Last week seems so far away, but not forgotten. Much of my time and social streams had a great mix of conversation in and around around #blend13 – The Sloan C Blended Learning Conference & Workshop. Thanks to the fabulous #blend Conference Chair, Tanya Joosten (@tjoosten), I was fortunate to be invited to present a workshop (or two) and get acquainted with the fine city of Milwaukee over the Summerfest weekend. #MKEwhawhat. Here’s my blogged mix tape of highlights and happenings from #blend13.
Not only did I fall in love with the city life in MKE, but I was alsoable to attend the 10th annual conference on the topic of blended learning to gain some insight to the history and impact as to where we are going in the field. As educational demands and challenges increase, there has been a great shift to personalized, digital pedagogy. Blended learning has helped to reshape roles for both the instructor and learner to create opportunities for deeper learning and sharing.
During my workshop, I asked participants to share what blended learning meant in ONE WORD. A challenging task, as this learning pedagogy and model means so much to so many people. Here are the responses from my session. I learned how blended learning appears to have a number of similarities and differences depending on the academic institution, and the type of characteristics most suited for instructors and our students in blended learning environments.
#Blend13 connected me to a number of educators, in both K-12 and higher education, who were using blending learning for curriculum engagement. Blended Learning has encouraged more collaboration and connection to open, shared learning resources. A number of faculty and instructors are finding value in enhancing their subject matter, and the student data on learning acquisition is proving its value. A number of instructors are finding opportunities to mentor and learn in their own personal learning networks, which are strengthening the profession and allowing for growth in education.
Beyond interpreting the blended learning, seeing other models, and discussing effective practices for blending – a larger conversation and discussion thread that was prevalent was around MOOCs. Although I feel as this “hot topic” is appearing in most educational conferences, it was interesting to understand how MOOCs impact blended learning environments, and if they are distinguished from the blend pedagogy.
During the Using MOOCs for Blended Learning panel (#BLmooc), the discussion evolved around the impact (or lack there of) massively open online courses (MOOCs) have within higher education. The debate focused on how campuses should consider wider, strategic solutions for blended learning and the challenges/opportunities MOOCs provide for the learning process, students, open content, and various learning methods.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on #BlendedLearning and #MOOCs at #Blend13 Karen, Shari, Amy & Tanya.
#MOOCs – it’s not just about digital content, it should be more of a learning experience. @tjoosten #blend13 #BLmooc
— Laura Pasquini (@laurapasquini) July 8, 2013
There was talk about openness, content, delivery, and more. What struck me was the continued debate or talk about dualism between closed and open methods for delivery and content, which I think was shared in Andy’s tweet/blog post:
cf. w/ some of dualism in this discussion and role of continua (e.g. delivery, closed<->open) http://t.co/e9fToQbba4 #blend13 #BLmooc
— Andy Saltarelli (@ajsalts) July 8, 2013
The last session I attended was the Unconference Session Around Researching MOOCs with George @Veletsianos. http://tinyurl.com/moocresearch
There is a number of interesting research questions, methods and more included in the Google Doc — and if you want to connect with any researcher, their contact information is also included. One article I found interesting from Mike Caufield (@holden ) was the x-MOOC vs. c-MOOC debate shared via his Educause article. I wonder how many institutions consider the space or place their move to MOOC is going, and what sort of learning framework (if any) they place these models.
Image c/o @holden in this article
Last, but certainly not least, I was grateful for connecting with my #PLN of amazing colleagues that I am able to share with on a daily basis on different social media spaces. Who would have thought that this was my first time meeting Dr. Alec Couros (@courosa) in person — it feels like we go back for ages. With a jam-packed, engaging keynote – I am glad that Alec and others took “notes” on Twitter. We also learned that when you let two Canadians loose in Milwaukee, there is bound to be some havoc. Highlights of our fun with the #blend13 crew (in no particular order) results in collaborative marketing campaigns for MKE, free-style karaoke, BACON love, killer dance moves, great conversations, photo-bombing, and general good times.
Name the trouble makers who photo-bombed my #selfie.
Until we meet again #blend13 friends… keep it smooth.
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