The Blended Learning Ecosystem of an Academic Institution in Greece

The Blended Learning Ecosystem of an Academic Institution in Greece

Mara Nikolaidou (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Chryssa Sofianopoulou (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Nancy Alexopoulou (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Kostas Abeliotis (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Vassilis Detsis (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Christos Chalkias (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece), Katia Lasaridi (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece) and Dimosthenis Anagnostopoulos (Harokopio University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/jwltt.2010070102
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Abstract

Blended learning has been recognized as the most promising emerging trend in higher education, offering new capabilities, as it may significantly enhance the interaction and communication between instructors and students. The challenge of blended learning is to balance weaknesses and strengths of face-to-face and e-learning teaching environments and effectively combining them to provide enhanced learning capabilities. Its success should benefit instructor-student relation. To this end, the authors adopt ecosystem-based approach to model the blended learning environment and identify its constituents, i.e., instructors, students, consultants, technology. and their evolving relations. The proposed concept was utilized to explore the potential of blended learning in the academic environment. A study was conducted at Harokopio University of Athens over a period of three years to explore the relations between blended learning ecosystem constituents, focusing on instructor -student relation.
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Introduction

The term “blended learning” is being frequently used in both academic and corporate institutions during the last few years. As stated in Rooney (2003), the American Society of Training and Development identified blended learning as one of the top ten trends to emerge in the knowledge delivery sector. Blended learning has also been widely recognized as the most promising emerging trend in higher education (Bonk et al., 2006; Garrison & Hanuka, 2004; Young, 2002). Blended learning offers new capabilities for education, as it may significantly enhance the interaction and communication between educators and learners. There were many efforts to define blended learning (Bonk et al., 2006). In the following, we adopt the definition presented by Graham (2006), according to which Blended Learning or Hybrid Learning is defined as the combination of face-to-face with computer-mediated instruction, identifying the central role of computer-based technology in the delivery of knowledge. In practice, one could realize blended learning as e-learning methods combined with traditional face-to-face teaching (So & Bush, 2008; Olapirivakul & Sher, 2006; Bonk et al., 2006).

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