Teaching Blended Courses

A blended course (also referred to as hybrid or supplemented) is a course that has both traditional face-to-face and online (Blackboard) components. These courses come in many forms and are beneficial to both faculty and students. Consider the following examples of course supplements:
  • PowerPoint presentations, if used with lectures, are uploaded to Blackboard. Students access the presentations, print as desired, and bring to class for note taking and reference.
  • Students receive and submit assignments via Blackboard. The instructor grades assignments and returns to the students via Blackboard.
  • Students complete exams via Blackboard either in campus computer labs as a class or on individual personal computers within a specified period as defined by instructors. Blackboard scores the exams and provides immediate feedback to students. Note: Blackboard will not score short answer or essay question types. Exam feedback can include one or all of the following: exam score, student's submitted answers, correct answers, correct/incorrect response feedback.
  • An instructor records lectures using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra or places lectures in VoiceThread for students to review outside of class. In class, students recall concepts covered in the preliminary online lectures, and course materials to engage in face-to-face small group activities and discussions.
  • Students prepare small group projects online, post them to discussion forums or blogs for debate and revision, then present them in the face-to-face class for final discussion and assessment.

Consider the following benefits of course supplements:

  • Cost savings to the department
    • Supplementing a course for the sole purpose of reducing paper and copy machine usage can, over time, result in a substantial cost savings.
  • Time savings to the faculty
    • Content loaded to Blackboard can be copied from term to term and freshened as needed.
    • If students lose the syllabus or assignment instructions, the faculty can simply refer them to the Blackboard course to retrieve another copy. No more hunting the file saved on your computer and printing another copy, or emailing the file to the student.
  • Insurance
    • Supplementing your course with Blackboard can really pay off in unexpected times of sickness or natural disaster. Lectures, presentations, assignments, exams, class discussions, and more can easily be added to and facilitated via Blackboard from any computer in the world with an internet connection. Note: Minimum system requirements must be met to ensure proper functionality.
  • Improved learning, ease of access, and student convenience all of which affect student retention.
    • Students can benefit from having access to supplementary learning materials that can be made available in the course. Note: Several studies show that supplementary content, such as audio/video lectures or PowerPoint slides used in a lecture, do not replace the need for instruction in the same way that a textbook does not replace the need for instruction. These studies also show that there is little to no affect on student attendance when supplementary materials are provided to students. For an example study, please see "Explorations in Course-Casting: Podcasts in Higher Education" by Sarah Bryans Bongey, Gerald Cizadlo and Lynn Kalnbach, featured in Campus-Wide Information Systems, the international journal of information and learning technology.