University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

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Teaching and Technology

Blended Learning in Large First Year Courses

Thank you for choosing to participate in this session on teaching and learning with technology. The focus of this session is on innovative use of technology and transformational curriculum design in large first year courses. Specifically we would like to demonstrate and discuss the use of our newly developed lecture capture technology and how the use of this technology has allowed for a complete course redesign which affords the opportunity for more interaction, more discussion and more diversity of perspectives during face to face class time.

During the fall semester of the 2010-11 academic year GPHY 101: Human Geography was taught as a traditional large lecture course of 450 students with three lectures of 50 minutes per week. In the following winter semester of 2011 students in GPHY 101 were offered a hybrid course. In this new offering to 180 students, the lectures that were captured during the fall semester were made available for students to view on-line. Instead of attending actual large lectures, students were required to view the three lectures of 50 minutes per week on their own time prior to attending an interactive class of 60 students for 90 minutes, once per week. In this weekly class with the professor, students were actively engaged in small group problem solving, discussion, debate and other forms of cooperative learning activities.

This innovative approach to a course very specifically targets the challenges of teaching large first year classes which are traditionally didactic in nature, making it difficult to achieve meaningful student engagement, and often limiting the opportunity for diverse perspectives and diverse ways of learning. It also specifically targets the two most challenging area in Queens' NSSE Scores for first year – Student Faculty Interaction and Active and Collaborative Learning.

In this session we will demonstrate our lecture capture technology, our approach to the course redesign and present our initial findings on the effectiveness of this approach to student engagement, student learning and student's perception of the opportunities to discuss and learn from each other.

Attendees of this session will learn about:

  1. Lecture capture technology
  2. Hybrid course design
  3. Cooperative learning activities
  4. Our approach to study design
  5. Initial study findings

The objective of this session is to discuss to what extent Queen's should adopt a blended learning approach in large first year courses.

Questions we would like you to consider:

  1. Should Queen's consider this model for first year?
  2. What is the right balance between on-line and face to face components of a course at Queen's in first year?
  3. If you were taking a first year course what course components would you want on-line? What would you want face to face?
  4. What challenges to you foresee implementing this?
    1. From student's perspective
    2. From faculty's perspective
    3. From administrator's perspective
  5. Is increasing engagement and a deeper approach to learning enough to support this type of approach? What other information do you need to decide?
  6. Think about your first year university, what were your greatest challenges or concerns and would this approach to delivering a course suit you?

Readings that have been provided:

Queen's Specific

  1. First-Year Students' Perception of the Quality of Their Learning (PDF*, 786 KB)
  2. Lecture Capture Update 2010-11 (PDF*, 53 KB)

Background on Teaching and Technology

  1. The EDUCAUSE Centre for Applied Research Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (PDF*, 1,115 KB)
  2. The U.S. Department of Education: Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning - A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies (PDF*, 1,189 KB)
  3. The Horizon Report 2011 Edition from The New Media Consortium (PDF*, 1,221 KB)
  4. Lecture capture-A guide for effective use (PDF*, 157 KB)