Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adventures in blended classes...

I did the first blended Biomedical Ethics class summer before last.. it was only moderately successful... they mostly did the on-line work, we had mostly normal classes and the only reason it was a blended class was because we needed to smoosh it into a time slot...

After that, I did a hybrid class where the students came 2 of 3 MWF class meetings, and I did all three --so, they did an hour's worth of on-line activity and I increased my workload by 1/3. The idea was that smaller class sizes for part of the class would increase class discussion and participation... but, not really.

I tried it again this past summer with about the same results. Now i'm starting three Ethics sessions that meet 75 minutes per week in person, with the other half on-line. Now I have an afternoon and a whole Tuesday to do their grading -- and I see them on Wed and Thurs -- with Thursday being THE Ethics day... with a 2:15 section and a 6:00-7:15 section.

I like this arrangement because it makes them write more -- which means I grade more... but, now at least I have the time to do it.


Kris Peleg said...

I'm ready to leave the blended. My online folks want to be there. The hybrid folks are claiming to be "tricked" into an online component. Uh, did they think meeting only 2 hours a week meant that a 4 credit course was magic?

I really believe that most of the writing course is better done online. Their postings this weekend are thoughtful -- so much better than in class. But it is a lot of work -- for them and for me.

We'll see.

Ashby said...

I'm teaching two hybrid ethics classes this semester too. I did one last semester and it was a disaster. The students (minus a very small core) did not take either the class component or the online component seriously (or both!). It was awful.

This semester I've laid down the law and have mandatory attendance and online participation. We'll see if it does any good.

I was pleasantly surprised by my first fully online ethics class this semester. The discussions were thoughtful and insightful-- most of the time. There is hope!