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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

Will It Blend? Student Reaction to the Blending of a First-Year University Course

#Twitter: 
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Presenter(s)
Adon Moskal (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Additional Authors
Erika Pearson (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 9:15am
Track: 
Technology and Emerging Learning Environments
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Blended Program/Degree
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
All
Session Type: 
Information Session
Location: 
Oceanic 1
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Session: 
Concurrent Session 5
Abstract

A case study exploring student perceptions of, and engagement with, a newly blended first-year course at a New Zealand University.

Extended Abstract

The benefits of blended learning (typically combining face-to-face and online experiences) are widely regarded in Higher Education. However, despite the pervasiveness of digital technologies on campus, more critical perspectives are starting to question the effectiveness of such environments to 'enhance' student learning (e.g., Henderson, Selwyn, Aston, 2015). This paper is part of a research program exploring student use and perceptions of blended learning technologies in Higher Education at a research and teaching university in New Zealand. We present a case study of a newly blended first year Communication Studies course traditional face-to-face lectures and tutorials were augmented with online readings, assessments and discussion tools utilising an open source, online course delivery platform "edX". Outside of distance-taught papers, blended courses are not a common fixture at this university. A mixed-methods approach was used to assess the effectiveness of blending the first-year course in terms of student engagement access and interaction analytics were paired with student perception data gathered from an online survey; this information was then used to guide in-depth focus group interviews with students on their reception of the blended approach. Results indicated mixed success in terms of reception and engagement and raise a number of issues for further research, such as potential student resistance to blended environments; the influence of student preconceptions and expectations of institutional technology integration; and issues arising from embedded policy and practices around traditional classroom hierarchies clashing with more open online structures.

Henderson, M., Selwyn, N., & Aston, R. (2015). What works and why? Student perceptions of 'useful' digital technology in university teaching and learning. Studies in Higher Education, (ahead-of-print), 1-13.