Organizing in a blended environment.

I’m trying to write/design my poster for the WebCT/Blackboard conference that is coming up. I had a very clear idea of how my idea Blending the classroom: integrating online technologies and the face to face classroom would be as a presentation. I’d present my good practices for 15 minutes, and then pose some key questions that vex me, and we’d all have a nice conversation, brainstorming how good practices and low resources can meet successfully.

Alas, the conference organizers offered me a poster session. I see posters as stand alone presentation skills – if I’m going to get the feedback I wanted, I’m to have to make this an interactive poster. (Hey, this is why I write these conundrums down. I’ve got a pad of paper next to my computer and I’m jotting down interaction ideas).

My initial question (I’ve got two now!), is how to organize the questions/ suggestions. I initially went for CONTENT / COMMUNICATIONS / ASSESSMENT, which is reminiscent of how tools are organized in WebCT. Then I decided that I should break that mold and look at objectives (with a little help from Chickering and Ehrmann): supporting learning styles, providing and receiving feedback and encouraging collaboration. Then I got sidetracked by a comment a colleague made, and decided to organize it according to how it blends: any time, accessibility of more content, and different delivery. All this categorizing is making my head hurt.

I find it frustrating to try and stretch all that blended learning can be in to a few 48 pt font headers for a poster. Each course is going to look radically different, since it’s only one small part of a larger whole.

So how can we provide our instructors with any guidelines? Well, by engaging in a conversation with them. Asking them questions, and putting some pieces together again each time.

Some of those questions might be:
What part of teaching takes up the most time?
What is your favourite part of teaching? How can you do more of that?
What is your least favourite part of teaching? How can you do less of that?
Can you find alternative explanations for your students?
How would you explain that part in an audio recording?
How can you encourage creativity from your students?
How can you help students take responsibility for their learning?
What kind of context would help students learn?

Any others?

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