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@ Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, CO

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Missed the 11th Annual Blended Learning Conference and Workshop? No problem – you can still gain access to over 40 recorded presentations to view at your convenience for one full year. Get your virtual package here.

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New for 2014! Technology Test Kitchen - BYOD to learn, explore, and share knowledge within this lab environment

Technology Test Kitchen


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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

A Foot in the Boat and the Other on the Dock: The Paradox of Engagement in Blended Learning

Jeff Swain (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 4:30pm
Faculty Development & Student Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
Innovative Blends
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Ballroom F
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 3
Virtual Session

This session is for instructors struggling with extending the classroom experience to the Web and who want to do something about it.

Extended Abstract

Students complain instructors do not know how to properly use web-based tools while instructors lament about how difficult it is to get students involved in collaborative web-based activities. Both sides agree that adding a web-based component to a class that meets face-to-face (F2F) is valuable—in theory—so how come they struggle to find value in the experience?

The number of web-based applications available to extend the teaching and learning experience beyond the classroom is staggering, ranging from university-supported tools such as a learning management system (LMS) to fairly new, and fairly radical, open applications such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and more recently massive open online courses (MOOCs) and massive open online credit courses (MOOCS) where matriculated students interact with non-matriculated individuals over a shared interest in the subject. So why is it that with so many choices, offering so many opportunities for engagement, we still struggle to make it happen?

This lively, engaging, interactive, and sometimes funny, presentation explores the factors that lead us toward less than satisfactory experience as we move between F2F and online environments. Drawing from my research into communities of practice and presentation of self on the social web and my experience working with faculty and students to improve the blended learning experience, this session is a deep dive into what is really happening in blended learning environments and what can be done to improve the experience for everyone.

This session is geared toward faculty and instructional designers at universities and four-year institutions but anyone who attends will benefit from the discussion. As a group we will explore appropriate ways of (1) connecting with students in both formal and informal settings, (2) establishing the appropriate presence in multiple environments, (3) setting student behavioral expectations for multiple environments, and (4) chunking and scaffolding content across multiple environments. Attendees are expected to provide examples of their own experience, ask questions of each other, and possible participate in several brief demonstrations or role-plays.

Attendees can expect the session to help them with:
• Identifying the personal, technological, and environmental dynamics at play in a blended learning environment and recognizing how they impact the experience
• Recognizing the impact that technology choices have on the experience
• Reflecting on their own experience and sharing in the experiences of their peers
• Synthesizing factors such as student-teacher preferences and expectations, pedagogical goals, and student-teacher performance to improve the experience for themselves and their students

Jeff Swain believes teaching is a full-contact sport. He works with faculty to incorporate innovative pedagogical practices and emerging technologies to create a new, cohesive whole that the teacher can take back and apply to their craft. His method of faculty development draws from a wide range of fields including anthropology, athletics, biology, communications, education, psychology, sociology, theatre, and technology. He also likes to run marathons. He is a masochist at heart.

Lead Presenter

My name is Jeff Swain. My career is about reinvention, whether it be creating new positions, exploring new technologies, or re-imagining professional development, all with an eye toward improving the teaching and learning experience.

I completed my Ph.D. in Education at The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State. My area of research is the social web, specifically, exploring how the social web is affecting our understanding of community and identity. My research incorporates work from the fields of anthropology, communications, computer science, and education. My role as a project manager at Penn State focuses on finding human and technological solutions that help faculty, students, and staff maximize their experiences in teaching, learning, and research.