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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Blend for Success: If At First You Do Not Succeed, Try Again

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Presenter(s)
Pat Mielke (Western Technical College, USA)
Session Information
July 9, 2014 - 9:10am
Track: 
Teaching & Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Governor's Square 14
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Session: 
Information Session 4
Virtual Session
Abstract

Presenter will explain challenges faced with a new blended program and strategies used to improve through curriculum alignment, utilization of new technology, and faculty training.

Extended Abstract

This presentation will share the journey that one program took toward blending courses and student success. Western Technical College started offering an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management in 2006 with huge success. After one year, there were more than 200 students in the program, and it has grown to become the largest program in the business division. As a faculty member who helped develop the program, I chose to use blending as the primary course delivery method for the following reasons:

• Modern students are digital natives. We needed a program for more "traditional students", 18 - 25 year olds, and a blended method was desirable.
• Shorten student time on campus. The majority of students worked 25 plus hours per week, so we needed flexibility to stack courses for optimal scheduling.
• Utilize our limited availability in scheduling. The program was offered via five regional learning centers with an Interactive Distance Learning system.

However, our initial strategy during the first few years of offering blended courses in this program, produced lower than desired levels of retention, graduation, student satisfaction and comprehension. Specifically, the following proved to be difficult:

• Inconsistent program curriculum integration across all faculty
• Inadequate faculty training of the blended delivery method
• Quick but ineffective out-of-the-box online resources
• Use of a single online tool
• Lack of explanation of how to effectively use technology in a blended course

The results were average at best, and as a team, we knew we had to approach the design and delivery of our blended courses differently. The first step was to look at ALL of the courses in the program and determine if they were correct. The second step was determining if the competencies in each course were at the correct learning level. The third step was utilizing a new tool for planning and delivering better quality blended instruction - the course planning tool. The final step, which is currently being implemented, is providing faculty with a training opportunity by offering a professional development course:, Blended Instructional Delivery. This experiential learning course will allow faculty to be immersed in a blended course.

During this information session, I will share how our initial struggles led us to blended courses, which are now built for student success and learning. Using a program map, I will illustrate how visually looking at courses and competencies within a program aided in designing more effective blended courses. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss with others how this change can help them refine or redesign their current courses and/or perhaps programs. The conversations will allow participants to take ideas back to their teams and use right away.

In the second part of the workshop, I will present examples of how to use a course planning tool and give participants an opportunity to practice on a course that they teach. The tool breaks down the different parts of a blended course and answers the questions of what will the student do before class, during class, and after class to ensure learning. Further, I will explain why using Bloom's Taxonomy to help one determine what technology tool to choose for delivering a blended course generally leads to better student success. Finally, I will demonstrate why understanding various student-learning styles is critical when designing courses and picking technology tools. Participants will leave with a copy of the tool and many ideas on how to create better content in their courses, programs, and schools.

Lead Presenter

Program Head and instructor in the Business Management Program, as well as curriculum coach and Blackboard mentor for Western Technical College for the past nine years. I have developed and taught courses in traditional, blended and online formats since 2004. The focus has been on business courses. I have also designed and delivered faculty development workshops for technology enhanced, blended and online courses. Recently,I have been involved with curriculum mapping and training for our college, as well as a presenter at the 2013 WTCS Assessment Conference and the 2013 Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference. My interest is in connecting and engaging learners through active learning practices, utilizing curriculum and technology.