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 consits 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 coure 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:
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 Titanpad to create a cataloge catalog of questions still open and unanswered (Illustration 2) which were answered and discussed with the help of the online tool pingo Pingo (Illustration 3).
Illustration 2: Question cataloge catalog in the titanpadTitanpad
Illustration 3: Questions per clicker (pingoPingo)
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 timeplantime plan) which turned into a manageable and quite doable routine after a while.