If I have two very different kinds of activities happening throughout the August sessions, should I recognize those as parallel and put them in two different modules? Or should I instead focus on chronology and group together things from week 1, then from week 2, and so on?
I'm raising the question here because it illustrates a challenge that our instructor has alluded to several times: teaching a blended class is not necessarily easier than teaching on online course. Sometimes it creates new issues that would not occur (at least not to the same degree) in either an online or a face-to-face setting.
Let me explain a little further with the example I'm considering. During the August sessions of our new faculty orientation, we spend a lot of time exploring. First thing in the morning, we explore perspectives, concepts, biblical guidance, the college's educational task and framework, and readings that are key to our work as professors in a Reformed Christian college. After our morning break (with almond patties from Casey's Bakery if we are lucky!), we explore some more. But these explorations typically involve field trips where we trek around campus to visit support staff at their offices and work spaces so that new faculty know where to find them and can better remember which faces, places, and names go together.
|"Parallel Lines" by Brian Smithson|
Maybe that sums up one of the key takeaways I've learned from this BOLT seminar (Blended/Online Learning & Teaching): I need to think like learners who aren't me, and then shape my instruction to reach them where they are.
Hmmm, sounds a lot like the dilemmas of face-to-face teaching after all.
Time to ponder a little more about how best to organize the online resources. Maybe it's not an either-or dilemma and there is a third way?