Blended learning is an approach wherein teaching is a combination of in class and online learning.
Having discovered the advantages of the blended MOOC approach, it only makes sense to spread its accessibility to educators all over. Hence Faculty Development Programmes (FDP) are designed to discover, experiment and adapt this technique with ease. Over the past 2 years, we have conducted four FDPs at various locations with a vision to transform the teaching-learning experience.
Faculty Development Programmes have now become an inseparable part of IIMBx and so have its participants. When we surveyed our past FDP participants in January 2017, we found that 60% of them have had the opportunity to execute blended MOOCs approach in teaching various subjects like HRM, Finance, People management, Computer applications, Operations management etc.
One of our Blended learning experimenters, Santhi Narayanan (Assistant Prof at Sharda University, FDP batch of October 2016 at IIT Delhi), was kind enough to discuss with us her experience, benefits, and challenges with Blended MOOCs.
The driving force, she says, to try something new like this was her observation that the student attention span had largely reduced. “Most students nowadays do not actively participate in classroom discussions. Also, without prior work experience, it becomes difficult to familiarize them with work situations discussed in the syllabus.” This is when she considered using interesting bits of videos from MOOCs to make classes interesting and livelier.
Professor Santhi soon realized that execution of this blended approach wasn’t as simple as it sounded! “I noted down the list of interesting clips, discussions, and questions from the MOOC for a particular subject. Then I supplemented/blended traditional learning with MOOC elements wherever possible.” But for it to be effective, only appropriate elements are to be blended into the lecture. Also, effort needs to be put to establish a stable tempo of learning and ensure participation of each and every student.
When asked about the most striking benefit of this blended learning approach, she said
“I finally got students to talk about the concepts beyond the classroom via the MOOC elements and discussion forums. The students understood and retained the concepts in a much better way than they would have in a normal lecture.”
Professor Santhi believes that this approach requires the educator to overcome challenges like improper classroom infrastructure, restrictions to adhere to university study plan etc. This might be difficult but since students enjoy the blended learning method, it is all worth the effort!
Educators like Professor Santhi are helping bring about an educational revolution. Hope her example encourages more educationists to take this up.
To know more about the Faculty Development Programs, please visit fdp@iimb.