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Summary

The seminar for which this blended learning scenario was designed connects topic-wise to a preceding introductory lecture in which the theoretical basics of linguistics were introduced. On the one hand, it serves to deepen the students' knowledge of the content presented, and on the other hand the individual language application of both theory and methods. It combines a media-supported preparation which consists of the systematic repitition of the lecture contents and which is ensured through the Blackboard tests, the face-to-face seminars which completely focus on the seminar goals and a follow-up, in which the face-to-face meetings minutes are worked on in smaller groups and recorded in the Blackboard wiki. The studying at home is supported through the announced integration of the questions from the Blackboard tests in the final concluding exam as well as through an application-oriented design of the face-to-face sessions in which the corresponding preparatory work has to be done beforehand.    

Didactically seen, this blended learning concept allows for a quick progression from the competence of knowing and understanding to the application and evaluation of the knowledge learned. It prepares in a systematic manner for the final learning assessment and it helps to reduce the frontal teaching phases of the face-to-face sessions which are not favorable when it comes to the students' learning. 

Table of contents

Course

Course title"Introduction to Linguistics" (GK B)
Coure typeBasic course

Lecturer

Valerie Hekkel

No. of participants

approx. 15

Phase

Parallel to the face-to-face sessions, preparation and follow-up of the sessions, intensified usage for exam preparation

Duration

Course-accompanying, 1 semester

Tools

External tools can be implemented as a supplement to the central systems of the Freie Universität (wiki, blog, LMS etc.). The description of the external applications (information on tools, implementation scenarios, practical examples) can be found in the IdeasBar for teaching and science 2.0.

Realization

The blended learning course consists of the following three phases on a weekly basis: the preparation, the face-to-face session and the follow-up. Both the phase of preparation as well as follow-up are transferred to Blackboard-supported home study sessions. The preparatory work for the students consists of working through the session-relevant and topic-related literature as well as the subsequent working on corresponding tests in Blackboard. These tests are voluntary; however, half of the final exam is made up of these Blackboard test questions. The follow-up of each session consists of writing up the meeting minutes which is undertaken by a small group and recorded in the Blackboard wiki system. 

For a successful implementation of the blended learning concept it is on the one hand necessary that the provision of content is consequently planned and provided in a timely manner, and on the other hand it has to be ensured that the Blackboard course structure is clear with a good overview so that the students can clearly see this and can find what they need when they need it. For this purpose the navigation buttons were reduced to News, Lecturer (a block that led to course information that was independent of the course contents), Course materials, Notes wiki, Tests (a block on the components of the blended learning design), Discussion forum and Mailing list (a block for communication).
The concept requires the following timing:

What?

By whom?

When?

PREPARATION

Posting the literature needed to prepare for the next session

Lecturer

One week before the session

Creating and activating the corresponding Blackboard tests 

Lecturer

Activation one week before the session, setting it up beforehand with the time needed for this

Detailed planning of the face-to-face session

Lecturer

Ideally 2 weeks before the session, so that the Blackboard test and the literature required can be selected and if needs be adjusted. The design of the slides can also take place in the week before the session. 

Working on the tests and reading the literature

Students

As of one week before the session

FOLLOW-UP

Writing up the session's minutes

Weekly changing small groups (students)

Up to 1 week after the session

Correcting the minutes

Lecturer

On the day of the subsequent session

Presented differently, this means the following for the lecturer when it comes to the timing:

Illustration 1: Time planning


Apart from the weekly recurring work phases, digital media was also used intermittently. For example, for the preparation of the last session the students used a Titanpad to create a catalog of questions still open and unanswered (Illustration 2) which were answered and discussed with the help of the online tool Pingo (Illustration 3). 


Fragenkatalog im Titanpad

Illustration 2: Question catalog in the Titanpad


Fragen per Clicker (PINGO)

Illustration 3: Questions per clicker (Pingo)

Experiences made by the lecturer

All in all, the blended learning concept can be rated as a success. The literature was indeed read beforehand, the Blackboard tests were worked on by about 50% of the students on a weekly basis. Therefore the final exam grade was quite positive - as well as the feedback from the students. Especially the Blackboard tests were seen as being a sensible preparation for the final exam. However, designing a blended learning course is a lot more work (not least due to the strict time plan) which turned into a manageable and quite doable routine after a while.  

Further information

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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.
  • Lehrgänge zu Web 2.0 und Social Media an der Freien UniversitätDas Präsidium der Freien Universität unterstützt E-Learning-Initiativen: Mit dem E-Learning-Förderprogramm werden finanzielle Mittel für Lehrende zur Verfügung gestellt, die ihre Lehrveranstaltungen nachhaltig durch Technologie- und Medienunterstützung bereichern und qualitativ verbessern. Es können alle in der Lehre tätigen Wissenschaftler/innen bzw. Institutionen der Freien Universität ohne die Charité-Universitätsmedizin gefördert werden.

Merken

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