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Summary

The blended learning lecture "Introduction to the subject German in elementary school" is targeted at around 360 students in their first semester. It facilitates the basics and connects with the practical research being undertaken in German didactic studies. The students work on the contents in accordance with the blended learning principle: The course material with interactive tasks and exercises is on the one hand available online for self-study purposes. On the other hand, the students get the possibility of being able to discuss the knowledge they have acquired, can deepen their insights and learn new things during the seven face-to-face sessions. Registering active participation is easily done via the blog posts that are integrated within Blackboard. 

Table of contents


Course

Course title"Introduction to the subject German in elementary school"

Course type

Lecture

Degree program

Teacher training (Bachelor)

Lecturer

Prof. Dr. Petra Anders

No. of participants360
SWS/CP2 SWS


Illustration: "Introduction to the subject German in elementary school"

Tools

  • Blackboard learning modules
  • Blackboard blogs
  • Blackboard forums

Realization

Instead of taking part in the regular weekly lectures, the students can decide where and when they want to learn. They can individually customize their learning and study the basic introductory texts and video tutorials at anytime, anywhere. Thereby, job and family commitments can be connected much more flexibly with one's course of studies.  

  • The lecture comprises basic introductory texts, in-depth articles, video tutorials, practical teaching recommendations as well as further reading links.
  • In a pre-prepared template the students note down what they have learned.
  • Special questions posed invite the students to collaboratively think about issues and to join in the discussion.
  • Gamification is also implemented within tasks that are meant to increase the motivation to learn (e.g. creating an origami penguin as a first introduction to the lecture within a penguin tablet).
  • With the help of interactive self-tests the learners can check the things that they have learned. 
  • In the forums the students have the possibility of talking to and exchanging ideas with their fellow students, they can discuss what they have learned or can ask the supervising team questions. 
  • A learning pass and a FAQ wiki provide additional orientation and help.


One challenge when designing this blended learning lecture were the formal requirements: For the lecture there is no compulsory attendance required; however, "active participation" does need to be certified. This was recorded by the creation of two blog posts on the online learning modules by every participant. In order to guarantee that posts are added during the entire course of the semester and that thereby academic discussions were always started again and again, the students were split up into larger groups and the timeline for the topic-related posts was spread out over the entire span of the duration of the lecture.  


Experiences made by the lecturer

Very positive experiences were made with this blended learning lecture - the students actively participated not just in the online modules but also in the face-to-face meetings. The content-related quality of the blog posts is of a higher quality than those contributions made in comparable face-to-face scenarios. When it comes to room for improvement, the focus will be on an even closer meshing and intertwining of the online and the face-to-face phases. 

All in all, the new teaching format was readily accepted by the students which is clearly documented in the results of the accompanying evaluation: The students are in general very satisfied with the course and evaluate the blended learning scenario, i.e. the interaction of face-to-face and online phases, as "good". In addition to this, the course participants noted down that their competence level was greatly enhanced and they also mentioned that their motivation to learn increased significantly. There were a few critical remarks as well, mainly focusing on the higher time burden when it comes to completing the online learning modules.      

Further information

Support offered by CeDiS

  • Consulting services for the implementation of digital solutions in teaching: The Center for Digital Systems (CeDiS) has extensive experience of many years when it comes to the implementation of digital media and systems within the fields of teaching, learning and research. We offer a wide variety of consulting services on the implementation of these tools and systems within the entire academic scope and especially at Freie Universität Berlin. 
  • Training courses and workshops: For lecturers at Freie Universität Berlin (professors, employees, tutors) as well as lecturers of other universities CeDiS offers training courses and workshops on the topic of teaching and learning with digital media. These course enable participants to implement online elements within their own sphere of teaching.
  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität supports e-learning initiatives: With the e-learning funding program financial resources are provided to lecturers that enrich and improve their courses quality-wise by implementing technological and media-related support. All of the academic staff teaching, the lecturers or even the institutions of the Freie Universität - without the Charité-Universitätsmedizin - can be supported within this program. 

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