Blended Learning and Teaching Philosophies: Implications for Practice

Blended Learning and Teaching Philosophies: Implications for Practice

Faye Wiesenberg (University of Calgary, Canada) and Elizabeth Stacey (Deakin University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-296-1.ch011
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This study explores the similarities and differences between Canadian and Australian university teachers’ face-to-face and online teaching approaches and perspectives in two comparable Canadian and Australian universities, both of which offer instruction in these two modes. The chapter explores whether moving from face-to-face to online teaching results in new teaching approaches or in the creative blending of those developed within the different teaching modalities. Qualitative data were collected with an open-ended survey which asked participants for their thoughts on their face-to-face and online teaching experiences. Quantitative data were collected with the “Teaching Perspectives Inventory” which assessed participants’ teaching approaches and philosophies in terms of their beliefs, intentions and actions in both modalities. The authors discuss the findings in terms of how to assist teachers to successfully transition from traditional teacher-centred to newly emerging learner-centred teaching approaches in blended learning classrooms.
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Today’s rapidly changing communication technologies are enabling teachers in all levels of education to move from traditional face-to-face classrooms into online or blended classrooms, while opening up new learning options and teaching possibilities. In order to make a successful transition from a traditional face-to-face classroom to the new virtually enhanced classroom, teachers may need to re-view their underlying assumptions about the learning process, and most fundamentally, their role in the teaching and learning process (Comeaux & McKenna-Byington, 2003; Garrison & Vaughan, 2008; Garrison, 2006; McShane, 2006; Palloff & Pratt, 2000; Torrisi & Davis, 2000; Wiesenberg, 1999, 2002). The importance of having a clearly articulated philosophy or approach to teaching in traditional face-to-face classrooms has been a focus in the educational literature for over two decades (Elias & Merriam, 1980, 2005; Jarvis, 1999; Mott, 1996; Zinn, 1998), but there is a paucity of research on whether or not assumptions developed within a traditional face-to-face classroom apply equally well in a technologically more complex classroom (Collis, 1998; Gallini & Barron, 2001; Heaton-Shrestha, Ediringha, Burke & Linsey, 2005; Ruth, 2006; Shovein, Huston, Fox & Damazo, 2005).

Blended learning as a topic in the literature of higher education has been discussed in many ways without agreement about the best definition of the term (Oliver &Trigwell, 2005, Graham, 2006, Stacey & Gerbic, 2007, Bliuc, Goodyear & Ellis, 2007). Garrison and Kanuka (2004) wrote that blended learning should be more than an adding on of technology but should be transformative, while Garrison and Vaughan (2008) defined blended learning as “ the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences” (p5) involving a pedagogical redesign that should improve teaching and learning. Bliuc at al (2007) reviewed a wide range of research into blended learning in higher education and, agreeing in principle with this definition as the most common, refined it to “learning activities that involve a systematic combination of co-present (face-to-face) interactions and technologically-mediated interactions between students, teachers and learning resources” (p 234). In reviewing methodologies in the empirical research into blended learning they categorized research into case studies, survey-type studies, comparative studies (e.g. ‘online versus blended learning, face-to-face versus online versus blended learning), and holistic studies. Although they were seeking the student perspective on blended learning, their categorization helps to situate this study as a comparative study which, in seeking to clarify the teacher perspective, asked participants to reflectively compare their face-to-face and online teaching contexts. This process revealed that these were no longer truly separate modalities but involved a blending of approaches to use the best aspects of both providing the potential for a transformative process.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Robin Mason
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Chapter 1
Elizabeth Stacey, Philippa Gerbic
Blended learning is now part of the learning landscape in higher education, not just for campus-based courses but for courses designed for students... Sample PDF
Introduction to Blended Learning Practices
Chapter 2
Philippa Gerbic
Online discussions are now available as a pedagogical option in blended learning environments in universities. Much of the research to date has... Sample PDF
Including Online Discussions Within Campus-Based Students' Learning Environments
Chapter 3
Ruth Geer
This chapter describes an investigation of strategies for fostering higher order cognition in a blended learning environment. The exploration, which... Sample PDF
Strategies for Blended Approaches in Teacher Education
Chapter 4
Mary Simpson, Bill Anderson
A teacher education programme previously taught in distinct on-campus and distance forms was redesigned to take advantage of the affordances offered... Sample PDF
Redesigning Initial Teacher Education
Chapter 5
Ana A. Carvalho, Zdena Lustigova, Frantisek Lustig
This chapter describes two European projects that respond to blended learning by integrating innovative technologies into blended learning... Sample PDF
Integrating New Technologies into Blended Learning Environments
Chapter 6
Guglielmo Trentin, Steve Wheeler
This chapter provides a further two European perspectives on blended learning. The first section is an overview of the ways in which the concept of... Sample PDF
Teacher and Student Responses to Blended Environments
Chapter 7
Peter J. Smith, Elizabeth Stacey, Tak Shing Ha
The majority of research and literature in collaborative learning online has been focussed on groups of students organised into units of study by an... Sample PDF
Blending Collaborative Online Learning with Workplace and Community Contexts
Chapter 8
Terrie Lynn Thompson, Heather Kanuka
The growing need for professional development to help university instructors with the adoption of online teaching is being propelled from several... Sample PDF
Establishing Communities of Practice for Effective and Sustainable Professional Development for Blended Learning
Chapter 9
Julie Mackey
Blended learning is examined via the experiences of teachers participating in qualification-bearing online professional development courses while... Sample PDF
Virtual Learning and Real Communities: Online Professional Development for Teachers
Chapter 10
Suzanne Riverin
This chapter examines the use of blended learning in an online community which supported teacher professional development in the province of... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Professional Development in the K-12 Sector
Chapter 11
Faye Wiesenberg, Elizabeth Stacey
This study explores the similarities and differences between Canadian and Australian university teachers’ face-to-face and online teaching... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and Teaching Philosophies: Implications for Practice
Chapter 12
Gayani Samarawickrema
This chapter focuses on the factors relating to adopting blended learning by teaching academics and the associated social world around technology... Sample PDF
Blended Learning and the New Pressures on the Academy: Individual, Political, and Policy Driven Motivators for Adoption
Chapter 13
Gail Wilson
This chapter draws on a collective case study of six faculty members working in ICT-enhanced blended learning environments at a large regional... Sample PDF
Case Studies of ICT-Enhanced Blended Learning and Implications for Professional Development
Chapter 14
Cathy Gunn, Adam Blake
An accredited course in Academic Practice aligns with university and national strategic goals related to teaching and learning enhancement within a... Sample PDF
Blending Technology into an Academic Practice Qualification for University Teachers
Chapter 15
M. Brooke Robertshaw, Heather Leary, Andrew Walker, Kristy Bloxham, Mimi Recker
For teachers in the 21st Century it has become critical that they develop the skills to be able to teach in a world that is being transformed by... Sample PDF
Reciprocal Mentoring "In The Wild": A Retrospective, Comparative Case Study of ICT Teacher Professional Development
Chapter 16
Conclusion  (pages 298-311)
Philippa Gerbic, Elizabeth Stacey
The conclusion draws together the main themes identified under the sections of the book with a synthesis of the recommendations presented by the... Sample PDF
About the Contributors