Since January of 2010, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) has been successfully offering an extensive instructor training program for instructors interested in teaching fully online courses. However, the staff at the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning (CATL) had been hearing from faculty about the growing number of blended learning courses being offered at the university without any institutional support on how to best deliver courses in this modality. After careful consideration as a department and consultation with our advisory group, the CATL staff planned a two-part faculty development program to aid instructors interested in teaching blended courses.
To become more aware of best practices in blended learning, the Instructional Designers (IDs) in CATL did extensive research about blended learning. The IDs attended a number of events to gain insight through sessions and networking with colleagues currently training faculty on blended learning. A few examples include: a blended learning faculty development program through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the 2011 Sloan-C Blended Learning conference, and the Academic Impressions "Best Practices in Blended Course Design" workshop. During the Academic Impressions workshop, one ID actively developed a Fall 2011 course to be offered in the blended format. In addition to these events, the CATL IDs reviewed various books, articles, and web resources to gain as broad of an insight as possible. The IDs also surveyed instructors on the successes of current CATL programs to help determine a program best suited to the audience needs. Research with faculty suggested the success of the current Online Instructor Training program was (1) its ability to allow faculty participate in an online environment, while (2) actively developing a section for their course to offer in the online mode.
Using these foundational efforts, we developed our blended learning programs. The first program will be a three-week Blended Learning Institute during the Summer of 2012. During the Blended learning Institute, instructor participants will go through a curriculum which defines blended learning at UW-L, shows various examples of blended learning options, discusses best practices in implemented blended principles, and actively helps instructors outline their blended course plan while developing various online and face-to-face activities and assessments. The Blended learning Institute will use a blended delivery approach, meeting three hours four times during the Institute, with online activities via our learning management system being facilitated by CATL IDs between face-to-face meetings.
In addition to the Blended learning Institute, instructors will have the opportunity to participate, during Summer 2013, in a structured Instructional and Curricular Redesign Program. The program is for UW-L instructors to redesign their instructional practices and courses. Instructors will participate in a year-long program in which they redesign their instructional practices and course materials, and then implement, assess, revise, document, and disseminate their work. The project includes four parts: (1) Instructional and Course Redesign Workshop, (2) Development of Course Materials and Strategies, (3), Implementation and Assessment of Course Redesigns, and (4) Documentation and Dissemination. One track or area of focus for this Instructional and Curricular Redesign Program will be focused on blended learning and effective technology integration. Participants will apply to complete the program and will receive a stipend for their participation. The overarching goals of the program are to promote instructional development and help instructors produce courses that are designed to better support student learning.
The intent of the two programs is to increase the successful implementation of a blended classroom at UW-L . Participants in the Blended Learning Institute will have the opportunity to also participate in the Instructional and Curricular Redesign Program, giving interested instructors ample opportunity to truly revise and refresh the learning that occurs in their blended courses. The overarching idea behind this two-fold development approach is aiding faculty in gaining a better understanding of blended learning design while providing continued support during the course redesign process.
This poster presentation will share information about the process used to research and prepare for the programs, and discuss details about the planned delivery and curriculum of these programs. The focus of this poster session will be on the process and curriculum, as results on the success of the programs will not yet be available due to program timing.