OLC Blended Learning

The Best of OLC’s Blended Learning Conference & Workshop

Denver, CO, July 7-8, 2015 – Members of the HOL team attended the Blended Learning Conference and Workshop organized by the Online Learning Consortium in Denver.

The Blended Learning Conference is a conference devoted to the purposeful, strategic, and comprehensive approach to blended teaching and learning. The conference program included a variety of featured sessions, interactive workshops, information sessions, vendor showcases, and discovery sessions organized around four conference tracks: Teaching & Learning Effectiveness; Faculty Development & Student Support; Blended Models & Design, and Institutional Leadership & Strategy.

Although we couldn’t attend every session, we gathered some great information! Here are some of our favorite takeaways:

DIY Blended Learning: A Ready-Made Faculty Development Program

Linda S. Futch (University of Central Florida, USA)
Rohan Jowallah (University of Central Florida, USA)

  • Blended learning best conceptualized as f2f-enhanced web course
  • The biggest issue online is integrity
  • Open educational resources (OER) from UCF’s Blended Learning Toolkit:

Sustainability Strategies for Blended Learning

Mary Niemiec (University of Nebraska, USA)

  • Online effort must be consistent with mission and goals

Reinventing Faculty Professional Development

David Lyons (CU Online, USA)
Crystal Gasell (CU Online, USA)

  • Focus on the end goal
  • Learn the tools
  • Communicate the content clearly: Modules
  • Add Value!

A Checklist for Online/Blended Course Design

Brooke Buerkle (Relay Graduate School of Education, USA)
Alice Waldron (Relay Graduate School of Education, USA)

  • Steps:
    • Identify widely adopted best practices
    • Create indicators for excellence related to our theory of action and best practices (E.g. The module includes opportunity for self reflection)
    • Gather feedback on indicators
    • Preliminary review of several Relay modules. Assign indicator scores.

Houston Baptist University Improves Student Achievement with the Help of Educational Technology

Vicki Alger (Houston Baptist University, USA)

  • Importance of writing to enhance critical thinking:
    • Develop written communication skills
    • Provide alternate form of evaluation
    • Encourage critical thinking skills
  • Students who averaged 70% or above on their writing assignments scored, on average, higher on their final exams compared to students who scored 69% or below in their writing assignments

Learner Engagement in Blended Learning Environments: Exploring a Conceptual Framework

Lisa R Halverson (Brigham Young University, USA)
Charles R. Graham (Brigham Young University, USA)

  • Engagement is indicated by cognitive and emotional energy towards learning

Social Media for Learning

Jane Bozarth (Author and eLearning Coordinator, North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, USA)

  • How much social media is too much? Make sure your tools support your learning objectives and beware of “toolitis.”
  • Draw something 10 times to make it your own
  • The point is to enable more learning, not generate more work
  • The bottom line of social media is to connect people
  • Social media is about how we can reach more people in a new way
  • Social Media helps create a sense of community
  • We want education participants. Not just consumers.
  • Faculty goal for using social media is for students to be engaged & not just consume content
  • Faculty who use social media are more likely to keep students engaged and active

Enacting the Digital Future of Health Science Education: Evaluating Blended Models at GWU

Paige McDonald (The George Washington University, USA)
Linda Cotton (George Washington University, USA)
Howard Straker (George Washington University, USA)

  • Technology increases level of student reflection on learning

Walk in an Instructional Designer’s Shoes: Designing Hybrid Courses

William Egan (Penn State University, USA)

  • What is Hybrid? Courses that combine Web and traditional face-to-face classroom instruction, and are organized to reduce or replace the number of required face-to face class sessions in order to improve effectiveness and flexibility. (Penn State University, 2014)
  • Four types of hybrid course development: F2f to hybrid, online to hybrid, f2f/online to hybrid and from scratch!

Conducting Research in Online and Blended Learning Environments: New Pedagogical Frontiers

Chuck Dziuban (University of Central Florida, USA)
Anthony Picciano (City University of New York, Hunter College, USA)
Charles R. Graham (Brigham Young University, USA)
Patsy Moskal (University of Central Florida, USA)

  • New pedagogies prompt us to ask new questions that require new research strategies
  • Complexity produces: uncertain mediation, ambivalence, ambiguity”
  • Get the “Conducting Research in Online and Blended Learning Environments” book here:

Educational Data Mining: Potentials for MOOCs and Blended Learning in Higher Education

Ryan Baker (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)

  • Most predictive indicators of those that will complete a MOOC aren’t what you’d think
  • What predicts completion?
    • More posts
    • Shorter posts
    • Linguistically more concrete posts
    • Linguistically more cohesive posts
    • Posting in same thread as other students who complete course

The Best of Both Worlds: Bringing Online and On-Campus Students Together with Streaming Video

Sebastien Auguste (NYU, USA)
John Vivolo (New York University, USA)

  • Live steaming video is not as difficult as it may seem
  • With live stream, students can participate in the course as it’s happening from the comfort of their homes

A Deeper Understanding of Student Engagement in Blended Learning Through Experience Sampling Methods

Kristine Manwaring (Brigham Young University, USA)
Curtis Henrie (Brigham Young University, USA)
Lisa R Halverson (Brigham Young University, USA)

  •  Relevance is the largest contributor to emotional and cognitive engagement

If Blended Learning Offers So Many Advantages, Why are So Few Institutions Adopting It?

Ron Owston (York University, Canada)

  • Advantages:
    • Student perspective
      • Allows for flexibility in students’ study, work, and life balance
      • Recent survey finds that not all students want all tech all the time
    • Faculty perspective
      • High satisfaction
      • Adds flexibility to your schedule
      • Reinvigorates teaching
  • Challenges:
    • Infrastructure
    • No clear indication that students would benefit
    • Time to design the course
    • Learn new technology
    • Technical Support
    • Not enough assistance from instructional designers


#blend15 @OLCtoday


8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int’l Symposium ‪#‎et4online @olctoday

HOL Has Major Presence at OLC-ET4

Hands-On Learning exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, April 22-24 in Dallas.

The information session was titled, “The Data-Driven Classroom – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” Below is a summary:

New technology in education is all the rage. Today’s technology tools collect quantitative information that drives innovative pedagogies and ramps student engagement and learning outcomes. Classroom data helps instructors work smarter, not harder. But which technology delivers the data you want?
Online courses lend themselves to data-driven instruction. Student knowledge gain can be continuously tracked, classroom analytics can become the root of action, and data can be mined to predict trends in the greater student population.

Tracking Student Knowledge Gain
How do you identify when learning actually occurs? The first step is to create precise learning objectives that can be measured. Learning objectives that begin with vague terms like “understand” and “learn about” are nearly impossible to track with analytics because they are subjective and are not measureable. How could we ever truly measure a student’s understanding of a subject such as photosynthesis? Generalized course-level objectives are too broad to track. So how do you create definitive learning objectives that are well-suited for data collection and point to a specific expectation that can be measured through assessment?
Assessments are the cornerstone of the data-driven classroom. They must be placed at key moments throughout the learning pathway. Where should they be placed to capture key data? What are the different types of assessments? What is the difference between formative and summative assessments? It is important that a variety of evaluations be presented as learning progresses. Student knowledge gain is tracked by identifying a single learning objective and aggregating student data from assessments, which are highly engaging and great for test skill-building. Data about student performance can be continually collected and subsequently applied in a number of ways.

Applying Actionable Analytics
The data-driven classroom is built with meaningful analytics that initiate action and have predictive value. Actions may be taken at the student-level or the classroom-level. How do you create measureable milestones? When do you implement Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT)? With actionable analytics, instructors can quickly identify a student who performs poorly on an introductory topic and provide help or an engaging resource. Learning opportunities are recognized at the moment needed, maximizing the potential for student success. How does adaptive learning contribute to this process?

Data can transform our assumptions and understanding of student knowledge. For example, recent analytics collected on a “Laboratory Techniques and Measurements” learning module indicated massive student success for performing molar calculations but very marginal success on describing the proper use of a graduated cylinder. This confounded the expectations of educators, who anticipated student performance on math-related topics to be the challenge area. Without the assessment data, the educators would have continued to build instructional resources around math. However, with the assessment data, instructors were able to focus their efforts on an important knowledge gap. Analytics allowed the instructors to work smarter, not harder and educational effectiveness was improved.

Predictive Analytics and Big Data
There are endless possibilities in the application of analytics, and the educational market is only now scratching the surface of these applications. How does your classroom fit in with university-wide data? Analytics can be used to gauge students’ own opinions of engagement and perceptions of knowledge gain, and these too can be correlated with student performance. Classroom analytics can be used to inform department-wide approaches and help institutions develop instructional best practices in topic areas. Student performance in introductory classes can be applied toward big data and utilized as predictive analytics for future student success. But most importantly, analytics provide a vehicle to move education away from hypothetical theory, towards pedagogical models that are supported by empirical evidence. Through online resources, instructors are able to generate data about teaching effectiveness and provide support for novel approaches. In many ways, student performance data is able to validate best teaching practices as it never could before. The online environment is the ideal setting for a data-driven approach, and online instructors, who admittedly are the most adventurous and innovative group of educators, are well-suited to the task of revolutionizing education.

HOL also presented a session during the Vendor Showcase entitled, “Yes, You Can Teach Science Online!” The session highlighted how Hands-On Labs has integrated technology with hands-on laboratory experiences to achieve better learning outcomes than many face-to-face classrooms.

HOL exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int'l Symposium in San Antonio. Holly Houtz presented a session entitled, "The Data-Driven Classroom - This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” ‪#‎et4online @olctoday

HOL exhibited and presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies Int’l Symposium in San Antonio. Holly Houtz presented a session entitled, “The Data-Driven Classroom – This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Data.” ‪#‎et4online @olctoday