U Central Florida Debuts Blended Learning MOOC for Educators
The University of Central Florida (UCF) has partnered with two organizations to reboot a massive open online course (MOOC) for teachers focused on blended learning in higher ed and K-12.
The university has partnered with Educause, a nonprofit focused on technology in higher education, and ed tech company Instructure to launch "BlendKit2015: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer." The course is intended to build on the success of BlendKit2014, a similar MOOC released last year that also covered blending learning and was Educause's first.
"The power of online professional development is that we can collaborate and educate in real-time," said Julie Little, Educause vice president of teaching, learning and professional development, in a prepared statement. "BlendKit2015 leverages that power to advance strategic understanding of blended learning's full potential."
UCF, with 20 years of experience in online learning, designed the core of the course with support from a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant. The course examines the basis of blended learning, best practices and how to successfully construct a blended learning experience.
"As a practice, online instruction is still in its infancy, relative to traditional classroom methods," said Tom Cavanagh, associate vice president of distributed learning at UCF, in a prepared statement. "Having two decades of experience in online learning puts our institution in a unique position to help our peers avoid the pitfalls we've experienced with it and fully realize their visions for novel modes of instruction."
"BlendKit2015 will be facilitated by UCF Center for Distributed Learning instructional designers Rohan Jowallah and Sue Bauer," according to a news release. "The course is free and open to any learners, who can also elect to participate in a low-cost certification track. This more rigorous option includes a full portfolio review and, upon completion, offers a certificate from Educause and the University of Central Florida and a digital badge that participants can include on their Educause profiles and professional/social networks."
Features of the five-week course include:
- Assessment and critique of course design work from experts and peers;
- Frequent interaction with other students and course facilitators;
- The opportunity to interact via blogs or social networks;
- Guest presenters each week;
- Tutorials and document templates; and
- Scholarly reading selections on blended learning.
"Courses like BlendKit2015 help educators, regardless of experience or position, to think creatively and innovatively about their teaching to ultimately improve student outcomes," said Melissa Loble, senior director of Canvas Network at Instructure, in a news release. "Open education courses such as this are bringing to the education community a wealth of opportunities for creating and accessing truly impactful professional development opportunities."
Registration for the course, which begins February 23, is currently open. For more information, or to register, visit canvas.net. A video showcasing the experiences of educators who participated in BlendKit2014 is available at vimeo.com.
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].