning.

Date/Time Workshop  
18 Nov 2021
3 - 5pm

Designing A Blended Learning Course
 

Target audience
Instructors who have indicated interest to redesign their courses to a blended learning format, or are currently delivering blended learning courses.

 

Highlights of the session 

  • Apply BL design considerations to complement existing face-to-face courses
  • Explore ways to engage students through online modalities
  • Pick up practical tips to develop and mount content for students 

Participants will be able to identify and apply practical design considerations and approaches of different BL models to the development of their courses.  

Register
24 Nov 2021
11am - 12.15pm

Researching your Teaching Practice: An Introduction to Educational Research on Blended Learning Effectiveness
 

Target audience 
Instructors who have indicated interest to redesign their courses to a blended learning format, or are currently delivering blended learning courses.


Highlights of the session 

  • Sharing by VP(UG) on the purpose and importance of BL in SMU
  • Breakout sessions on identifying ‘teaching problems’ and moulding them into researchable problems for further investigation
  • Sharing of reflections on conducting education research in SMU by Educational Research Fellow(s) 

Participants will learn about the current trends of educational research on blended learning effectiveness and an overview of the educational research cycle. 

Register

 

For a complete listing of other professional development opportunities offered by CTE, please click here.

 

 

Blended Learning Toolkit

Navigate to an intended outcome below to learn more about the recommended tools for achieving that outcome.
For consultation and support on how to use these tools to achieve your defined student learning outcomes, please contact CTE at cte [at] smu.edu.sg.

Defining learning outcomes

CTE banner

A learning objective describes what the learner will know or be able to do after the learning experience.  CTE has curated some of the key considerations in defining the student learning outcomes.

Related Resources:

Assessing students' learning
elearn banner

The Assignments and Quizzes tools are integrated tools in eLearn that provide options for instructors to set up online quizzes and student-submitted assignments.

Submission information is made available immediately after students’ submissions so that instructors can provide timely feedback to students.

Related Resources:

Turn-it-in logo

Turnitin is a plagiarism-checking tool that helps to verify the originality of student work.

When set up by instructors, a dashboard informs the originality of the students’ text assignments. Students will be able to check text similarity and grammar before submitting their work.

Related Resources:

wooclap logo

Wooclap is a classroom response system that can be used to stimulate student participation.

Equipped with a variety of question types, Wooclap can be used to captivate students’ level of comprehension synchronously and asynchronously.

Related Resources:

kahoot logo

Kahoot! is a game-based classroom response system played in real time.

Kahoot! allows for the design of multiple-choice quizzes as well as polls and surveys that populate on-the-spot data indicative of students’ understanding of the learned content.

Related Resource:

Increasing student engagement
wooclap logo

Wooclap is a classroom response system that can be used to stimulate student participation.

Instructors can set up a variety of question types that students can respond to during and out of the lesson.

Related Resources:

kahoot logo

Kahoot! is a game-based classroom response system played in real-time. It allows for the design of multiple-choice quizzes as well as polls and surveys that populate on-the-spot data.

Instructors can pose multiple-choice or true/false questions to students and in a gamified manner. The populated students’ responses can stimulate quick instructional as well as whole-class discussions.

Related Resource:

Promoting learning through discussions
elearn banner

The Discussions tool in eLearn is a course-related collaboration area where you can post, read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or conduct group discussions for assignments/projects.

Related Resources:

Collaborative brainstorming and mind mapping
Google Workspace logo

Google Workspace is a collection of online word processor, which includes Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites and more.

Google Suite allows for the creation and editing of documents online while collaborating with others in real-time. Edits can be tracked with a revision history presenting changes. This tool can be used to create a platform for sharing of notes, ideas which can contain pictures, files and videos, as well as text and drawn images.

Related Resources:

Padlet logo

Padlet is an interactive space board which allows users to collaboratively post images, links, videos, and documents, all collated on a "wall" that can be made public or private.

Padlet can be used for brainstorming on a topic, statement, project or idea. It can also be used to consolidate students’ work or for them to work collaboratively to create a timeline of events.

Related Resources:

miro logo

Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard platform that enables distributed teams to work effectively together, from brainstorming with digital sticky notes to planning and managing agile workflows.

Miro can be used during an online synchronous lesson and after lessons for a more visual, collaborative, and engaging discussion.

Related Resources:

mindomo logo

Mindomo is a web-based visual tool for creating, brainstorming, and collaboration using mind maps and concept maps.

Mindomo can be used for collaboratively creating and editing mind maps, concept maps, or Gantt Charts online and offline.

Related Resource:

Delivering synchronous lessons
zoom logo

Integrated in eLearn, Zoom is a synchronous video communication platform with virtual video and audio conferencing, webinars, live chats, screen-sharing, and other collaborative capabilities.

Student engagement and participation can be enhanced during the Synchronous sessions with the use of features such as content sharing, annotation, digital whiteboarding, breakout rooms, polling, and reactions.

Related Resources:

Delivering asynchronous lessons
elearn banner

eLearn is an e-learning platform used to facilitate teaching and learning in SMU. Faculty members use eLearn to deliver course content, engage students collaboratively through online discussion forums and Google Docs, administer quizzes, and process results. eLearn also provides learning analytic tools to analyse student learning data to support personalised learning.

Related Resources:

Creating interactive videos
Kaltura logo

Kaltura My Media is a web-based video management, publishing and authoring platform. With its built-in Quiz Creator, quizzes in the form of multiple choice and open-ended questions can be embedded at any point in a video.

Kaltura My Media has the capability to record screencasts and add interactive quizzes within videos, allowing students to check for understanding of the video content and at the same time, increase student engagement.

Related Resources:

Kaltura logo

Kaltura’s Annoto is a plug-in for Kaltura My Media that features a built-in notetaker.

Students can use Annoto to post questions, comments, and responses to one another’s videos. Faculty can facilitate students’ participation by using Annoto’s time-based comments and analytics dashboard to see how and when students interact with the video content and with each other.

Related Resources:

toonly logo

Toonly is an animated explainer video creator using your own images or from a library of pre-made graphics and music.

With a short (less than 5 minutes) animated explainer video, instructors can communicate abstract or confusing subjects, or even relate a case or scenario effectively to students.

Related Resources:

powtoon logo

PowToon is a web-based animation editor that is capable of creating animated presentations by manipulating pre-created objects, imported images, provided music and user-created voice-overs.

Instructors can also create their own Powtoons as an alternative approach to teaching topics. Students can create quality animated video presentations to showcase their understanding of a specific topic.

Related Resource:

Collecting feedback from students
wooclap logo

Wooclap is a classroom response system that can be used to stimulate student participation.

Coupled with a variety of question types, instructors can collect and categorise students' feedback, and gather and analyse their opinions of the lesson.

Related Resources:

google forms logo

Google Forms is a web-based tool where users can create customised online forms for surveys and questionnaires using multiple question types.

Google form can be easily set up to gather feedback from students or as a tool for peer evaluation.

Related Resource:

qualtrics logo

Qualtrics is a web-based survey tool to conduct survey research, evaluations and other data collection activities with extensive reporting and analytical functionalities.

Related Resource:

 

 

 

FAQ

  1. Are there any practical tips on getting ready for online learning that I can share with my students?
    CTE has worked with SMU Libraries to develop a micro-site to provide students with tips on online study skills, communication skills, collaboration and more. They may visit this link to find out more.

     

  2. What is the first thing I should do if I wish to implement a blended learning approach for my course?
    Please download and complete the blended learning proposal and send it to the Dean’s office (copying cte [at] smu.edu.sg) for approval to ensure coordination at the school level.

     

  3. How much content can I convert to online learning?
    You may refer to the set of guidelines and recommendations here.
     
  4. I plan to invite a guest speaker to deliver lectures for three lessons, each lasting one hour. Is this blended learning?
    The blended learning approach is not simply about replacing face-to-face contact time with online delivery. Effective blended learning requires the careful planning of both synchronous (be it online or traditional face-to-face) and asynchronous activities. An important consideration is the capitalisation of the affordances of each delivery mode and the alignment of objectives, assessment activities, and instructional strategies. You may refer to section B1 and B2 for illustrations.
     

 

Please contact us at cte [at] smu.edu.sg to speak to a learning designer and/or learning technologist.

 

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