Blended Learning at Ajman University of Science and Technology: A Case Study

Blended Learning at Ajman University of Science and Technology: A Case Study

Ahmed Ankit (Ajman University of Science and Technology, UAE), Mirna Nachouki (Ajman University of Science and Technology, UAE) and Mahmoud Abou Naaj (Ajman University of Science and Technology, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5876-9.ch011
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Abstract

Over the past few years, there has been a rapid increase in the development of technology-based learning and teaching. Professors have become more pragmatic in their approach to technology-based media by using it to supplement or to replace traditional face-to-face teaching. Blended learning, which combines both electronic and face-to-face interaction, has gained more ground as midway between distance and face-to-face teaching approaches. Thus, opportunities for both educators and learners have been created. The teaching and learning approach adopted at Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) combines an equal balance of traditional face-to-face and videoconference learning, complemented with the use of a learning management system (Moodle). Student and instructor satisfaction is considered the most important factor in measuring the quality of blended learning. The purpose of this chapter is, therefore, to examine student and instructor satisfaction of blended learning at AUST. The chapter demonstrates that the majority of students and instructors hold positive views but are still attached to the traditional face-to-face learning and teaching. They also show that the level of satisfaction may depend on individual experience as well as on the major studied/taught.
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Blended Learning At Aust

Blended learning, also called hybrid learning, is a flexible term which lacks a unified definition. A variety of definitions thus exist, addressing different aspects of instruction:

  • A combination of teaching strategies,

  • A combination of delivery media,

  • A combination of online and face-to-face instruction.

Due to gender segregation at AUST, course instructors have to deliver each lecture at least twice. Instructor office hours are also divided according to gender. The blended learning at AUST combines an equal balance of traditional face-to-face and videoconference learning, complemented with the use of a Learning Management System (LMS), namely Moodle. In this blended delivery approach, the two sections of the course are scheduled to be offered in separate classrooms at the same time. The classrooms are connected using videoconferencing equipment which allows interactive real time video and audio communication between the two rooms. Students may also communicate with their instructor as well as with their classmates at any time using the LMS adopted at AUST.

A videoconferencing classroom features the following:

  • Cameras fixed to the ceiling allowing the transmission of a live color video of the instructor in the other classroom and simultaneously transmitting a video of the remote students to a TV screen which may be viewed by the instructor.

  • Data Show devices installed in each classroom. These allow the display of video and the instructor’s course materials on a smart board and a projection screen. There is one projection screen in each classroom.

  • Presentations are displayed in both classrooms.

  • Flat TV screens available in each classroom, allowing the instructor to see and interact with all students.

  • A control panel enabling the adjustment of the audio system, mixer, amplifier, microphones and speakers that produce high quality audio delivery in classrooms.

  • An interactive board (smart board) allowing the instructor to display videos and course materials interactively. The instructor may also use an interactive pen on the smart board.

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